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    Pre-E3 

You will get to chose your character based on SPECIAL stats, and each would have had a corresponding role in the Vault
  • Strength - Vault security
  • Perception - Advance scout, first to be let out of the Vault to assess the situation
  • Endurance - Vault damage control, trained in hazmat disposal
  • Charisma - Storekeeper and trader
  • Intelligence - Vault medic
  • Agility - A thief who has avoided suspicion
  • Luck - Resident bookie running bets on various sporting contests held in the Vault
The ones you didn’t pick will be companions.

Your character class will be determined by choosing your favorite character from the Unstoppables comic (Based on the character silhouettes visible on the side of the Blast Radius board game)
  • Grognak the Barbarian - Combat Specialist
  • The Silver Shroud - Infiltration/Scout
  • Mistress of Mystery - Technical/Science skills
  • Dr. Brainwash - Social Skills

Factions Encountered
We won’t see the Brotherhood or the Enclave since those factions migrated here from the West Coast years later. We won’t see the Institute either as they haven’t formed yet. Although House exists, they won’t have any influence here besides occasional references (as his casinos won't be rebuilt until 2277). Possibilities are:
  • Talon Company - An amoral mercenary outfit willing to do anything for the right amount of caps.
  • The Regulators - A group formed out of former law enforcement officers struggling to maintain order.
    • Confirmed, except they were called “Responders”
  • The Kavaliers - A Confederate-themed group of ruthless slavers.
  • Krivbeknists - A cult of sentient Ghouls centered around a Dunwich facility, worshipping a Cthulhu Expy that will serve as the Big Bad.
  • The Brownboots - A group of militant abolitionists fighting the Kavaliers who worship John Brown as a near-Messianic figure.
  • The Humanitarians - A group of cannibals.
  • The Fancy Lads and Ladettes - A group of people addicted to sweet foods, thereby willing to do anything for that sugar high, including raiding.
  • The Vault 87 Super Mutants - Word of God states that the Vault 87 muties were released from their Vault in 2078, so it'd make sense for them to possibly appear.
  • The Greenboys - The last remnants/descendants of the Pre-War U.S. military and National Guard, who are still desperately trying to reassert control over the region.
  • The Minemen - A race of Morlock-esque mutants descended from people who fled into the countless abandoned coal mines dotting the region during the Great War, and have become vicious monsters due to a mix of mining pollutants and radiation.
  • An Enclave splinter faction - It's mentioned in the lore that there were multiple Enclave cells hiding in various parts of the country, but they lost contact with the main one on the oil rig when the bombs dropped. Perhaps you come across them in a bunker, and since it's only been 25 years (and you're a Vault Dweller) they don't have the same genocidal tendencies as the main branch.
    • Confirmed.
  • The Brotherhood of Steel - There's been other Retcons before, and it's possible they might still appear in the region because it's a Fallout game.
    • Confirmed.
  • Vault-Tec: No doubt Vault-Tec would keep some of their scientists near one of their control Vaults so as to take notes.
    • Partly-Jossed. Factions had formed in Appalachia after the war, but all of them were killed off prior to Vault 76 opening. You can still get quests from them however, following up information you get from holotapes and robots you discover.

The Puppetman will make an appearence.
The Puppetman from the tie-in Penny Arcade webcomic One Man And A Crate Of Puppets (which is referenced in Fallout 3) is from Vault 77, just one number off Vault 76, meaning he could be nearby.
  • Very likely, given that a puppet appeared in the original stream that led to 76 announcement.

Your character will be part of the first generation born in the Vault.
Any newborns would be 24 at most, perfect age to go out and tame the wilderness.

Obligatory "What's the player's title?" speculations
Seeing as how every game so farnote  have had some kind of title for the main character (i.e., "The Vault Dweller", "The Chosen One", "The Lone Wanderer", "The Courier", and "The Sole Survivor"), we might as well guess what title the player will havenote .
  • The Wasteland Pioneer
  • The First of the Generation
  • The Trailblazer
  • The Scout
  • The Reclaimer
  • The Settler
  • Vault Boy/Girl
  • Vaulty McVaultface
  • The Overseer/Overseer of 76
  • 76

    Post-E3 and Pre-Release 

Fallout 76 is set in West Virginia.
One of the first big clues was the use of John Denver's "Country Roads" ("West Virginia, Mountain Mama / Take me home, country roads"), but the E3 2018 trailer also has a visual clue: the New River Gorge Bridge, which can be seen in the distance in one of the trailer's scenic shots.
  • Confirmed at Bethesda's E3.
The use of Nukes in the story (multiplayer or otherwise) explains why no-one talks about West Virgina in the earlier games.
During Bethesda's E3 conference, it was revealed that many nuclear secrets were still buried in West Virginia, even post war. Player(s) can even use nuclear silos to target specific areas of the map and wipe them out for revenge, and resources. Simply put, despite all the pre-release about Vault 76 being the future of America, Virgina eventually devolves into warring factions armed with the remnants of America's nuclear arsenal and over 175 years will eventually turn Almost Heaven into Hell on Earth, a place so desolate and devastated that everyone just pretends it no longer exists.

