Fallout's transformation by Bethesda - how well-known is it?

Discussion in 'General Fallout Discussion' started by ZigzagPX4, Jan 24, 2016.

When did Fallout gain traction in popular culture?

  1. Fallout was never well-known and never will be.

    0 vote(s)
  2. Fallout was pretty well-known back then, but not today.

  3. Fallout was only well-known after Bethesda took over.

  4. Both Interplay and Bethesda's Fallouts were well-known.

  1. ZigzagPX4

    ZigzagPX4 The Swiftness of the Ranger

    Nov 22, 2015
    Now, I will go off first and emphasise that I got into gaming long after the age of isometric cRPGs had come and gone, so feel free to correct me on any, and I mean any, of the points I make. Now, on with the discussion.

    Let's take up examples before we get to the root of the point. Think of renowned reviewers, such as Jim Sterling or Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw. They're outspoken against corporations like EA and Ubisoft partaking in the use of day one DLCs, pre-order exclusives, cutting out content to sell later, and other common business practices used by multiple entertainment publishers nowadays. They're also in utmost disapproval of when classic, retro games are turned into streamlined shooters and action games to act as cash cows that uses the well-known name only for its fame. Yet both of these reviewers have spoken very favourably of Bethesda's games.

    And these are just the primary examples - many forums, review sites, critics, discussions and other I've seen show people absolutely hating the modern AAA pattern of taking old games and ruining them, yet praising Bethesda every few minute or so. Yet NMA does see their true way of thinking. So how does this work? How are they so well-renowned as the best?

    Where do we see this coming from? Let's go through the possibilities. First and foremost, Bethesda Softworks is full of brilliant marketers. Their PR and advertisement skills, for a game publisher, are beyond the roof. Todd Howard as a prime example. They create a sterling image of being a "good" publisher that isn't nearly in the red as much as Konami or EA.

    Secondly, how well-known are the original Fallouts? When big-name reviewers try to criticise the lack of depth in modern RPGs, the common examples of deep RPGs are Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale and Planescape. Rarely outside RPG discussion forums do I ever see Fallout taken as an example. Not to mention that it's frequent bugs and interface issues also detracted it from being the gem of all RPGs, even at the time, I would assume. (Feel free to correct me on this.)

    Thirdly, pure luck is a factor. Deus Ex and XCOM clearly survived gaming's foray into becoming mainstream entertainment while remaining faithfully intact, yet games like Thief, Syndicate and Fallout gets torn apart and AAA-ified into a streamlined, casual, unfaithful experience. This is determined by simple chance, really. Of who gets what IP to either prep for a new generation or chop down into reskinned copies of other games.

    The most ridiculous part is that it's almost like no one in the bigger circles of the gaming community even acknowledges that Fallout 1 and 2 exists. The reviewers I mentioned earlier in my second paragraph would very likely be in utmost disapproval of Bethesda - IF they heard of how the original two was acquired. Which I assume they didn't. Since every single one of their reviews rips apart literally every company except Bethesda, for exactly what Bethesda did to Fallout when they made the third game. They're not the kind to be paid off under the table or behind with the times on incidents like this, either.

    So, basically, my point. Is it possible that old Fallout is just not famous enough for it to be caught in the spotlights so that people review Bethesda for what they truly are? Or is it just that Bethesda are really, really good at cloaking their shady practices? Is it both?

    What is it really that keeps Bethesda Softworks safe from the same form of harsh-yet-true criticism every other publisher is recieving for ruining classic series of video games? Is it that Fallout 3 was good on its own? Not by that much, especially for the time of its release. It can't be hypocrisy - if we were talking about one reviewer, maybe we can blame bribes and misinformation. But several reviewers, well-known or not across the board, is just now, in the 2010s, discovering that Fallout 1 and 2 exists.

