You all know how game news works by now. A publisher or developer announces their project two years in advance, we go mental, write about it and eagerly await news of said game being delayed beyond it’s original launch window. And then we write about the season pass, day one patch and review that sucka. It’s a formula so simple, even a gang of monkeys could do it. Something we actually did try for a week once, which resulted in a 14% increase in traffic, typos and slightly less faeces being flung around the office.
Bethesda bucked that trend last year with Fallout 4, officially announcing it and revealing a release date that was mere months away. And that’s something that Fallout 4 director Todd Howard prefers, as he explained to GameSpot how the fluidic nature of games made such short reveals the way to go. “I really prefer it, for multiple reasons,” Howard explained.
There are moments when you get excited about hearing about something. I think that’s a special moment. Then you take Fallout, people already wanted it and that helps tremendously. We knew. We’re just going to hold back and so we can just go [poof] here it is. And that moment of excitement is really great.
Look, video games change during development. One idea at the first reveal, may not survive all the way through to the final product being launched. That’s how game design works. It’s a massively adaptable medium, just like Star Trek’s Borg race and where resistance genuinely is futile. “The other thing is, while you’re making a game, you’re figuring out, ‘OK, what’s really good about it?’ ‘What’s this?’ ‘What’s this?’ If you’re talking about that too early, people aren’t getting excited, they’re getting anxious,” Howard said of the process.
In fact, Howard and Bethesda may look at having even shorter reveal windows in the future, that such announcements “could be a lot shorter”.
How long that time is, is to be determined. It could be a lot shorter, believe it or not, or [six months] could be the right amount of time. It differs per project.
Bethesda happens to have three other mystery projects that they’re busy with right now, with Howard explaining that “they’ll each find their own way of being announced and released”. Which might be slightly awkward, because I’m not looking forward to waking up at 2AM to post a story about Doom 5 already being stealth-released to shops.
Last Updated: February 22, 2016