If you thought the controversy surrounding Fallout 76 ended in the game itself, you're in for a surprise. Bethesda is now in trouble with fans for a promising canvas duffel bag in its $ 200 (£ 156) Power Armor Edition of the game – and instead of delivering a cheap nylon replacement.
Now, in an attempt to placate fans, Bethesda has apologized and promised to give affected customers $ 500 Atom (Fallout 76's in-game currency) as compensation.
The foundations for bag-gate began last week when the recipient of the Power Armor Edition noticed something was amiss in their deluxe package. Customers began to post comparisons of the promotional material for the edition and what was actually delivered, and claimed that Bethesda had changed the bag's description on the site after they began to submit complaints. Sure enough, the official Bethesda Store now says that the bag is made of nylon, but the image still reads "canvas," as does the Amazon listing for the product.
I made this comparaz day 1 of the release that the picture on the left was still on the website at the time pic.twitter.com/tRnnOSIFNY
– MrFive2Five (@ MrFive2Five) November 21, 2018
Already enraged by what some described as Bethesda's attempt to cover their tracks, affected customers posted several screenshots of customer service responses, one of which was an unbelievably curt reply telling the customer: "The media shown in the bag was a prototype and was too expensive to make. We are not planning to do anything about it. . "
For anyone hoping that @Bethesda It was going to do something about the "canvas" bag that came with the @Fallout 76 Power Armor Edition. Bad news @BethesdaSupport @BethesdaStudios #not canvas #falseadvertising pic.twitter.com/YylasB9Ojp
– krcm0209 (@ krcm0209) November 21, 2018
Response I got … so in the many months leading up to packing and shipping our editions they couldnâ € ™ t let people know not happy @DCDeacon @Bethesda_ANZ @Fallout @bethesda pic.twitter.com/C8p5oIgV7Q
– Aidan Aka – The Geeky Quilter (@LanternCupcake) November 22, 2018
Bethesda has since confirmed this email is real, but insists the response was "incorrect". The company switched to a nylon carrying case "due to the unavailability of materials," Bethesda said. As for the customer service staff member behind the curt response above, Bethesda said they are "temporary contract worker and not directly employed by Bethesda or Bethesda Game Studios."
Unfortunately, due to the unavailability of materials, we had to switch to a nylon carrying case in the Fallout 76: Power Armor Edition. We hope this doesnâ € ™ t prevent anyone from enjoying what we feel is one of our best collectorâ € ™ s editions.
– Fallout (@Fallout) November 28, 2018
In an attempt to resolve the situation, Bethesda is now offering affected customers 500 Atoms as compensation, and has set up a support page for those who bought Power Armour Edition. In real-world money, a pack of 500 Atoms can be bought for £ 3.99 – but as many have highlighted on social media, this (ironically) is not enough to buy the in-game version of the outfit that comes with the canvas bag, which costs 700 atom. Whether you get a cloth or plastic when you scrap it is still unconfirmed.
We understand and respect that there is disappointment with the bag in Power Armor Edition. We are sorry Please contact Bethesda Support to provide proof of your CE purchase. They will assist in granting your account to Atom 500.
Please visit: https://t.co/TJBMjYaph0
– Fallout (@Fallout) November 29, 2018
Ironically, 500 Atoms will not even buy you the Fallout 76 postman skin that actually has a canvas bag (it costs 700) pic.twitter.com/UCN3kXYDmn
– Chris Livingston (@screencuisine) November 29, 2018
Although Bethesda has finally come clean, it's still unclear whether this gesture will be enough for calm fans who dropped several hundred dollars on what it was supposed to be a deluxe version of the game. Speaking to LanternCupcake – one of the customers who posted a support message screenshot – it sounds like this will not be the case.
"I was pretty disappointed after paying close to $ 300 AUD to get such a shitty quality item, then knowing that they would have known about the change for a few months," he told me. "I think they should deliver on what they promised – canvas bag. I do not want compensation or anything like that, I just want what I bought."
Online, the reaction to Bethesda's actions remains overwhelmingly negative. As Reddit user SenorBeef highlights, giving away virtual currency does not have direct costs for Bethesda. "Why not give people $ 50 or even $ 100 worth? $ 5 of a real refund would feel insulting, let alone $ 5 in virtual currency," they added.
It seems like the only thing Bethesda has bagged themselves is further PR woes. Judging by the reaction so far, the bag-gate may be rumble for some time to come.