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  1. #1
    Activated Node sonicblastoise's Avatar
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    Is Bethesda/Zenimax not the monster that gamers think it is?

    Okay, so I was reading this article and subsequently this article and the rusted wheels in my banana-eating-monkey-powered brain began to turn as though spun by some otherworldly, necromantic force.

    Bethesda has a pretty crappy reputation amongst "veteran" PC gamers, especially those that have followed its rise to power. They've come to resent its success, its size, and its ubiquitous presence. Personally, I'm inclined to agree (especially after what they did with the Fallout license, since I loved that franchise in its original form), but those aforementioned articles have made me question my beliefs.

    Objectively considering Bethesda's history, they're a poster child for independently developed and marketed success. They started small, focused, and passionate, and grew their brand and their IPs into blockbusters that span across all gaming platforms. During that time they also fostered the creation of new IPs and revived old fan favorites (even if they did alter them a bit), most likely saving quite a few talented individuals from losing jobs or even entire studios from folding. Even in the current time, they support their acquired studios despite mediocre critical reception and lackluster sales. And now, with the coming release of Arkane's Dishonoured, they've facilitated the convergence of a number of great talents into what looks to be a promising novel idea.

    Do they truly deserve the bad rap they have among the community? Maybe I'm overstating the negativity, but I've seen it myself very strongly. In forums, in the discussions among my friends, even in the independent media (bloggers, vloggers, etc.), Bethesda seems like the "bad guy"; like just another Activision or EA, perhaps to a lesser extent.

    Do they really deserve it? I guess I'm just asking because I want to like Dishonoured and I want to be able to say I'm supporting something that's quality and helpful to both consumers and developers. I don't have all the info, and I'd just like to hear some of your guys' opinions, if there are any.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Lesser Hivemind Node Harlander's Avatar
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    One point that always, to me, speaks in Bethesda's favour is their strong support for modding functionality in their games. Also, I don't hate Fallout 3, so there's that.

    It occurs to me that I really don't know a whole lot about Bethesda/Zenimax other than their games...

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    They don't have Evil plastered above there logo like Activision do, or under the carpet like EA is. I quite like them and they did make 2 of my most favourite games ever Morrowind and Fallout 3. So I would give them the benefit of the doubt to be honest, unless of course it turned out they were secretly killing puppies or something.

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tikey's Avatar
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    What about the whole legal thing with interplay? That seemed evil enough :P

  5. #5
    Activated Node Edawan's Avatar
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    What ? I've never seen them as evil. o_O
    I admit that I wasn't aware of them until around Oblivion, but since then they've seemed like good guys. They've bought some independent studios but they seem to let them happily do their work.
    And they're not renaming the studios they buy. Like, they haven't renamed iD into Bethesda Texas. XD

  6. #6
    Activated Node sonicblastoise's Avatar
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    True. I guess I just had a really bad taste in my mouth after the whole Interplay thing, and how they really drilled them into the ground for the fallout license. I was a member of the No-Mutants-Allowed community (notorious for being both outspoken and highly inflammatory) and there was just so much negativity swirling around the names of Emil Pagliarulo, Todd Howard, and Pete Hines.

    I guess I was just caught a bit off-guard by this extremely disarming and reasonable interview. I was expecting it to be riddled with featurespeak and marketing BS. And lots of rationalizations. It just sounds like they're a large corporation who operates like a small one.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus SirKicksalot's Avatar
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    Bethesda has a habit of shipping unfinished games.
    Since 2005:
    - Call of Cthulhu: shipped unfinished, the developer had a dispute regarding money and publishing rights with Bethesda, and eventually the studio went bankrupt.

    - Star Trek: Legacy: on paper the perfect Star Trek game, released at the franchise's 40th anniversary. Developed by Mad Doc, which until that point were the very definition of solid. The game ships unfinished, is a total bomba. Later Mad Doc desperately shat out Empire Earth 3, which they quickly disowned and then they were bought by Rockstar.

    - Rogue Warrior: starts as an ambitious coop shooter with randomized maps. But then Bethesda decides it doesn't like the direction, cancels the contract with the dev and hires Rebellion to remake it in line with the company's preferences. At least Rebellion had the brilliant idea to have Mickey Rourke spout one-liners every 30 seconds and rap on the credits, because their rush job was a disaster of biblical proportions.

    - Brink: brilliant concept, ships unfinished, two months later nobody plays it.

    - Hunted: basically the same as Brink, but it should be noted that it incorporates some ideas from the original version of Rogue Warrior.

    Their internal games have problems too, and not all of them because they're open world... They simply lack talent and make strange cost-cutting decisions.
    I doubt they'll fuck with id, they're the crown jewel of the company and give them huge exposure with QuakeCon. Who knows though?

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    brilliant concept, ships unfinished
    Actually I'm going to refute that, I don't think it was shipped unfinished. I think they finished it and made the game they wanted(except for maybe a few bugs here and there) i just think the design wasn't what people were really looking for. Though most people didn't really give that game a chance.

  9. #9
    Lesser Hivemind Node Oak's Avatar
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    He might be referring to its buggy state at release.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirKicksalot View Post
    - Brink: brilliant concept, ships unfinished, two months later nobody plays it.
    It's no Deus Ex for sure.

