Games Inbox: What’s next for Fallout and Bethesda?

The Monday Inbox discusses its favourite live service games, from Waframe to The Division 2, as one reader goes on a free Switch demo binge.

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Let someone else have a go

Every time I read a bad story about Bethesda I think (hope) things are being exaggerated and then I find out that if anything they’re worse. Why on earth would you launch something like Fallout 1st unless you were 100% certain it worked and wasn’t going to cause you more harm than good? No one knew it was coming, so it wouldn’t have counted as a delay and it’s not a tie-in to anything so it’s not got to make a certain date.

Instead they just bash it whenever and try and pick up the pieces later, before scooping up even more terrible press for themselves. I’m really beginning to worry about Bethesda. They haven’t had a bit hit in ages and I don’t think Doom Eternal is going to be that big or anything. They need Elder Scrolls VI and Fallout 5 but I don’t see that happening for years.

They’re getting humiliated out there and if they though Fallout 76 was going to tide them over they’re sorely mistaken. They desperately need to farm out a Fallout spin-off to someone else to gain some fan Brownie points. My suggestion? Get Larian Studios (Divinity: Original Sin) to do an old school isometric sequel and get MachineGames (Wolfenstein) to do a more straight action shooter spin-off.

People who can make good games, do decent graphics, and aren’t known for bugs. It doesn’t have to be those two obviously (although Bethesda owns MachineGames), but they need new, good games out quickly and I’m beginning to think Bethesda themselves haven’t got it in them next?


Good service

I bought The Division 2 in the recent sale and have been enjoying it. As background, I spent a couple of years playing Destiny before becoming tired of the focus on group play. I managed a few raids with random LFG groups and sometimes enjoyed it, but I tended to prefer matchmade activities where communication isn’t necessary. Gradually, it became clear (I’m often slow on the uptake) that my way of playing wasn’t the focus of the developers; the way certain guns, etc. were locked for solo play being a good example. The focus on loot boxes and the way experience was being hobbled also played a role in my disaffection.

Fortunately, a random post on the Destiny forums led me to Warframe and that game has been (and is) perfect for my way of playing. The game is free to play but open about the option to pay money to shorten the grind, and it has a complexity – optional to a certain point – which satisfies my love of loot and learning and progression. There is also the option of matchmaking for all but certain quest missions, which have to be played solo, and the mod system allows a massive amount of ways to play. The developers also seem genuinely engaged with the community, rather than just paying lip service.

Even in a game as vast as Warframe you can have times when you feel you have done most things, or just need a break, and that is why I mentioned The Division 2 in the first sentence and then shamefully ignored it. I’ve only been playing for a short time but it has been very refreshing, the loot loop is well judged and the choice of skills makes solo play very doable.

It’s a major change from Warframe which emphasises fast movement, but I’m gradually getting the feel for the cover system and perhaps most importantly for my long-term enjoyment it seems that all gear is available through all activities. It’s very frustrating to see, in other games, people with gear which is only available if you spend time in an activity you hate.

Anyway, sorry for rambling, The Division 2, and Warframe obviously, are good.

GC: We’ve never heard anything but positive things about Warframe, it seems to be many people’s favourite games as a service title.


Unethical conduct

In response to the letter from Dirtystopout from Friday’s Inbox I’d say that for me there is a big difference between microtransactions and loot boxes.

Personally, I don’t purchase either, as they’re not something I want to encourage, but at least with microtransactions you know how much you’ll be paying and what you’re getting for your money. Loot boxes on the other hand are quite simply a form of gambling and as such should never be allowed in games unless they’re rated 18.

As the letter pointed out, relying on our government to do anything about it is unlikely, but they go beyond simply being a business practice and into altogether more seedy territory.

GC: We agree. Even for 18-rated games we can’t stand them. They prey upon those with addictive personalities just as much as they do kids, which really is an appalling way to run a business.


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Small print

So after keeping an eye on it and then reading GameCentral’s review I decided to purchase The Outer Worlds.

And although I’ve only played a small part of the game so far it has been very enjoyable.

But there is one problem that I’m totally struggling with. Now, I should mention before I go any further that I’m very much a middle-aged man. And as a result don’t have fighter pilot eyesight, although I’m not sure I ever did.

So my problem is the in-game dialogue is so small it’s a real struggle to read. I’m playing on a PlayStation 4 with a somewhat old but still fully functional television set.

So my spoken dialogue options when in conversations are only just about readable but it’s a strain. But anything on computer screens in game is impossibly small.

Will there be patch or update to address this in the future?

I want to get on board with Spacer’s Choice but it would be helpful to see what I’m doing.
Johnny five stars


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