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Delicieuxz replied to Delicieuxz's topic in AngryJoeShowI'll also throw in these two additional examples of things that have stirred some controversy or community misgivings about Bethesda. These were told me by a couple of other people elsewhere.
Delicieuxz posted a topic in AngryJoeShowHi. I think that Joe did a great job holding Bethesda accountable for Fallout '76. It was great and refreshing (from what we're used to from professional game reviews, not specifically yours) to hear you say it all like it really is. If reviewers had held Bethesda to account for major issues that were Oblivion, Fallout 3, Skyrim... instead of glossing over them to remain dwelling in elated fan sentiments over the things about the games that they like, things would have never gotten to this point in the first place - and the same thing also applies with DICE and Battlefield / Battlefront, and other developers. Bethesda has been treated for ages like their farts are made of perfume, and as a result Bethesda has been just farting and shitting all over everything and expecting people to be impressed. The practices of surrounding Fallout '76 aren't actually out of character for Bethesda. In fact, they're pretty much exactly what Bethesda has done all along, or at least since earlier on in their history. It's just that a lot of people didn't pay attention to any of it before and just was whatever towards it because they were too entrapped by their assumed perception of the company based on enjoying getting to play fantasy in their game worlds. And Fallout '76 is perhaps where it has all culminated into one ridiculous package. Below, I've taken a post I made some months ago on LTT's forums and expanded it to be a more fleshed-out in providing a summary of many of the things Bethesda has done in the past that are actually perfectly in character with what they've done with Fallout '76. I'm sure that Joe already knows many of these things, but I hope that the larger historical picture might be useful to recalibrate what many people dogmatically think about Bethesda. --------------------------------- Opening the Scrolls: Unpacking the Shady and Scandal-Plagued History of Bethesda / ZeniMax --------------------------------- For a long time, there has existed a strange anomaly in the gaming community: The unbalanced and blind perception of Bethesda / ZeniMax as being a 'good-person' developer and publisher. This perception has been held by many of the companies' fans despite all the while the company keeps doing things that contradict that perception. In many ways, Bethesda / ZeniMax have been games industry leaders in scummy, disrespectful, and exploitative lawsuit-happy practices, going back for more than a decade, showing them to be one of the most arrogant and uncontrollably greedy companies in gaming. So, here is a sobering look at many of Bethesda / ZeniMax' unscrupulous practices and events going back to the companies' earlier years. 1. The company known today as Bethesda and ZeniMax was formed through some betrayal and back-stabbing. Julian Le Fay, generally considered the creator of the Elder Scrolls series, directed the first three Elder Scrolls games, Arena, Daggerfall, and Battlespire, and expected to continue working on the series he created with the next game, TES: Morrowind. But, he was sidelined from the project and consequently left the company. Bethesda's founder, Christopher Weaver, was forced out of his own company after he put up lots of his own money to save the company. Watch 23:54 - 25:30 in this video for details about those departures: 2. $10 horse armour DLC for Oblivion: This is the historical origin of and precedence for all other nickle-and-diming exploitative DLC practices that have since screwed gamers over. Bethesda was the first pioneer of exploitative and greedy DLC practices. After Bethesda had then gotten public expectations for DLC, a then-new and non-established concept, set at their absolute rock-bottom, many other publishers followed and expanded upon Bethesda's lead with their own exploitative DLC practices. 3. Bethesda sued Mojang over the use of "Scrolls" as a game title, even after Mojang already volunteered to give up the Scrolls title, and then settled out of court because it became pretty clear that Bethesda was likely going to lose the case. Notch Offered to Give Up "Scrolls" Trademark, Bethesda Sued Anyway Bethesda And Mojang Settle 'Scrolls' Lawsuit 4. Bethesda intentionally destroyed developer of 2012's Prey 2, Human Head, by starving the studio of resources to force it into a corner where Human Head would feel like they had to sell the studio to Bethesda for a far-below-value price in order to survive. Human Head did not give in to Bethesda, and as a result of having no income from Prey 2 after having spent its resources making Prey 2, couldn't afford to make another big-title game: It has taken from then until now for Human Head to recover enough financially to be able to make a new big-title game. Human Head's first big-title game since 2006's Prey will be Rune: Ragnarok, and I'm guessing that it will release next year. 5. Bethesda