Bethesda may be moving towards having multiplayer in a lot of its upcoming games – for instance, Fallout is going towards multiplayer with Fallout 76, as is Wolfenstein with Wolfenstein: Youngblood, while DOOM: Eternal will have new multiplayer elements too – but the company still embraces single player games as part of its identity and heritage.
Speaking to IGN, Bethesda’s VP of marketing Pete Hines noted that while the company has made, and continues to make, multiplayer and social games, single player titles are still fundamentally a part of how the company views itself.
“Single player is part of who we are,” he said. “We’re also the folks that make Elder Scrolls Online. We make Quake Champions. We make Elder Scrolls: Legends. But single player is part of who we are.”
That said, how Bethesda approaches single player games has changed- rather than focusing on the concept of replayability, Hines said, the developer now looks at value, so that the player who pays $60 for a Bethesda game still feels like they got their money’s worth.
“We have a joke in the office,” Hines said. “I have banned the word replayable because that’s not a feature. Every game is replayable. Tetris is replayable. Every game can be replayed from the beginning. That’s not unique. That’s not a feature.”
Which is fair- even a short single player only game like The Order 1886 can be played multiple times ad infinitum, after all. Making that experience, whether the player plays the game once or many times, worth it and compelling is where the challenge lies. Thankfully enough, at least, that is one area where Bethesda games have no problems, thanks to their emphasis on player agency and emergent gameplay, which keeps things fresh. Going forward, hopefully Bethesda remembers to retain this quality in all its games.
Fallout 76 launches on the PS4, Xbox One, and PC on November 14 this year.