Pet Sloths
In the Fallout universe, it became very fashionable to have sloths as exotic pets (at least in some areas) before the Great War. That'll be why you have to deal with mutated sloths in West Virginia.

The Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System will be eliminated
If PvP combat is possible, there's simply no way that VATS, whether the "Freeze Time" variant in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, or the "Slow Time" version from Fallout 4 can be fairly implemented. The in-game reason will be that the player is using an early model Pip-Boy which doesn't feature VATS.
  • Todd Howard actually confirmed real-time VATS in a post E3 interview

The NPCS will be Robots and Ghouls
During E3, it was said that all other surviving humans would be other players.It was also said that they will still have quests, as with traditional Fallout. The trailer showed several Mr.Handies in the vault. With no human quest givers, the non-humans living in the wasteland will have to pick up the slack to keep the story moving.
  • Confirmed.

The Vault 76 GECK was already used
The area is lively thanks to the first Overseer using the Vault's Garden of Eden Creation Kit the moment they stepped out. The lush vegetation and mostly nice looking world can be thanked to them.(Then they got eaten by all the mutated monsters, their bones scattered around, and the GECK may have had a side effect of mutating some other animals into monsters...)

The game will receive expansion packs that bring players to other unexplored wastelands
Similar TES: Online, players will have the opportunity to visit other unvisited locations in the lore, which will serve to establish the east coast America further. Possible locations are
  • Monticello, the plantation owned by Thomas Jefferson. It was used in recent years as a showcase of robot labor, but is now a source of homicidal robots. Find the deep dark centuries old secret that made those robots go haywire this early.
  • Pirates of Piedmont. Head to the Piedmont area to destroy a ruthless gang knoWn as the River Reavers - only to find out that all isn’t what it seems.
  • USAMRIID in Fort Dietrick Maryland, where an infectious version of the FEV lurks.
  • Fort Meade Maryland where you must take control of the last surveillance satellite America has in orbit, and use it to solve an ethical conundrum.

The Scorch Beasts have a massive nest in the Ash Heap
The Scorch Beast appear to be giant mutated bat dragons, and where do bats live? In caves, and mines. Ergo the Ash heap would be the perfect place for the Scorch Beasts to reside.

Eventually, West Virginia will be turned into a barren wasteland due to vault 76's war against the Scorchbeasts
West Virginia is not mentioned in later games, which is unusual considering that such a green and lush region would attract a lot attention. Point Lookout is another similarly untouched region and it is swarming with fortune seekers. The simple explanation is by the time of Fallout 3, West Virginia has become just as harsh as any other wasteland. It's canon that vault 76 inhabitants use nukes to trap the Scorchbeasts underground. Perhaps the Scorchbeasts spread much faster than vault 76 could have predicted, leading them to rely more and more on nukes to stand a chance. Eventually, the entire region is rendered completely desolate due to constant nuke use.

The leader of the Vault 87 Super Mutant will be revealed in this game
Unlike their cousins in the West Coast and the Commonwealth, Vault 87 mutants are rather dumb. It's impossible for them to be so organized in Fallout 3 without a leader. It will be revealed in this game that Vault 87 mutants used to have a visionary authority figure who taught them how to make more Mutants and how to acquire a large number of guns for use. This leader then travelled westward to West Virginia for whatever reason and was killed by Vault 76. After his death, the remaining Super Mutants under his command continued to carry out his order and passed out their knowledge to newer mutants.

The Mothman will appear.
Of all of the cryptids associated with West Virginia, the Mothman is one of the most well-known outside of the state. With Point Pleasant being included in the game's setting, to not include the Mothman would be wasteful.
  • Given that one of the monsters seen in the trailer was a silhouette with moth antenna and glowing eyes it's a definite possibility.

West Virginia is civilized, but isolationist, as of 2277.
Perhaps by the time of Fallout 3 the survivors of Vault 76 and their descendants have built something civilized in the Appalachians. Unlike the NCR, however, they didn’t expand, at least not east or north. Why not? West Virginia/Appalachia is verdant and relatively healthy. The DC Metro area and Maryland/Virginia Tidewater are barren, irradiated hellscapes. As for Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh was better off in Land of the Dead than it is in The Pitt. After re-civilizing West Virginia, the 76ers took one look at those areas and said, "Oh, fuck this!" Nobody talks about West Virginia because the 76ers want nothing to do with the Capital Wasteland, and actively avoid any contact with it. Whether they had any better luck looking west into Kentucky or Tennessee is a good question.

