Why my hype for Fallout 4 is mixed with a certainty that I will be partially disappointed again.

Posted: November 8, 2015 by ryanlecocq in Off-topic

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As any good journalist should, I like to use a title that is provocative, but misleading in order to lure a reader into fully exploring the article.  We call it a goad.  For many, the mere suggestion that Fallout 4 will be anything but the greatest masterpiece since the last masterpiece by Bethesda is blasphemous.  For completionists and the obsessive compulsive, Bethesda games are literally the greatest thing that has ever existed.  Myself, I definitely enjoy a good Bethesda game.  I’ve been playing them consistently since Daggerfall and have even played games like Sea Dogs 2 (google it) which you have never heard of because they were never released.  So if that is what you are thinking, get off your high horse of sanctimony and read this not at all Elder Scolls/Fallout bashing article.

Why I am preparing myself for disappointment is because I know this new game will be more of the (admittedly excellent) same.  Which is what I want, don’t get me wrong.  What bums me out with each new game since Oblivion now, is that the underlying game engine has not changed and many of its flaws will remain.  Every single Elder Scrolls/Fallout launch, we get basically the same bugs.  Memory leaks, NPC pathfinding issues, crash on certain item spawns etc. etc.  These are the sort of issues that plague any sandbox game once millions of people get their hands on it.  What’s so annoying is that they are the same bugs every time, since the game engine has not changed for a decade now.  Each successive game has technologically been an expansion on Oblivion, just adding new graphical effects and gameplay mechanics on top of the original foundation.

While this has been a fantastic engine that has created some of the best open-world games of the past decade, its performance has been surpassed in many ways by other contemporaries.  Games like Metal Gear Solid 5 and Far Cry 4 effortlessly pull off long draw distances and enemy spawning ranges, while featuring none of the bugs Bethesda games are prone to.  Furthermore, if Bethesda started from scratch with a new engine, the familiarization process would lead the developers to come up with new innovations as they solve problems in different ways.

I’m sure I will enjoy Fallout 4 just as much as I have enjoyed the many, many similar games by this studio that have come out in the past.  It may even significantly reduce the bugs we’re used to seeing.  If the game runs flawlessly on most systems when it releases, I’ll come back and edit this post.  It’s been 4 games now on this engine though, with pretty similar results at launch.  Each time, there have been a few recurring bugs at launch that have made the game unplayable for more than a few people.  Then there have been the annoying little glitches with the way the games work that are either slowly patched out or remain.  This has improved slightly over time, with more testing being done per game I assume.  Hopefully Fallout 4 has the barest minimum of launch day bugs, making my fears unnecessary.

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