reportedly did the same thing to Arkane Studios 6. Suing Facebook and Oculus for $4 billion, trying to get ownership over Oculus technology, while outright losing their original case. The jury awarded $500 million in damages to ZeniMax over breach of NDA, copyright infringement, and false-designation, but all of ZeniMax' original and core claims against Facebook and Oculus were found to be invalid by the court. ZeniMax awarded $500 million judgment in Oculus lawsuit Facebook and Oculus are appealing the $500 million verdict: Oculus Vows Appeal of $500 Million Verdict, ZeniMax Threatens Injunction John Carmack has given a public defence of himself, while suggesting that ZeniMax are liars. He said that ‘The Internet Would Have Viciously Mocked The Analysis’ in the $500 million verdict. 7. Suing Samsung as an extension of their lawsuit against Facebook and Oculus. ZeniMax sues Samsung over VR technology in Gear goggles 8. Suing developer of Kickstarter project "Prey for the Gods" over having the word Prey in their title. The developer opted to simply modify their game's name to "Praey for the Gods" rather than to deal with Bethesda's frivolous lawsuit. Prey for the Gods changes name to avoid fight with Bethesda's Prey 9. Turning community mods into a capitalist venture with paid mods and opening their own Bethesda games digital distribution storefront to continue to pursue paid mods after Valve backtracked on having them sold through Steam following public backlash. 10. If you criticize Bethesda too much on their forums, expect to be banned. The Bethesda forums are like a daycare centre for toddlers because of draconian moderation. Partial lobotomy and Bethesda fanboyism is required for entrance and staying there. 11. In a clear violation of the law, Bethesda tried to pretend that it was the law and could stop people from reselling their own game properties and dictate whether a person could list their own unopened games as "new" when reselling them. Bethesda tried to pull this stunt despite the US Supreme Court and the Court of Justice of the EU both having definitively ruled that people may resell their copyrighted goods without needing any permission from the copyright holder. Bethesda purporting to prohibit people from listing their unopened games a "new" condition would be an instance of the copyright-holder denying the game owner permission to resell that game-owner's own game, and would therefore be a violation of the US Supreme Court and the EU's Court of Justice rulings: US Supreme Court Rules People May Resell Copyrighted Goods Without Copyright-Holder's Permission - US Software Association Has a Fit EU Court Says, Yes, You Can Resell Your Software, Even If The Software Company Says You Can't 12. A whole lot about Fallout '76, which is a dated asset-flip game too buggy for some people to even play: - The $200 USD Power Armour edition that screwed buyers of it over when Bethesda pulled a bait-and-switch with the advertised canvas bag that was replaced in the actual released product with what basically looks like a crumpled-up garbage bag with no resemblance to the advertised bag. - The blunt brush-off from Bethesda support admitting that they did pull a bait-and-switch with the canvas bag, and further stated they simply aren't going to do anything about it. Bethesda later apologized for the curtness of the earlier Bethesda support's reply, yet didn't apologize for and didn't offer to fixe what the actual issue was, which is the bait-and-switch of the advertised canvas bag. - The crap design of the game, which MSRP'd at $60 USD yet plays like a $20 early-access title at its release. - Refusing to refund the game for people who couldn't play it because it was too broken. - Completely ludicrous and offensive micro-transaction fees such as charging $18 USD for a single power armour skin just to add some blue-coloured paint to it. Coming from the inventor of nickle-and-diming exploitative and egregiously-priced DLC, though, perhaps nobody should be surprised by this - though they certainly ought to be outraged. - Insulting upset Power Armour edition purchasers further by offering them a pathetic 500 Atoms ($5 USD) in-game currency for micro-transactions, when that can basically only buy one hairdo model, or two facial tattoos. - Turning previously-free character customization content from Fallout 4 into nickle-and-diming paid content in Fallout '76 Because of all the scandals surrounding Fallout '76, Bethesda has come under investigation for bad business practices. 