Wastelanders is supposed to essentially be a re-launch in eyes of many players. “Pulling a No Man’s Sky” as they say. In theory it should bring in a new wave of players who may have passed originally due to the lack of NPCs or less than stellar reviews, and bring back players who may have moved on or don’t play as often as they did. This would lead to more atom store purchases and so both of these (new sales and returning players) should help support the game and hopefully we get more large content updates like this as a result.
However, the timing is not going to be favorable, missing the holiday sales is the most obvious issue. That is a potentially huge amount of new sales that will be missed. And if that wasn’t bad enough, one of the most highly anticipated games in recent history, made by a developer who so far has done none of the shady things typical of AAA developers these days is set to release right around when Wastelanders will presumably release, and of course that’s Cyberpunk 2077. A single player, open world, story-focused RPG that will appeal to a huge portion of the Fallout fanbase.
So not only will Bethesda miss the holiday frenzy and all the potential profits that come with it, if they had been able to drive the hype train right up to holiday shopping season and bring in tons of new sales, but then the impact of the release of Wastelanders will be severely dampened by Cyberpunk releasing right around the same time. Being realistic, a Q1 release date all but certainly means the very last day of Q1, which will be right around April (when Cyberpunk comes out). If you haven’t heard of Cyberpunk or don’t think it will affect FO76’s player count around the time of its release let me explain.
Cyberpunk 2020 is a tabletop RPG with a rich, deep lore behind it, it maybe isn’t AS big as DnD/Pathfinder/Warhammer but it has a dedicated cult following and the story and lore are highly regarded, just adding to the hype of this game. The success and critical acclaim of The Witcher 3 are another source of hype. And last but not least this game will be filling a HUGE void in the genre. Remember 5-10 years ago when people were saying the open world RPG genre was “over saturated?” My, how times have changed, gone are the days of those types of games and now all we have are “games a service” scams and indie games. While indie games have seen a huge jump in quality and mass appeal, and SOME live service games are tolerable, there’s no denying the single player adventure RPG is nowhere near as common as it was in the days of Skyrim and Mass Effect.
BioWare, a developer known for RPGs with deep branching stories and dialogue systems, has fallen victim to acquisition by EA, and has all but imploded completely, managing even to out-clusterfuck the launch of 76 with Anthem. With games like Knights of the Old Republic, Dragon Age and Mass Effect, BioWare was considered a leader of the genre in terms of depth and innovation. Now they are just another EA garbage producer, and nearly all of the talent who were present during those games, have since left.
Bethesda is a different story, they didn’t get bought out by an awful conglomerate, I think their issue stems from a failure to adapt to changing markets/industry in a graceful and natural way. I won’t get into all of my issues with Bethesda or Fallout 76, everyone here is probably already quite familiar, while others pull wool over their eyes and like to pretend everything is fine. But the fact is, it’s been 4 years since FO4, and 8 years since Skyrim, and not everyone is on board with Bethesda’s version of, or at least their first attempt at live service games. So there is a void there as well. The two major open world adventure RPG devs are having their own, different issues simultaneously and leaving a huge void in the genre, a void that Cyberpunk 2077 looks like it will fill perfectly.
Also Cyberpunk won’t have ANY microtransactions from what I understand.
So that’s the bad, why this delay is not good at all for Bethesda, but as I mentioned I support it, and it may be a good sign for us as the consumers. They decided instead of forcing it out and hiding its issues to better time it for optimal profits, they decided to hold off and sacrifice countless dollars in order to make sure the release is fun and enjoyable and THAT is reminiscent of the Bethesda I remember from the old days. So while this may not signal a total change of policy or solve every problem I have with Bethesda’s recent actions, it is a glimmer of hope that not everything that made us love Bethesda is gone in the age of “games as a service.” I can’t say the same for BioWare…but I do want to say THANK YOU Bethesda for putting players ahead of profits here. I’m sure it wasn’t some altruistic act and may have something to do with saving reputation and as much goodwill as possible, but you know what? It is appreciated nonetheless.
So if you stuck through this massive wall of text I hope I found it insightful and I would love to hear your thoughts on the delay, the state of the industry, or anything that may have come to mind reading this.
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