Almost Hellish, Glitched Virginia
Sometimes I like to think (when I’m not dropping bitter bombs at least) that companies have still some care about what they are selling to customers. But then, I see Fallout 76 and I remember why this industry is crumbling into pieces. Hype, fake promises and that lovely extra ingredient called “releasing half-baked products at full price” are some of the things that the latest entry of the Fallout franchise had to deal with. Scores were lower than my pants when I play Symphony of the Night and there has been outrage followed by, guess what… more outrage. Yet despite the huge letdown, fans keep trying to deny the facts about the game and say that this game is worth playing it. Why? Well, in this article I’ll try to figure out what the hell is wrong with people, and why this is something that doesn’t happen in any other media. Don’t worry though, I won’t explain things with fancy words in order to feel superior. And with this small easter egg, let us begin.
Bethesda never changes
Think for a second what made Bethesda the company they are right now. What happens with Bethesda titles is something that I like to call the “Was this so bad? moment” once you replay their titles. Let’s take a look at their most famous IPs: Fallout and Elder Scrolls.
The Elder Scrolls started as a MS-DOS title and had some pretty great reviews at the time. But I like to think that the point when everything started to collapse was on Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. You see, Oblivion is one of those titles that when you think about it you have some great memories, but when you play it again you have the already mentioned “Was this so bad? moment”; the menus were a visual hell, the combat was awful and the overall interactions with the NPCs were a little bit dull (I know I’m not that bright but it’s 2018 and I still can’t understand how the Disposition mini-game works).
Despite this, Oblivion was loved by many, but then Skyrim came and so the rest of the Elder Scrolls fandom did. However, Skyrim was not the Elder Scrolls that people wanted, as some quest were duller on Scrolls V. Regardless of that, both titles shared something: the glitches.
The best example of why Bethesda is known as the company that makes bugs with games inside is the Fallout series. Since the third title, Fallout is notorious for the number of glitches that you can find. From NPCs clipping against a wall to glitches, data corruption, and quests stuck on an eternal dialogue; these games were loved mostly for the nuclear wasteland setting and the interesting stories happening around this radioactive version of America. But I think it’s time to explain when does the “was this so bad? moment” appears, and the time is now.
If you play one of the Fallout games, for instance, Fallout 3, you’ll notice several negative facts regarding this title (mind you that I’ve said facts, not objective negative opinions) such as the lack of vehicles, the constant need to use VATS in order to hit something, the issue of having to deal with an ending so awful that Bethesda made people pay for a DLC that fixed it and the constant glitches that can cripple the experience and the immersion. But again, despite these problems, people can defend the game if they talk about the plot and the interactions and quests we are given. And I think that you know where I’m going with this, so I’ll go straight to the point:
What the f*ck does people have with Fallout 76 that makes them defend it so much?
Fans: the human shields of the industry
When I see Fallout 76, all I can see is a game that was released for $60 that felt like an early access mod for Fallout 4. You don’t have NPCs on this game, nor interactions or meaningful quests. You don’t even care about killing enemies because they drop crap all the time for f*ck’s sake! And then, you hear what every single soul on the Internet say regarding MMOs:
Really. That’s their excuse: you can have a good time if you play it with friends. No f*cking way. This is the equivalent of someone having to push broken cars for 600km and then telling you “oh it was horrible, but at least I had a friend to push the car with me!” and, spoiler alert, that doesn’t make the task less boring and tedious. Everything is better with friends on your side, but if something is a pain in the ass, it’s a pain in the ass no matter what. Period.
Then you have the people that like the game just because it’s another Fallout. This works on any other type of game, as people love defending games and those who created them as if they are gods or something. And don’t get me wrong; games are a great way to show and create new experiences in ways that any other media cannot achieve, but these are still products that you buy. Would you really keep a broken toaster that explodes occasionally just because you like the guy who made it? No? Then why would you defend something that doesn’t work?!
The only thing you are doing by defending someone who screwed things up really bad is giving them the chance to keep doing the same crap over and over just because “they always listen to fan feedback”. We all know that’s sh*t the size of Babe the Blue Ox, companies only listen to lower sales and those who lick their boots. And no, just because you want to have a certain thing that you loved in a past title back in the next game, that doesn’t mean jack if that mechanic means having fewer people buying that game. Do you want to know the best example of this? Take Hitman 2.
Hitman 2 is a game that got rid of plenty of stuff from Blood Money that people LOVED, in order to make the game more accessible to newcomers, but keeping certain things present from older Hitman games in order to have the fans hooked and hyped. Same thing happens with Fallout 4 (and with Fallout 76, as they share the same mechanics and engine): it’s a game that wants to sell copies to everyone, so they get rid of the more complex mechanics present in previous titles in order to make the game easier to play to people new to the franchise.
The funniest thing of all this is that Bethesda showed long ago that they don’t care about their fans, and people are starting to notice it now. But if you think that fans cannot be blamed for that, you are wrong. Hype did this. Bethesda did this. People who bought a $200 Collector’s Edition of a game just because it had a cool helmet did this. Every single time you pre-order a game fueled only by hype and promises, you are just making all these problems come back again and again. Stop thinking video game companies owe you something because you’ve been buying all their games and merchandising, you are just telling them with those actions that you are a cow and you want them to milk you until you are dry.
Listen, if you enjoy something about a game, feel free to share it with people. There’s no accounting for taste as they say, but despite this, DO NOT DEFEND SOMETHING TO DEATH. It’s not worth the effort, believe me, and it makes you look dumb when the thing you are defending doesn’t even work at all. Always share your opinions, but never try to fight against facts. Otherwise, you’ll start saying that the Earth is flat…