My Own Theory About Why F4 Is The Way It Is

Discussion in 'Fallout 4' started by TheVaultKeeper, Dec 12, 2015.

  1. TheVaultKeeper

    TheVaultKeeper Deliciously Demented

    Apr 22, 2007
    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.

    Last edited: Dec 12, 2015
  2. Dr Fallout

    Dr Fallout Centurion

    Aug 17, 2015
    Possibly. It makes sense but isn't proven or has evidence. Agreed though, this game took four fucking years yet has less content then Fallout New Vegas or FO2.
  3. Theinnerfish

    Theinnerfish Storytelling skeleton

    Jul 25, 2015
    Nah... They just f**k it up.
    • [Like] [Like] x 5
  4. Irwin John Finster

    Irwin John Finster Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Nov 13, 2015
    Occam's razor dictates that it is more likely they simply knew they could make a ton of money ($750 million on the first day) through marketing and hype based on the previous Skyrim success and Fallout games, so they just took the same engine and made a skeleton of a game and spent the rest on marketing and called it a day.
    • [Like] [Like] x 5
  5. Theinnerfish

    Theinnerfish Storytelling skeleton

    Jul 25, 2015
    I like my explanation better but you're right too, i guess...
  6. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    I guess you see Bethesdas progress as something that is close to this:

    Which is fine, I guess. It's your opinion.

    But honestly, I feel Bethesdas progress really is closer to something like this:

    A steady decline. A lot of the talent that worked on previous games, including Morrowind, left the company. And it really shows. Neither Todd nor Emil are really experienced with making role playing games, from what I can tell. Of course, I don't know their past or what they do in their free time. But, it doesn't seem like they are very keen about role playing games - not from what they said about Fallout 1 for example. Can't find that exact quote, but it was something alone the lines, that he hated how something you do in F1 would cut you off from quests. So, the idea of choices and consequences. And you have now someone like that in charge of role playing games? Even worse, a franchise like Fallout that was heavily about choices and concequences? No surprise that F4 turns out to be like border lands and feels closer to one of Todds first projects for Bethesda. The Sci-Fi Terminator shooter Future Schock.

    Anyway, I played Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout, and, Skyrim. Honestly, the only true progress I noticed, was with the visuals. Anything else, for the most part, was a steady simplification (to avoid the words dumbing down ...), probably with the idea to sell the game to the widest audience possible. Before someone gets the idea, I don't hate their games, I don't say people can't have fun with their games, and I don't say you're an idiot for enjoying it. Now that this elephant is out of the room. I do think, if anyone feels that what happend after Morrowind was a form of progress, outside of the visiuals, than they don't care about either the Elder Scrolls, or Fallout. As franchise I mean. And I see them as tourrists, not fans of said franchises.

    Just take a loot at the gameplay, the narrative, the quest lines, the skills, almost everything became closer and closer to the principles of an open world shooter, yes, even The Elderscrolls titles. Quantity became the rule, where Quality had to take a backseat with almost everything. Automation and MMO-like quests designs became the norm rather than the excpetion - Oblivion was the first try with the Radiant AI questing/dialog, which I guess failed horroribly, but they didn't gave up on it! Endless questing, became the motto.

    Morrowind, as far as role playing goes, was far from perfect. It sure contained it's flaws and failures. No doubts about that. But it was the last Bethesda game that really felt, hand crafted. Hard to describe it really. But moving trough the world, it felt like it was really a world. Morrowind didn't contain a lot more depth compared to their later games, but what they had there, was much better woven into the game world. Oblivion and Skyrim, feel like theme parks. Aventure rides. Disconected from anything that happens in the world.

    Nothing that I saw in Skyrim, Fallout 3 or even Oblivion REALLY screamed inovation to me. Yes, Beth was one of the few companies that made open world games back than. But, they havn't been the first ones! And, they havn't even delivered the best ones. Just the most popular ones. Infact, I would say, each new Elder Scrolls (and now Fallout game) was less and less about innovation, but more and more about, playing save. Morrowind was really very whacky game, at least in some cases, the style was also rather special. Oblivion was as cliche as it can get with it's story and world design. And Skyrim and Fallout 3 simply followed that tradition.
    • [Like] [Like] x 15
  7. Dr Fallout

    Dr Fallout Centurion

    Aug 17, 2015
    Morrowind had one of the best written worlds I know. The actual RPG in it was lacking, but the world itself just drew me in.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  8. SaucyLad

    SaucyLad Stuck in a Fridge

    Nov 20, 2015
    Sorry, but I disagree with this theory.

