Fallout 4 was announced and released within a total of five months, following years of speculation from the games press and fans alike. The game has raked in $750 million in its first week of availability. In comparison, Black Ops 3 brought in $550 million for Activision. More developers and publishers need to take note of this.
Bethesda made the incredibly smart move of keeping just about everything about Fallout 4 under wraps up until the game’s release. We had less than 30 minutes of footage to look over from the game’s E3 presentation and, aside from leaks, got a short and sweet launch trailer a day before release which included some extra gameplay footage. That was it. We knew the bare minimum there was to know about the game and as risky a strategy as that is in this day and age, it worked.
I’ve talked about this subject before, but developers like to talk about their games…a lot. Aside from the fact I’m always looking for things to report on that I believe our readers would find interesting, I tend to feel like I read more about the games I’m playing than actually playing them. As a member of the press that got to check out Fallout 4 ahead of the release date, it was quite refreshing to go into a game not knowing what to expect. And I’m sure it was equally refreshing for you too.
Gamers were clamoring for information for years for Fallout 4, and when Bethesda announced Fallout 4 with a release date only five months away, the wait was agonizing. A game experience you’ve waited since 2008 for, and having a game development company turn the tables and not say much of anything about the game was rather interesting to see as a member of the press. Interesting because of the hype just continued to build for the game, all without Bethesda having to lift a finger.
This strategy could have turned badly for Bethesda rather quickly as the less a developer talks about a game, the more worried people get. Obviously Bethesda has a reputation they’ve built up though, so it would certainly take a bigger issue for people to start to worry. My point being that this type of strategy won’t work for every developer/publisher. But bigger games like Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, heck, even the Battlefield franchise should start taking on this approach instead of revealing every last detail about the game before it’s released. This strategy wouldn’t work for most indie developers simply because the majority of them are unknown and have little reputation to go off of. Even then, Lunar Software’s Routine has people talking and they’ve showed one trailer for the game since it was announced and don’t plan to release any more details on the game till right up around release.
In a day and age where movie previews and game trailers show us just about everything there is to see before a game is released, the less you show the better in my opinion. It’s almost impossible nowadays to go on a total media blackout for big game releases and not having anything spoiled. Bethesda somehow managed to do that with Fallout 4.
Hopefully other developers and publishers pick up what Bethesda has put down and apply it to their own game releases. Maybe for once, game journalists will find something else to talk about other than spoiling every last detail of a game before its released.