Bethesda needs to return to making quality RPG's
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Bethesda Game Studios' reputation has been suffering for a while. As much as we love the Fallout and Elder Scrolls series, business is ruining art.
Fallout 4 was an open world shooter/looter/builder sandbox with some RPG elements. We thought you had mended your ways when you released Far Harbor DLC but alas, then came Nuka Word and now Fallout 76. You doubled down on all your worst design choices of Fallout 4.
I feel I should address the elephant in the room and mention the "Creation Club" which apparently "is not mods".
Here's a fun fact: when you take a mod, pay the modder, put it through the dev cycle and sell it - what you're left with is a posh mod, but a mod all the same. A mod that people have to pay for to use. Otherwise known as "a paid mod".
We'd really appreciate it if you'd make your "Creation Club" an optional, seperate DLC file, instead of writing it into the base game files. You'd still sell to the people who want it but you'd anger far fewer of those who don't.
"Creation Club News" serves as a constant reminder, to people who hate it, not to buy future Bethesda games.
"Creation Club" is a symptom of the much larger problem: you want as much of our money as you can get, but you're not willing to put the work in.
Bethesda has lost their way. An open world RPG should be filled with intricate stories, interesting characters, skill checks based on a player's build, several ways to complete objectives, memorable interactions.
More and more Bethesda's games are getting dumbed down, simplified... robbed of all that makes their franchises great. Quality is being replaced with quantity when what we need is quantity of quality. More and more, art is getting replaced with quick, lazy, easy to knock out fetch, kill and "radiant" junk quests masquerading as "content".
Fallout 4 is a prime example (Skyrim too, to a lesser extent). The game made a huge amount of money and you expanded your fanbase but you betrayed your long term fans - fans who supported you for years. In the words of Amercan Krogan: https://youtu.be/CQF_IAk4nr0?t=2m29s (you just need to listen to 31s from time stamp to understand the point).
More recently, Bethesda has betrayed us again with their newest abomination: Fallout 76.
The problems with the game:
*bugs and gliches
*an appalling lack of story content
*weak story content
*heavy reliance on "environmental storytelling" - the EASIEST way to tell stories - as the main source of storytelling
*negligible focus on roleplaying
*unimpactful/meaningless player choice (or lack thereof)
*insulting game padding ("radiant" quests and excessive base building)
*proper, interesting side content being replaced with these generic, repeating "radiant" quests.
*oversimplification of almost every facet of the game
...the list goes on. If you want a more detailed account of problems specifically with Fallout 4, and ideas to improve the game, I got you covered: https://www.change.org/p/bethesda-make-fallout-4-an-rpg-less-radiant-more-original
This petition is to request that you:
- increase Bethesda Game Studios' number of staff and budget
- take more pride in the writing of your quests and respect the established lore
- quit rushing the studio to get games out as fast as possible
- put a stop to the excessive streamlining
- put a stop to the excessive game padding
- return the focus to roleplay in game design, roleplay should not be an afterthought in an RPG franchise.
With the huge amount of money Fallout 4 made, you can easily afford to put more money into developing future games. And you really need to do this before 2 beloved franchises go so far downhill that you ruin them completely.
The following is to expand on the request.
You need to take the writing of your stories more seriously. Each quest and questline needs to be planned out properly by a dedicated team. Stories are important.
Fallout 4's main story is regularly ridiculed... and with good reason. Fallout 3 and 4 both had you looking for a family member- it's time to try something new. Put bluntly, the main story is lazy and didn't allow the player to choose who they wanted to be.
It also would have been great if life in the vault was expanded on instead of rushing straight to cryo.
There's "kid in a fridge". Previous Fallout games have established that ghouls need food and water, and this tiny quest completely ignored that. That's what happens when devs write random ideas on napkins.
Most of the quests in the game are lazy, they did too little to expand on the rich lore of the series. There's also the issue that there were far too few proper scripted quests.
"Radiant" quests are not an acceptable substitute.
