Developer: id Software, Panic Button (Nintendo Switch)
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
“If you hold up every game as if it’s gotta do what Fallout and Skyrim did, then you’re not gonna make many games.”
While Bethesda has some of the biggest franchises in the industry – Fallout, and, of course, The Elder Scrolls (the latter being so big that basically an interactive GIF of a tentative logo for a new game can make the internet melt down in enthusiasm), some of its other properties don’t quite sell that well.
Notably, even though Bethesda has a vast repertoire of IP and games – in the last few years, their slate has expanded to include Dishonored, DOOM, Wolfenstein, Quake, The Evil Within, Prey, and Rage – their other games don’t seem to do quite as well. For example, last year, Bethesda made some of the best games of the year, with Prey, Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, The Evil Within 2, and Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus all being put out by them. And yet, none of them managed to do very well, commercially speaking.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, who promoted him on the disparity between the sales of these games, versus the sales of something like The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, Bethesda’s VP Pete Hines noted that most games do not in fact sell at that level- and Bethesda needs to be careful to have the right expectations for how each game will perform, rather than expecting all of them to perform like, say, Skyrim.
“Lots of things don’t sell as well as Fallout and Elder Scrolls,” he said. “Our belief is that we want to aim for the right goal of what we’re making and what those franchises can do. If you hold up every game as if it’s gotta do what Fallout and Skyrim did, then you’re [not] gonna make many games because very few games will do that. Like, DOOM didn’t do that but DOOM still sold awesome so it’s just about what’s the right size dev team, dev cycle, size of the audience and are we doing a good job of delivering that.”
It makes sense, too- it’s a shame that the other games apparently didn’t do as well as The Elder Scrolls or Fallout would do, but at the same time, it’s pretty clear Bethesda seems to be okay with that, too- because they’re sensible enough to have the right expectations from their games, if nothing else.