    Why would Bethesda make a new engine for Skyrim and then abandon it and not build upon it instead? Can you link to a source that shows they ever wanted to make a new engine for Fallout 4?

    This doesn't explain why Fallout 4 runs like ass on current-gen consoles with an updated Creation Engine. :razz:

    My personal theory is simple: they tried taking the game in a new direction so it would appeal to younger/broader audience of gamers.

    In Fallout 4, Bethesda emphasized:
    • action
    • voice acting
    • crafting & building like Minecraft
    • crude humor
    • simplicity of dialogue choice via the "Yes Wheel"

    They de-emphasized:
    • story
    • story telling
    • varied dialogue paths & endings
    • a good and consistent game atmosphere to immerse yourself in
    • lore
    • roleplaying

    It is very clear to me they deliberately designed this game the way it was to appeal to a different audience than their previous games.

    I see no possibility of "development hiccups" here aside from voice acting likely eating up too much of the games budget and forcing it to be rushed. ;)
    • [Like] [Like] x 3
  9. Jubal Quintus

    Jubal Quintus Nacho Friend

    Mar 2, 2007
    I think Fallout 4 is the way that it is because they are transitioning the franchise to become an MMO. Radiant quests, endlessly respawning enemies, "legendary" enemies that drop special loot, and a thin story that barely connects the dots. It feels like an MMO already, it merely lacks the other players. We know that Beth wants in on the MMO game and every studio wants to roll out the WoW killer. I think a Fallen Earth lite FPS MMO Fallout is exactly what Beth sees for the future of the franchise and as such have started to move the franchise in that direction.
  10. 5545Trey

    5545Trey Underground Deviant

    Jun 25, 2014
    Wrong. It is not innovative in the slightest because it is not the first game to bring a series into a 3-D environment, and Fallout 3 completely missed the point of how Fallout portrayed the 50s. The graphics were low-tier (being an open-world "RPG" does not excuse how poor the game looks), the gunplay solely relied on using Vats, and weapons themselves were just awful in every conceivable way.

    I stopped when stated Skyrim was innovative. Skyrim is not AS big as you make it out to be, and it is not AS detail as you make it out to be. Yes, Bethesda offered a large amount of animations to the game, meaning NPCs were able to perform more tasks, but Skyrim's world is either about Cyrodiil's size or smaller. Innovation is coming up with new ideas, not expanding on pre-existing ones. The combat system was basically how many times can you swing your weapon left and right at your target before they are dead.

    Face it, none of the games Bethesda has made for the past 21 years have been innovative or groundbreaking in the slightest. The "benchmark" Skyrim set for the genre was that "every single game is an RPG because you play a role, but it will not affect anything at all, other than personal experience".
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2015
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  11. Irwin John Finster

    Irwin John Finster Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Nov 13, 2015
    Definitely agree about Skyrim. It was mediocre as anything, quite linear when you really look closely at it, and there is virtually no choice in dialogue. The only branching path I noticed was Stormcloak or Empire and the other quests were stamped on your "to do" list and amounted to little more than repetitive MMORPG dungeon crawls. Skyrim looks pretty while it is standing still, and the second it moves you see all the crap. It is, simply put, not even close to as deep as an RPG is supposed to be.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2015
  12. Tom Bishop

    Tom Bishop It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Dec 12, 2015
    I don't know; I think if Bethesda wanted a Fallout MMO, they'd just hand it off to ZeniMax Online. BGS themselves taking a stab at an MMO seems like an odd change of pace for them.
  13. Monco

    Monco The Duck of Death

    Nov 4, 2015
    I was thinking the same thing, the game seem so unpolished and rushed that I wouldn't be surprised if they had to abandon the whole build and start again halfway through the development cycle, even if it wasn't necessarily because it didn't work on next gen consoles.
  14. Stanislao Moulinsky

    Stanislao Moulinsky Vault Fossil

    Jul 16, 2009
    Maybe because they didn't. Bethesda started full production on FO4 in 2013, and ~2.5 years is a standard production length.

