Players are doubtless going to hope that this incident does not lead to a less mod friendly product from Bethesda.
The long wait for mods for the PS4 version of Fallout 4 ended in the worst possible way earlier this month when Bethesda confirmed that mods would not be coming to the PS4 version of the game at all, thanks to Sony blocking them, and Bethesda being unwilling to compromise on their vision for how mods should work.
It was a shame all around, and it is widely considered to be a major misstep from Sony. That said, however, the one question that does not get enough consideration in all discussions regarding this topic is what this might mean for future Bethesda games, and especially, future Fallout and Elder Scrolls games.
Now that Bethesda are clear that Sony will not allow mods on their platform to the extent that Bethesda want mods to be offered, and with the PS4 offering the largest install base for Bethesda to sell their games to, at least on consoles, one must ask themselves whether this episode might not end up having a bearing on how Bethesda handle and approach mods as a whole going forward.
Is it possible, for instance, that Bethesda make games that are less expandable via mods going forward, simply because they are now aware that on at least one major platform, they will not be able to deliver on their envisaged product? Or conversely, is it possible that Bethesda simply double down on mods, and continue to deliver games on Xbox and PC with them, offering a lesser product to PlayStation gamers, and hoping to pressurize Sony into budging from their stance?
I do want to call attention to the fact that Bethesda have been all to happy in the past to deliver an inferior product on PlayStation- does anyone remember Fallout 3 and Skyrim on PS3? So they might not necessarily change their games because Sony won’t allow mods.
But there is always the tiniest chance that they do – maybe to offer an equal product to everyone, or to simply remove mods entirely, and offer monetized user generated content – and if that is something that happens, then Sony, and their refusal to allow mods on the PS4, will have been responsible for it.
Let’s hope that none of this comes to pass, and that in the worst case, Bethesda deliver an Elder Scrolls 6 that can be modded on Xbox One and PC, but not on PlayStation. In the best case, Sony will have changed their minds by then.