The Vault will be expanded upon as part of the Daily Ops feature, in the Locked and Loaded update. It was previously slated to be a Vault raid similar to Vault 94, though this plan was scrapped in favor of Daily Ops.
Constructed around 2074, and completed in August 2077, Vault 96 advertised itself as "An Ark for the Atomic Age." Vault 96 was one of the world's largest cryogenic storage facilities, with approximately ten thousand animals preserved within it. Vault 96's public mission was to monitor post-War surface conditions, the damage caused genetically to local fauna, and reintroduce species to restore ecological balance. Once the Vault was sealed, the mission received an addendum to the residents, revealing that their true mission was far more complex, requiring the conducting of genetic experiments to explore mutated fauna and to develop countermeasures for them. The results of these studies were then to be transmitted to external facilities. The quotas were weekly, made up by the mainframe, and assigned to the Overseer to distribute to the residents. The Overseer would track progress and ensure results in addition to assigning quotas. The total duration of the Vault was supposed to be 250 weeks at least, after which all the residents were to be exterminated, and only the Overseer permitted to leave. As one final part of the Vault's construction, a secret cryogenics bay, Cryogenics Bay 86, was installed. Containing a mysterious entity known only as "X-001," the bay was only to ever be accessed by the automated research systems.
The Vault was made up of only five human residents: Erik DeMarcos, Jeanette Higgins, Hans Memling, Nina Valaya, and Molly Cooper. Each were highly gifted individuals, and incredibly specialized for their role in the Vault, most coming from high-ranking executive positions and prestigious teaching careers. Upon closure of the Vault, during their first weekly meeting session, the other residents expressed extreme discomfort and resentment towards Erik, due to the unethical research and apparent threat of elimination should any of the residents not comply with Erik's demands and quotas. Although the residents eventually settled into their new positions, it became clear quite quickly that the only necessary individuals were the biologists, with the other positions simply acting as a glorified support team.
Beginning with a mere 4 credits per week, the biology staff maintained credit gain by forcing various experiments and experimental mutations upon creatures and having them fight one another, documenting which mutations were stronger. Over the course of the next 3 years, the staff maintained their assigned duties, with the biology team documenting various mutations induced on the creatures housed within the Vault, beginning with simple natural processes such as electrogenesis, venom, regeneration. By week 100, these mutations had gone into evolving chameleonization, pyrokinesis, and cryokinesis. During week 142, a mysterious new mutation was stumbled upon when the biologists inserted Specimen X-001's DNA into a petri dish, which spread to every other dish, mimicking the ability perfectly. Nina attempted to study the mutation with the subject it originated from but did not have access to the mysterious and undocumented Bay 86. Shifting allowed creatures to teleport when stressed, but could lead to disastrous results, such as the subject phasing into another subject, fusing them together.
By week 148, due to the lack of access to Specimen X-001, and the lack of ability to improve or stabilize the mutation, Nina was unable to meet the quota of 568 credits. After disabling the mainframe's monitoring system in the Overseer's office, Erik made a revelation: for more than two years, he had quietly been working on an escape plan. Unbeknownst to the rest of the team, Erik had been just as much a prisoner of the mainframe as everyone else. He had finalized development of SERAPH, a prototype computer virus originally meant for the DIA. SERAPH was capable of taking over and defeating even the powerful mainframe intelligence. The plan was to use the virus on the mainframe, shutting it down, and escaping the day before quotas were due. However, while most events went well on the day of escape, the mainframe activated Superceding Protocol Omega, which killed all the residents of the Vault, and sealed it once more. However, the virus was uploaded and began infecting the mainframe and its systems. In addition, the animals began to escape, prompting the Vault to begin activating the Emergency Management System to call for assistance.
The Vault's exterior consists of a raised platform featuring a helipad, which is accessible from the ground using a staircase. A blue freight elevator adjacent to the staircase is inoperable, and the carriage has stalled between ground level and the platform. Four derelict vehicles are scattered around the area beneath the platform. Atop the platform lie various construction materials and pieces of machinery, along with a small booth containing only a pair of black-rim glasses and some junk items. There is no means of communicating with the Vault's residents or opening it from the outside.
- Erik DeMarcos - Overseer, chief software developer
- Jeanette Higgins - Chief robotics technician
- Hans Memling - Chief engineer
- Nina Valaya - Chief researcher
- Molly Cooper - Chief biologist
- Vault 96 biology log 280
- Vault 96 community meeting
- Vault 96 genetics logs
- Vault 96 mainframe lab recording
- Vault 96 orientation session
In the live version of the game, it is not currently possible to open the Vault 96 door or officially access its interior without using glitches. It was slated to be opened alongside Vault 94 and Vault 63 in the summer of 2019 as part of the Vault raids feature. After Vault raids were discontinued, Vaults 94 and 96 were repurposed as locations for Daily Ops, with Vault 94 being released as part of One Wasteland For All, while Vault 96 will release as part of Locked and Loaded.
Vault 96 appears only in Fallout 76.
Behind the scenes
Although Vault 96 has existed in the game since release, it will not be accessible until the release of Locked and Loaded on April 27, 2021, when it will be added as a Daily Ops location. There is a significant amount of cut content for the Vault, as it has gone through several iterations in changes only visible in the game's files. A separate page covering Vault 96's cut content can be found here.
- QuakeCon at Home 2020 (NL): Interview with Jeff Gardiner and Mark Tucker (reference starts at 0:33:10)
- Vault 96 terminal entries; mainframe access terminal, System Specifications
- Vault 96 terminal entries; overseer's terminal, Vault 96 Protocol
- Vault 96 terminal entries; overseer's terminal, Vault 96 Protocol Addendum
- Vault 96 terminal entries; overseer's terminal, VAULT 96 OVERSEER INSTRUCTIONS
- Vault 96 terminal entries; overseer's terminal, CRYOGENICS BAY 86
- Vault 96 community meeting
- Vault 96 terminal entries; robotics workstation, Personal Log - 12/2/77
- Vault 96 terminal entries; biology workstation, Personal Log - 10/25/77
- Vault 96 genetics log #100
- Vault 96 genetics log #142
- Vault 96 terminal entries; biology workstation, V04-001-0191
- Vault 96 genetics log #143
- Vault 96 orientation session
- Fallout 76 - 100 Days, Roadmap for 2019