2019 for Bethesda Softworks can’t be stated as one of the best years in the company’s history. In fact, it is probably one of the, if not the worst in the publisher’s 34 years of history, thanks to some unhealthy monetization schemes, mediocre launches and an eerily quiet fall window.
Bethesda kicked off 2019 with a promise to fix most of the issues of their first online Fallout game- Fallout 76, alongside a roadmap of the future contents planned for the game in the coming year.
Aside from Fallout 76, Rage 2 was scheduled for a May 14 release, Elder Scrolls Online’s latest expansion pack Elsweyr on June 4, Wolfenstein: Young Blood- a co-op standalone Wolfenstein adventure featuring the Blazkowicz Twins on July 25 and Doom Eternal sometime in the fall of 2019.
At E3 2019, Bethesda held its 4th annual press showcase with a promise to give us a glimpse into the company’s future.
Few announcements such as Arkane Studios’ next title Deathloop, Tango Gamesworks’ Ghost Wire Tokyo and the much-awaited short glimpse of the Fallout 76’s Wastelanders DLC did grab our attention even though they were all cinematic teasers, but ultimately the entire event ended up being very stale. ( Imagine a AAA publisher opening up E3 with a mobile game. Yes it was that bad.)
Aside from Elder Scrolls Online, which had the most consistent year throughout with consistent releases and frequent updates to make the game more enjoyable, the rest of the titles ended up being very mediocre AAA experiences.
Fallout 76 got some interesting additions such as the Nuclear Winter Battle Royale mode, new four players vault raid, availability of legendary vendor and some quality of life changes to the games. But all of these features weren’t enough to change our mindset towards the game which remains a jarringly empty and inconsistent online experience.
Add to that some pay-to-win microtransactions and a premium annual subscription of the game called Fallout 1st ( which costs more than Xbox Game Pass or Netflix ), Fallout 76 continued to be a disappointing, lackluster affair by the once critically acclaimed Bethesda Game Studios.
Moreover, Bethesda’s fall line up remained practically empty as Doom Eternal got delayed till March 20, 2020, and Fallout 76’s Wastelanders pushed to the first quarter of 2020.
In the past year, Bethesda has grown from being one of the most loved and reliable games developing companies to one of the most disregarded ones by the end of 2019.
Pete Hines, the SVP of Global Marketing and Communications at Bethesda who used to be the most transparent and socially active PR member of any major game developing company has disappeared from social media since the launch of Fallout 76.
Ikumi Nakamura on the other hand,( Former Creative Director of Ghost Wire Tokyo) left Tango Gameworks, leaving the future of GhostWire: Tokyo questionable, which is personally one of my most anticipated games of 2020.
In 2020, Bethesda needs to improvise on what they do best. Release good quality single-player experiences free of microtransactions, be honest about their plans and focus less on releasing those mobile games nobody cares about.( Yes I had to say it.)
As of now, we don’t how Arkane’s Deathloop is going to turn out. But with the short cinematic teaser and the few tidbits we know, Deathloop seems to be a mixture of everything we loved in their previous releases such as Dishonored and Prey.
E3 2020 is just a few months away and Bethesda has a lot to prove. Here’s hoping that we get an expansive look and a release date for both GhostWire Tokyo and Deathloop in the coming months, as well as gameplay footage of BGS’ highly anticipated open-world RPG Starfield.
What are your thoughts regarding Bethesda’s current situation? Will they go back to being the company whose games we used to enjoy the most? Tell me in the comments down below.