Bethesda Needs to Stop Making Open World Games
Rumours started circulating online, in the place that all the best rumours come from 4chan, with one user claiming he knows about Bethesda’s up coming E3 announcements, and what they have on their plate. All of this user’s claims are just that, claims. He goes on to say that Bethesda is set to announce a new sci-fi open world game set in the Fallout universe. The game has apparently been in production since Fallout 3, and only entered full on production after the developers finished working on Fallout 4’s DLC packs. The last Fallout 4 DLC came out just over a year ago now, so it is plausible that the team behind it have been able to put something together in that time that is presentable at the E3 conference in a few weeks.
This got me thinking though, have Bethesda really got what it takes to pump out a game changing open world title that we have become accustomed with Bethesda titles. With recent successes of other open world games which went down a slightly different route to the Bethesda line, some may start to wonder if their tried and tested method is becoming stale and uninteresting for the gamer public.
Bethesda’s most recent titles have all been fairly linear titles.
The most recent one being Prey; which received mostly positive reviews across the board and whilst it does have open world mechanics; it’s not on the same level as Fallout and Skyrim. Last year we got Dishonored 2, which didn’t get off to the best of starts, but was elected as many people’s game of the year. The same as Prey, it had some open world elements, but was mostly a linear story that had a focused narration. Bethesda’s last full title game to come out in 2016 was DOOM, which many believe to be one of the best DOOM games in the franchise, and absolutely blew the single campaign out of the water. With these titles Bethesda have shown they know just how to pump out fun, interesting and interactive stories that people want and love to play.
So let’s look at Bethesda’s open world catalogue over the past 12-18 months. No matter what you say, Fallout 4 was a disappointment for the majority. Whilst the PC modding community has been able to save it from being a disaster, it failed to hit the mark on a number of different things. The main one being it didn’t feel like an RPG, and more like an action shooter. People did not like the dialog, the character progression wasn’t as intuitive as the other games in the series, and people just couldn’t get on with the game, from a series that had garnered a huge fan base from it’s in depth stories and intense RPG elements. OK, Fallout 4 came out late 2015, but a good chunk of it’s content came out last year, with it’s 6 DLC packs. Automatron, Wasteland Workshop, Far Harbor, Contraptions Workshop, Vault-Tech Workshop and Nuka-World. Out of the 6 of them, only two have them have actually been reviewed positively on Steam, those two being Automatron and Far Harbor.
Automatron captivated the audience by allowing them to build their own robots. It felt like a glorified mod, and Far Harbor had a story line which had many people interested, but it’s not acceptable from a big studio like Bethesda to miss on 75% of their releases for a huge release like Fallout 4. A game that already fell short of so many people’s expectations.
Late last year the gaming industry felt like it was becoming tired of the open world genre. We were skipping Assassin Creed‘s yearly release as the series was suffering from fatigue (it also had its flop of a film release too), but we also had other games such as Far Cry Primal, No Man’s Sky, Tom Clancy’s The Division and Mafia 3 all fall firmly on their face by again failing to hit expectations from their audiences. Many had brushed off open world as a genre and were wanting more linear focused titles that didn’t drop a ton of pins on your game’s mini-maps for radio towers to climb.
However, we are almost half way through 2017, and we’ve had some of the best open world games come out for a very long time. Granted many of them were not available on PC, but we’ve had the likes of Horizon Zero Dawn, The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, and say what you like about it, Mass Effect Andromeda had a great open world (despite the god awful animations), and so the open-world genre continues to be a thing. But all of these open world games that have succeeded do not follow the Bethesda model at all, in fact they are completely different and felt like overall better games because of it.
Really, Bethesda should just focus on creating these amazing, focused and story driven linear games that they have succeeded on over the past 12-18 months. We really don’t need another Fallout 4-esk open world game from them. What we would like to see is a narrative experience set in the Fallout universe that expands on the already interesting backdrop of a plot. Not another 60 mess of a mesh of minor RPG mechanics and a rooty-shooty-gun-and-run action game.
Maybe Bethesda will prove me wrong, and their announcement at E3 will blow my socks off, but right now, they need to stop making their classic open world games, and focus on what they have built in these focused story driven games.