  11. #11
    Activated Node sonicblastoise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirKicksalot View Post
    Bethesda has a habit of shipping unfinished games.
    Since 2005:
    - Call of Cthulhu: shipped unfinished, the developer had a dispute regarding money and publishing rights with Bethesda, and eventually the studio went bankrupt.

    - Star Trek: Legacy: on paper the perfect Star Trek game, released at the franchise's 40th anniversary. Developed by Mad Doc, which until that point were the very definition of solid. The game ships unfinished, is a total bomba. Later Mad Doc desperately shat out Empire Earth 3, which they quickly disowned and then they were bought by Rockstar.

    - Rogue Warrior: starts as an ambitious coop shooter with randomized maps. But then Bethesda decides it doesn't like the direction, cancels the contract with the dev and hires Rebellion to remake it in line with the company's preferences. At least Rebellion had the brilliant idea to have Mickey Rourke spout one-liners every 30 seconds and rap on the credits, because their rush job was a disaster of biblical proportions.

    - Brink: brilliant concept, ships unfinished, two months later nobody plays it.

    - Hunted: basically the same as Brink, but it should be noted that it incorporates some ideas from the original version of Rogue Warrior.

    Their internal games have problems too, and not all of them because they're open world... They simply lack talent and make strange cost-cutting decisions.
    I doubt they'll fuck with id, they're the crown jewel of the company and give them huge exposure with QuakeCon. Who knows though?
    Ah yes, this is the kind of info I'm looking for. I was only familiar with they way they handled the Fallout License, but I didn't really have any knowledge of their past blunders. Thanks. I'll look into this a bit more.

    And I'm totally keeping one Mad Eye Moody on Rage. Bethesda. Don't Fuck With That Game

  12. #12
    Lesser Hivemind Node Flint's Avatar
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    I wouldn't say they're evil but, at least in my eyes, as a developer they're a bit... awkward. They're a studio that have found a fairly good corner for themselves (big open world RPG thingies) but game from game again they keep the exact same flaws as the last one, almost as if they're too stubborn to believe that they might have some wonks in the system (although, it is to be noted, that seeing as so many people hail their games are amazing it's probably just issues in my view rather than any general, objective plonkers).

    Pretty much the reason why I can't get excited over Skyrim just yet.

    Their intensive mod support is rather honourable though.
    Give me steam and how you feel to make it real.

  13. #13
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    Fundamentally as publisher their only real problem is that that they don't good a particularly good job at ensuring there is a consistent level in terms of QA across the board. Instead they seem to allow the developers themselves to do that and there in lies the problem. When a Development studio has been working on a project for X number of years they suffer the flaw of not being able to see the wood for the trees at times through a lack of separation from the product. The recent Witcher 2 discussion on the main site demonstrates how developer blindsidedness can detrimentally effect a product (CD Projekt basically didn't build a robust rounded tutorial into their game at all, which is a madness in a way given how much an intimate knowledge of all The Witchers abilities are to the game). Zenimax need their own separate QA team in place if they ever hope to achieve a level of consistency in terms of product.
    Last edited by Kadayi; 23-07-2011 at 01:01 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flint View Post
    They're a studio that have found a fairly good corner for themselves (big open world RPG thingies) but game from game again they keep the exact same flaws as the last one, almost as if they're too stubborn to believe that they might have some wonks in the system (although, it is to be noted, that seeing as so many people hail their games are amazing it's probably just issues in my view rather than any general, objective plonkers).
    Well that's the thing. They're a privately owned company just like Valve or Stardock; they can afford to make the games they want without needing to worry about chasing profits. In fact I'm not even sure if games are the main income of Zenimax. It's not so much that they're stubborn, they simply have no need or desire to alter their games to appeal to anyone else.

    I'd disagree with them having a bad reputation. Like the above mentioned companies, the games are generally marmite - either you like them or you don't. If you're in the former camp you tend to be a fairly loyal fan, if in the latter you tend simply not to care. Don't confuse the ranting of the AIM tards for being any kind of voice for veteran gamers, sanity or indeed anything else; they're little more than emotionally stunted attention whores who like to moan about whatever is popular in the vain hope someone might actually give a damn. Conflating them with gamers is quite frankly insulting.

  15. #15
    Network Hub Kablooie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sonicblastoise View Post
    I was a member of the No-Mutants-Allowed community
    Ah, that explains things.

    I never saw extraordinary hatred directed at Bethesda until I visited the site.
    Last edited by Kablooie; 25-07-2011 at 05:00 AM.
    "Unix is user friendly. It's just selective about who its friends are.

  16. #16
    Activated Node sonicblastoise's Avatar
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    Yeah. Those guys, while mostly well-meaning, were really, really vitriolic, bordering on violent, when it came to talking about how Bethesda was "raping their franchise". To be honest, I sometimes felt that way too, but they did cover it better than any other site I knew of at the time. They even had one of their mods go and meet with Pete Hines for a personal interview.

    Nowadays NMA has pretty much solidified into a pure ball of hate. I never go anymore. It's quite sad.

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