Bethesda Launches A Campaign To "Save" Single-Player Games

Bethesda isn't going to stop making single-player games.

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Now Playing: Bethesda #SavePlayer1 Trailer

Tonight at The Game Awards, Bethesda released a trailer for something new--not a game, but something more unique. The video stars Wonder Woman actress Lynda Carter calling on gamers to "save" the single-player gamer.

Unlike many big-name publishers, Bethesda's games are often more focused on single-player. With the "games-as-a-service" model growing in popularity, Bethesda stands out, and has enjoyed some success in this department with Fallout 4 passing Skyrim to become Bethesda's best-selling game ever. It hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows, however, as Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus didn't get off to the hottest start.

Along with this, some of Bethesda's single-player games (Doom, Fallout 4, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus) are marked down by as much as 50 percent this week, digitally and at some physical retailers. Additionally, Bethesda is donating $100,000 to the Entertainment Software Association Foundation, which is a group that gives scholarships to help women and minorities going after degrees in the field of video game arts.

Bethesda said today that it doesn't plan to stop making single-player games, which shouldn't surprise anyone. Unlike companies like EA and Activision, Bethesda is a privately owned company that doesn't have shareholders to answer to.

Keep checking back with GameSpot for more tonight from The Game Awards. You can watch the event here and follow our liveblog here.

Disclosure: Leslie Moonves, the CEO of GameSpot parent company CBS, is on the Board of Directors at Zenimax, which owns Bethesda.

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Avatar image for Bamda

This is why I own every Bethesda game. I cannot say that about any other publisher.

Avatar image for KFrog

I gave up on gaming a few years ago because the game series I liked to play (mostly tactical shooters) were mostly MP with a SP mode to "get you ready for the MP". SP was short, basic and just not worth the cash. I saw the headline of this article and thought I'd give it a look and see if any of the games peeked my interest. Hopefully other developers will continue to focus on quality single player games along with more extensive SP modes in their MP games.

Avatar image for veldi

This and Carol Shaw were the highlights of the Game Awards

Avatar image for Subaru1980

Never liked or cared about Elder Scrolls and Fallout, but I have to say that Bethesda's line-up when it comes to single-player story-driven titles is just awesome.

Dishonored, Wolfenstein, Prey, The Evil Within, DOOM (OK no story there) were all fantastic. I enjoyed all of them and it's a shame sales weren't really good for those games.

Avatar image for veldi

@Subaru1980: I was actually impressed by the narrative in DOOM, in the sense that they managed to create and introduce a backstory and motivation to the Doom Marine without compromising the arcade-y action feel of the gameplay. I think it added a nice touch to the overall game and to understand just what kind of badass the Doom Marine is X)

Avatar image for PrpleTrtleBuBum

Eh. I don't get it. If we are talking from pure single person playing vs multiple people playing then it's really simple and arbitrary argument. Doom's story mode is only for one player, but you could easily add 2 player modes (cooperative or competitive), 3 player mode etc. and by scaling up a little I guess even 30 players could be smashing demons in the depths of hell. In that essence player number option is just a setting. Even something like Battlefront II kind of has a story going on in the multiplayer. If anything there have been lot of requests saying Skyrim would be twice better with co-op (or I guess competitive if you want to set it up that way, 2 or more rival Dragonborn candidates).

The problem I see is simply that some companies have started to apply MMORPG logics in every game. "You have to win 100 races to unlock a new car, or pay $10, or add friends and ask them for advertisement points". They can have that stuff in pure single player games too, already do. TES VI could very well feature "Oh, that opponent is tough. You want to pay $3 to get a 30 second buff for your weapon?" popups and it wouldn't be any better than what EA does.

Otherwise I think market takes care of itself. Not every game can be a profitable massive arena shooter so there will always be variety. The other option is that games start to become GTA-like experiences where one game has everything from action to driving to citysim to bowling.

Avatar image for StokeMeAClipper

That was awesome! The black guy looking super sad and the ginger guy rubbing game boxes in his face made me lol.

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Avatar image for streamline

@robbiejones: aw, g isn’t for gamer in that acronym, it it?

Avatar image for skyrimjobsearch

Greedy shareholders ruin everything.

Avatar image for johnnykchop

@robbiejones: Wow, not cool.

Avatar image for clqtte

All games I have bought in 20 years are single player games

Avatar image for Richardthe3rd

SP games still have a very strong market, and it's foolish to count them out.

