Full Disclaimer: * I don't work with anything even remotely related to gaming * I have absolutely zero inside information * This is my own crackpot theory for which I have absolutely zero proof With that out of the way, here goes. Fallout 4 is not only worse than both Fallout 3 and Skyrim, it is substantially worse. In fact it is suspiciously sub-standard for what is supposed to be a Bethesda AAA game. When Fallout 3 launched everyone was going crazy over the graphics and gunplay mechanics. We all know that the main story was horrible, and no one liked those subway tunnels, but on a whole Fallout 3 was actually pretty innovative. For better or worse it brought fallout to life in 3d and did it in that great 50's style. Skyrim was also pretty innovative when it launched, no one had seen a world THAT big and with THAT level of detail before. Cities were large and full of NPC's which went about their daily tasks. Fights were epic and there was no lack of lore to pore over. Say what you will about Skyrim but it definitely set a new high benchmark for open world RPG's and graphical quality. Fallout 4 on the other hand is not innovative in the same sense as Fallout 3 or Skyrim were, if anything it feels like regression on pretty much all fronts. Graphics have not improved, the quality of the writing has not improved, the depth of the lore has not improved, the faction quests have not improved, the world size has not expanded, the world detail has not improved, the number of settlements have not improved. Fallout 4 is actually a very small open world, with 3 small towns which has NPC's in it, and then a lot of empty wasteland with nothing much but raiders and ghouls. It all feels very suspicious.... think about it. It's been four years since Skyrim launched in November 2011, freeing up Bethesda to focus 100% on Fallout 4. For comparison Fallout NV took only 18 months to develop, something of a miracle courtesy of Obsidian if you ask me. Especially since I consider Fallout NV superior in pretty much every way to Fallout 4. Why did it take Bethesda, with probably at least double the man power, 4 years to develop Fallout 4? Now - I know that the Bethesda hate runs deep in these forums, and that's alright. You might want to write all this off as Bethesda finally showing how bad they really are at developing games. Sure, I'm not defending Fallout 4. Far from it. But I think there might be more at work here. So here's my theory: 2011: Skyrim launches with great success, studio is drowning in money, they know the game engine is on it's last legs. Possibly someone is already working on a new engine. 2011-13: A new game engine is being developed and Fallout 4 along with it. So far so good. 2013: Disaster. The next gen consoles launch and for whatever reason it's not working out so great with the new game engine. Panic sets in. 2013 + 6 months: Frantic efforts are made to make the new engine play nice with the next gen consoles. No success. 2013-Fallout 4 launch: The new engine is ditched and the team scramble a mad effort to put Fallout 4 into the old engine. Like I said I have zero proof for this, but it would make a lot of sense. It explains why Fallout 4 doesn't have a new engine, it explains why Fallout 4 feels like such a rush job despite there being 4 years since Skyrim launched, it explains why the world is so small and sparsely populated for a Bethesda game, it even explains why the dialogue tree doesn't branch anywhere but always forces you back on the same path. The time frames fit pretty much perfectly, it's hard to put it down to pure coincidence. Say what you will about Bethesda put they're too big a studio to have so much time and create so little content with so poor quality, something is fishy. Discuss!