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Default Bethesda Softworks - Finding Success Were None Should Be

April 16th, 2013, 03:33
Bethesda's Pete Hines has been interviewed by Destructoid about the reasons why games Dishonored, Skyrim and Fallout 3 were a success as they are contradicting the trend in the gaming industry…..
The game industry tells us many things in order to justify its various activities. Multiplayer is added to so many games because solo experiences are dying. Online passes are needed because used games are killing creativity. Creativity is dead because new intellectual property is too difficult to establish.
Despite these claims, there is much evidence of success to the contrary. Single-player games that sell well, releases that survive without scads of launch day downloadable content, and companies that are doing just fine without having to wage war on the used game market.
In my opinion, Bethesda has been one company that really goes against the grain. As a publisher of what's called "AAA" games, the company has had success with such games as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Fallout 3, and Dishonored — each game bucking "AAA" trends in some way or other.
Why, exactly, is Bethesda able to get away with it?
More information.
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April 16th, 2013, 03:33
Honestly, I'll wager that the biggest reason they still cater to single players is that they are a private company. They don't have the relentless quarterly mandates of Wall Street to contend with like EA or Activision. They can make a game they want to make, make some decent profit on it, and be happy.

Wall Street wants endless growth or else and this forces the bigger guys to constantly try to use new angles to squeeze out every last penny. Most of new tricks are short-sighted and piss off fans, but help meet those quarterly targets.
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April 16th, 2013, 05:40
Single player gaming is probably yet another thing that the industry will "rediscover" at some point.
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April 16th, 2013, 05:54
Is Bethesda that widely considered to "go against the grain"?
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April 16th, 2013, 08:51
Creativity is dead because new intellectual property is too difficult to establish.
It is helped by the conservativeness of players. For a corporation, it is well advised to stick to that tried and tested game designs as players want it that way. Players set out strategies to make sure diversity in gaming is a thing of the past and that as many released games as possible is a type of games that suit their taste.

Bethesda benefits largely from being the only one on the block. Their sales engine is TES games. They set the trend and afford secondary projects to get some room. So it is going to be very interesting to see the impact of the TES online game which this article does not factor in.
When the TES series is gone as well selling games, all the other Bethesda solo games will feel the pain.
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April 16th, 2013, 10:04
Aren't they currently making an MMO? I'm really puzzled, so many nice words about finding success with the old formulae, but in the background we see an MMO emerging.

The fact that they started working on Skyrim in 2006 blew my mind.
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April 16th, 2013, 10:19
Originally Posted by Elel View Post
Aren't they currently making an MMO? I'm really puzzled, so many nice words about finding success with the old formulae, but in the background we see an MMO emerging.

The fact that they started working on Skyrim in 2006 blew my mind.
It's actually a new studio that's part of Bethesada making the MMO. They will continue to make SP games. They saw another market to tap. I read plenty of comments from others who want a Fallout and Elder Scrolls MMO.

I just hope they don't end up like Blizzard letting the MMO success make there egos to big.

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April 16th, 2013, 11:57
I like Bethesdas games, but… How can Bethesda buck AAA trends, when they are themselves such a major corner of the AAA industry???
This article only makes sense if you believe the self-serving bullshit some CEOs put out on E3 about "social" and "online" and "casual" being the one and only trend, but not if you look at the actual market.
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April 16th, 2013, 12:24
Originally Posted by TimtheTaxMan View Post
Honestly, I'll wager that the biggest reason they still cater to single players is that they are a private company. They don't have the relentless quarterly mandates of Wall Street to contend with like EA or Activision. They can make a game they want to make, make some decent profit on it, and be happy.
I agree mostly. Yes, this could be the key.

Having to give "Partners" consantly a share also can run companies dry.

Of

- money
- creativity
- ideas
- honesty
- consumer-orientation.

Companies which follow this scheme are

- "Wall Street oriented"
- oriented towards conveying money from the customers to(wards) the shareholders
- oriented away from the customers and towards the "Money-machinery" in general
- oriented towards money in the end.

