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Fallout 76 is set to introduce online multiplayer to the wastelands and, if Bethesda had their way, players would be joining their friends on adventures no matter what platform each party member was playing on. Their reason for not allowing cross-play is unsurprising given recent developments but, still, we didn't really expect anyone to just come out and say it, but it's Sony's fault.
The folks over on GameStar (via CNET) recently had a chat with Bethesda head Todd Howard covering all things Fallout 76. As you might expect, Howard was happy to talk about certain aspects of the game and was more reserved about others. When it comes to cross-play gaming, however, he didn't pull any punches concerning why it would not be included in the upcoming fall release. According to Howard...
You cannot do cross-play in 76. We'd really love that but right now we can't. Sony is not as helpful as everyone would like.
When asked if cross-play will be part of a game's online ecosystem, usually the dialogue is vague and includes statements like, "Well, we'll see, but it's not really looking possible right now." It's not too often a developer will straight-up call out the party responsible, especially if said party is one of three major platforms where a game will be made available.
But, again, if you've been following the news over the past couple of years -- and especially these past few weeks -- Howard's response is anything but surprising.
A couple of years back, when Sony was really starting to settle into its dominance in the current generation of gaming, it was revealed that Psyonix wanted to make cross-play in Rocket League work across the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. While plenty of discussions had popped up about how cool it would be to bridge communities like that, not many developers had made it sound like a legitimate possibility. Psyonix, on the other hand, said all they needed to do was flip a switch and that Microsoft was already on board with the idea. Sony, however, was holding out.
More recently, it turned out that simply playing Fortnite on the PlayStation 4 meant you couldn't use your own Epic account on the Xbox One or Switch while, at the same time, gamers in those communities could play each other across platforms.
To help drive that point home, the latest version of Minecraft recently launched on the Switch and, on top of having cross-play between Nintendo's console and the Xbox One, there's even a commercial showing those two communities "building fun" in a shared world.
So, here we are yet again, with Sony under fire for being the holdout when it comes to full cross-play functionality. We assumed for so long that making games work across platforms would simply be too much work but, nowadays, it sounds like the only road block standing in the way is a (potentially temporary?) red light from Sony.