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.