Bethesda Needs to Learn to Let Go and Let Obsidian, Or Anyone Else

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Bethesda Needs to Learn to Let Go and Let Obsidian, Or Anyone Else

Recently, Bethesda's own Pete Hines took to Twitter and dashed a lot of hopes. He noted two key points: one, that the Elder Scrolls VI is not in development, and that Bethesda is "not a vending machine." These points together are bad enough, and the wider look doesn't help matters either.

Essentially, Hines noted that the next big Bethesda game was not in development, at least not at the moment. Naturally, the company plans to "make it eventually," and that's at least something like good news.  It could be that the project's in a state known as pre-production, where development begins ahead of actual production.

Hines went on to note that "This studio is not a vending machine," noting that the crew involved had already made four games that won Game of the Year status, and thus had "...a right to decide what they're interested in working on next and which direction they want to go."

Noble enough by any measure, but not exactly the best from a marketing standpoint. We know from previous news that Bethesda has a couple projects in mind, including at least one thing that's completely different from earlier releases, including what may be one project set in outer space.

Here's the big problem: Hines is exactly right, and that may do more damage to the company than anything else. The studio isn't a two-button vending machine. It does have a right to stretch its legs, creatively speaking, and step into other concepts. But this is also a company that's taking way too long to produce versions of its biggest two franchises as it is. Fallout 3, for example, hit in 2008. New Vegas followed up in 2010. Fallout 4 hit in 2015. If it hadn't been for Obsidian, it would have been seven years between Fallout titles. By comparison, Morrowind came out in 2002, Oblivion in 2006, and Skyrim in 2011. Four to five years between versions on that one, and from a marketing standpoint, bad news.

The good news is that this is comparatively fixable. Bethesda really does have the right to branch out. But what it must realize is that it's got a crowd of loyal fans waiting for this material, and it needs to bring out the material more rapidly than it is. It's got to sublet some of this development. It worked perfectly well for New Vegas--some believe New Vegas was the best in the series--and it can work just as well with Elder Scrolls too. That opens up development for other titles, allows the leg-stretching, and now doesn't keep the fanbase waiting for percentages of decades.

If Bethesda can learn to let go and let Obsidian--or anyone else for that matter--then it can not only allow for the necessary creative leg stretching, but it can also keep making the good stuff that we've all come to love.

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