Why We’re Easy To Forgive Fallout 4’s Bugginess

Like a lot of people, I’ve been exploring the post-apocalyptic wasteland that was Boston, Massachusetts. I’ve been scrounging around desolate shops for junks to upgrade my equipment. I’ve been hunting down and have been hunted down by feral ghouls, raiders and super mutants. I’ve even been establishing small settlements as small havens from the harsh ourdoors. And I almost forgot, I’m still looking for my child that was kidnapped while I was frozen in one of the Vaults during the Great War.

Yes, I too have been bitten by the Fallout 4 bug. And I’m loving every minute of it.

And speaking of bugs, like the other entries in Bethedsa’s franchise, there sure are a lot of bugs in the game!

I actually wrote a piece on Gamemoir, the other site that I write for (shameless plug!), that I have been playing Fallout 4 with a pretty annoying bug regarding my in-game Pip-Boy screen. I did manage to find a workaround by using syncing my gaming sessions to the Android Pip-Boy application on my tablet. But it’s just a way to circumvent the bug, so I’m really hoping Bethedsa comes out with a way to patch this issue. I’ve also encountered a bug where the lockpicking screen isn’t visible! This was easily remedied by changing the resolution of the screen… or something. Can’t remember what exactly but it’s gone now!

Looks like I'll have to do this by ear?

Looks like I’ll have to do this by ear?

Thankfully, these are the extent of the bugs I’ve happened upon. I’m thankful because I know Fallout 4 has a lot of really major bugs, some of them are even game-breaking, not allowing you to progress because a quest gets locked out or the game will just crash during a main story mission. Fallout 4, like other Bethedsa games, is riddled with bugs.

But that seems to be a trend for a lot of modern games. For example, Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Unity was a game that had a lot of gameplay issues. Framerate drops. NPC start behaving strangely. And, of course, the most frightening/hilarious glitch of them all, the “no-face” glitch, where the game doesn’t load textures properly.

Kill it with fire!

Kill it with fire!

However, in a strange way, a lot of gamers are more willing to forgive Bethedsa for the buggy messes they produce and are more willing to crucify Ubisoft and other Triple-A game producers/developers when their games are filled with glitches. Why is that? I think there are a couple of reasons for this line of thinking.

The first has to deal with the overall feeling of scope. While Assassin’s Creed Unity is a huge game, it just doesn’t feel as big as the world of Fallout 4. None of the Bethedsa games have “invisible walls” that prevent you from exploring the world around you. There’s this feeling of freedom and the feeling that you can do pretty much anything you want. Want to climb that mountain, even though there’s no reason for you to do so? Go right ahead? Want to spend hours upon hours creating a giant penis-shaped light show on a tower that is definitely Not-Safe-For-Work? Go right ahead, you pervert!

Bethedsa gives you the tools in the game to play the way you want and sets you on your way. Does this kind of attitude create problems? Sure! You can get locked out of quests because you killed the people who were going to give you that mission. The game can shudder to a halt because of all the crap you have running in the game (the penis light show is a prime example). With outer games, they want gamers to not encounter these kinds of bugs, so they lock you out of getting to them in the first place. Still, it’s a pretty noble intention but it does show a lack of trust in their very own gameplay design as well as with the community.

This leads me to my second point. Bethedsa gives off a feeling of trust to the community. They actually let modders take their games and build upon it. Just within the first couple of days of Fallout 4’s release, there were a slew of mods that were created and these can range from the truly useful, such as actually being able to see what the Sole Survivor was going to say during the dialog selection screen, to the incredibly silly, like the John Cena Fat Man mod.

This level of trust isn’t something other developers/publishers try to cultivate with the gaming community. They try to lock you out of making changes to the game. Of course, that doesn’t really prevent modders from doing so… but the developers and publishers heavily frown upon those kinds of activities! This is direct opposition to the way Bethedsa welcomes modders. In a way, we’re in charge of making bug fixes! If there’s a problem with a specific portion of the game, a modder may take it upon itself to make a temporary fix for it until Bethedsa even starts learning there’s a problem!

So, yes, while Fallout 4 has a ton of bugs and glitches, these two main factors make it seem like they’re okay. It does lack a certain polish or sheen the other Triple-A games have. But that’s part of its charm. It’s easy to forgive them because the game does give us more than just a game. It gives us the trust to play the game the way we want to.

What’s your opinion on the buggy state of Fallout 4? Let me know in the comments section below!

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