I will admit I am biased, I love all the Fallout games and even have own pip boy. I have spent hours over the divested radioactive remnants of the United States, listening to events long past and talking to those still living and populating the new world. Being a Bethesda game, there was a lot of story and a lot of glitches. Downloading the DLC for Fallout three was an art. The glitching was legendary and the restarts were annoying, but we did it because the game was so much fun. There were numerous complaints at the time, but it was before the era of the Mass Effect Ending outcry. Bethesda was notorious for not patching and everything was basically as is. Sure we complained and forums were filled with gifs and venting, however it didn’t have an impact. Let’s fast forward to now and times have changed and companies have to respond to the avalanche of social media and the every lofty goal of the perfect sandbox.
No Mans Sky was the first to hit that wall. Its premiere did not live up to the hype and the company listened to players tear the game apart, in detail, all over the internet. But through the chaff, there were some very salient points and the developers have made multiple improvements that pleased their audience and took the game closer to that sandbox multiplayer world where a player could make their own story. Part of the success of this was that were not loaded with a baggage of lore and history and they emerged on the scene dress and new allowing players to tell play their own stories without being influenced by a franchise.
Fallout 76’s Burden
It’s what holds it back as a sandbox and not delivering the world the fans are accustomed to. For those who haven’t played any of the games, the best features of the games were the evolved NPC’s and story lines. You could explore and met folks in passing, help or loot them. There were towns, stories and drama you could get tangled in, or not. With the release of Fallout4 they introduced a better building system.A popular feature that became one of the games most beloved. I can attest to myself and friends spending hours just building towns rather than shooting mutants. With the onset of mods and then creative club, we could build more! Its been incorporated as your campsite Fallout76, which as Bethesda is the champ of bugs, it may take multiple tries to place because a stray weed is in the way.
By its nature as a giant battlefield for players to survive, the logistics they set up makes everything transient. When you sign back in, everything you made, your mark your presence as a community, is gone. As you wander, you listen and read journals left by people, but the people themselves are gone. So what attaches you to the game? Get to the highest level, kill the strongest beast, kill other players, and then what? This is Fallout, it carries with it the weight of its predecessors, but now Its just a shooter survival game where you are no longer the lone wanderer, but can have a team, to kill monsters and other players. It’s beautiful and killing things is a great part of video games. But thats all thats left. It truly is a wasteland. One where if you’re a PvE kinda player, you don’t have a choice, players will come and kill you, and withe he survival aspect of the game where you lose some gear when you die, it’s a huge turn off. The addition of micro-transaction for skins and such is so aggravating and infuriating and a sad sign of things to come.
I can recognize what Bethesda was trying to accomplish with this game. It’s made to play like the current multiplayer battle field games. And it does, and it does it well when its not glitching. What it is not, is a Fallout experience we expect or are used to, it is not Fallout 5. This is what burdens it and this is what the fan-base is complaining about. It’s actually unfair that it is criticized for being a game it was never meant to be, except for the advertising that led us to believe it kinda was. The fans have called foul.
Leigh-Alexandra Jacob is a visual effects artist and
creative director. She’s the founder of
Atomic Dumpling. You can reach her at email@example.com.
So, I began this with video games and I have been encouraged to continue to do so. By encouraged I mean heavily implied that’s what I am going to do.
But, but, but!
My freedom of choice!
How can I be creative with the yoke of oppression on me?
I am joking, mostly. In video games this has become a serious issue. It’s one that has led to death threats, promises of violence, and terrible behavior on the part of gamers.
Mass Effect 3 had a wobbly ending.
There are those who will give you a wall of text on the ins and outs with precisely all the minuscule aspects of this ending. More so, that they felt that it was a travesty, a crime against nature, and God. They bombarded BioWare with these messages. More that, the company put out a “fix” to address many of the dominant issues gamers had.
I only had one problem with it. How the hell did the ground team get on the ship after you saw them smacked around like ping pong balls?
The answer to this amazing feat, I felt they addressed admirably. I am a sucker for the happy ending and it was nice to get closure with all the NPC characters. Everything else folks wanted superfluous. I have you know, I also didn’t send death threats or walls of texts to BioWare.
I’ve just brought up a very serious topic and we as gamers need to talk about this. How do threats and abuse effect one’s creativity? Who would want to make something or fix something for someone who called them names or threated their lives?
This is the sticky bits because this tends to get people flamed or even doxed.
It’s like cooking a giant multi course meal and having it thrown at you because you didn’t give them the right dessert. Yet, BioWare didn’t balk outwardly, they took in what was said and remade the ending for their fans. In no way are they obligated to do this no matter what rabid fans will say. In the end, they are a company and can do what they want, but they stepped up and provided another alternative.
The obligation to fans is to entertain them with a game, sometimes you hit and sometimes you miss. That isn’t the point I am debating. To redo the entire ending was a large complicated and costly uptake. It was also one of unprecedented of it size.
So, would you, oh reader, as an artist do the same thing?
Man, I took the long way around to get here huh? Artists have critics, wanted and certainly unwanted. How do they affect your art and should they? Where is the line, or is there one? A simple question with layered answers.
I can be positively bubbly here and say you should let it inspire you (which you totally should.) For example, I made an amazing still life in school through a wall of anger because I didn’t want to work on that at all. There will always be critics, hopefully constructive ones. And, I just want to point out that death threats and the like aren’t criticism.
How critics affect you is up to you. Sometimes they should be ignored, but sometimes they can share a perspective with you that’s fresh and stimulating. I have never felt that others should dictate your art to you. But, they can open your eyes to new possibilities and avenues you couldn’t see previously.
After years of working for the companies that used complicated systems, being in the military, and going freelance, Leigh & I are taking the next cosmic step with Atomic Dumpling. We’ve opened our doors to creating a consultancy of our own.
Needing an advise, project manager, or a killer team of people helping you doesn’t need to be a guessing game anymore. I feel great about making the decision to take the next step in my career by starting my own company. I know I have the experience and the understanding to bump things up and make some magic happen.
Running a business is a complicated process. There’s a level of understanding that needs to be in place in order to operate successfully. Understanding outcomes for the expected project is only a small piece of the puzzle.
That’s why we’re starting a consulting company. Our goals are fairly simple really. We want to help people expand their footprint, their digital foot print. Business is hard. But, with the team we’re growing, we’re going to make things easier.
Anna Pilette is a geophysicist and technologist turned digital consultant. Anna is a Cofounder of Atomic Dumpling. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.