Has fallout as a franchise become morrally bankrupt from the acquisition by Bethesda back in 2004?

Discussion in 'General Fallout Discussion' started by Uber Morpth, Aug 14, 2018.

  1. Uber Morpth

    Uber Morpth First time out of the vault

    Jul 10, 2018
    I recently watched RedLetterMedia's Half In The Bag video on Star Wars The Last Jedi, and the main theme of there critisim (from Mike and Rich) is the fact that star wars has become so iconic and popular is lost any potential in creating anything new, the example they use is the main plot structure of the last jedi is very similar to the other films (younge inexperienced jedi working with bunch of rebels to destroy evil galatic empire and have lightsaber duel with some guy in black armor.)

    I'm starings to think from how Bethesda has gone with the stories of Fallout 3 to Fallout 4 (Oh some vault dweller lost his/her family member and has to go out into the wastes, then they team up with some good people in power armor and fight some bad people in power armor) with the exception of Fallout New Vegas actually doing something different with is main plot, could it be that bethesda thinks that simple plot structure is the only way the franchise can be ever successful and never try to stray from that path, or am I just thinking too much on this?
  2. The Dutch Ghost

    The Dutch Ghost Grouchy old man of NMA Moderator

    Jan 11, 2004
    Personally I think you are onto something. But I also believe that Bethesda despite owning the franchise really does not "get it", they are not at all like the people who worked on Fallout 1, 2, Van Buren, and New Vegas. (especially not like the people who worked on FO1 and 2 who had to create everything from scratch)

    Edit: okay they did have Wasteland, old Sci-Fi comics, and PA movies like Mad Max to build on but they still had to create a setting of it that combined these elements in such a way that would feel different for the audience, being able to enjoy the influences but seeing Fallout as its own thing.

    Then there is also the "no risk" policy that permeates throughout a lot of the bigger studios, publishers do not want the development teams to experiment with design and gameplay because of the possibility that it will not entice customers or drive them away.
    I think story writing probably also falls under that.
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  3. Uber Morpth

    Uber Morpth First time out of the vault

    Jul 10, 2018
    I suppose that's why the theory of Bethesda purposefully not giving Obsidian enough time to finish Fallout New Vegas as they felt they were going to out of left field might be plausible (Yet lot of people loved it including me) but with the new Fallout 76 as an mmo rpg I guess they can take a hit if it turns out to be a dumpster fire.

    It also makes me wonder if Fallout will or has ever had anything as confusing or bad as the Star Wars prequels (I assume Fallout Tatics/Fallout Brotherhood Of Steel would fall into that catagory but I never played them so couldn't say really.)
  4. Orius

    Orius First time out of the vault

    Jul 23, 2018
    I think it's a bad comparison. Now, I might get flak for this, but I personally felt that the Fallout franchise didn't become as popular as Star Wars 'till FO3 came out, which was also when the plot became shallow and simple. Star Wars, on the other hand, always had a simple plot even when it first came out, so it makes no difference whether if The Last Jedi has a simple plot or not.
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  5. SiriusShenanigans

    SiriusShenanigans Those who write on Heaven’s walls...

    Jun 27, 2018
    Yeah, it didn't become big until 3, but Bethesda's head writer has gone on record saying his motto is something like "Keep it simple", I believe. When a franchise becomes very big, they start playing to a wider audience, and I think that fallout is now being designed to be a people pleaser. It no longer has the sardonic satire that criticized customs of the past, now it openly embraces things like patriotism and nationalistic behavior. It doesn't want to discuss heavy philosophical issues because that can be difficult to get across to the bigger demographic, and something that really has some bite to it might offend some group. Things are made more black and white, factions tend to be simpler. Bethesda isn't looking to make high quality quests, because those take time and effort to plan and write. They go for a simpler quest design, made to set up bread crumbs for players to follow and to keep them hooked in the cycle of explore, fight, loot. Bethesda knows they don't need to cater to the old fanbase, and they aren't going to do it in the future.

