The Elders Scrolls Series is Bethesda’s prime RPG franchise, but the company’s Fallout titles have been well received and commercially successful ventures. Fallout: New Vegas, developed by Obsidian Entertainment (now owned by Microsoft Studios), and published by Bethesda itself, turns 10 today, and the excitement for a sequel has never been more palpable.
While Fallout 3 remains the critical pinnacle for the series, fans have – throughout the last decade – made New Vegas the favorite entry in the series. Obsidian took Fallout 3’s engine, and expanded the concepts set by the previous game. They made a larger, richer world, with more intricate stories, and a game with almost infinite replay value.
While New Vegas was very ‘glitchy’ at launch (what Bethesda RPG isn’t?), the game felt like a true refinement over Fallout 3, and a dream come true for those who wanted a bigger, more elaborate experience within the Fallout universe. Fallout: New Vegas sold extremely well (over 12 million units), and by most accounts, it is superior to Bethesda’s newer Fallout 4.
Why Bethesda never pursued a sequel – or even a re-master of the title – is a bit mystifying, but tensions between Bethesda and Obsidian might have had a part in the blame for a sequel never happening.
Metacritic, is one of the most important tools used when considering the purchase of a game. The site collects professional critic reviews from across the globe, and creates an average score for each game based on all of the scores that said game got from different outlets.
Basically, an above 90 Metacritic score is a must buy game that almost everyone will enjoy, an 80 score is a reflection of a good game that will please fans of a certain genre (or game), and anything under those scores, I would usually take a more cautious approach before purchasing.
Some gamers downplay these scores, but publishers do not. Some even offer incentives based on how high the ranking score is, rather than on sales numbers. This type of “critical” incentive would prove to be a divisive one in the working relationship between Obsidian and Bethesda.
Obsidian crafted a game that sold 12 million units, and yet, the developer (an independent one at the time) didn’t get a single dime in royalties because the game got a Metacritic rating of 84, instead of a Metacritic rating of 85. One single point, equaled millions of dollars lost for a studio that needed (and deserved) the royalties.
In the spirit good faith an employer sometimes shows some leeway towards an employee in situations like this. So, it seems ridiculous that Bethesda didn’t just honor the royalties contract with Obsidian based on the fact that they only missed the target score by a single point, and that the game had extraordinary sales.
While Metacritic is currently the best way to access the quality of game before purchasing it, there some reasons to be concerned about when only a point or two are the difference between getting some one paid a just reward, or not.
The site takes many entries from a few dubious places. A writer that hates a particular game can give it an awfully low score, just because he felt like it, or wanted to draw attention to its review. Such an occurrence can greatly affect a game’s final global tally.
In this case Armchairempire.com rated the game a 65, that site in particular doesn’t really have the trusted reputation that other outlets might have. But its score counted all the same. Bethesda, as an experienced publisher, should have taken these issues into account, but it refused to do so.
Financial troubles would eventually lead Obsidian to Microsoft’s greener pastures, and ironically, destiny would have it that Microsoft would buy Bethesda/Zenimax this year. For all intents and purposes, if Microsoft wants an Obsidian developed “New Vegas Sequel”, Bethesda would have to bite down, and allow for such a thing to happen. This time however, Obsidian will probably reap the just financial rewards it richly deserved.
So, would Obsidian be up for it? A twitter reply to a fan asking about the possibility seems to hint that they are open for it.
— Obsidian (@Obsidian) September 21, 2020
Let’s cross our fingers that it happens, there would be no better gift for Fallout fans than a sequel to New Vegas, at this point even a re-master would suffice in order to quench our massive New Vegas thirst.