Fallout 76 Crunch Blamed For Starfield And Redfall Delays
With the gaming industry largely getting back on its feet following COVID-19, it sounds like we can no longer blame the global pandemic for the reason your favourite game has been delayed. The latest sees developers turning on themselves and blaming their own in-house releases for the reason your next buy won't be hitting shelves on time.
While it largely started with the likes of Cyberpunk 2077 falling into a seemingly endless cycle of delays and reworks, it's now become the norm as most AAA games lose their release dates. 2022 has been slightly better for this unfortunate trend - well, if you aren't Bethesda.
Why Have Starfield And Redfall Been Delayed?
It's no secret that when Fallout 76 launched in 2018, it was panned as being a radiation-ravaged and sickly sister to the main series. Considering Fallout 4 was such a hit in 2015, it was a crying shame that Fallout 76 fell short of expectations as a wholly multiplayer experience that ditched the Fallout franchise's penchant for delivering well-rounded NPCs.
Still, Bethesda refused to give up on its limping title, and even backpedalled to add NPCs during 2020's Wastelanders DLC. There's a fuzzy five-year plan for Fallout 76, but according to a scathing report from Kotaku, the troubled title sounds like an abomination that never should've been. Speaking to 10 former Bethesda and ZeniMax Media employees, Fallout 76 was reportedly made up of many former Fallout 4 devs who didn't want to work on a live-service game.
Kotaku writes, "They drafted developers from all over the ZeniMax umbrella, to the point that other projects were negatively affected. Arkane Studios’ Redfall and Bethesda’s Starfield both lost team members to the black hole of Fallout 76."
Were Things That Bad On Fallout 76?
So where was Bethesda boss Todd Howard in all of this? Some say he spent his time focussing on Starfield. Whistleblowers from the design team talk about "seagulling" where Howard would "fly by later and sh*t all over an idea." Although one source said he was a "decent" Executive Producer," he's called out for having a "bigger is better" philosophy. There are some strange holes in the story here, and if Starfield started work in 2015 just after Fallout 4 shipped, should it really be delayed in 2022?
Although Bethesda is yet to comment on these claims, there are complaints of "voluntold overtime," wrist injuries reportedly being commonplace among Bethesda workers, and even allegations that bathroom breaks were timed. Major developers like Rockstar Games and Naughty Dog have faced their own battles with crunch culture in the past, and with both speaking out, we'd assumed the industry had largely learned its lesson. If the major releases of Starfield and Redfall have been delayed because of Fallout 76, we've got to ask... was it really worth it?