Fallout 76 is finally going to let us play as ghouls: 'It'll be a different play style, which we're really excited to see'

 Embargo content - ghoul with sunglasses holding a baseball bat.
Embargo content - ghoul with sunglasses holding a baseball bat.

The prospect of playing as a ghoul has tempted players ever since we first set eyes on these decrepit, noseless creatures in the first Fallout. The series has had plenty of fantastic ghouls like Dean Domino and Raul Tejada in Fallout: New Vegas, John Hancok in Fallout 4, and the introduction of Chinese Remnant Spies in Fallout 3, who are ancient intelligence operatives that were marooned in the US when the bombs dropped.

They've made for great antagonists and companions, but playing as one has always only been possible with mods. Until now, because the online series spinoff Fallout 76 is finally letting players become ghouls.

Bethesda announced the intended changes during the Xbox showcase, but we got to see a sneak peek a bit earlier and discuss the change with Bethesda producer Bill LaCoste. The need-to-know basics are that you'll be able to change to a ghoul at level 50 which'll give you unique benefits like resistance to radiation and other ghoul-based perk cards.

But there will also be some downsides to picking ghoul. Factions that don't take kindly to ghouls, like the Brotherhood of Steel, won't want to work with you. This will even impact the end of the main quest, which sees you fight the scorchbeasts alongside knights of the Brotherhood. You can also probably say goodbye to all the vendors affiliated with the Brotherhood in Watoga Shopping Plaza and The Whitespring Resort.

"[Ghouls] also won't be able to play bloodied builds, which are pretty key loadouts for Fallout 76," LaCoste says. "So we're going to be able to see what players get into and what kind of builds they make. So it'll be a different play style, which we're really excited to see."

The popular "bloodied" build style revolves around intentionally taking radiation damage to keep your health low to maximise the effects of certain armour and perk cards that let you do more damage the lower your health is. But ghouls won't be able to pull this trick since they don't take radiation damage.

Fallout TV show - The Ghoul
Fallout TV show - The Ghoul

Now, fans of the TV show and everyone thirsting over The Ghoul can cosplay as their favourite character, but it turns out that the developers had this idea brewing way before we got to see Fallout on TV.

"Funnily enough, the idea to play as a ghoul was in development before Cooper became very popular," LaCoste says. "It was already something we were kind of looking towards. We knew the show was going to have [a ghoul], but once it kind of exploded amongst the fans, we just thought that was awesome."

It's a well-timed coincidence, but LaCoste clarifies that Fallout 76 doesn't have any big plans to work with future seasons of the TV show. "The games exist in their own little areas of the country," LaCoste says. "Fallout 76 will continue to be in the northeast/Appalachian region and the TV show is expanding into Vegas now. So I think those will be separate adventures, I don't think we have many intentions to have a lot of crossover with it."

Fallout 76 and the Fallout TV show are also separated by hundreds of years, so collabs would have presented some sticky lore issues anyhow. Honestly, the ability to finally play as a ghoul outweighs any other hopes for new crossover events, I can't wait to see what my character will look like after their nose is chopped off and the genetic mutations kick in, they'll get a real glow up (or down depending on how you look at it).