No Demo Allowed Part II

Original Picture By Christian- Click to see it

Altered from an original image by Christian

As we already knew we won’t have a playable demo for Fallout 3, and now that’s being confirmed on Eurogamer:

Bethesda’s Pete Hines has confirmed that there will be no demo for Fallout 3.

Speaking exclusively to Eurogamer in the shape of Kieron Gillen, Hines said there was “no way” to slice a portion of the world off and have it stand on its own.

“When you build it as one thing, there’s no way to portion off a section and have it stand on its own without putting the whole game in the demo, which we’re just not going to do,” said Hines.

“And it doesn’t really capture the fun of a game like an Elder Scrolls or a Fallout, where you can go where you want and do what you want. So no demo, sorry.”

I didn’t buy Fallout when it was released because the demo was unplayable on my computer. On the other hand I’m going to buy The Witcher after playing their great demo, so it’s not something I really like to see being disposed like that.

But Chris “anarchy” Taylor, former Lead Designer on Fallout, has his own take on this issue, and it’s always interesting to listen to him:

People enjoyed the Fallout 1 demo? Cool.

Personally, with the magic of hindsight, I think the Fallout 1 demo was a mistake. Looking back, I think my issue with the demo is that it took time away from the actual game we could have used for balance issues and bughunting.

I also didn’t think the demo did a very good job of portraying the actual game. I have had a small measure of regret for the demo ever since we released it. (Insert “I regret nothing!” MST3k joke here!)

But if it helped sell a couple of copies… then I guess it worked. We’ll never know if not releasing the demo, but having a tighter release product, would have resulted in more sales.


20 thoughts on “No Demo Allowed Part II

  1. And yet Fallout 3 will be playable at E3.

    Because press people have these magic abilities so they can judge games with limited scopes while normal people can’t


  2. I agree with Bethesda’s position, since as Chris Taylor said, demo takes time away from the actual product. That’s valuable, in the end it is the guys that buy the game that matter. In my opinion, the game is more important than the demo. Also, as Hines said, what would you put in a demo? You have to show enough, but not too much.

    You can get pretty good overview of a game nowdays, since we have video reviews, tens of them. On top of that, the regular text reviews. So it is pretty easy to see if the game is to your liking, if it’s not, it is quite easy to sell forward.

  3. CD Projekt made a demo of The Witcher after the game was released, and it includes quite a big chunk of the game – most of the prologue and the whole Act I – probably more than the Fallout 3 press demo.

  4. Got this on Meebo:

    Brother None needs to get over himself. Bethesda a two bit player? When they’ve released two huge, multi million selling games in a row that both got universally high review marks and both won many many awards? Even if he doesn’t agree with the huge number of gamers and reviewers, he can’t ignore that most people actually really really liked those games. I doubt you’ll find anyone who is actually in the industry, press or not, who thinks Bethesda is a two-bit player.

    Giving that being more popular doesn’t mean things are better, or that sales doesn’t always correlate to quality I disagree with this…except the two bit part. I’m with Killzig on this, neither Bethsoft nor Bioware can be called two bit players, they are key actors in the new blockbuster budget gaming world.

  5. Uh, Meebo guy should realise I am in the industry, as a journalist. It’s what I’m paid to do.

    And no, they’re two bit players. But I actually misread Killzig’s remark to just read “console market” for some reason. In the console market as a whole they’re two bit players. RPG developers have always been. In the RPG market, they’re the biggest there is.

    “key actors in the new blockbuster budget gaming world”? Are you joking, Brio? BioWare is a part of EA, and is a part of EA’s status as the biggest actor in the new blockbuster budget gaming world. That’s all they are, an EA studio. And Bethesda only releases a game every few years, they’re hardly a major player, let alone a key actor.

    The real key actors are Activision-Vivendi, EA, Microsoft, Nintendo, those kind of guys. Not friggin’ Bethesda.

  6. you’re still misreading my comment. I’m talking very specifically about RPGs. The fact that Bioware and Bethy are the biggest kids on the block here allows them to do what they want.

  7. Now you’re misreading my comment. I agree with you, on the RPG market they’re top dog. I was disagreeing with Briosafreak calling BW and BS “key actors in the new blockbuster budget gaming world”. They’re the big dogs in western RPG gaming, true, but they’re not even close to key actors in the blockbuster budget gaming world.

    And genre doesn’t actually segregate markets. Fallout 3 is similar enough to GTA IV that the titles would actually compete if they were released closer together.