Fallout 76 is a soft reboot
Bethesda's gotten a lot of flack about the various inconsistencies in the lore with Fallout 4 and even 3 over the years. A lot. So Fallout 76, being the earliest set game might be them taking a chance to give a bit of a soft reboot to the franchise prior to Fallout 5.

Beyond the meta, there are other reasons that seem to imply a retcon, namely the colored televisions and displays we see in the trailers, along with the overall drastically different feel of things. (admittedly, the latter might just be a side effect of the genre shift)

Scorchbeasts make their lairs in Vaults
Presumably there would be other Vaults in the West Virginia area. If they aren't control vaults they might not be open yet, but that just means the players could stumble across the still-sealed vaults. If there really won't be any human NPCs, maybe the reason for that is that the Scorchbeasts view them as prime habitats. If they can tear their way into the Vaults, perhaps the various Vault locations will be the places you're supposed to nuke. It could also explain why you can't build a town around 76, since the tutorial could consist of a Scorchbeast turning the area into its new lair while you run for your life.

Fallout 5 will be the final main series game
Since they're already doing 7 & 6 in one!

The PC's will inadvertantly create the Capitol Wasteland
Fallout 3's main plot revolved around the Vault Dweller's discovery of his father's project to create a device that would cleanse the polluted, radioactive waters of the Potomac. Even though the Capitol Wasteland was created by DC getting nuked to hell during the war, the waters of the Northern Potomac begin in Fairfax Stone State Park in West Virgina, which is well outside the Wasteland and theoretically clean. But if ridding Fallout 76's Scorchbeasts involves nuking their underground lairs, as has been implied, then that might be enough to permanently poison the water table where the Potomac emerges, irradiating everyone who drinks from it downriver. Cue a mass My God, What Have I Done? by the players, as Ron Perlman's ending narration informs them of the consequences of their actions.
  • Jossed. Water in the area is radioactive already when you leave the vault.

The Scorch was caused by whatever was on that fallen space station.
Recently found notes in the game note the presence of the Brotherhood of Steel force sent to Appalachia had warned members of the Responders that 'Defiance Has Fallen'. It's entirely possible this was in reference to the Space Station-like structure seen in the trailers, which very much could have been housing a sort of mutagenic bioweapon akin to FEV that in turn survived the space-station's crash into the planet and spread underground to infect the bats down there which turned into the Scorchbeasts which proceeded to then infect the ghouls and humans topside. The apparent Hivemind the creatures seem to share is from the weapon itself, having grown some semblance of sentience as it's been allowed to grow and mutate underground.

This entire game IS a Vault-Tec experiment occurring in real time
The experiment is to let loose a bunch of disparate probably egotistical and maybe slightly misanthropic people into the wastes, give them nukes and see what happens. Will this group actually come together, cooperate and build a civilized community? Or will they grief each other till everyone is obliterated?

The residents of vault 76 end up forming the backbone of The Enclave seen in fallout 3

Due to the purity of the vault dwellers and the nature of their selection process the enclave would desire to bolster their ranks with vault 76 stock. So the enclave show up, court them with trade and help them with the scorched. The enclave would be the first living people outside of the vault they would encounter so it'd be easy for the enclave to swoop in and help with the intention of getting new recruits. The residents of vault 76 are interested in restoring america and so are the enclave so the goals also align.

  • Vault 76's residents regularly enter the Wasteland, so after a few generations they will be no genetically purer than the average Wastelander. Even if they are somehow still pure, there is no guarantee that the Enclave won't just turn everyone into lab rats as they did with vault 13.

Why the Vault 76 Residents enjoy the sight of nukes, unlike other Fallout games' protagonists

They are from the Old World, which was, for all intents and purposes, a hellhole based upon ultraauthoritan patriotism. They don't see nukes as horrifying deathbombs - they see them as tools of America to wipe out their enemies. Of course they would be in awe with such a power, they could wipe out the Chicoms and the Bullykovs of the world!

     Sequels 

Fallout Brotherhood of Steel 78

This game takes place 6 months after the bombs dropped, in the year 2078. You were previously a private assigned to Roger Maxson’s company but now find yourself dubbed an “Initiate” and being forced to wear a new uniform and address your NCO as “Knight” and your officers as “Paladin”. And they refuse to let you train to use power armor. But they now give you combat armor, some weapons, dollar bills, meds and chems and send you out to scout the nearby town of Brentwood.

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