While it was still highly-regarded by many, Fallout 4 brought about a multitude of concerns for the future of the franchise and its developer, Bethesda.
When Bethesda unveiled Fallout 76 just before E3 2018, those concerns only amplified. Despite this, its official reveal at E3 was an undeniable success. Todd Howard went on stage and delivered bold statements about how great Fallout 76 would be and how much effort was put into making it.
Well, Fallout 76 wasn’t great and now, Bethesda is under fire from the gaming community.
Let’s fast-forward to now to get a quick rundown on how everything turned out for Bethesda:
- Fallout 76, as it stands right now, has an abysmal score on Metacritic.
- It’s been trashed by countless YouTubers and critics (See videos from YouTubers Angry Joe and LegacyKillaHD for examples).
- It’s $200 Special Edition became an issue due to “bag-gate”. This controversy was due to Bethesda swapping out a duffel bag’s material to a cheaper material without telling their customers beforehand.
- The apology Bethesda gave out for the game’s status at launch didn’t sit well with customers and the developer has demonstrated worse communication issues than characters in a day-time soap opera.
- A recent data breach from Bethesda has leaked many gamers’ personal information, possibly including phone numbers, credit card numbers, addresses, complaints about the game, etc. (this happened when players tried to submit tickets in order to get a replacement duffel bag for the Special Edition)
I’m sure you’ve heard or read many of the things you’re about to see below. Which, in my opinion, will only help prove my point.
Bethesda used to be one of my favorite developers. I’ve probably spent hundreds of hours in the Capital Wasteland with Fallout 3. Elder Scrolls: Skyrim totally destroyed my social life in high school by accomplishing the same thing.
But, in my opinion, this is not the same company it was a few years ago. In 2015, Bethesda released Fallout 4. Look, Fallout 4 is NOT a bad game. There was just something…off about it. I never could put my finger on it until now.
Everything Bethesda consistently uses as parts of their games’ foundation feels outdated. No, I’m not just talking about the graphics or the entire game engine (Kotaku’s Jason Schreier has an excellent piece about the difference between a game engine and graphics, animations, etc.). Why is it outdated you ask? Because it’s been fundamentally the same since 2008 with Fallout 3. Actually, to some, it’s been the same since Oblivion.
We have the same fighting mechanics that feel clunky, the same ugly visuals, the same dialogue systems, the same fetch missions, etc. in every Bethesda RPG since that time. In the past, all of these problems were excused due to expert storytelling, immersive worlds, and the fun RPG elements of their games.
Yes, they make tweaks to their formula here and there but at this point, it’s like putting a band-aid on a crack of a dam that’s about to burst. It’s not going to end well for you and I would question your problem-solving skills.
Look at God of War. This franchise rebooted itself almost entirely and now, it’s in the running for Game of the Year. I’m not saying Bethesda needs to completely scrap it all and reboot, I’m just saying they need to re-evaluate what changes they make to each of their games.
To the people who like Fallout 76, I am sincerely happy for you. I don’t like the phrase people have been throwing around “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. I don’t know, it seems a bit disingenuous to those who have found amusement in Fallout 76 and that’s not cool. It is okay if you like this game.
For me, Fallout 76 is just the final straw. The jump the shark moment. The Assassin’s Creed: Unity of a franchise that I hold dear. That’s actually a valid comparison in a sense. Unity was trashed across the board to the point where Ubisoft pulled the franchise to find out how to move on and evolve.
Other than slightly improved graphics and animations, I don’t see how Bethesda is adapting to today’s standards.
So the foundation of Bethesda RPGs is outdated. We’ve covered that. Now, let’s move on to Bethesda themselves.
I’m no expert on how these companies operate and I won’t pretend to be. I, just like you, am just a gamer who loves this industry. But from my perspective as someone who is watching all of this craziness unfold, Bethesda’s changed.
They are no longer the customer-first oriented, “Hey, these guys are just like us” developers. Ever since these Skyrim re-releases started popping up and Fallout 4’s release, they’ve come off as a greedy company.
We give EA so much hatred for Star Wars: Battlefront 2, FIFA, Madden, and most recently, Battlefield V. Why have we turned a blind eye to Bethesda for having the same money-first, customer service later practices?
As compensation for those upset with the Fallout 76 duffel bag, Bethesda gave out 500 Atoms to players. These Atomic Atoms are the in-game currency for Fallout 76 valued at $5. That alone still looks bad because that’s not an equal amount of compensation for players who feel like they were cheated with false advertisements. It only gets worse when you realize just how expensive everything in Fallout 76 is.
i made this comparason day 1 of launch that picture on the left was still on the website at the time pic.twitter.com/tRnnOSIFNY
— MrFive2Five (@MrFive2Five) November 21, 2018
For anyone hoping that @Bethesda was going to do something about the "canvas" bag that came with the @Fallout 76 Power Armor edition. Bad news. @BethesdaSupport @BethesdaStudios #notcanvas #falseadvertising pic.twitter.com/YylasB9Ojp
— krcm0209 (@krcm0209) November 21, 2018
Unfortunately, due to unavailability of materials, we had to switch to a nylon carrying case in the Fallout 76: Power Armor Edition. We hope this doesn’t prevent anyone from enjoying what we feel is one of our best collector’s editions.
— Fallout (@Fallout) November 28, 2018
The recent data-breach…I don’t even know what to say here. I’m speechless. Which, is the worst thing to be when you’re writing. I’ll just say this. It’s highly unlikely that this can get any worse for Bethesda.
For those of you that have ever read any of my opinion pieces before (if you haven’t, feel free to check out “Are Battle Royales Doomed to Fail” and “Why I’m Excited for Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker”), you know that I’m usually not this negative. I try to find positives in the sea of harsh criticism and end it all on a hopeful note. I’m not sure I can do this here.
I believe that gamers are justified in this backlash against Bethesda right now. Not to the point to where you should ever trash a GameStop (see Tweet below), but this is simply unacceptable for a AAA developer that knows better.
Some people really don't want their copy of Fallout 76 pic.twitter.com/a0yQBA3UYT
— Geoff (HolMat//MAGfest) (@GeoffTheAnime) November 19, 2018
I don’t see much hope in Bethesda right now. Not until the company proves to me that they are willing to change to 2018 standards. We had masterpiece level games like God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and Red Dead Redemption 2 release this year. Anytime Bethesda used to release a title, I would expect them to be right up there in that category. Instead, I think it’s a strong possibility that they would be awarded “Worst AAA Game of the Year” if given the chance.
What are your thoughts on Fallout 76? Should Bethesda be receiving the backlash its gotten so far? Let us know in the comments below!