    I don't really think its that fallout is morally bankrupt. Its just bethesda.
  6. SMBComix

    SMBComix It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Apr 22, 2014
    Right, cos wanting a guaranteed return on investment is morally bankrupt. /s
  7. naossano

    naossano So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Oct 19, 2006
    Well, there is a difference between being simple and not making any fucking sense. The latter being unprofessional. (but sadly increasingly common)
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  8. Einhanderc7

    Einhanderc7 Vat dipped, grown and still oozing with perfection

    Apr 22, 2016
    From my perspective Bethesda at least the arm that is involved with the Fallout franchise is creatively bankrupt.
    The reasons why I make this accusation is due to the following:
    1. Lack of comprehensible stable game mechanics/rules that translate from game to game. So far every single Bethesda Fallout title operates on completely different rules/game mechanics.
    2. Every Bethesda Fallout title sees a significant reduction in narrative quality, and with the offshoot of Fallout 76 the complete lack there of.
    3. Bethesda Fallout titles also cling desperately to aesthetic details ensuring specific known elements are always included such as, but not limited to: 1950's nostalgia, bottle caps, nuka-cola, BOS, etc...
    4. Bethesda's Fallout titles literally have no moral grey area, those rare examples were players can behave in a negative or neutral way have no consequence.
    5. Bethesda Fallout games hold the hands of their players, while Fallout 3 didn't do so as much; Fallout 4's hand holding was impossible to escape from.
    6. Players either have significantly reduced agency, or are prevented from having any agency at all.
    Let's be honest here, it requires considerable effort, time, and money for a good role playing game to be made. However Bethesda bought the IP, therefore they should have accepted the burden required to maintain the IP's inherent standards of quality.

    I have read poor Fallout fan fictions, while they do have their quirks; make Bethesda's narrative attempts look even worse as these fan narratives with their faults easily outshine Bethesda's.

    The point I really want to convey here is that the effort needs only be applied, instead of building a better plasma gun, Bethesda should be more focused on the ethics of the Fallout universe.

    To be honest, Bethesda's Fallout titles are not Fallout games. I know if they put forward the effort they could be, but since Bethesda seems more interested in catering to current market trends from other genres instead of maintaining the integrity of the core material. I feel that I can promise you that Bethesda will not at any point in time in the future release a viable Fallout title that honor's the IP's basis of design considering their record this far.

    Fallout 4, the Fallout franchise's Ultima 9 and Fallout 76, the Fallout franchise's C&C 4.
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  9. valcik

    valcik So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Dec 20, 2008
    Emil sucks, he didn't write anything good. Also I don't think dumbing down in terms of mechanics is a proof of incompetence, that's a deliberate attempt to make the franchise more attractive for broader audience. They just turned Fallout into pile of shit on purpose, in order to feed throngs of brainlets.
  10. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Nov 26, 2007
    I just don't believe it is incompetence, I think they are deliberately fishing the shallows.

    (In fact, as you suggest in your last line)
  11. Norzan

    Norzan Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Apr 7, 2017
    They are definitely incompetent when they try to do something and completely fail. But overall? Nah, Bethesda knows what they're doing. They have claimed that they are definitely going for the lowest common denominator and if it means heavily dumb down their games, so be it.
  12. Macster2001

    Macster2001 First time out of the vault

    Oct 20, 2016
    Please don't lump tactics in with fallout: POS, tactics is actually a well made and fun game. Tactics does suffer from pretty sever lore inaccuracies however.
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  13. laclongquan

    laclongquan Boned Hunter of Sister

    Jan 11, 2008
    The original vision of Fallout 1/2 "Retrofuturism from the POV of 50s deep in the Cold War" is... more or less completed with Fallout 2. it's not that the idea run dry, but more like, the market demand is saturated and dwindling. People's no longer interested in such thing in large number, unlike the 90s and 200s.

    Bethesda is half-assedly keeping up in Fallout 3 but their own demand of chasing after the lowest common denominator is conflicting hard with the original, and niche, idea. Thus you can see in Fallout 4 they dont bother.

    Obsidian explore a different vision for it: "Retrofuturism with Western feel" or "cowboy in future" in Fallout New Vegas. They also return to it in The Outer World.
  14. Risewild

    Risewild Carbon Dated and Proud
    Modder Orderite

    Jun 14, 2014
    I always considered Fallout a sci-fi western. I posted why around here before.

    I just found the post:
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  15. laclongquan

    laclongquan Boned Hunter of Sister

    Jan 11, 2008
    Seriously, I have no objection to change the theme. Fallout1/2 "50s retrofuturism" is a bit too niche. Artsy sure, but too niche. Fallout New vegas "cowboy in future" is a good idea, pity no more sequel of same quality (TOW is no good).

    The problem of Bethesda is that they, intentionally or unintentionally, gave us a very low level of writings in both dialogs and texts. Morrowind is bad enough but I could stomach it. Fallout 3 is just no, no, fucking no.
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  16. Uber Morpth

    Uber Morpth First time out of the vault

    Jul 10, 2018
    I think back then for Fallout 3 you could of given the excuse for bethesdia that it was their very first fallout ever and they didn't know how to properly emulate it, but now given into question what their main writer for both 3 and 4 said about the motto of "Keep It Simple Stupid" and the fact even if Fallout 3 didn't take place in Fallout it still would be a god awful game.

