Developers can sometimes second-guess the consumer and throw in a mechanic that depletes the overall quality of a game. Sometimes it can be as simple as changing a game genre after rebooting a series or creating a grind where there doesn’t need to be one. Bethesda recently did this with the release of Fallout 4. Many people within the community collectively agree that the base building mechanic created a worse experience than earlier games. There was a lack of a decent story, quests are rushed and unsatisfying. The constant nagging of Preston asking to save yet another settlement that needed help. I felt that including this feature within the game was placed there to make the game feel more complete, rather than including more varied quest lines.
For those that don’t know, the base building mechanic is what it sounds like. In the corner of the map, there is a settlement that you first get to after leaving the vault. There is the option of building a fortress that you can defend from bandits that attack at random intervals. Giving weapons and jobs to the citizens expands the experience.
Bethesda put a lot of time into it. There were mechanics such as snap-to functions and large pools of building materials. They even went as far as to dedicate half the dlc into the base building, refusing to change their plans after the backlash from the realisation. To use the base building exploration, sacrificing away from resources for gun customisation is mandatory. The feeling was that if you didn’t want to dedicate yourself, half of the season pass content leant on boring content. If you did, then you hit the jackpot in the creativity potential.
Fallout 4 Was Not A Bad Game
Fallout 4 was not a bad game by any sense of the word. The story is good enough to hold interest, the graphics are phenomenal. The overall experience could have been much higher quality if Bethesda hadn’t demanded so much expansion. Moving it into a higher level might have improved the justification for it being there. Keeping it relevant to the quest line for a longer amount of time.
New Vegas is a personal favourite. The storyline was exciting, the first view of the strip was a sight to behold. It gave a sense of relief and willpower to kill Mr House at the first available opportunity. The choice of choosing a side with one of the four factions felt tense and relevant. Fallout 4 had factions that seemed irrelevant when it came to the decision with who to side with. The choice for me was an easy one which came quickly, without spoiling the story, I went with the one that felt morally correct, any other choice felt evil and rife with betrayal. After doing some light reading on Reddits dedicated forum. I have found that the community disagrees, but the main choice dominates over the other two that I felt added something to the story.
Game developers will continue find innovative ways to make a franchise or IP exciting, focusing a mechanic that hasn’t been tested within any previous games will disappoint loyal consumers. It felt like a betrayal when Bethesda refused to change their dlc plan. The feedback from the community strongly opposed it, allowing extra resources into the story based dlc packs would have been an improvement.
Sometimes developers just make the wrong decision when they come to producing a new title. Innovation involves a risky wide hit or miss equation. Fallout 4 isn’t the only game that has made a terrible mistake with what they have chosen to develop. Microsoft changed Halo when Bungie were let go from their contract, it’s closer to a generic shooter genre now. Before Halo Reach, the gameplay was nothing like that of an arcade FPS game. Now it’s a Call of Duty clone. It turned many of the community away from the days of running around chasing the fat kid.
Final Thoughts on Game Mechanics
It can be hard to predict what the next generation of consumers want. As consumers get older and the target audience stays the same. Developers have turned to making content fresh for new consumers getting into a series. They might make changes based on emerging trends which may not appeal to older fans. Minecraft is especially popular with younger gamers. This may have sparked the idea to include base building within Fallout 4 due to the prospect of building creatively within servers.
The base building has potential a standalone game. Some of the projects from the community glowed with dedication and planning. Small errors are able to affect every completed idea. The games industry isn’t the only one to make the mistake, it won’t be the last either. Just look at all the rebooted films coming out recently.