    Just how good are Bethesda at covering lies and evident history? Will they fail eventually? Is it possible that getting more influential reviewers to try the original Fallouts will slowly change general perception of Bethesda Softworks as a company?
  2. Millim

    Millim The Big Straight Orderite

    Oct 13, 2010
    I actually never heard of Fallout before 3 (bear in mind I was 14 when it came out buy had gaming long before then).
    So it was to my surprise when I learned there was actually a Fallout game released 4 years before 3 (okay, so it was Brotherhood of Steel and I wouldn't exactly count it as a game never mind a Fallout game, but it still happened, sadly).
    And to make matters even more bizarre, my older brother had recalled playing Fallout 2 a while ago. He didn't really like it, mostly because he would have been 10 when it came out and so he would have been more into straight up shooters.
    Needless to say, I think it had a niche audience prior. I think the best thing to compare it to is The Metal Gear Series.
    The first two Metal Gears weren't exactly widely known. There was the first game which had got a very cut and dry port on the NES in America. But it wasn't until a third game was released that people start to really pick up on the series.
    If it wasn't for Metal Gear Solid (Or Fallout 3), the series wouldn't have been known to a new general audience.

    But those who have played the games prior to 3, would have remembered it and that's how we get a fanbase like NMA last for nearly two decades (or so).
  3. PossibleCabbage

    PossibleCabbage Vault 22 Survivor

    Jul 2, 2015
    This is all relative isn't it? Like in the grand scheme of things, almost no video games are well-known, but when you restrict to subcultures that changes. We're in a place as a culture where "pop culture" is more fragmented than it's ever been anyway, and this trend has no signs of slowing.

    I will say that a lot more people became aware of Fallout after Fallout 3 came out, simply because there's a lot of people who simply didn't play video games on PC and didn't care to do so. If you spent the 90s with a SNES and a Playstation, then Fallout just wasn't on your radar at all.
  4. ZigzagPX4

    ZigzagPX4 The Swiftness of the Ranger

    Nov 22, 2015
    So I guess we're talking about relevance to the majority of the gaming community here. How well-known was it compared to other games in the RPG genre at the time, and how well-known is it as a retro game even now?
  5. PossibleCabbage

    PossibleCabbage Vault 22 Survivor

    Jul 2, 2015
    Well, prior to basically the 7th generation of consoles "RPG" meant one thing on PC ("it's a licensed D&D game!") and a completely different thing on consoles ("A whiny androgynous teenager saves the world!"). With games like Oblivion and Mass Effect landing early on in Gen 7, there was a bit of a culture clash taking place in that space, and (in part because of just the overall decline of the Japanese game industry) eventually it looks like Western-style RPGs predominate.

    But if we flash back to the late 90s, you ask a lot of people about "what's the best RPG to come out recently" and a lot of people are going to think about like Final Fantasy VII, Xenogrears, or Pokemon and not even have things like Fallout, Baldur's Gate, or Planescape: Torment fall on their radar.

    Fallout has always been well known by people who like western style roleplaying games and who play games on platforms where those exist, but the number of people in that demographic has increased significantly in the last decade coinciding with (but not causally linked to) Fallout 3.
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  6. D Borous

    D Borous It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Nov 2, 2015
    I can only give my opinion in this matter, and it is my opinion that giving Fallout the mainstream treatment was a good move to bring more attention to the brand from a wider audience. Now in doing that, Fallout 3 could never have been the exact same turn-based style of the old game and be expected to be profitable, thus some aspect had to be comprimised in order for it to be as successful as it was. But now that Fallout 4 sold a bunch I'm hoping that they decide to develop smaller games, some of which might be closer in style to the original games. I know I don't want to wait another five years for a Bethesda Fallout when there's the opportunity for more games like New Vegas.
  7. cratchety ol joe

    cratchety ol joe Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Sep 2, 2008
    TL-DR - Times have changed.

    Read on...

    I think the premise of the OP question about 'how well known' things are/were is skewed by how much the entire aspect of gaming has changed.

    Back in the day when FO1 / 2 came about they were designed and released on PC, with PC gaming in mind, and PC gaming (at the time) drew definite form of audience, this audience was itself fractured into sub-groups which each appreciated their own games genres. Generally PC games were more expansive, had better depth of plot, involved extensive dialogue options or had incredible attention to details that required player interaction. Such were the advantages of having a hard-disk on which large-scope gaming data could be stored.

