from the mod-squad dept
How gaming companies treat their modding communities that spring up around their games is something of a fault line in the industry. Game studios tend to be either pro-modding or not, with very little space in between. Nintendo, for instance, is notoriously anti-modding of its games. Bethesda, on the other hand, has traditionally been quite open-minded when it comes to the modding communities that have sprung up around its games. We’ve made the point for a long, long time that embracing modding communities is typically a massive boon to gaming companies and the restrictive attitude companies like Nintendo take makes little sense. Mods extend the shelf life and interest of games, driving attention and elongating the sales cycle and windows for those games. Giving up a little control for more sales seems to only make sense.
But, speaking of Bethesda, some developers go even further. For instance, there is a forthcoming Fallout mod made by an independent team that is entitled Fallout: London, and it looks amazing.
Now, I am very much a fan of this franchise, so I’m comfortable saying that if you can see a quality difference between what appears in this trailer and what has appeared in official trailers for the franchise, you’re a much bigger stickler for details than I am. The mod changes more than just the location, though. It puts an emphasis on different types of gameplay to reflect a more British sensibility.
Fallout: London is an ambitious Fallout 4 modification that was officially revealed earlier this year. Taking place in the time between the first two games and set leagues away from the franchise’s traditional Americana-inspired stomping grounds, Fallout: London features a massive new map to explore, fresh-faced factions to join, and an added focus on melee weapons over firearms.
Now, the whole thing has been created on a volunteer basis and I haven’t seen any request for money or monetary support on its website, so there is that. Still, little would stand in Bethesda’s way if it wanted to shut this whole thing down. Plenty of gaming companies have done that sort of thing with fan-made projects in the past, citing copyright and/or trademark concerns. So, really, are we just waiting for the Bethesda hammer to drop on this project?
If so, it won’t be the hammer you were expecting. Instead, Bethesda’s folks seemed to be so impressed by the work on the mod that it is hiring some of its team directly.
Stephanie Zachariadis, head writer of the highly anticipated Fallout: London mod, is leaving the development team after being hired as an associate quest designer at Bethesda Game Studios, project lead Dean Carter announced recently.
“This is utterly fantastic news and something that all of the team here at Fallout: London stand behind and we wholeheartedly wish her the best on her endeavors,” Carter wrote in the mod’s official Discord server. “We hope that she will give them the same groundbreaking story and quests that she gave us.”
We often talk about how companies can be cool and human with their own fans, rather than restrictive assbags, and what a boon this can be to the company. It’s a whole new level when a gaming company decides to take that same tact with its modding community. Bethesda obviously recognizes the value in its modding community and is now leveraging it in multiple ways.
- The mod itself makes Fallout 4 continue to be relevant and perhaps even more relevant for the UK audience.
- Allowing the work on the mod to come to fruition revealed a talent-hiring opportunity for Bethesda in the form of Zachariadis.
- That hiring decision should only encourage the modding community to work on labors of love even harder, with the understanding that Bethesda is both cool with it and might even reward them for it down the road.
- The public gets to see the company behave in a human and awesome way, a PR benefit.
I am failing to see a single downside for Bethesda to any of this, making me wonder yet again why other companies ever do it differently than this.