    Still 3 felt like it "had" some effort put into it 4 is just Skyrim with guns only thing saving that game is the decent gameplay I could never go back to 3 with is shitty combat system let alone is pathetic excuse of a story.
  17. Norzan

    Norzan Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Apr 7, 2017
    They didn't cared about emulating it, they only cared about using its recognizable iconography to make Elder Scrolls with guns.

    They bought Fallout specifically because they wanted to do Elder Scrolls with guns and i refuse to believe that there's any other reason for Bethesda buying Fallout. It was the perfect target, the company that owned the franchise was at death's door and Bethesda was rising in popularity with the success of Morrowind.

    Bethesda as a whole has been morally bankrupt since Oblivion.
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  18. Uber Morpth

    Uber Morpth First time out of the vault

    Jul 10, 2018
    I suppose that's an idea too, considering they turned it into a 3d shooter (which don't get me wrong I think Fallout can work well as is original turn based and 3d shooter) but in terms of appealing to a wider audience it makes sense to go with the more familiar type of gameplay style people are used to at that point.

    While is true Fallout 3 is like Oblivion with guns least outside of the main quest they seemed to of tried giving it some real world building (even if most of it made no sense or was bad) I would argue after Skyrim is when they got really lazy with the creative process, look at most half of Fallout 4's dlc's come off as poor copy's of mods (referring to the vault settlements and robo building crap) while the dlc in 3 and new vegas were for the most part felt like actual expansions with their own story's and unique world's (this is regardless of the qualify of em.)

    Or how many of the role play elements and even the dialogue system is so bare bones it would seem they tried to dumb down most of these things for convince or to try even harder then they already are to appeal to more people.
  19. Norzan

    Norzan Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Apr 7, 2017
    Skyrim and Fallout 4 were just following the footsteps of the logic used in Oblivion and Fallout 3. Oblivion pretty much dumbed down the stat system, the weapon variety got reduced, the whole faction system was reduced to basically book clubs (there are no opposing factions forcing you to pick specific ones), and the magic system got extremely lame and basic, all of this in comparison with Morrowind. Fallout 3 just literally dumbed down everything from Fallout 1 and 2. They obviously make them like this for profit because casuals hate complicated things.

    When making Skyrim and Fallout 4 they obviously thought of ways to further dumb down the series while still making a lot of money (the former game paid off big time). Hence they are simpler when compared to Oblivion and Fallout 3, because making things simpler obviously requires much less work and time.

    This is why i don't believe they were trying with Oblivion and Fallout 3, they were actually seeing how much they could get away with without making the game too basic even for the casuals.
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  20. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Nov 26, 2007

    They follow a pattern of reduction for sake of greater (wider) sales, or at least maintaining their sales.

    I have never believed them incompetent; the job just cannot be done at all without having intelligence and skill, and cannot be done right without having wisdom. So many technically brilliant games fail... but not often from lack of talent or intelligence.

    Their wisdom is one of calculated pragmatism over sentimentalism. We want Fallout games that follow the same guiding precepts and tenets as the original—regardless of the tech used to achieve it. They see that even the best possible outcome of this would be less popular (and far less profitable!) than the rote crap they already serve up to the masses—to their great fortune and acclaim. Better to mix a fresh batch of the same slop—with a different flavor packet.

    They get to sell a video-game equivalent of Vegemite to people who don't know (or care) what it is supposed to taste like—but it's got this notorious reputation that they've heard about... and when they see it, it's just like what they thought.


    They do make mistakes on occasion, and sometimes misjudge their audience, and what will work... but on the whole they have hit their mark often, and profited immensely. They know their audience. I believe that they value the Fallout IP just for the story assets, and its reputation's effect—not the reputation itself... just its effect on potential consumers. Sadly, I do not believe that they don't 'get' the Fallout games; I believe they see it as a profitable way to drape their existing game-framework, and simply don't care for anything else about it.

    They don't appreciate anything that has become unpalatable to the majority of gamers. They will use it howsoever they please—instead of how intended; somewhat like the way others once perceived whale-oil —being inside an inconvenient husk. Having obtained one at great cost, what mattered to them was only the profitable ways they could put it use—after extracting all that they could from it, and having ruined it for it's original purpose.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2020
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