A Fallout 76 bug is currently preventing players from launching the nuclear weapons the game is known for. While it’d be nice to see a bug that prevents total nuclear annihilation become a feature in real life, if players can’t launch nukes in Fallout 76 they can’t initiate high level ("endgame") content. If high level players can’t play that content, there’s no reason for them to log in to Fallout 76 unless they want to reroll a new character. It’s like if World of Warcraft players woke up one morning and suddenly couldn’t join raids.
Launching nukes is the whole point of Fallout 76, a feature that stands in stark contrasts to the franchise’s anti-nuclear war roots. To launch the face-melting ICBMs, players collect code pieces they decrypt and input into a launch terminal in a silo. It’s supposed to be a hard process, but players quickly streamlined it and the nuclear codes are typically public information hours after they reset every Monday at 4PM Pacific.
This Monday, which happened to be New Year’s Eve, the codes didn’t reset. Players logged into the game after 4PM to start hunting for codes and discovered several odd issues. Deep in the nuclear silos of the West Virginia Wasteland, players use code pieces to decrypt an alphanumeric string and launch nukes.
There’s a board in the silo that displays hints during the week and tells players if the code is “complete” or “in progress.” Right now, the board’s hints just show a pound sign and the tracker read as both complete and in progress. The computer that delivers hints doesn’t work and holtapes that deliver clues to code locations claimed that the system was temporarily unavailable and would open back up in “9999 hours.” One of the three nuclear silos where players go to launch nukes is completely inaccessible. The hand scanner that players press to open the door plays an animation but never unlocks.
Players speculated that the buggy nukes might be part of a disarmament or anti-nuclear war event. But no, it’s just a bug. “We’re aware of and actively investigating an issue with Nuke silo access,” Bethesda said in a Tweet on January 1. “Thank you for your patience while we look into this issue.”
Fallout 76 players are free to explore without the persistent threat of nuclear annihilation…for now.