In the lead up to the release of Fallout 76: Wastelanders update, Bethesda was pretty open about the hard lessons it learned from 76's initial launch. That reflection appears to have paid off for Wastelanders given its warm reception from fans, but Bethesda's Senior VP of Global Marketing and Communications Pete Hines says that the response to 76 also informed the tough decision to delay Doom Eternal.
Hines, speaking with host Jeff Green on USG's new podcast Branching Narratives, says that Fallout 76's widely panned launch had a noticeable effect on how Bethesda assessed the quality of Doom Eternal and the Wastelanders update in the lead-up to their completion.
"The fact that something doesn't go well; I mean, you never want it to not go well, but that shouldn't be your criteria for, 'Should we have tried this'," Hines says. "It is your criteria for how you should do things differently. I think it certainly had an impact on how we evaluated Doom Eternal and [Fallout 76: Wastelanders] last year, and we said, 'These are not ready, and we're not going to make another mistake, and we're going to take the extra time even though that time hurts, and is painful, and you miss a holiday.'"
The delays for Doom Eternal and Wastelanders were announced last October, pushing both launches out from the holiday 2019 window into spring of this year. For his part, Hines is confident that Bethesda made the right call. "Doom Eternal was so much better for it, and the response to Wastelanders was so much better for the extra time," he says.
Moreover, Hines says he doesn't agree with the notion that Bethesda would've been better off sticking to single-player RPGs instead of taking a risk with 76. On top of Doom benefitting from the extra time, Hines thinks that Bethesda and its studios "should try and stretch their bounds and try other things," pointing to the recent showcase of Arkane's Deathloop for an example. "They didn't just want to make Dishonored 3," he says. "Even if it's just a one-off and they go back to doing other things, they're still better for the experience, and they take away new learnings, and ultimately I think it makes the individuals better as developers, and it makes the studio better in terms of their overall experience."
In the full episode, Hines and Green discuss a lot more than just Bethesda's recent and soon-to-release games. Hines reflects on his decades long career at Bethesda, weighs in on adjusting to work-from-home, and tells Green how even though he never tells his kids about the publisher's projects, their friends still try to get information out of them anyway. "They're always getting bugged, 'Hey, when are we going to learn more about Starfield? Ask your dad about [The Elder Scrolls 6],' Hines says. "Like yeah, I'm not telling you anything."
You can find Hines's episode of Branching Narratives here. Once you're done hearing about the past, present, and future of Bethesda, you can also go back and listen to episodes featuring Austin Walker and Samantha Kalman.