Bethesda Softworks and Zenimax has been nothing short of scummy these past few years. They instill, at least in me, a greasy air of money-grubbing greed. An almost psycopathic disregard for franchises carefully cultivated over decades marks their recent releases, and it makes me mad. Let’s elaborate before I bleed out of my ruptured hemorrhoids, shall we?
PART THE FIRST
T H E E L D E R S C R O L L S:
Isn’t it sad that what was one of the most popular RPGs back in the day is little more than a platform for mods at this point? At this point, Bethesda with TES are like the parents who send their kids to shitty reality TV shows and child modelling pageants, knowing full well they’re exploiting their child out for a bit of dosh. A bit of context is in order before I lose my train of thought to blind rage: The first TES game, Arena, was a hardcore RPG with shapely titties, tons of blood, and oodles of pixellated violence. This is because it was from the 90s and ESRB didn’t fucking exist to kill all the fun. You built a character and generally preached the message of wholesome slaughter all over the land of Tamriel, from High Rock to Black Marsh. And the game world was fucking huge, fam. Like actual physical continent huge. Granted a piddly Australian continent rather than Glorious Eurasia, but still.
Then came TES II: Daggerfall and a few filler sequels (but mostly Daggerfall), with it’s fuckhuge landmass and somewhat streamlined combat (it compensated with additions and tweaks to gameplay) and rubbed it’s buggy todger all over peoples’ faces. And people took it! It was well loved. These were the halcyon days of TES: combat was completely dice rolled, stats and class governed your character, Khajit ladies were sexy cat-girls and not 90 year old women-housecats with throat cancer, and nipples were shown aplenty in unmodded games.
Then something magical happened: They released Morrowind, the pinnacle of TES if you ask me. The randomly generated world of Daggerfall and Arena were abandoned in favour of a way, way smaller but completely handcrafted landmass that looked and felt completely alien. The lore was so rich it was actually a living, breathing universe with it’s own cosmology and creation myth, it’s alien concepts that turned your mind while it lovingly, tenderly fucked your head inside-out, the blend of RPG conventions with neat little refinements that felt so apt, the mod-friendliness and the marvelous quests and writing. It was truly a masterpiece.
Unfortunately, here’s where they should have quit as each successive iteration was more arse than the last from here on. Turns out Bethesda took the “refinements” too seriously, and began stripping away systems and conventions like a black man with a piece of fried chicken. Oblivion abandoned dice rolled combat for a real time system of attrition: you and your foe swing shit at each other until one of you keels over. They also managed to lore-rape the land of Cyrodiil from an amazonian jungle to a generic European countryside for which it was blasted a lot. It also managed to turn what is the most badass system ever boring: You know there’s something wrong with your game when Infiltrating Hell itself to slaughter demons and shut down the portal between hell and earth (Sounds familiar, no?) feels like a chore. It was what I personally like to call Ubisofting which killed it: Copy-paste locales, generic enemies (yes, even the demons from hell), bland combat and STOP WRITE THERE CRIMINAL SCUM. Oh well, the quests were still well written and it has my favourite deadpan NPC conversation in a TES game NSFW. It also has the best TES expansion, Shivering Isles.
So you thought you couldn’t get any worse after CRIMINAL SCUM did you? Well you thought wrong, you gossamer shitstain, you! Presenting TES V: Skyrim, a game which you can play if you mod it to the edge of reason and beyond, completely ignore everything but the sandbox and play it as a tundra hunter/survival sim! Nothing, NOTHING in vanilla Skyrim compared to Morrowind. The gameworld size was about the same as Oblivion, there were copy-paste dunjins all round, combat was shit with a side of ass, quests were bland and generic, All NPCs were fucking lobotomised, and the capital “city” of Skyrim had like 10 houses. To add to that everything looked like it was covered in a thin layer of vaseline and shit. Or as if the dovahkiin like bukakkes. A lot.
