This week, the gaming world was rocked by two announcements; the reveal of Pokemon Let’s Go! Eevee and Pikachu for Nintendo Switch and the announcement of Fallout 76.
We know that the former game is a Pokemon title in the style of Pokemon Go. It emphasizes capturing Pokemon through motion controls and peripherals rather than the RPG elements that made the Pokemon series famous. It’s not the Switch Pokemon game some fans were expecting (that one is coming next year).
Then there is Fallout 76. While there are few concrete details about that game available at this time, all reports indicate that it’s not a traditional Fallout game, but rather an online multiplayer survival title. It’s not the Fallout game that some fans were expecting or hoping for (that one is coming…actually, we’re not quite sure when it’s coming).
Both of these games carry the name of popular franchises, but neither of them really exemplifies all of the qualities that made those franchises popular in the first place. That’s resulted in some outrage from both series’ fanbases. Some people just aren’t that interested in the ideas of the new games themselves. Others are against the idea of them existing at all.
It’s the latter group that should really think about whether or not their discouraging developers from trying new things instead of pumping out the same sequels every year.
Ok, neither Let’s Go or Fallout 76 are new ideas, but they are attempts by Nintendo and Bethesda to take those popular franchises and use them as a way to capture the attention of gamers who might otherwise not even pay attention to either type of game if they didn’t have a famous name. In Pokemon Let’s Go, Nintendo is trying to see if there is something more substantial to the ideas of Pokemon Go; a game that captured the attention of millions of gamers whether they like to admit it or not. In Fallout 76, Bethesda is seemingly trying to find a way to emphasize the survival aspects that hardcore fans thought were missing from Fallout 4 without having to compromise the mainstream success they were able to achieve with Fallout 4.
To put it another way, these games are the safest way possible for even major companies to try something that defies expectations even slightly. It may sound odd to suggest that multi-million dollar gaming companies can’t afford to take a risk, but the fact remains that it’s a lot easier to capture people’s attention with a name they already know than it is to try to do the same from scratch. Let’s face it, that’s why Hollywood went through a major remake and reboot phase.
But these aren’t remakes and reboots. Say what you will about whether the ideas themselves can work – of if you plan on buying either of the games – but this week, Nintendo and Bethesda managed to steal headlines everywhere with two ideas that were unexpected and potentially offer fresh, big-budget takes on concepts that would have otherwise died a publicity death if they weren’t wearing familiar faces. The game might end up being bad, but maybe the idea of them existing isn’t a bad thing at all.