Believe it or not, free mods will likely co-exist with Creation Club content
We’re roughly one month removed from E3 2017, away from the buzz, noise and hyperbole that usually accompanies such a spectacle. Many are enamoured by Mario being able to “capture” and become various creatures and objects in Super Mario Odyssey. Sony had the most number of impressive trailers with God of War, Days Gone, Detroit: Become Human. Microsoft made an impact with the Xbox One X and by hosting the gameplay reveal of Anthem. And say what you will about EA but Star Wars: Battlefront 2 and A Way Out look legitimately impressive. Ubisoft…well, let’s not talk about Ubisoft right now.
"The process may sound strict but that’s because Bethesda developers themselves will be working with the Creators on this content, including handling QA testing and localizing content."
In the midst of everything that occurred at E3, one publisher got a ton of hate: Bethesda. The basic impressions of Bethesda’s E3 press conference could be broken down as follows: “Not Skyrim again!” “Where’s the new Elder Scrolls!” “What’s with this cartoon crap presentation?” “Ooh, The Evil Within 2 and Wolfenstein 2!” Of course, one more announcement became a bone of contention for many – the Creation Club.
Bethesda is no stranger to controversies around mods. Whether they planned to release Fallout 4 mods on PS4 or the whole paid mods controversy surrounding Skyrim on Steam, Bethesda must have known that the Creation Club would be viewed in the same fashion.
The difference, as per Bethesda, is that the Creation Club isn’t meant to replace mods. Furthermore, older mods can’t suddenly be retro-fitted to retail on the Creation Club Store. Bethesda is also adamant about the process being a lot more in-depth. When signing up to be a “Creator”, you have to submit a documentation pitch which must then be approved.
Furthermore, this idea must be new and original. After the pitch is approved, there will be a schedule with milestones for an alpha, beta and full release. The process may sound strict but that’s because Bethesda developers themselves will be working with the Creators on this content, including handling QA testing and localizing content. As far as Bethesda goes, this is company-sanctioned content for both Skyrim and Fallout.
"If players like the content, they can pay for it. If they don’t, they won’t. And if they won’t, Bethesda will either change something or scrap the concept altogether, which could have repercussions for modders looking to go “legit”."
Of course, this could be viewed as a way for major modders to simply leave the scene behind and go into Creation Club development. After all, new clothes, weapons, characters, gameplay elements, worlds and so on are listed as potential Creation Club content. It’s just that the Creators will actually be paid for their work. The lingering issues are as you’d expect: How much will this new content cost? How much will Creators make for their work? What about creative differences between the Creator and Bethesda? What can the Creation Club possibly offer that mods can’t, that too at a price versus a mod’s free content?
Regardless, the overall aim of the Club is clear – Bethesda wants to keep supporting Fallout 4 and Skyrim. Rather than trying to make large DLC packs and diverting resources from future projects, it wants to tie up with modders and other developers to make smaller, new additions to the world. It’s not the worst idea, to be honest, and anyone who’s working with Bethesda in this regard, even if they give up making free mods for a period of time, deserves to be paid for their work.
Whether they can actually create something to compete with the burgeoning modding scene remains to be seen. I look at the Creation Club as a way for projects like, say, Skywind or Beyond Skyrim – Bruman to get off the ground faster. With Bethesda’s resources backing such projects, handling the Q&A while simultaneously injecting manpower (or so I assume), it’s likely we get these kinds of huge content drops in a more polished fashion that much faster.
Of course, I’m not going to assume that Bethesda doesn’t have something in mind when it comes to the future of the Creation Club. You can argue about the maliciousness of their intent to make money while getting the community to do their dirty work. However, at the end of the day, it’s trying to make money and is offering additional content for Skyrim and Fallout 4 in exchange. If players like the content, they can pay for it. If they don’t, they won’t. And if they don’t, Bethesda will either change something or scrap the concept altogether, which could have repercussions for modders looking to go “legit”.
"This isn’t a “wait and see” approach. It’s a “decide for yourself how much you really want new Bethesda content and whether it’s worth your money” approach."
There’s still a lot we don’t know about the Creation Club but that only be ascertained when it’s properly in motion. When Creators are actually pumping out products and feedback is garnered from the community, only then will we have some kind of precedent. At this point, acting like the sky is falling and it’s the end of free mods is pointless. Also, there’s nothing that says modders can’t work on Creation Club content and free mods at the same time, which some have expressed interest in doing.
This isn’t a “wait and see” approach. It’s a “decide for yourself how much you really want new Bethesda content and whether it’s worth your money” approach. And believe it or not, but there are millions and millions of people who bought Skyrim and Fallout 4 hungering for more Bethesda-style content while staying away from mods. If Bethesda can provide it to them, they will. I mean, look at all the people who want a new Elder Scrolls. You don’t think Bethesda is going to try and give them something to make the wait easier?
Because at the end of the day, whether it’s Bethesda, CD Projekt RED, Blizzard, Square-Enix, Activision, EA, Nintendo or any other arbitrary games company, everyone is working towards not only getting your money but keeping you as a consumer. As good or as bad as that sounds, they’ll work overtime to make sure your needs are fulfilled if it means they can turn a profit and keep doing what they love at the end of the day.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to GamingBolt as an organization.