Not to mention that a lot of Bethesda's quests are fetch and kill quests (yes I'm talking about Skyrim too). Bethesda's games more and more lack depth.
Don't "just give them the quest".
Fallout and Elder Scrolls games should always be packed with well written quests, have expansive dialog fully available (but optional), and heavily focused on player choice. There should be extra solutions, dialog and options that can be unlocked through skill checks, optional steps, exploartion and conversation.
We do however appreciate that you have made some changes in the writing team. We hope to see both quality, and quantity of quality in the future. That means quit relying on easy to make "content": it's an insult to your studio, your fans, the industry, RPGs and your own franchises. You need to start caring about your art.
Perks, dialog, weapons, legendary items - the dumbing down so as to appeal to the lowest common denominator is not the way to go. Instead, what should have been done is tweaking the original systems to make them easier for people to understand. With ESO (yeah, I know that's Zenimax, not Bethesda) the One Tamriel update is another example of this. You should allow people to choose whether they play the world scaled to them, or if everything should be leveled so you have to train up to advance.
Also, there's the issue of excessive consolization (if that's a word). Quit designing games for consoles. The dialog interface is a classic example of this. 4 buttons, 4 choices... did anyone EVER complain about scrolling down through a list of responses?
The point is make dumbing down optional, by which I mean that you should offer players, at the [Start New Game] stage, a choice between:
-a more traditional UI,
-the "streamlined" (console based) one,
-or a more complicated one that can be navigated with a controller.
But please DO continue to include controller support on PC. A lot (maybe not a majority) of people couch game with a controller on their PC.
One final thing that should not have been "streamlined" out is Karma. It's almost a shameful commentary on western society that Karma has been replaced by what our followers think of us. As if right and wrong are less important than other people's opinions.
The point is made really well in this video: https://youtu.be/cSnsUszYfL0?t=22m18s (listen for 1m39s from time stamp).
Now I don't know why I have to keep saying this, but "radiant" quests are an ANTI-RPG element and, quite frankly, an insult.
They may be situationally appropriate, but they add nothing to the lore or story, nor do they have any real effect on the world or characters. "Radiant" quests are simple, repetitive junk quests and therefore don't belong in a story based game in such huge quantities, if at all. It's obvious that they're there to make up for lack of interesting content.
Now we know you like us playing your games for years and years (like Skyrim) but a good game is not enjoyed for such a long time through "infinite quests"- when the content is good, the game is enjoyed for years through multiple playthroughs. Just like how you watch your favorite film over and over and over.
If you're going to insist on using "radiant" quests all the time, you should have a "radiant" quest option: [on], [infrequent], [never do the same thing twice], [hell no].
The [never do the same thing twice] option would allow the player to forget that the "radiant" quests are even "radiant" in the first place.
"Radiant" quests are infuriating: settlers constantly needing help, Preston giving you quests you don't ask for - these kinds of "quests" should never be forced on you.
Then there's settlement building. 30+ across Fallout 4 and its DLC's? Seriously?
Now some players want even more settlements to build but you should have allowed the player to choose whether to build the settlements themself or impliment an auto-build function. Is it so hard to have a dev-created settlement build so you don't have to spend several hundred hours making these areas look good? There's still building equipment around the wasteland, it would have been easy to facilitate this immersively in game.
At the end of the day, a story rich RPG is better than a shooter sandbox full of junk quests, Minecraft and The Sims.
Incidentally, have you seen the masterpiece that is the "Transfer Settlements" mod? We build and scan so we never have to build again.
SETTLEMENTS: MOVING FORWARD.
I have no doubt that you'll include settlement building in future games. It was extremely successful even though there are those of us who deeply resent the incluson of Minecraft in our supposed RPG. So here are the ways in which you can allow people to base build, or not, as they see fit and also restore to Fallout its soul:
1: As sort of suggested already, have a location where you can go and pay an NPC to build your settlements for you. Make multiple cells for each build location and have top-down views, concept art or whatever - just some way of showing the player what the different options would look like - so we can pay caps for a settlement to be created for us. Different styles. Different sizes. Different levels of cluttering. And then if they are editable afterwards, so we can add more defenses or whatever, that would be great. No scrapping, no hours of building, and a nice player home with the best view and a bed that NPC's don't use for each one. There could be animation markers, pathing & schedules, all the shops, a nice themed bar, load doors for consoles, visitors to the settlements, hotels for visitors. Everything.
