Bethesda's online RPG Fallout 76 hasn't even been available for two full weeks yet, but given how much there has been to talk about, it's felt like a lot longer. That is unless, of course, you are one of the players who decided to hop into the online Fallout universe, one that is plagued with more bugs than you can shake a rifle at.
As a quick recap, the game launched with a massive patch weighing in at 56GB. Days earlier, Bethesda penned a letter on its website to warn fans that the game would be buggy. This move was likely unsurprising to everyone who read it, as a buggy launch has become standard fare for Bethesda. Fallout 76 takes the number of issues to the next level and many fans are feeling ripped-off.
Suffice to say, many players are rightfully upset, and are naturally eager to seek out refunds. We wrote last week that one player was told a refund would be processed, but there has been major back-peddling on that decision apparently. Ultimately, Bethesda is not offering refunds to those who've already downloaded the game. If you purchased it, but never loaded it up (which seems pretty unlikely), it seems like you'd actually get your refund. In one case, a redditor said that Bethesda was initially receptive to a refund, writing:
However, things quickly changed with a follow up response:
Thank you for contacting the Bethesda Customer Support Team.
Unfortunately, we do not have the ability to begin processing that refund for you right at this moment. There is nothing to worry about though. We'll begin processing the refund as soon as we can and we'll reach back out to you via email to let you know once we've started that process.
Thank you for your continued interest and support!
Bethesda Customer Support
Greetings, Thank you for contacting the Bethesda Support Team. Customers who have downloaded the game are not eligible for a refund. We apologize for the inconvenience. If there is anything else we can assist you with please reply to this email for further assistance. Thank you for your patience. Kind Regards, Bethesda Support
Needless to say, the redditor was not amused by Bethesda's second response.
There are many issues here, but the biggest one is the fact that no one should have to deal with the cost of a game when they never anticipated it to be this buggy. Early access games have become far too common, but Fallout 76 appears to be a very early access title. Gamers can expect some bugs, but bugs that prevent them from wanting to play the game at all should be reason enough for a refund.
This is turning into a massive misstep on Bethesda's part. Its fans have become all too familiar with game-breaking bugs, but there's no reason the situation should actually get worse with each new title.
Who angered its fans more this year; Bethesda with Fallout 76, or Blizzard with its much maligned mobile Diablo?
Updated 11/27/2018, 9:00 AM
While Bethesda clearly went back on its previous assertion that it would refund this one specific customer, the company's return policy (viewable here) indicates that it does not provide refunds once a game has been used.
Update 11/27/2018, 11:03 AM
Though there is no legal action currently, reportedly a law firm is investigating issues with Fallout 76 and Bethesda's return policy.