Why does Fallout 4 release date news have to keep breaking my heart? As my loyal readers know I've been covering this game since January and, in that time, I've felt like a Fallout 4 release date announcement was going to happen multiple times. I thought we'd hear about it at one of the big next-gen console reveals. I thought we'd hear about it at E3. And I really, really thought that a Fallout 4 release date announcement was going to happen this weekend at the VGX awards. However, Bethesda marketing VP/wet blanket Pete Hines took to Twitter to dash the hopes and dreams of Fallout 4 fans everywhere:
No, folks. I am not going to VGX. Bethesda is not showing/talking about anything at VGX. Just some PR meetings in LA. Take deep breaths.
— Pete Hines (@DCDeacon) December 5, 2013
In the immortal words of The Dude: that's a bummer, man. The VGX ceremony airing on Spike this weekend seemed the perfect platform for a Fallout 4 release date reveal. In addition to the fact it is the only televised gaming awards show it's also where Bethesda Game Studios announced Skyrim in 2011. The legacy was there and certainly the eyes of the gaming world will be tuned to the VGX stage for other major announcements (Zelda Wii U anyone?) so a Fallout 4 release date reveal made sense.
But I forgot something. It's 2013. And 2013 Bethesda is all about NOT making sense.
Let's not forget this was supposed to be the year that Bethesda was going to "make a lot of noise" according to Hines. But that was back in the spring when it looked like the ESO release would be on time and we would have The Evil Within and Wolfenstein: The New Order by year's end. Instead, ALL of those projects have been delayed (in some cases more than once) and Bethesda fans find themselves looking at 2013 as the year that Bethesda Game Studios and Bethesda Softworks did not release a single game.
Let that sink in.
One of gaming's most well-respected AAA studios did not release a single game in 2013, the year where we saw TWO next-gen console launches. On top of that, the products that Bethesda is promoting are seriously underwhelming. I saw the trio at E3 and was not very impressed. The Evil Within looks like a game that would've been great in 1998. All due respect to Shinji Mikami but in my opinion the horror genre has become played out and calls for a more original story than "cop investigates haunted asylum."
Wolfenstein: The New Order? File this under "Games No One Ever Asked For, Ever." Why is Bethesda trying to get into the FPS game? They're already sitting on Doom 4. And FPS is the one genre that is oversaturating the next-gen market. We already have COD: Ghosts, Battlefield 4, Killzone and (soon) Titanfall. You know what we DON'T have in the next-gen launch window? An RPG. And what does Bethesda do best? HINT: NOT ANOTHER STEAMPUNK INSPIRED FPS GAME! Activision (who knows a thing or two about the FPS genre, btw) rebooted Wolfenstein in 2009 to mixed reviews. We weren't interested then and I think gamers are less interested now. This is a game that has been delayed several times and also has no multiplayer. That's right. Bethesda is holding off of making a Fallout 4 release date announcement so they can focus their marketing efforts on a rebooted FPS with no multiplayer. Brilliant. Because what successful next-gen FPS games focus on multiplayer? Oh yeah. Only the most award-winning ones.
Then there's the MMO-that-could, Elder Scrolls Online. I managed to play about an hour of ESO at E3 and it was OK. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Elder Scrolls series and have been a fan since Morrowind. So it was fun to play any game set in Tamriel. But the ESO I played mimicked the gameplay of all other fantasy MMOs. It was grindy. And it's hard to take the whole "fate of the world/chosen one" plot seriously when you're surrounded by a host of other noobs who are also putting out barn fires and killing large wasps. Maybe it's changed since then. Maybe not. ESO will be the first MMO on next-gen consoles but will likely be overshadowed by Bungie's Destiny. Bethesda has done legendary work, sure, but so has Bungie. And Bungie's been working on Destiny for nearly a decade whereas Bethesda has been on ESO for about half that. Oh, and ESO is going to cost $15 a month. Destiny will not. Even if ESO is a jaw-dropping, generation-defining game (and I hope that it is) it's part of Bethesda Softworks line-up, not Bethesda Game Studios (the company behind Skyrim and, inevitably, Fallout 4). And I doubt it will be worth the cost of your Hulu, Netflix and PSN/XBL subscriptions combined.
I hate to appear so rant-y but I just can't take this sh-t from Bethesda anymore. Why do they insist on treating fans like idiots? It's like having parents who still insist there's a Santa Claus when you're a teenager. You KNOW the truth but because they control the goods you have to let them control the message. So you have to constantly be spoon-fed nonsense you know isn't true because the end game will inevitably be stuff you want.
Personally, I think the silence on Fallout 4 speaks to how weak these other projects are. If Bethesda is so worried about the mere mention of Fallout 4 overshadowing all excitement for these titles I think it shows a severe lack of confidence in their upcoming line-up. Hell, they're not showing ANYTHING at the VGX awards. Delays are never good. Multiple delays are even worse. And now Pete Hines has to get on Twitter and tell everyone not to get excited about the game that we all know exists and will likely put Bethesda/ZeniMax in the black when these other projects bring home tepid sales and mediocre reviews.
Bethesda needs to wake up and smell the audience. More fans are interested in the Survivor2299 hoax website than ANY of these upcoming releases. And yes, I think the survivor 2299 site is a hoax. The VGX no-show should make that obvious. Bethesda would not pass up the opportunity to announce a game on national TV only to release it on a website four days later. And all of the coded messages and crytographs and other hidden goodies on the site should definitely prove it's not Fallout 4 related because Bethesda apparently cannot find a f-k to give to Fallout 4 fans. They're not going to devote so much time and energy and detail on a site for a game they refuse to even acknowledge. Because, according to Pete Hines at least, the fans don't really matter:
That's right. We MIGHT buy your games. But keep treating us like we're fools for seeing the obvious and delivering lukewarm reboots and pricey MMOs and watch what happens to the fans confidence in your studio. Think a world-class RPG studio can't implode inside of a year? Take a look at BioWare's history and think again. Bethesda Game Studios is getting a little too comfortable in their role as the king of the open-world RPG. Pride comes before the fall, Bethesda. And the fall will start with a hefty shove from this game:
Which, by the way, will be debuting some "remarkable" new gameplay footage at VGX this Saturday ...