Bethesda has found incredible success there, and it's because they distinguish the IPs they develop for.

Doom offers a hardcore pulp action style FPS experience with minimal story.

Dishonored embraces the story driven more linear stealth/RPG experience.

Fallout and Elder Scrolls are honestly the most similar but still have defining qualities. Fallout is a bit more enclosed where Skyrim and Elder Scrolls are more sandboxy.

Wolfenstein is the story driven FPS.

They're casting a good net over single player games, and that's what you have to do to be relevant in that area. Making a formula and applying it to multiple IPs (I'm looking at you, EA/Ubisoft) gives the game a "been there, done that" feel that's less compelling.

Avatar image for JRLennis

This is a thinly veiled swipe at EA. The Battlefront 2 fiasco opened the door wide enough for other publishers to go on the offensive and compete for the market share that EA is losing. It's a sign that EA finally miscalculated what the market would be willing to tolerate in the pursuit of profit. Expect this counter-movement in the industry to grow in strength.

Avatar image for sakaixx

Doing my part. I don't buy any ea games for years now.

Avatar image for playstationzone

Single players games are not dying they sold a lot this year.

Avatar image for dirthurts

@playstationzone: Nier Automata, Mario, Zelda, wolfenstein, Horizon Zero Dawn, all the best games this year were single player only.

Avatar image for playstationzone

@dirthurts: got that right

Avatar image for Louis

That was so weirdly funny and strange that I loved it.

Avatar image for angeldeb82

This is kinda weird that Lynda Carter the Wonder Woman is dressed up as some soldier from Wolfenstein!

Avatar image for hardcoregamer1

I buy every single decent single player games that comes out on the market and I dont own any multiplayer only games because I find them to be boring, so I am doing my part.

Avatar image for Dark_sageX

What exactly did Bethesda think they would accomplish by this? did you think you would move EA's heart or something? I love single player games but this was just stupid, instead of investing money on expensive actors/actresses how about you MAKE a single player game? in fact this would have been the perfect opportunity to announce a new Elder Scrolls game, or a Dishonored sequel, SOMETHING, not this pure waste of time of a video...

Avatar image for Salt_AU

@Dark_sageX: If you were paying attention to the Fallout 4 announcement, Todd Howard and Pete Hines said that they would like to do more of the same in terms of announcing their next game with a short period to wait for its release rather than a year or two in advance. It worked well for Fallout 4 and I agree, there is no reason for announcing something years before its going to be released. TES VI will be years away yet, all of the VR releases on Doom, Skyrim and Fallout 4 were testing beds for TES VI because it will be a VR game, no question. BGS next game will be Starfield and it, like Fallout 4 will be announced months before it is released, maybe announced at E3 and released in late 2018.

Dishonored is Arkane Studios and they just released Death of the Outsider not long ago. Sadly they will probably leave the series as it is for now because Dishonored 2 and Death of the Outsider didn't sell as well as they expected. Both phenomenal games imo but overlooked, just like Prey.

Avatar image for zomby

@Dark_sageX: This is just an elaborate ad. It accomplishes exactly what it set out to do, get people talking about them and the fact that they offer single player games.

Avatar image for Sam3231

Being someone that bought Doom, Wolfenstein: The New Order, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 4 I am not amused by this narrative.

How about "thank you for buying our games"?

Avatar image for bakagami

@Sam3231: They don't owe you anything. If anything you owe them for making the games

Avatar image for gamerboy100

@bakagami: And what else does he owe Bethesda? They already have his money for the games he bought.

Avatar image for Salt_AU

@gamerboy100: I'd say he meant that you be thanking them for making great games. If you want a thank you from Bethesda Game Studios just watch any interview with Todd Howard and Pete Hines and clean out your ears. They thank their fans all the time. They also allow modding of their games well beyond any other AAA developer. So bakagami is absolutely correct, you should owe them a thank you.

Avatar image for Sam3231

@gamerboy100: Yeah he did not really think that one through.

Avatar image for atamissentinus

In my opinion: Single player games aren't going anywhere any time soon. With the popularity of sp games like LoZ: BotW, Nier: Automata, Horizon Zero Dawn, AC: Origins, Hellblade, and Wolfenstein 2 it's hard to imagine that even the grEAdiest (sorry, my finger must've slipped) of developers/publishers would ignore them for the all around half-assed "games as a service" model.