13. All-around really bad, just completely mindless game-design, met with low production quality values including what perhaps bugs me the most about Bethesda games: the pisspoor, unintentionally-cringy loopy writing, and the banal quest design - which, in some cases, is also combined with mishandling of lore such as for the Fallout series which Bethesda acquired from Interplay in 2007. And then there is the notorious dumbing-down of their games which I find has resulted in there being hardly anything meaningful left to do in them anymore. I think it's a reasonable argument to make, to say that Bethesda Games Studios games have traditionally often displayed the lowest production quality values out of the whole AAA games business - in writing, animations, voice-acting, quest design, character models... The Blistering Stupidity of Fallout 3 - a five-part analysis Some final thoughts There might some additional information about other ZeniMax / Bethesda lawsuits in this article: A brief history of Bethesda’s many legal tangles So, when talking scummy and greedy publishers, I think both history and the present show that ZeniMax / Bethesda is not only ranked up there at the top along with all the worst of publishers in the history of the games industry (whether people think of EA, ActiVision, Ubisoft, Nintendo, or any other publisher), but that Bethesda has even done and is still doing a lot of stuff that's worse than stuff we think of other big publishers as evil for doing. People just haven't been tuning into it. Bethesda is basically the software developer equivalent of a patent troll: They acquire big idea game IPs from non-Bethesda talent (including TES, since the series creator was separated from it and then left the compnay), and then milk them while progressively squeezing the life out of them as they're dumbed-down closer to oblivion with each successive release. For all these reasons, I think it's important and very long overdue that people start practising serious cautiousness and discretion when thinking about what Bethesda represents. Through so many years of unbalanced and blind-eye-turning praise, Bethesda fans have enabled and encouraged Bethesda to think of themselves as a lot better and more entitled than they really are by letting everything all go to Bethesda's heads despite Bethesda not really having done things to deserve their historically-positive reputation. And now, Bethesda no longer even cares to simply try to appear be reasonable and decent for the sake of their own reputation.
Delicieuxz posted a topic in AngryJoeShowHello Joe and your community, This post is in regarding the comment you make at 16:41 in your video on the Battlefield 5 beta: "Honestly, all the negativity towards Battlefield, more and more, I'm starting to see the light, and I'm disappointed that I didn't see some of this stuff sooner." Joe, I really appreciate hearing that comment. I'm very glad that you're clicking with some of what other people have been criticizing DICE over for many years. And this actually brings me a bit of relief. Years ago, when Battlefield 3 released and was found by Battlefield 2 players to be a total downgrade in content, scope,and depth of systems and mechanics from Battlefield 2, I registered on your forums and made my first post here, which was a thread talking about the state of Battlefield 3 and detailing all the many times DICE had sold out throughout their studio's existence and how over-simplified Battlefield 3 was compared to Battlefield 2. You deleted my thread and banned me from your forum. That was the first and only post I made on your forums until now. At that time, if you were someone that had never player DICE's games before they abandoned PC to become a console-exclusive developer for many years before returning to PC with Bad Company 2 and then Battlefield 3, you might not have understood the criticism and been more impressed with Battlefield 3 than long-time Battlefield players were. But, if you had gone onto DICE's EA UK forums (where many of DICE's developers regularly hung out and interacted with Battlefield fans) at that time you would have seen walls of angry, mocking, and critiquing threads over Battlefield 3. And, remember that the backlash and criticism against DICE over Battlefield 3 was so intense and overwhelming that DICE officially permanently shut down their forums to stop the deluge of negative feedback they were getting. And DICE developers haven't engaged with their community in a similar way since then. At that time, DICE were getting that negative feedback because of many of the things you're complaining about with the beta of Battlefield 5 which have been issues in Battlefield 1, Battlefront 2015, and Battlefront II 2017: The same trend of over-simplification and lack of depth was already heavily happening in Battlefield 3, and it ticked Battlefield 2 players off, a lot. Battlefield 4 was actually a pleasant step away from that downward spiral of dumbing-down DICE games - but, it only last for that single game and then DICE was right back at the intense dumbing-down with Battlefront 2015, then Battlefield 1, and then Battlefront 2. DICE is a studio that has hardly ever listened to its fans, and has more often chosen to spite them when they criticize the studio: Patrick Bach infamously stated "nailed it" about the Bf3 launch maps which were lacking detail and character and generally were very small compared to Battlefield 2's maps - which sparked memes of Patrick Bach meaning that DICE had nailed the coffin in the Battlefield series. And as people continued to complain about Battlefield 3's relatively-small maps, Patrick Bach semi-infamously retorted in an interview with "I actually prefer the smaller maps". I feel that DICE have not appreciated Battlefield or its fans, but have always tried to be obtuse