Culture

by Timothy Geigner


Filed Under:
connecting with fans, fallout 4

Companies:
bethesda, zenimax



Bethesda Does Connecting With Fans Right

from the good-guys dept

We've spent some time and energy in these pages poking at Bethesda and its parent company, Zenimax, over each's overtly ridiculous stances on protecting what it views as its intellectual property in the past. But even a bad actor in the IP arena can get things right in other ways and Bethesda has shown itself to be fairly good in the past in the area of connecting with its fans. This is one of the more underappreciated aspects involved in digital business models, in which the digital realms where we operate open up content producers to direct interaction with their customers. Done right, this will ingratiate a business with its community, fostering a loyalty it might otherwise not have. Done really right, it gets a company all of that plus a PR bonus that can only come from these organic interactions.

Which brings us back to Bethesda, makers of Fallout 4. The company recently heard from one fan showing his appreciation for its work on the game and the game's help in getting him through some fairly rough times.

“I have spent over 500 [hours] in this game,” NoohjXLVII wrote on theFallout 4 Reddit (via Eurogamer). “Partly due to the fun gameplay, the new survival mode, and just the game in general. My dad passed away last year (age 56)... I didn’t take it well.”

To deal with the pain, he made a bipedal sentry bot and named it after his father. “The name of the bot was GR-36, as his name was Greg.” Then, this summer, when NoohjXLVII finished Fallout 4, he got a call that his 24-year-old brother was in the ICU. Sadly, his brother passed away. (His friends started a GoFundMe, which goes into more detail about his medical condition.)

“Thank you Bethesda for providing me with this wonderful game and distraction for everything I’m going through,” NoohjXLVII wrote.

Entertainment has always worked this way, whether it's professional sports, books, movies or music, an artistic medium's capacity to whisk us away from the troubles of life has always been a primary motivator. Those troubles can be mundane, or they can be of the more extreme variety. The ability to lose oneself is no different in the art of video games.

Still, stories and feedback like this are not especially rare. I've seen them all over the place. More rare is Bethesda's decision to thank NoohjXLVII not only by sending him a very nice care package, but by writing his late brother into the game as a character.

Bethesda not only sent NoohjXLVII a care package, but added his brother to the game’s Nuka World DLC.

“The words they use sound exactly like him, however he was also a pretty funny guy, full of puns,” NoohjXLVII wrote yesterday, thanking Bethesda and saying he would forever be in their debt.

The character is overtly kind and caring to the player, mirroring what NoohjXLVII says of his real life sibling. It's touching for the public, but must have been a deeper kind of experience for this one person who lost two family members. Whatever we might say about the company's stance on intellectual property protectionism, this is connecting with fans done very, very well.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2016 @ 12:23am

    Great to hear stories like this, if only more companies would focus on doing more of this rather than the things they tend to prefer doing which normally pisses off the fans.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lyle, 7 Sep 2016 @ 12:51am

    Eve Online by CCP Games is also a game/game company I know of who go to extraordinary lengths to honor their players with that sort of effort.

    It really makes me go the extra mile to support them as against the likes of EA and Ubisoft who I won't even buy from anymore...

    Connecting with fans pays.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 7 Sep 2016 @ 1:46am

    Gearbox did something similar, writing Michael Mamaril into Borderlands 2 as an NPC.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mike (profile), 7 Sep 2016 @ 6:43am

    This story reminds me of Ephoenix in World of Warcraft.

    http://wowwiki.wikia.com/wiki/Ezra_Chatterton

    Sometimes companies can be extremely cool.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 7 Sep 2016 @ 8:28am

    Gearbox did something similar when they put fan and cancer victim Michael Mamaril into Borderlands 2 as an NPC.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 7 Sep 2016 @ 11:40am

    I'm more shocked the gaming community didn't take to social justice media and send death threats to Bethesda because they didn't get characters made after their dead loved ones.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    JoeinTheGarage, 8 Sep 2016 @ 12:24am

    I am really happy with all my Bethesda stuff (unlike Blizzard)

    Here's TWO (I dont know what you call em) for ya.

    Going through old back up discs, fired up dosbox, fired up PARAGON 1.0 Written by Todd Michael Lewis and in the HIGH scores (paragon.udf | $SCORES) I have missed loved dead people with high scores!

    Started Crying fuck.



    Another one I had this guy musician, guitarist, trusted friend, that got murdered. we used to play hexen, heretic, doom, quake always find myself playing hexen going through all those stupid doors, somehow looking for my friend but he ain't there. At first when I drank I did this but I don't drink anymore he's been gone since 1997. I have no explanation why my mind keeps wanting to do this shit, even stone cold sober.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 8 Sep 2016 @ 5:23am

    A small gesture that means a whole world to the receiving end. Indeed a very nice attitude. Even though I disagree with their actions on the IP field I ended up buying their stuff because of these awesomeness cases with their gaming community.

    But hey I'm just a freetard who wants everything for free... Or something.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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