Will Fallout 4 suffer from the Bethesda Curse?
Everything moves so fast these days. Everyone's living in the 'right now', and it's largely because of how far technology has advanced in the past couple decades. For the video game industry, this means consumers want the latest products as soon as possible. This, in turn, forces developers to produce under the constant pressure of the impending deadline threatening to crush them with each new day.
Video game development is a constantly evolving creature, and so developers are always learning as they go. Combine this with a constant rush to produce, and you sometimes get games that are hardly fit for store shelves. These games can be full of glitches or bugs that range from virtually harmless to completely and utterly game breaking.
Bethesda, while known for producing quality AAA titles, is also known for what I call the 'Bethesda Curse'. As a large portion of the video game community will agree, Bethesda has a knack for releasing massive, open world games, only to have players find they're full of glitches.
With Fallout 4 on the horizon, the question remains...will it suffer the same initial fate as its predecessors?
Frame Rate Issues
One of the biggest issues with Bethesda titles is not supporting the demand for increasingly large save files. This issue was especially prominent in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Aside from some standard glitches expected from the game, players found that the further they ventured into their travels, the more the frame rate began dropping. This was caused by the increasing size of the save file, eventually causing the game to become completely unplayable.
Certain fixes were attempted by Bethesda when the issue first hit the media, but the problem continued to be a nuisance for months afterwards.
Visual glitches are probably the most common problem found in modern gaming. They range in their severity, but never fail to rear their ugly heads more often than we'd like. Skyrim had a popular one where a hit from a Giant had a chance to cause a glitch in the physics of the game, which ended in players being launched hundreds of feet into the air like a rocket. Instant death followed, of course.
Another common annoyance was unfinished walls/floors. This was found in Fallout 3 and more commonly in Fallout: New Vegas. Falling through a floor would cause players to infinitely fall, while sliding into a wall would get players stuck between objects. Either one resulted in the game having to be restarted.
We're far beyond the age of multiple disk games, and yet performance becomes a major issue once Bethesda's games are re-released as Game of the Year Editions. Fallout 3 became unplayable once the game and all the DLCs were crammed into one disk; Fallout: New Vegas suffered the same fate.
So is Bethesda's next AAA giant destined for the Curse?
Fallout 4 will undoubtedly feature several DLC add-ons to support the game during the year after its launch. But fans hope Bethesda can get its act together this time around so they can enjoy this amazing game as it was meant to be played. From Day One.
This doesn't seem likely, however, as history tends to repeat itself. Technological advancements aren't slowing down, and as technology gets more complex so does fixing problems. Generation 'right now' will continue to push for faster releases and developers will continue to learn as they go to try and have all the latest capabilities in their games.
Unfortunately, these games won't be ready for consumers and we'll spend the next 6 months dancing around game-breaking bugs. While we'll undoubtedly be enjoying the massive game that is Fallout 4 straight through to 2016, don't be surprised when it comes with a bad aftertaste.