  8. Also, I just noted it looks like Meebo guy confuses me with a Codexer, something people conveniently do a lot of times. I’m not a “Oblivion objectively sucked” guy, I never denied that Oblivion is successful and I recognize its quality as a successful title. And that’s the limit of it. But the qualities of Morrowind and Oblivion do not by themselves make Bethesda more than a two bit player in the gaming market as it is today. Neither title was even the top-selling game for its year, y’know, and it’s the only major titles they have for a decade-long period.

    People should really give up on trying to stuff me into their own convenient pre-conceived boxes.

  9. but you’re from nma, get back in the box. anyways, my comment still stands. Bethsoft gains nothing from developing a demo. They’re going to get their sales regardless, there’s no reward to it for them.

  10. I was disagreeing with Briosafreak calling BW and BS “key actors in the new blockbuster budget gaming world”. They’re the big dogs in western RPG gaming, true, but they’re not even close to key actors in the blockbuster budget gaming world.

    Yes the hardware creators and the very large publishers are the top dogs, they set the ground rules, true. But if one becomes a trend setter like Beth and Bio than it becomes a major actor in the process.

    Now for this:

    [22:04] meeboguest70181: in the no demo allowed comments, you said you disagree with the meebo guy’s point that oblivion and morrowind were popular, but it looks like his point was that they were also critically acclaimed, and the reviews and awards bear that out. even awards and reviews that were made long after the game initially shipped, like oblivion getting game of the year in japan just a few months ago.
    [22:05] meeboguest70181: so you can say that popularity doesn’t make it great but you really can’t argue that both oblivion and morrowind were critical as well as commercial mistakes.
    [22:06] meeboguest70181: and sure there are some reviews and awards that aren’t as meaningful as others but it’s fallacious to write all of them off. gamerankings and metacritic show consensus, if you don’t want to believe any particular reviewer.

    I never argued that, just that the critical consensus and sales success story doesn’t make a product automatically good or beyond reproach.

    The proof of that is in the main blog page and others, where these days many journalists and the people at Beth talk again and again of things that they now understand as weaknesses of Oblivion, and acknowledge the efforts to surpass them, and yet when the game came out everything was rosy and genial.

    The same with the amount of people that one finds in the mainstream blogs and gaming sites that bought Oblivion and now have doubts about Bethsoft abilities, and express skepticism towards Fallout 3.

    Yes they are not the majority, but hardly a few too. Beth knows that, since this phenomenon happens on places where there is always someone from Rockville around.

    I acknowledge their critical and commercial success, just don’t think they should rest in the shade of that, or that the multi million dollars production cycles don’t carry more risks than before. They do, and past consensus aren’t enough. They are a step to make things easier, but they don’t eliminate risk.

    And all the past talk proves that they can make TeS games that are successes both critically and commercially. This game is not a TeS game, so different context, somewhat different challenges.

    Well but I think they know that, don’t you anonymous? And all this talk has little to do on what matters most to old time fans or casual gamers, if the game is really good or not. That should be my focus.

  11. WOW These are some long replies…. and without reading them, There is zero need for a demo. Unless it was released well in advance of the actual game. (like multiple months)

    At best it may sell a few more copies to people who would be late adapters anyway (and would buy after renting)…. At worst, it would sell a lot less copies and people would just rent the game.

    RPG type games do not need a Demo…. sure, I’d love to play it a few weeks/months before it comes out. But this games going to be great, the hype machine is rolling…. If anything they should be paying Briosa for promoting the living hell out of this game for well over a year (right?)!!!

  12. And Killzig. Ive still never bought horse armor. I hope they don’t have a BS DLC that you have for this game.

    You should see the backlash on the new Battlefield game ( I posted a little bit on about it, but google it and you may find some stuff…. heres a sample

    theres more than just that out there too!!

    And you are right, they gain nothing by deving a demo… they do risk losing a few sales…. but its rare to have a game (especially one that gamers have been frothing over for years) to benefit from something like this…..

  13. They should make one to end the questioning over the game mechanics,but it doesn’t mater I am not part of the zombie horde the game industry now caters to,if I want to try before I buy I will, nuff said.

  14. killzig
    I do it with all the games I buy, unless I am paying 10-15 for it, then I wont try so hard to protect my money from generic titles that choke on their own mediocrity(eyeing turok right now,currently gathering a quirk/bug list before I even try it) .

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