    At the same time, the early consoles were just evolving into their 3rd Gen 16 bit > 32 bit and 'gaming' was becoming a more commonplace thing and their market was almost entirely about 'action' or 'casual' oriented gaming, platforming or shooting games were going strong but games were still limited in scope as they had to be run from a cartridge and 'saves' made on an even more limited memory stick.

    Social gaming was just picking up with games such as Mario-kart (which still demanded players all be present where the console was) but multi-player internet gaming was only just becoming a tangible thing with many PC owners still only having 56k or even 28k modems! low-latency Broadband was in its infancy and major on-line gaming had yet to erupt. So gaming focus was more about the single player experience.

    Further to this was the fact that gaming media was only just becoming a more commonplace thing, there were little-to-no gaming magazines, nor dedicated 'channels' such as we see today on YouTube. So penetration of 'gaming' culture was minimal and the scene was quite a niché activity.

    So, Fallout 2 (in my opinion this had a greater marketing of the two early games) would have been marketed to a much smaller audience than is capable of being reached compared to today's marketing efforts, mostly the recipients were subscribers of one of the handful of PC gaming magazines, and of those that saw it they might among a handful of similar PC enthusiasts discussed the game.

    A few years pass and the economic field of 'gaming' has exploded...

    Fallout 4 received international multi-platform marketing to an audience that spans an audience of several different platforms in a world saturated with media marketing with a budget that probably dwarfed even the marketing of such titles as 'Quake' (one of the greatest early PC triumphs in regards to how 'well-known' it was IMHO)

    FO4 will have had acclaim from magazines and entire shows dedicated to it across platforms such as YouTube, not even counting the huge efforts at the many gaming-specific Expo's (which didn't even exist as a concept previously) this as well as a reinforced marketing outreach which included television, cinema spots, billboards and probably a few formats I can't even conceive.

    The world is vastly different now, gaming is accepted as a pass-time/hobby and is a part of nearly every household. It's simply unfair to state that Fallout 4 is 'better' in some way, or has improved the status of the IP because of having reached a wider audience and is vastly more well known.

    And regardless of the status of being 'well-known' Fallout 4 is a shitty game - does this mean that the title 'Fallout' becomes synonymous with being shitty? I'd rather have an unknown title that is pure-gold than a well known dung-fest.
    • [Like] [Like] x 4
  8. DVL

    DVL Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Nov 19, 2015
    I'd pick "recognized brandname amongst gamers."
    As in, a lot of people have heard of it, but never played it. If they've played it then they probably don't think of it as anything other than a typical Bethesda game that maybe has some older titles way back in the mists of time.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2016
  9. Dr Fallout

    Dr Fallout Centurion

    Aug 17, 2015
    It was well known as a unique and well done RPG back in the day, now it's known purely as an open world, so-called 'RPG'.
  10. Practicat

    Practicat Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Aug 25, 2014
    I think most fans and much of the general audience still categorize the series into two groups - the authentic Fallout games, 1, 2 and New Vegas, and the spinoffs made by Bethesda, 3 and 4. Tactics is in a separate category by itself. So there is certainly a lot of respect for the roots of the series, especially after the intense criticism toward Bethesda stripping the role playing, part of the core of the series, from the game.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  11. ZigzagPX4

    ZigzagPX4 The Swiftness of the Ranger

    Nov 22, 2015
    Criticism for popular individuals or entities is like pulling the thread of a wool sweater. You pull one, and then slowly it all unravels. Bethesda has been doing well so far despite their mutation of the Fallout series, but like with celebrities and politicians, it takes one screw-up and everyone will be clamoring for their skulls.

    Think of it like this - say Bethesda tries to implement paid mods in a very brutal, obvious and greedy way. Everyone goes wild, and Bethesda finally announces that they just don't care, EA styled. Then the floodgates open, and everyone will criticise every aspect of Bethesda - taking a once complex series and dumbing it down, ripping players off, joining the EA legion of corporate cashmongers. But until they screw up with something, tearing apart any company no matter what they've done is just making you look like a nitpicky asshole that doesn't have better things to be doing.