In Capitalism , where "Ultimate Grows" is the ultimate goal, ideas and invention have no place - except when they can be exploited towards even more money growth (that's why there do exist those "Patent Trolls").

Honesty also has no place there - because you can't buy money for Honesty, so to say.

And that's imho why shareholder companies treat customers the worse , the more money-oriented they are : Everything that does NOT contribute to "money growth" is simply considered

either a

- factor of cost
- a "non-contributing factor"

but in the end both is the same.

Which once again reminds me of the Nazis : They considered handicapped people

either as

- factors of cost
- "non-contributing factors"

and therefore decided to "eliminate" them. Elimination of human people who did - in their eyes - do nothing but evoke costs.

Pure Capitalism is - at least in my eyes - similar : Everything that evokes cost or does not contribute to the "Money Growth" scheme simply gets eliminated.

Which - in my eyes - makes both "Philosophies" be at least "brothers".

In fact, the early Nazi "Philosophies" were in fact heavily influenced by the so-called "Ordoliberalism" : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordoliberalism

Unfortunately not translated yet : http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Hunke

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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April 16th, 2013, 12:25
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
I like Bethesdas games, but… How can Bethesda buck AAA trends, when they are themselves such a major corner of the AAA industry???
Because they managed to press the "sweet spot" of gamers ?

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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April 16th, 2013, 13:10
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
I agree mostly. Yes, this could be the key.

Having to give "Partners" consantly a share also can run companies dry.

Of

- money
- creativity
- ideas
- honesty
- consumer-orientation.

Companies which follow this scheme are

- "Wall Street oriented"
- oriented towards conveying money from the customers to(wards) the shareholders
- oriented away from the customers and towards the "Money-machinery" in general
- oriented towards money in the end.

In Capitalism , where "Ultimate Grows" is the ultimate goal, ideas and invention have no place - except when they can be exploited towards even more money growth (that's why there do exist those "Patent Trolls").

Honesty also has no place there - because you can't buy money for Honesty, so to say.

And that's imho why shareholder companies treat customers the worse , the more money-oriented they are : Everything that does NOT contribute to "money growth" is simply considered

either a

- factor of cost
- a "non-contributing factor"

but in the end both is the same.

Which once again reminds me of the Nazis : They considered handicapped people

either as

- factors of cost
- "non-contributing factors"

and therefore decided to "eliminate" them. Elimination of human people who did - in their eyes - do nothing but evoke costs.

Pure Capitalism is - at least in my eyes - similar : Everything that evokes cost or does not contribute to the "Money Growth" scheme simply gets eliminated.

Which - in my eyes - makes both "Philosophies" be at least "brothers".

In fact, the early Nazi "Philosophies" were in fact heavily influenced by the so-called "Ordoliberalism" : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordoliberalism

Unfortunately not translated yet : http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Hunke
Totally agree. Guaranteed growth is the ultimate aim, no 'hows' or 'whys' or where the money is coming from - similar to banks and financial businesses that guarantee a fixed interest on your money without anyone asking where the money is coming from and at what expense. And if you can not keep up with this growth 'culture' then you are and should be out.
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April 16th, 2013, 13:36
Given how Skyrim pretty much hit bulls eye for me, I actually agree with Hines. Skyrim focused on everything EA, Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard and so on claims is not going to work: A single player experience that doesn't include either awesome buttons, social aspects or multiplayer gaming.

Hopefully FO4 and/or ES6 is in the works.
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April 16th, 2013, 13:39
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
I like Bethesdas games, but… How can Bethesda buck AAA trends, when they are themselves such a major corner of the AAA industry???
This article only makes sense if you believe the self-serving bullshit some CEOs put out on E3 about "social" and "online" and "casual" being the one and only trend, but not if you look at the actual market.
Actually there are far more social, casual, and online games coming out then anything else and when it comes to mmorpgs there is a staggering amount of f2p mmorpgs coming out all of the time which well surpasses most other types of games.
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April 16th, 2013, 13:59
Well, on the one hand - Bethesda ARE bucking trends by going not only singleplayer only with TES, but also by making them relatively complex and intricate, albeit with a very casual normal difficulty level.

