While it’s in a much better place today, the online-focused Fallout 76 did not have the most successful of launches back in 2018. Designer Bruce Nesmith, who has since left the company, said in an interview with MinnMax that Bethesda believed itself to be “infallible” at the time given the track record of the company’s past games and wasn’t as “focused” as it should have been
“Fallout 76 was one that I definitely struggled with. I think the company’s aim was not as focused as it probably should have been,” Nesmith said. “And you can see the result in that in the way it entered into the marketplace. To a certain extent, our own hubris caught up with us.”
“We had so many–not just successes, but literal game of the years–industry-wide accepted game of the years–not just in our own heads or in these two little magazines over there,” he added. “But everybody is saying this is the game of the year. We started to talk ourselves into the fact of we were infallible–that there was nothing we couldn’t do. Clearly, that was wrong.”
Nesmith went on to say that although Bethesda higher-ups kept pushing studio director Todd Howard to add multiplayer and online elements to its games, the idea to make Fallout 76 an online game actually came from the fans who were asking for it.
Nesmith said Bethesda higher-ups would ask Howard to add multiplayer to its games every year, and every year, Howard would tell them “that’s a bad idea.” Eventually, though, the pressure from players to add multiplayer was “so high that Todd wanted to do it, too,” Nesmith said.
The idea, then, became to make a Fallout game and “all we have to do is add multiplayer.” In reality, though, this proved to be much more difficult than the team originally envisioned, and Fallout 76 had a troubled launch. Over time, though, Bethesda added to and improved upon Fallout 76 to get it a place today where the company calls it a success.
The newest game from Bethesda Game Studios is Starfield, and while it enjoyed generally positive reviews from critics and 11 million players so far, it’s also the lowest-rated BGS game ever on Steam. Starfield does not have multiplayer support.
2023 marks the fifth anniversary of Fallout 76, and Bethesda is celebrating with, among other things, a Halloween event called Spooky Scorched that’s running now through November 7.
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