    Celebrities screw up once, and every journalist in town grasps for every little gossip in town they can on the celebrity, even the completely unrelated ones to their screw-up. But that's how it works, and it's just a matter of time with Bethesda, isn't it?
  12. D Borous

    D Borous It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Nov 2, 2015
    Seeing things where there things aren't there to be seen, son. Maybe Bethesda does not curry as much admiration as it did when Fallout 3 and Skyrim, and that's a good thing so that they will be pushed to do better in their future projects. But there's a line between speaking an unheard truth, and merely accentuating one negative aspect to an extreme so that it better fits your viewpoint of them as a deplorable company.
  13. ZigzagPX4

    ZigzagPX4 The Swiftness of the Ranger

    Nov 22, 2015
    Are you referring to post #11 or my original post?
  14. D Borous

    D Borous It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Nov 2, 2015
    Oh to your #11 post. I think I already responded to your original post.
  15. ZigzagPX4

    ZigzagPX4 The Swiftness of the Ranger

    Nov 22, 2015
    In which case, it's not merely accentuating one negative aspect. To boil it down, my point was that if you're a company that appears good, picking at their flaws won't hurt them. But if they screw up, all of their flaws, even the smallest, tiniest, nitpickiest of flaws, are free game for every reviewer, player and journalist whose heard of the company.

    True, it's not like we've seen them in other instances before, where a company with minor flaws but a rich history screws up and becomes uncaring - oh wait, there's Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Konami, and to a smaller-scale extent Overkill Software, and a few hundred more that probably did it before I was born. It's just that I'm the optimistic kind that likes to think that Bethesda can still shy away from the path of complete greed and become community supportive.

    It's not like every large publisher are community-hating greedfests... I mean, there's Paradox Interactive, and 2K Games, which are still publishers but they're pretty open to ideas that don't completely consist of ripping people off. So there's that.

    It's definitely unrealistic and unproductive to hope that every developer in the world has the budget of a publisher and the mindset of an indie dev who listens to the fans. The gaming industry, like I said before, wouldn't last long with that kind of mindset, because you can't and should not just make what you want. You have to make what the millions of different kinds of players want. But still, not having every company be lowest common denominators would be nice.
  16. D Borous

    D Borous It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Nov 2, 2015
    One day, and this day may never come; Bethesda will announce Fallout 5 will have a multiplayer mode and have a bunch of microtransactions with a season pass with a hefty fee. Then they'll announce a movie deal with the intent to make a "shared universe" of Fallout films. Finally, they'll announce that the next Fallout game with be a Xbox One exclusive for a limited time. Then I will say that Bethesda is dead to me, and lament how they were once better than this.

    Until then, I cannot see Bethesda in the same way that these others do, and I fell that such critiques of them may be adjusting certain negative aspects to better fit the view that they are destroying the Fallout franchise. I can only say that Fallout 4 didn't hold in the same way that past games did, but I cannot say that Bethesda as a game developer is the worse because of Fallout 4. If you want a 2015 title that destroyed whatever good will its series built up, it's that trite Alone in the Dark: Illumination, not Fallout 4.

    And 2K Games published Evolve, and Evolve is a game agressively packed with microtransactions so I don't get how one could say hold Bethesda to the standard of ripping people off and not them.
  17. TheSnake

    TheSnake First time out of the vault

    Dec 1, 2015
    I was lucky enough to have played (and loved) the original games before Fallout 3, but to this day I have literally never met another human being who has played them. As far as I know, anyway.

    EDIT: That is, people who have played them at length. I have a handful of friends I convinced to start them who later gave up in frustration because they weren't modern enough.
  18. Ballfondler

    Ballfondler First time out of the vault

    Dec 19, 2015
    Bethesda just simply reminds me way too much of Michael Bay. Taking and rehashing a beloved franchise that mean a lot to the fans and dumbing it down for the general audience. Fans are usually split both old and new. Arguments being that refreshing a series is necessary to see and that they're happy to 'relive' their childhood moments.