Fuck, all I can picture is mommy Morrowind looking sadly at the coked up meth-whore that Skyrim is and gently weeping. To add insult to the injury, they tried to profit off of mods that actually fixed their buggy, unfinished mess of hot steaming shit that was Skyrim. And let’s not mention the cash grab week-old-jizm-on-your-face-on-a-summer-day that was TESO, shall we? Because remembering that travesty makes me roll on the ground, frothing at the mouth while violently convulsing out of sheer belligerence. Fuck you Bethesda!
PART THE SECOND
F A L L O U T:
Fallout was initially an unofficial sequel to 1988’s Wasteland (this happened because of licensing issues). It was a series of RPGs closer to it’s pen and paper counterparts than to the atrocious bastardisation that is Fallout 4. In fact, the SPECIAL system is based on the GURPS system and almost every system in the originals were electronic-dice-rolled. Cut to Interplay going the way of the Dinosaur and Bethesda acquiring the rights to produce Fallout 3, which was basically TES IV: Oblivion, but with guns. And V.A.T.S. And S.P.E.C.I.A.L. in the character creation. But they were mostly superficial as Bethesda made the plot a generic Macguffin chase along with a moral choice. And playing past the ending was DLC.
Now since Todd Howard rubbed his love juices all over it, Fallout 3 was born with FAS ( How’s that for SPECIAL, eh?) That means the writing, ah, let’s be kind, let’s say doesn’t hold up to Fallouts 1, 2 and Tactics: BoS. In fact, the only game in the series with worse writing at that point was the console only cashgrab spinoff Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel. (Not to be confused with Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel, which was fucking awesome). But since this is Bethesda Game Studios circa 2000 and fuck, it gets a pass. Remember this is the first game they did after Oblivion and Horse Armour, and it still passed without comment. So did the Post-end-is-DLC (I sort of understand that as the ending drastically changed the world) It’s kind of OK, as the game wan’t particularly bad by Bethesda standards. It still had the simplified roleplaying with a fuckhuge sandbox thing going for it. And I guess it was entertaining. Liberty Prime and the guy who wanted Megaton razed were highlights.
Then came Fallout: New Vegas. Put together in 18 months flat with duct tape, spit and the remnants of what was supposed to be Interplay’s Fallout 3, it was a proper fuck you to Bethesda outbidding what later became Obsidian for the Fallout IP. And you know what the worst part is? Bethesda never paid them the bonus for making the best 3D fallout game because the Metacritic averaged out at 84 instead of, as specified in the signing contract, 85.
Instead of a Fallout game, which always had the tagline “A post Apocalyptic RPG”, we get the lobotomised shooteymans that Fallout 4 was with generic “Raiders” where fully fleshed factions used to be and a progression system instead of an RPG skill tree. It is very non-replayable, as builds don’t fucking matter anymore and quests are exceedingly linear. To top it off, the world’s not even that big. It’s the same as TES: Copy-paste dunjins with copy-paste enemies and leveled loot. There aren’t fun little places like Megaton or Novac. The quests are utterly generic kill-dem-fetch-dat nonsense and the only fun bits aren’t the RPG bits. And don’t even get me started on the tumour that was the dialogue wheel. Seriously, don’t as I hulk out and smash shit. And people, S.P.E.C.I.A.L. people, bought it. They bought it wholesale, hook, line and sinker. They’re even buying into the DLC whoring, which again I won’t talk about as it makes me want to bash someone’s head in. And, yes, I’m still not ready to acknowledge the second, SECOND season pa- you know what, I’m not talking about it. Fuck you Bethesda!
PART THE THIRD
In parts one and two we looked at games made by Bethesda Game Studios. But those are not the only games Bethesda Softworks publishes, and unfortunately while they are not creatively bankrupt as the likes of EA and Ubisoft are, they do have a penchant for taking over Nice ThingsTM and fucking them over until they’re just alright games.