Sure, the "GaaS" setup could net them some serious cash at first, but given how quickly even their most hardcore fanboys would ditch their anti-consumer practices, they'll either have to come crawling back or they'll fade away.

All we as fans have to do is vote with our dollars. Don't buy their games, don't give them any free advertising, don't give them the time of day. Simply say no to duds and move on, because if their plummeting stock value doesn't encourage them to do better, nothing will.

Avatar image for ggregd

It's "AAA" game industry with the single player is dead attitude. And it's all because of greed in wanting you to keep playing and buy loot crates and new maps. There are tons of great, DLC-free single player games from independents and smaller publishers.

Avatar image for girlusocrazy

Nice. I bought Evil Within 1 & 2, Wolfenstein 1 & 2, Fallout 3 & NV, Morrowwind, Oblivion. Skyrim, and Doom. Will get Fallout 4. Keep 'em coming. Didn't get ESO tho.

Avatar image for zomby

@girlusocrazy: I've been playing ESO like it's just another single player Elder Scroll game. I don't interact with other players beyond bashing in a few monsters skulls when I cross path with someone in a fight.

Avatar image for Xanthus179

@zomby: I hop in ESO now and then, but I haven't partaken in their latest event for this reason. I don't want to have to join a random group of people just to explore a dungeon. I'm the one who wants to look around every nook and cranny to find random treasure, and just appreciate the design of the game itself. Most people don't have patience to deal with an explorer.

Avatar image for girlusocrazy

@zomby: I don't even want to see real people, it would ruin the immersion and feeling of being on my own quest for me. Just a preference. I hope they make it offline one day.

Like Metroid with other bounty hunters present, it ruins it for me. I didn't like that.

Avatar image for alaannn

bethesda isnt as good dev anymore they are adding microtransactions to skyrim and fallout instead of dlc that has value (the trainwiz cc content might be good) bethesda added the worst part of multiplayer to single player games

Avatar image for girlusocrazy

@alaannn: They have the biggest and best value expansions for what you get, up there with CDPR

Avatar image for asnakeneverdies

@girlusocrazy: They've better value than some, especially if you disregard Fallout 4, but nowhere near CDPR. At least not since Shivering Isles a decade ago.

Avatar image for girlusocrazy

@asnakeneverdies: You might be right

Avatar image for deactivated-5ae7d9932f1c4

Multiplayer needs to quit being so restrictive. If they brought back local co-op/multiplayer and allowed more privacy, while allowing achievements/trophies... more people would be inclined/enticed to play/buy them, buy DLC, create groups, blah, blah, blah. As much as people love playing PVP, PVE, or intrusive multiplayer, there's an even bigger group that hates these modes. Forcing us to play with others is killing the games. And for some reason, the devs are entirely convinced that communities of strangers is going to keep the game alive. When it's just the reverse, because the toxicity of trolls and horrible people are killing multiplayer, too.

Make the mp game more easily accessible and you'll see more people investing in the game. Then, you won't have to rely on microtransactions.

Imagine Star Wars Battlefront without microtransactions and being able to play the entire game privately, while still being allowed to progress naturally. EA could have still sold us half a game, but so many more of us would have bought it knowing we could play with people sitting beside us, or with our real friends online. And given the freedom of play would have bought the $50 worth of DLC.

Also, more people would go for achievements/trophies and games like, fighters wouldn't have such empty lobbies and rage quitters walking away. Who gives a shit if it makes it too easy? People are playing the fucking game.

Multiplayer needs to change.

Avatar image for atamissentinus

@danyaelzero: I agree. Honestly though, even the achievements/trophies don't matter to me. If they had released a version of Battlefront 2 with an offline instant action mode akin to Pandemic's BF2, with the ability to play offline couch co-op, I'd probably have bought the game. Now it's such a hassle just to get into gaming with friends online (paying for membership, logging on, agreeing on what microtransaction-laden public server to play, do one or two things, get bored, etc.) that it's no surprise that people react so angrily to the companies that appear to work hard to further isolate consumers from their friends. In any case, if the mass negative reaction is anything to go by, I doubt "games as a service" will survive as it is now.

Avatar image for everson_rm

Bougth Evil within 2. Great game (with a so-so story), but the gameplay is nice, and its a blast to play.