News
Episode
88

FALLOUT 76 launch failed due to Bethesda’s hubris, says former designer

Dino shooter Second Extinction pulled from shelves and Annapurna Interactive announces a Switch game containing 12 major titles

NEWS THIS WEEK

RELEASE RADAR

  • MY TIME AT SANDROCK - 2 November 2023 - Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series 
  • ROBOCOP: ROGUE CITY - 2 November 2023 - PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S|X
  • THIRSTY SUITORS - 2 November 2023 - PC, PlayStation 4|5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, Switch
  • THE TALOS PRINCIPLE 2 - 2 November 2023 - PC, PlayStation 4|5, Xbox Series S|X
  • WARIOWARE: MOVE IT! - 3 November 2023 - Switch

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SIFTER is produced by Kyle Pauletto, Fiona Bartholomaeus, Daniel Ang, Adam Christou and Chris Button. Mitch Loh is Senior Producer and Gianni Di Giovanni is our Executive Producer. Thanks to Audio Technica Australia for their support of SIFTER.

TRANSCRIPT

FIONA: Hi I’m Fiona Bartholomaeus

KYLE: and I’m Kyle Pauletto

FIONA: Welcome to Walkthrough, SIFTER’s weekly recap on the biggest news in video games. 

KYLE: Bethesda thought they were invincible before the launch of Fallout 76 according to Skyrim lead designer, Second Extinction is no more after developers stop support, and find out the real reason why that King Kong game wasn’t any good. 

Here is the news for Sunday 29th of October. Let’s go!

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PROMO: Join the SIFTER community on Discord at sifter.com.au/discord

FIONA: Do you remember the launch of Fallout 76? 

It’s fair, maybe even understating it to say that it didn’t quite live up to Bethesda’s expectations. 

Well up until then, according to a former design director, the company thought it was infallible.

Bruce Nesmith, who was a quest designer on Fallout 3, 4 and 76, as well as lead design on The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim and senior designer on Starfield, revealed in an interview that their hubris caught up to them.

AUDIO - “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 and you could see the result in that and the way it entered into the marketplace. To a certain extent, our own hubris caught up with us. You know, we'd 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, but like everybody's saying, this is the game of the year. You know, we started to talk ourselves into the fact of, you know, we were infallible. You know, there was nothing we couldn't do and clearly that's wrong. It wasn't actually the higher ups. They had been pushing for multiplayer for a long time and Todd kept telling them that's a bad idea and so they backed down right away. They said, “okay, we trust you, we trust you”. But at some point, the pressure from our players that they wanted a multiplayer experience got to be so high that Todd wanted to do it too. And so it was like, you know, “it's going to be the same Fallout all we have to do is add multiplayer”.

And with those words, we started down a path that was not as successful as we had before because it's not just adding multiplayer. It turned out it was adding so, so, so, so much more.”

KYLE: Fallout 76 came about after players asked for a multiplayer game, but having not created a multiplayer game before, that process was completely different to the large scale single player experiences they’ve been known for. 

Since its launch in 2018 the game has had a bit of a resurgence among fans with the help of updates and expansions but it definitely took a fair amount of time to get there. 

There are heaps of interesting other tidbits in this MinnMaxx interview, we’ll link that in the show notes. 

FIONA: And speaking of Fallout the Amazon TV Series adaptation has a release date, you’ll be able to find out if war, war ever changes when it arrives on Amazon Prime on the 12th of April. 

KYLE: There is a good cast and creative team on board, Wally Goggins from Justified, Twin Peaks star Kyle MacLachlan, and Ella Purnell from the more recent hit Yellowjackets.

Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy who brought the modern Westworld series to life will produce and develop, so I’m optimistic this will go the way of The Boys and The Wheel of Time, rather than Rings of Power. 

— 

KYLE: Developers of the dinosaur first person shooter, Second Extinction, have pulled the plug after three years in early access.

The team at Systemic Reaction announced that they were ending development of the game after it didn’t achieve the success that they had hoped. 

FIONA: Second Extinction’s average concurrent player count only pushed above 200 people when the early access launched in 2020 but even with the introduction of crossplay and a horde mode in 2021, numbers never improved.

The game has now been removed from sale but they have said that the servers will remain active until sometime in 2024 but they will let their players know well in advance for when the servers close.

— 

FIONA: If you’re a fan of Annapurna Interactive, get ready as they’ve just announced a limited edition Switch game that will contain some of its major titles.