    The problem with that is that I don't see the point of having to 'streamline' or dumb down any of it. We've seen success of Marvel lately. And I mean they're big budget films esp. the Avengers. Marvel didn't disappoint even when it came to the preliminary titles that lead up to a joined series. Iron Man & Captain America were big budget films but seemingly Marvel pulled it off without dumbing or 'streamlining' it for hardcore fans. Apparently both newcomers and old faithfuls of Marvel revel in these current films or should I say the current "MCU" as a whole (Guardians of the Galaxy, anyone).

    Marvel went about showing how you could do big budget without having to sacrifice your fanbase along the way. Stuff like 'Transformers' or even 'Ninja Turles' (haven't seen new TMNT films honestly) were total crap shots. I mean there isn't a moment in the transformers movie where they ever really focused on good story or even acting. Instead they vouched for a more 'general' public type of thing sticking to typical character archetypes rather than developing their story/characters with actual depth. All I could remember from the Transformers films was explosions, CGI and the occasional Megan Fox screen time.

    I think Fallout 3 .. 4 .. err.. Bethesda is similarly following that route to gain commercial success. In a way without NMA or Bethesda, Fallout as a series/franchise would've laid into obscurity. Could we have been happy without a revival? Who knows? Personally I wasn't here before Bethesda's takeover. In fact, I never knew about Fallout I was too busy with my SNES at the time. And I never actually had a computer or real serious friends who played on computer. It wasn't until recently '10? (maybe) was when I first picked up my Fallout title: Fallout 3. It was then when I knew about the series as a whole.

    But consider it that without Bethesda we probably never would have New Vegas. That's not to say that I don't hate what Bethesda's doing. I'm merely pointing out they did gain traction somewhere and I do give a benefit of the doubt. New Vegas to me was/is the milestone of the 'modern' day Fallout. It's something to be measured by and it's something we're still talking about. If Bethesda didn't let Obsidian have a hand at it we'd probably be truly stuck with 3 & 4 without ever getting a chance to what may have been Van Buren or even have those elements within a newer Fallout title.

    Yes, Bethesda has their influence but by no means does it mean they craft their games.
    Brian Fargo went the way of George Miller. Mad Max: Fury Road though critically acclaimed it's not widespread popular like bigger franchises like 'Marvel' or 'Transformers' or even heck 'Star Wars' two of which are happened to be owned by Disney. Still Mad Max remains to be a niche film series but continues to be well received. But it's only really beloved by those who enjoyed the original franchise. Heck, we wouldn't even have Wasteland or Fallout because of that. Bethesda really takes a lot of that for granted.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2016
  19. jacob g

    jacob g First time out of the vault

    Jan 18, 2016
    It's kinda hard for me to admit by I totally forgot about Fallout - by choice.

    I mean... after hours and hours in F1 and F2 I saw how they were wathering down franchise - Tactics then BoS so F3 for me was only just next weak game in franchise. Ofcourse I tried all of them, Tactics was just not for me, BoS was just pointless, F3 was hell to play (mechanics) and I didn't care for New Vegas either (maybe the game was better than F3 but still this was hell to play, shitty mechanics, characters I forgot after few minutes, etc, etc).

    So I like wha DVL propose, recognized between gamers.
  20. Mr Fish

    Mr Fish ...The pain of being dead...

    Sep 11, 2010
    The reason why so many aren't criticizing Bethesda for mutating the series into an abomination is quite simple; It's because it didn't happen to a series 'they cared about' and because Bethesda is an exception.

    Numerous bugs in the game? Let's bitch about it! Oh it's a Bethesda game? Eh, it's to be expected.
    Horrible writing? Let's nitpick it to shreds! Oh it's a Bethesda game? Well, their writing has never been amazing, you shouldn't expect it to be.
    Pointless fluff and gimmicks? Why did they bother with this kind of shit!? Oh it's a Bethesda game? On second thought it's actually pretty cool.
    They changed a series, streamlined it, butchered it beyond belief and don't give a shit about its roots and only implements what is popular?
    That's... That's horrible... WHO COULD HAVE DONE THIS KIND O- Oh wait it's Bethesda? Looks cool!

    Bethesda, for some reason, is an exception to them.

    They're hypocrites and some of them are even zealously loyal to Bethesda.
    It's downright creepy talking to some of their fans.