On the other hand, they're not exactly what I would call old-school or in any way hardcore games. I know they like to present TES/FO3 as such - but that's just not true. They're a lot more accessible and casual-friendly than RPGs used to be.

Also, I think games like The Witcher 2 and Deux Ex:HR are significantly more hardcore and old-school overall, but they're obviously not getting the same attention because of the difference in units sold.

Skyrim sold around 13 million copies or something so far, which is absolutely ridiculous.

That said, the game is just wonderful - especially when combined with mods. I'm very happy they've achieved this level of success - though I hope they're not deluding themselves too much about WHY that's the case.
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April 16th, 2013, 16:48
I believe him when he says that there is an attitude in the industry that single player games are dead. But I don't understand it. Books didn't go away because the motion picture was invented. They are two different forms of entertainment, both can co-exist.

If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?
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April 17th, 2013, 08:46
Originally Posted by TimtheTaxMan View Post
Honestly, I'll wager that the biggest reason they still cater to single players is that they are a private company.
To my knowledge, video games companies are private company. I know none that is not a private company. Might exist but they are certainly not the majority.

There are several factors behind the resiliency of Bethesda projects.One is that the team behind TES carries over the dream of a game. As long as the core that wants their dream of a game to come true will gain success, they will be given room to keep running after their dream.
It must be reminded they work against part of the players who have been pressing them to turn TES games into 2p "cooperative" games. Despite the explicit gaming terms of the TES series.

If ever the TES success series falters, then all those players will be given more weight. It has very little to do with shareholders etc Much more with players who want all games to be played as games they taste. No matter how many games that fit their tastes exist, they always want more of the same.

There are also probably fights for influence within Bethesda and some from within will take the opportunity of providing features that are definitively not TES like in order to gain more power.

The situation is fragile.
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April 17th, 2013, 09:10
Originally Posted by TheMadGamer View Post
I believe him when he says that there is an attitude in the industry that single player games are dead.
There is single player gaming and single player gaming.

SP gameplay is far from being gone as most MMOs carry a SP gameplay as their backbone.

Some examples related to TES series.

Example 1: One player mode.
The player enters a room, searches a coffer, finds a weapon better than his current. He is over carrying capacity. So he takes the new weapon, droppes the old on the ground and moves away.

Example 2: Two players mode.
The players enter a room, one searches a coffer, finds a weapon better than his current. He is over carrying capacity. So he takes the new weapon, droppes the old on the ground. The second examines the weapon dropped on the floor, sees it is better than his current, takes and equips it. They move away.

Example 3: Two players mode.
One player enters a room, searches a coffer, finds a weapon better than his current. He is over carrying capacity. So he takes the new weapon, droppes the old on the ground and moves away.
The second player enters the room, sees the weapon dropped on the floor, examines it and it is better than his current, takes and equips it. He moves away.

Usually, example 2 is enough for the industry and players to cast the cooperative word.
When all examples show that the gameplay is SP gameplay. There is no game mechanic inducing cooperation, only some by products of a single player gameplay.

Example 4: Two players mode.
The players enter a room, one searches a coffer, finds a weapon better than his current. He is over carrying capacity. So he takes the new weapon, droppes the old on the ground. The second backstabs him, searches his corpse for the better weapon and equips it. He moves away.

If online games brought in cooperative gaming, I would probably play them. At the moment, they are built around a SP gameplay backbone. So SP gameplay is here to stay.

The difference lies in what to do with the resources: you can allocate them to developp a top SP gameplay or allocate them to peddle an average SP gameplay sprinkled with social features provided by a team of consumption habits sociologists, psychologists etc
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