Working with video game collectibles company iam8bit, the Deluxe Limited Edition Collection will set you back $200 USD, so pretty pricey.

However you’ll be getting 12 games on that single cartridge including Donut County, Neon White, I am Dread, Sayonara Wild Hearts, The Pathless and more, plus the game will also come with an art book with statements from each game’s creative leads.

KYLE: Since the studio formed in 2016, it’s had hit after hit with its games, and I think it’s really cool to see a studio do something special like this for its fans.

— 

KYLE: Do you remember last week when we said there was probably a good reason why that new King Kong game wasn’t any good? 

Skull Island: Rise of Kong launched and was critically panned, but the developers working on the title were given just one year to get it from start to finish, which if you know anything about games, that’s basically not possible. 

IguanaBee, the indie studio tasked with making this game, spoke to a reporter at the Verge anonymously and said deadlines, and a lack of information made it nearly impossible. 

FIONA: While publisher GameMill Entertainment was funding the project, the money allocated to the game wasn’t enough to keep all the more experienced developers around, which meant the team was frustrated and burnt out by the end. 

It’s a timely reminder that it’s super easy to pile on when a game like this gets released but there is almost always a reason why these things happen. 

We’ve put a link to the full story in the shownotes. 

— 

FIONA: And Ubisoft’s Pirate game Skull and Bones has been delayed again, it’ll hopefully maybe eventually arrive between January and March 2024.

KYLE: The game was supposed to launch in late 2018 but has been hit with delay after delay. 

I just hope that the time is enough for the team at Ubisoft Singapore to get it to a good state. 

— 

KYLE: That’s it for the big headlines, here’s what’s coming out over the next week, with a lot of big games out on Thursday

FIONA: Out on the 2nd is the latest cosy game to soothe our tired bones. In My Time at Sandrock you’ll be tasked with rebuilding your workshop to save a post-apocalyptic desert town. Dive into ruins, befriend locals, engage in dynamic battles, and uncover secrets on Switch, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series S and X this Thursday.

KYLE: Also out Thursday is a game I think could be a lot of fun, RoboCop Rogue City. Take control of the iconic law enforcer in this first-person shooter set in Old Detroit. With Peter Weller reprising his role, Rogue City looks to be capturing the aesthetic of the original film and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. That’s coming to PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series S and X on the 2nd.

FIONA: Thirsty Suitors is a game where you skateboard and battle your exes in turn based battles, all while trying to live up the expectations of your South Asian family. This looks great and it looks like Scott Pilgrim with a bit of the migrant experience thrown in. Check it out on everything on the 2nd.

KYLE: The Talos Principle is the sequel to the metaphysical puzzler as you move your robotic self through ancient greek and scifi architecture, this is definitely a game you should check out if you’re into things like Portal. Get that brain working when it comes to PC Playstation and Xbox also on Thursday the 2nd. 

FIONA: Dropping on the 3rd is WarioWare: Move It! Dive back into the world of wacky microgames with over 200 dynamic challenges to take on solo or with local co-op. There is nothing quite like this series if you want to see some of the best mini game designs around. Pick it up this Friday exclusive to Switch.

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PROMO: Articles to read, videos to watch and podcasts to listen to on sifter.com.au

— 

FIONA: This has been Walkthrough by SIFTER, my name is Fiona Bartholomaeus

KYLE: And my name is Kyle Pauletto. Thank you so much for listening. 

FIONA: Walkthrough is our recap of the news but if you want to catch up on all of SIFTER’s stories we’ve got a fancy newsletter. It’s an easy way to make sure you don’t miss any of our interviews or reviews and it’s out every fortnight. Head to sifter.com.au/newsletter to subscribe, that’s sifter.com.au/newsletter

KYLE: SIFTER is produced by myself, Fiona Bartholomaeus, Adam Christou, Daniel Ang and Chris Button. Mitch Loh is Senior Producer who edited this episode, and Gianni Di Giovanni is the Walkthrough script editor, SIFTER’s executive producer and generally a ripper bloke. 

FIONA: Thanks to Brian Fairbanks from Salty Dog Sounds for composing the Walkthrough theme tune and Audio Technica Australia for their support of SIFTER’s podcasts.

KYLE: Thanks again for listening, we’ll be back with more news next Sunday.

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Neon White

PC
SWITCH
Developer:
Ben Esposito, Angel Matrix
Publisher:
Annapurna Interactive
Release Date:
June 16, 2022
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