    Obsidian released New Vegas in 18 months because:
    a)they are a better studio
    b)the iteration of Gamebryo they used didn't need any particular modification
    c)they reused a ton of old assets
    d)Bethesda cut the Quality Assurance phase even shorter than usual
    • [Like] [Like] x 6
  15. Spacemunkey

    Spacemunkey Vault Senior Citizen

    Dec 4, 2015
    IMO, Bethesda is just not a very good game developer and Fallout 4 is the end result of being completely devoid of ideas.
    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  16. Irwin John Finster

    Irwin John Finster Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Nov 13, 2015
    I was reading a conversation that went something like this:

    The first person brought up the fact that they still haven't fixed collision detection and that T-postured (the default character posture) super mutants were floating towards the player during the game.

    The second person explained that Bethesda is a small studio of about 100 people, whereas GTA V had a studio of 1000 people working on the game.

    A third person claimed that was irrelevant because Bethesda clearly makes enough money to hire more people if it needed to.

    A fourth person chimed in, stating that "Bethesda games are unique because they are such a small studio, and I wouldn't have it any other way."

    So as you can see, to a large portion of consumers these glitches are considered "features."
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2015
    • [Like] [Like] x 3
  17. The Dutch Ghost

    The Dutch Ghost Grouchy old man of NMA Moderator

    Jan 11, 2004

    So if a game continuously crashes, gets corrupted, or even causes damage in the future, that is a risk gamers must learn to take.

    I exaggerate but willing to accept the repeating shoddy development cycle from a publisher that has the means to prevent these and pay full price for their products is the action of a fool's fool.
    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  18. aenemic

    aenemic Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Jun 4, 2008
    Nope, I'm not buying this theory. I definitely think they've from time to time considered moving to a new engine, but as was clear with Skyrim they've decided to simply improve the same old engine. Skyrim was their biggest release to date, and if they had any plans to move to a new engine they would have done it for Skyrim. Improving the engine and renaming it would not make much sense if they would only squeeze one game out of it. What they have done this time around is to refine the fps qualities and implement the settlement building. Might not look like huge innovations, but these things have definitely needed some engine tweaks. I would not be surprised in the slightest if the next game uses the same engine again, with some new minor functionality.

    The reasons for this are several:

    1. From what I understand they are a small team relative to the size of their productions, and their people have worked with this engine for a long time and know it well. Moving on to a new engine is a huge undertaking.

    2. Their games are made for modding, and they know very well that the next engine they use has to be just as modder friendly (if not more) or they will have a very upset core audience. Creating this environment with a new engine makes the above an even bigger undertaking. The modders in turn will have to get used to the new engine, which will result in less good quality mods for a period of time.

    3. They are lazy and cheap. I have no hard numbers to back this up, but I believe the facts speak for themselves:
    They rely heavily on modders to tweak and patch their games;
    They play it extremely safe and more or less make the same game over and over with very little new features, because they know it works and sells well, and it's what they know how to do;
    They don't seem to bring in much new blood;
    They bought the Fallout license with no real interest in creating Fallout games - they wanted an alternative to the Elder Scrolls games, and Todd might have considered Fallout 1 and 2 to be great games and have a cool setting, but I strongly suspect they went for Fallout because the IP was up for grabs, it has a strong following and good reputation, and it has a unique setting. In other words, they didn't have to start from scratch, they bought a framework to continue making games in, with more interest in continuing their money-making iterations of the same game than to care for and nurture the Fallout IP.

    I could go on, but I just get depressed reminding myself of what a lousy studio Bethesda is and how awesome they could be if they just got their shit together (which includes getting rid of several of the top names).

    As for Fallout 4 and innovation, I think it's actually the most innovative of their games since Morrowind. It's just that their innovative ambitions are largely missplaced. The settlement building, the detailed crafting, the perk system, the whole legendary ordeal, the voiced protagonist - all of these are bigger changes to their mold than any previous game had. But none of them are what the game needed to move forward. Instead, they seem to have come at the price of other important features.
  19. Stanislao Moulinsky

    Stanislao Moulinsky Vault Fossil

    Jul 16, 2009
    Add to that that the IP had a highly mareketable mascot (Vault Boy) AND was dirt cheap to buy (a meager 6 million dollars). :irked:
    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  20. SaucyLad

    SaucyLad Stuck in a Fridge

    Nov 20, 2015
    They actually did try something different in Fallout 4. They tried making a more action oriented Fallout game to draw in more sales from your typical FPS gamer. I think it worked sales wise for them, but quality of the game took a massive hit.

    If they would've actually did what you said and released an upgraded Fallout 3 or Fallout: New Vegas I believe people would've actually been happy with it.