P R E Y 2:
Prey was a pretty good game made by Human Head Studios. It was a bit shit because it physically didn’t let you die. As in when you died you played a little mini-game and you came back to life. It was pretty fun, but not chartbusting stuff, and especially not in the golden era of video games. Then 2011 came around and a sequel was showcased. Gone was the native American spirit quest bullshit, gone was the frankly forgettable alien abduction plot, what was instead showcased was distilled badass. Here, I’ll describe it for you in one sentence: a wild-west style bounty hunting game set in Blade Runner/Ghost in the Shell-esque cyberpunk megacity. Yes, it’s exactly as awesome as it sounds, with neon-drenched rainy cities harbouring criminal punks and duster clad gunslingers. But of course, since we are stuck in the suckiest version of 21st century, and God hates us apparently so we cannot have nice things. Pete Hines announced that Prey 2 “wasn’t up to our quality standard and we decided to cancel it. It’s no longer in development.” As to what those quality standards were, (looking very pointedly at you, Fallout 4) Hines didn’t comment. We almost had it. I could almost taste it. I could almost- *cries softly*
C A L L O F C TH U L H U:
Call Of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth was a 2006 adaptation of the board game of the same name, featuring the plot from A Shadow Over Innsmouth and it was radical, dude. The game was take-no-prisoners hardcore: it had no HUD at all, had a ridiculously realistic damage and injury system, if you broke limbs you had to fashion together a splint and limp for a while, and you’re a weak, weak man who loses his goddamn mind if he stares at something non-euclidean for a while. It was a proper Lovecraft game, and it featured the single most pants-shittingly terrifying scripted sequence in any game, eat your heart out Call of Duty. Seriously, the next time a Silent Hill fan bitches about cultists not being scary, make them play the hotel escape sequence from this game. And then whisper in their ear “Silent Hills never ever.” It was critically successful, and Headfirst had not one, but two sequels in the pipeline. So what happened I hear you ask? Well, whatever went down, went down behind closed doors. But Headfirst shuttered it’s studios in the following year to pay off debts incurred during production. This was after half of it’s staff left for studios like Codemasters and Eurocom and a large part of the rest were let go after a round of liquidation.
FUCK YOU BETHESDA!
PART THE FOURTH
iD is a shadow of it’s former self. I mean look at them. Look at them! Which was the last original game they made? RAGE? RAGE?! None of the founding members work there anymore, their engine is a closed as fuck piece of shit that nobody wants to use and they are generally spending their time revelling in past glories which aren’t even theirs, because the old guard all left for greener pastures. And Oculus. Welp. To add to that, the glassdoor reveals how hated the management is. Seriously, you don’t even have to cherry pick, just look at any reviews coming from the code monkeys. You think I’m being too hard on the fucknuggets in the management? Well, it seems like I’m the only one who remembers how those bastards pushed the Doom multiplayer. The same multiplayer they OUTFUCKINGSOURCED TO THE SAME SHITTING PEOPLE WHO COCKED UP THE HALO MASTER CHIEF COLLECTION NETCODE.
*sobbing quietly* I don’t want to do this anymore! I really don’t. It hurts, oh it hurts so much. *more sobbing*
FUCK YOU BETHESDA!
C L I M A X: The Conclusioning
Bethesda/Zenimax is like a shit-Midas: whatever they touch turns to arse flavoured biscotti. I bought their games at full retail price not too long ago. Well, never again until they shape the fuck up and start making good games for a change. In conclusion, I’d like to give a two finger salute to Bethesda and a mooning to Zenimax. Fuck you both. I’d curse more but I’m exhausted, running low on cheap, off brand energy drinks, it’s 3 A.M. and I’ve sworn enough to go to hell 4 times over. Thank you. Fuck you. A villain exits.
Disclaimer: I’m anal inflamed, ass-blasted, butt-devastated, pooper peeved, rumpus-ruffled at Bethesda for raping some of my favourite game franchises, and this “article” is about 2000 words of me sharing my asspain with those of you dumb enough to give a shit about me. If someone could mail me a box of anti-inflammation cream, I’d be much obliged. Please ask Manas for the address of our new evil volcanic lai- I mean offices.
The article was found on a floppy diskette in a room smeared with bodily fluids and the words “This is what you do to me” scrawled hundreds of times on the walls. GC takes no responsibility for the writer’s, er, fevered rantings. For more true horror visit Gaming Central