with both. Here are some more examples of the chaos that went on at the EA UK Battlefield forums around the release of Battlefield 3: When a DICE manager chided the community on the EA UK forums saying that the DICE team had spent their summer making these maps for them, the community, not entirely undeservedly, pushed back and threw his appeal for token appreciation in his face. Noshahr canals was mockingly renamed Nosehair Canals by the community to highlight its small size. People posted memes showing an expansive terrain with mountains and rivers and fields, bragging about it being the largest map in Battlefield's history, but with a marked playable area inside that large space that's no bigger than the size of a baseball field, or even a closet - pointing out the disingenuousness of DICE's claim that Battlefield 3 has the largest map in Battlefield history, which is a marketing fib that DICE again pulled with Battlefield 1, and I think I read somewhere that DICE had once again make that claim regarding a Battlefield 5 map. If they did, my bet's that the map will turn out to yet again be small when compared to Battlefield 2's larger maps. At this point, falsely asserting that the new Battlefield has the largest map yet is a running false-marketing gag of DICE's. With Bethesda it's 'wide as an ocean, shallow as a puddle' , and with DICE it's 'largest map yet, with the smallest playable area yet'. And there was so much dissatisfaction over Battlefield 3, which was supposed to be a true full sequel to Battlefield 2, that EA and DICE just shut down their main Battlefield forums to stop it all. By the way, the real largest map in Battlefield history up till now is still going to be one of Battlefield 2's several huge maps, or maybe Battlefield 1942's El Alamein. Though, I suspect that it might be Battlefield 2's FuShe Pass: Regardless of which Battlefield game has the de-facto largest map, Battlefield 2 has many maps larger than anything in Battlefield 3, 4, 1, and probably anything that will be in 5. And to show that what is being criticized about post Battlefield 4 games was actually already there in full-force with Battlefield 3, here are many of the things that Battlefield 2 gloriously has that were sorely downgraded from in Battlefield 3: 6-person squads, and maps that were suited for having larger squads 7 classes limited sprint (not everybody wants it, but lots of us did when Battlefield 3 released, and I certainly still do - it adds tons of skill and strategy to the game, and creates more dynamics) squad-leader spawning only squad-leader controls to direct the squad (Battlefield 4 and 1 have a simplified, and I think clunkier take on Battlefield 2's squad-leader controls) more expansive team, squad, and communication controls all-around commander mode larger maps more maps more creativity, variety, and character within maps lots of maps with no non-cappable bases, or with only one non-cappable base (meaning there was actually a real, tangible goal to work towards, and a real point of victory and accomplishment or defeat in many maps - which in very satisfying to have) a variety of flag layout designs rather than Battlefield 3's strictly arena-styled layout designs faster, more nimble, and more thrilling aircraft that actually felt like a part of the overall game (in later Battlefields, air-play is almost hermetically-sealed into a separate bubble from the ground fight) more vehicles in general, and maps that could better accommodate vehicle play It seems pretty obvious that Battlefield 3's severe design downgrade in size, scope, and complexity from Battlefield 2 was for the sake of console hardware limitations and the console audience which at that time were almost exclusively used to games heavily geared towards simplicity and casual playing. And because of that, Battlefield 3 was a game that drove the passionate Battlefield 2 fan-base crazy with disappointment and anger. They were angry at DICE for selling out the main series (like DICE had sold out so many times before then) instead of treating it like the real return to the epic scope of classic PC Battlefield that DICE had marketed the game as being. We Battlefield 2 players loved Bad Company 2, but we loved it knowing that it isn't a main series Battlefield game and that it was a simplified spin-off game targeting the console audience, and we loved it as a stop-gap before the next main series Battlefield game released. Many of us thought that it was an appetizer and warm-up before the main course arrived. But then, Battlefield 3 did not deliver us a genuine sequel to Battlefield 2. And now that I see that you're experiencing a bit of the same realization and disappointment with DICE concerning their games following Battlefield 4, I hope you can look back and see that the problem in the mentality and approach of DICE was unfortunately already there a lot earlier than you might be thinking it was, with Battlefield 4 seemingly being a one-off exception to the historical rule of the DICE-dumbdown. And I want to say I'm glad that someone like yourself with a voice to get things heard and acknowledged on a larger scale has finally said something about it.