The Fallout Development Cycle: Is Bifurcated Best?

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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The Fallout Development Cycle: Is Bifurcated Best?

Recently I saw a video online from a gent named Mr. Matty. His channel, Mr. Matty Plays, advanced the notion that maybe Bethesda should stop developing Fallout games. While he wasn't exactly in favor of this notion, I found some value in it...if only on a limited basis.

Stick with me on this one, folks, because it's kind of a doozy. There's one thing I've noticed about the most recent round of Fallout game development. We had Bethesda handling Fallout 3, and it was a great time. Obsidian stepped in for Fallout: New Vegas and that turned out to be a beauty. Now, Bethesda came back for Fallout 4, and it was a fantastic piece as well. So what if the next Fallout game isn't Bethesda's...but rather Obsidian's? We have a nifty little pattern going here; Fallout 3 was in the Capital Wasteland of Washington D.C., while Fallout: New Vegas shifted to the Mojave Wasteland. Fallout 4, meanwhile, came back to the Commonwealth. See how that's working out? East Coast, West Coast, East Coast...so what if the next one is West Coast?

This is a development that could work out very well for all concerned. Bethesda can hand over the reins to Obsidian while it works on the next Elder Scrolls game or the like, and Fallout fans can get a game a little more often than every eight years, which is about how long it would have taken had it not been for Fallout: New Vegas. With reports of Bethesda expanding, it could be a help to step up the development cycles on Fallout and Elder Scrolls titles, but it's going to take a while to get this studio up to speed. With reports of Bethesda considering a new intellectual property on top of it all, meanwhile, it may be that Bethesda isn't planning to step up developments on its pair of flagship titles and instead branch out, which isn't the greatest news for those who were hoping for a little faster development time for those titles.

This is why the bifurcated development process might work out better than expected. With a company that's already done the job right--Fallout: New Vegas was objectively excellent, and only suffers in comparison to titles just like it if at all--in on the action, Obsidian can take some heat off Bethesda and keep the games flowing at the level of quality most desired. That's the best of both worlds; rapid development without sacrificed quality. Plus, we get a look at two sides of the Fallout mythos at once: the East Coast and the West Coast. We've got a lot of unanswered questions, and we can work our way into the heartland from there. For instance, what's the deal with Ronto? The Erie Stretch? What's going on since New Vegas became separate, if it did? How about Caesar's Legion? The Pitt? Even the Capital Wasteland? With some reports suggesting that Louisiana may be a target for future operations, we've got a lot to talk about, and that's assuming we don't go outside the United States.

Separating some of the development, meanwhile, could give us the look we crave at one of the biggest, most exciting new games in some time.


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