Service up

How amazing is Bethesda and Fallout? Right?! They wait and wait to reveal the fact that Fallout 4 is due out within mere months of it’s announcement. Then they start posting all kinds of info and videos, new merch and then things like this:

This is just amazing. It’s so simple too. Anyone who is worth their salt when it comes to videogames, and especially RPGs made by Bethesda, knows how the basic mechanics work. Strength is a given. But here’s a company who says “Let’s do something fun, anyway”. And they have succeeded on a grand scale.

Little promotional videos like this really resonate with me. Not just because they’re fun and funny. And not because it shows it’s a company that actually cares about their IPs. It resonates with me because it’s both of those things, but set in the world of their games, making it something that is actually relevant. And it’s not like today’s movie trailers where every cool plot point, or potential game changers, is run through the trailer – thus eliminating the reason to actually go see it. Seeing this or missing out doesn’t change the impact the game will have. It’s probably not going to bring anyone new to the franchise (this could be one of those rare moments where I’m actually wrong). It’s 100% fan service. Which, in and of itself, is generally not worth the time to watch it. This is one of those cases where the fan service is totally justified. Especially considering that Bethesda is all about their fans. Why else would they just release Fallout 4? Well?

Aside from the obvious, this being another method of delivering game info – without having to craft pages and pages of wikis to monitor and update, it’s the most fun way that the devs can say “check out the way that we’ve improved on something you love” without beating you over the head with it. They also do it in such a way that, even knowing the stat ability and what it usually entails, I still want to watch it. It’s fun and clever and puts a smile on my face.

This style of video is something that Bethesda, and only one other company has managed to do well. The other I’m referring to, of course, is Irrational Games and the Bioshock series. The old-timey commercials for their plasmids and vigors were in the same vein. It’s one of those great ideas that completely sets them apart from the competition. They create these rich and well thought out worlds and they build depth to them with basic concepts with tactical precision. They don’t carpet bomb the fan with media or force-feed concepts, it’s more like a firm handshake from an old and welcome friend.

Like I said a few posts ago – it’s experiential recognition that creates a brand that people are always going to be drawn to. Because, at it’s core, Fallout (mechanics wise) doesn’t do a whole lot than any of the other FPS or post-apocalyptic games don’t do. Yes, VATS is extremely well developed. But beyond that, it’s a shooter. FPS or third person, but it’s a shooter. It’s set in a space that a lot of brands are playing in. But the whole is so good, that no matter who you are, or what types of games you normally play – chances are: you’re getting Fallout 4. Hell, I contemplated buying the Mini-Nuke set for PC just for the box.

So no, the video hasn’t offered anything game-changing or mind-altering. But it has piqued my interest. It’s cool for cool’s sake. It doesn’t offer anything I couldn’t figure out in the HUD menus in a minute or so. But what it does show me is that Bethesda cares enough to put something like this out there, knowing it’s the core audience that is going to really appreciate it. What a great company. In my books, they can do no wrong. And, The Ego is rarely wrong.

– The Ego


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