Could Fallout 76 Herald the Return of The Enclave?

The Enclave was once one of the Fallout universe’s biggest enemy factions. Formed from remnants of the United States government, the Enclave were the primary antagonists of Fallout 3, and had featured in previous games. The events of Fallout 3 seemed to have brought down the faction; by the time of Fallout 4, they certainly seemed to have been destroyed. However, with Fallout 76 heading back over a hundred years, the Enclave may well return stronger than ever.

Who Were the Enclave?

The Enclave was formed by various remnants of the American government and army prior to the Great War. The faction engineered its own survival after the nuclear devastation. In 2073, as various world powers scrambled for resources, the Enclave had seized control of the last known supply of crude oil at the Poseidon Oil Rig in the Pacific Ocean. This rig would become their headquarters after the Great War in 2077.

The Enclave Were Behind Vault-Tec's Experimentations

The Enclave were the faction secretly behind Vault-Tec’s experiments on vault dwellers; they oversaw this program remotely from their base at the Poseidon Oil Rig. After decades in isolation, they eventually returned to America with advanced technology and elite military forces. Eventually, the faction was undone during the events of Fallout 3 in 2277. Although the Lone Wanderer may have completed their goal of purifying the water of the Capital Wasteland, the Enclave were likely unable to control access to the water, preventing them from gaining a stranglehold on the region.

The Brotherhood of Steel has seemingly expanded significantly by the time of Fallout 4. As a result, it’s generally assumed that the Enclave has all but collapsed; the war between the two factions is assumed to have ended in victory for the Brotherhood. Grand Zealot Brian Richter, who appeared in the game’s Far Harbor DLC, was formerly an Enclave lieutenant before joining the Church of Atom. At one point, Richter states that while the Enclave were once “a force to be reckoned with”, they aren’t anymore.

Where Were the Enclave in 2102?

The Enclave did not return to America in force until decades after 2102, as far as the current canon stands. Of course, it’s certainly possible that they made occasional expeditions for supplies or for scouting and so on. However, it’s known that throughout their period of isolation on the Poseidon Oil Rig, the Enclave remotely controlled many of the Vault facilities. As one of the control vaults, Vault 76 would have been under Enclave observation, and quite possibly their secret control.

The Enclave Didn't Return in Force Until Decades After the Great War

It’s unknown if the Enclave might appear in Fallout 76. However, with the possible loss of Super Mutants as a faction in the game, Bethesda may have decided to bring back another of the setting’s iconic factions. The Enclave certainly could manipulate the inhabitants of Vault 76. They could even send strike or scouting forces from their oil rig headquarters out in the Pacific…