And they can be modular like in Skyrim. Pay extra for the highest level shops, nicer player homes, etc. Pick a layout, pick the style of homes, pick the style of player home. A lot of people would appreciate this.
And please bear in mind that PC's can handle more items and more settlers than consoles. We'd also like to be catered to.
2: Each settlement gets unique settlers. These settlers bring stories, interesting conversations, unique quests and so on. If you had done this, and given each settlement 3-5 unique quests - I'd have far fewer complaints about Fallout 4. And if some quests were triggered when all the settlements that were included in the quest were built it would be far more immersive. For example, there's a quest in Abernathy Farm, that has stages in Zimonja and Hangman's Alley, that quest would only be available when all 3 locations were built and populated by the appropriate unique NPCs.
A guy on the Bethesda forum inspired another idea, what if before settlement capture, the settlements with raiders had prisoners to free, or the ones with monsters had NPC's trapped, or as you approach a settlement location you are approached by an NPC who wants to help you take it as he wants to live there? An EXCELLENT way to add unique NPC's without messing with your code.
3: Enough with the settlement attacks and "another settlement needs your help". Just add optional bounty boards that only lead you to undiscovered locations that are actually nearby. The number of times settlers have had trouble with "nearby" enemies that are on the other side of the map... *sigh* come on guys.
Now raiders trying to attack your settlements when you're there is fine, but how do settlements fail to defend themselves with a defence level of 300, 400, 500, even 600? Many of us have used console command to drop various numbers of behemoths into our settlements to watch them get cut down in seconds yet a handful of raiders are making threats (and surviving), stealing supplies and kidnapping people? How is that immersive?
MORE STAFF AND LESS RUSHING
It doesn't take a genius to realize that a creation like an open-world RPG needs many creators who have time to realise their ideas. You can afford this. Easily. So please, give Bethesda Game Studios everything they need to create true masterpieces.
As I write this I feel I must tell you: I don't trust Bethesda anymore. I'm worried that my 2 favorite franchises, and whatever new IP's you have in the works (that could potentially become favorites), will so badly unfulfill their potential that I'll nolonger want to play any more of your games. I'm certainly not buying another Bethesda Game Studios title until I'm certain it's not another Fallout 4.
At present, I'm not looking forward to your future releases. I'm looking forward to mods: Cascadia, Skywind, Skyblivion, the remake of NV in FO4's engine and so on.
Talking about mods, you should see to it that this gets made: https://bethesda.net/community/topic/102786/make-us-all-happy
I was also looking forward to the mod that would remake Fallout 3 in Fallout 4's engine but you killed that. Please consider hiring the team that was working on it to continue the project, or port the game into the newer engine yourselves and let them fix it. You'd sell more copies of Fallout 3 either way. And imagine how many people would buy an updated Fallout 3. If you do, leave the "radiant" junk quests out. You could recover a lot of the good will that you lost due to Preston Garvey, Creation Club, and now Fallout 76: the online sandbox that only the lowest common denominator actually want to see.
You need a studio mantra. May I suggest "Amaze and impress the intelligent, entertain the rest."?
Please Zenimax, see to it that Bethesda fulfills its creative potential, and remind them that they're a studio that are at their best when making RPG's.
A signer of the petition shared this (thanks buddy) if you're not yet convinced that Bethesda are getting worse every day: https://linustechtips.com/main/topic/1003352-opening-the-scrolls-unpacking-the-shady-and-scandal-plagued-history-of-bethesda-zenimax/
Finally, of all the review videos of Fallout 4 I think this one pretty much nailed the vast majority of the issues of Fallout 4. Foul language warning, but in depth and intelligent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSnsUszYfL0
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