Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Blizzard: "How not to be Bethesda"

Fallout 3 was my most anticipated game for nearly a year now, the teaser trailer ending with Ron Perlman's voice sent shivers up my spine, about half a year later we got a few more screenshots which were alright I guess. But apart from all that not much has been said about what has the potential to be the greatest game of the year.

Heads will roll if this ends up sucking

I think it's safe to say that Bethesda are absolutely horrid at marketing, such was evident with Oblivion, it was like your black sheep brother arriving late to a prearranged family gathering to announce his girlfriend is pregnant again. Sure it's a surprise but we knew it was coming eventually.

Last week Blizzard announced Diablo3, and the way they did it took complete hold of my attention and slapped me in the face with the hand of awesome, and this isn't the first time either, Blizzard did the exact same thing with Starcraft 2 last year. They are marketing kings, and I feel big companies like Bethesda can take a note from their work.

"Heads, once severed, will roll" - Diablo3 Feature Page

Here's a comparison between the two companies..

Months Before...

Blizzard: Months before releasing it, they bought out the D3 website domain and had job positions available for an "undisclosed game"

Bethesda: Had a rather public legal mishap buying the rights to Fallout

So far, Bethesda pretty much gave away that they were making Fallout 3, Blizzard kept us guessing, the hype machine started

Opening Days

Blizzard: Slowly Changing Splash page, started with Ice so people would think it's for Wrath of the Lich King

Bethesda: "Please Stand By", plus some concept art

now Bethesda earn points for the excellent splash image, "Please Stand By" summed it up for every Fallout fan that their dream was being answered, Blizzard also got points for being sneaky, once again, they are hype kings.

Site Launch (The Big one)

Blizzard: Flash Intro screen, Trailer, Gameplay vid introducing 2 character classes and includes commentary, screenshots, concept art, game feature description

Bethesda: Teaser Trailer, Ron Perlman

This is where there Bethesda ship sank, they had all the time in the world to prepare a huge chunk of content for the fans but they blew it, they brought out a really good trailer but went quiet for a very long time after that. It seems that Blizzard achieved more in one day than Bethesda did over the course of a year.

And it doesn't look any better for Fallout 3, the website is updated with useless crap we already know very rarely, and the downloadable content and media doesn't keep me on the site for more than a few minutes, and every time there is a video spot on Fallout3 they interview the arseclown that is Todd Howard, who either a) says the same lines he did in previous interviews, or b) Stumbles through the questions, acting self important but coming off as a weasel.

Todd admiring Morgan Webb's "bump mapping", also, note her Batman chin

Todd Howard reminds me of the type of kid you'd lend a video to in High School and then when you ask for it back he tells you he lent it to another friend of his and that friend lost it.

Bethesda also has to keep a leash on their employees before shit goes down, Ashley Cheng has had a go at Blizzard, dissapointed in their reluctance to move from isometric views. As a fan of Diablo I'm more than happy to play in the same isometric style, Diablo made that style work perfectly and just because it's 2008 and not 1997 anymore isn't any reason to change a good thing. Bethesda don't seem to understand that, and I'm not mocking their FPS approach to Fallout, I'm just saying that just because something is old, doesn't make it bad.


Mark said...

So. aside from the advertising woes, whats your opinion on Fallout 3 getting banned here?

Oh, and as an aside- I've picked up copies of 1 & 2 recently, would I need to play em' before 3 comes out?

Tom said...

Hey Mark! thanks for dropping in!

You won't need to play Fallout 1 and 2 before 3, as Bethesda is making the 3rd game with "new players" in mind.

But I recommend playing the first two anyway, because they are bloody fantastic games.

My opinion on Fallout 3 banned in Australia? Well, I WAS going to buy it, but now I'll just download it, denying the Australian game industry my hard earned 100 bucks.

Once more gamers start becoming politicians we'll see a love for gaming, currently the old frigid bastards who represent the nation can partake in mass suicide for all I care...