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The Elder Scrolls VI, Starfield and the future of video game giant Bethesda (including their outlook on single-player games)


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Bethesda is revered for these gigantic worlds that set out a banquet of options for the player. But from Fortnite to League of Legends, many of the most popular and profitable games around in 2018 are competitive multiplayer games, which has led to speculation about the future of the expensive single-player experience that Bethesda is known for. This year’s Fallout 76 is an online game that throws people together to cooperate or clash – not the lone player experience fans expect.


Nonetheless, Hines is bullish about the future of epic single-player adventures. “Well, we keep doing it,” he says. “There was a lot of hand-wringing around [2017’s] Prey, but we just announced a huge update. Rage 2 is a giant single-player game, [the next Doom game] Doom Eternal is single-player, and Wolfenstein: Young Blood is single-player. Single-player is still a thing; it might continue to grow or evolve, but it’s part of who we are, and we still think there’s room to be successful. That doesn’t mean that we should keep doing things the way we did five or 10 years ago – we’ve got to continue to change how we approach it.”

Howard acknowledges players’ fears about the diminishing prominence of single-player games. “It’s understandable. That would be my fear too,” he says.


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If I'm Bethesda, I'm not worried about people not buying the next Elderscrolls. That's money in the bank thanks to Skyrim. Its Starfield and Rage 2 that have to prove themselves. Overall though, they have a solid niche that pays out generation after generation. Bethesda isn't the publisher that has to worry about MP eating their lunch. Its companies like Konami, Capcom, and Square that have had much more tumultuous turns in the last 8 years. 

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I think the problem is just most SP games just aren't worth the price of admission. So people generally don't want to buy many of them, so I'm return developers don't want to make many of them.


That's not to say most are bad, it's just things like CSGO and R6S are not only cheap, but they are games you can play for years and years and never get bored.


Bethesda is in this unique place where their single player games ARE played for years and years. Look at how old Skyrim is, and how high on the Steam charts it is.


I think we'll see even Bethesda start to calm down on SP games soon though. The reason why TES and Fallout do so well it's cause how much content is in the base game, how much gets added with expansions, and then the metric fuckton of mods, as well as the scale of the mods that come out for these games. Rage 2 isn't going to be something tens of thousands of people will be playing 8 years after it's launch, but TES6 probably will be.


I don't think people are against something that you play by yourself, they are just against paying 60 dollars for a game that gets you 10 hours of fun. In a world where the top played games are fun to play everyday, cost nothing at the low end, and 30 bucks on the high-end, why would you want to want to spend a lot more money on a lot less game?


Bethesda is never going to have to worry about TES and Fallout. I do think we will see games like Doom and Rage become more MP focused. Doom worked because it was a pure old-school game done well. It was refreshing in a sea of bad CoD like single player FPS games. How long will that last though? How long until the next Doom game is just the next Doom game?

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Because every day, thousands of has-been PvP gamers say "fuck i'm getting too old for this" and turn to slow-paced, laid back, quiet games that don't require them to talk to all the new little shits that take up the spaces they used to own.


Its why Skyrim continues to sell, and why single player games aren't going anywhere.

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