While BioShock, Eidos Montreal’s Deus Ex prequels, and Dishonored carry on the legacy of immersive sims in various ways, Deus Ex creator Warren Spector says it isn’t as evident in Fallout 4. PCGamesN had Spector review games inspired by his contributions to the medium, of which Fallout 4 counts as one, and Spector had quite a bit to say about how it compared to games he had contributed to.
Here’s what Spector had to say about Fallout 4, which ended up turning into a critique of Bethesda games in general.
Emil Pagliarulo works on the Fallout games and he’s an old Looking Glass guy. Bethesda games in general are clearly cousins of the immersive sim. But the way I’ve always described that, and I’m probably gonna get myself in trouble here, but in the Bethesda games their simulations are an inch deep and miles wide.
Their whole thing is creating huge expansive worlds that you could explore fully and live in. My games and, I think I can speak for [game director] Joe Fielder and the Underworld Ascendant team as well, they’re an inch wide and miles deep, if you see the distinction. They’re definitely related, but I’d say a little bit distantly related.
His words don’t seem insulting, but rather suggest Bethesda has gone in a different direction. Based on his statement, Spector appears to suggest that there’s plenty to do in Fallout, but the gameplay systems don’t give always give players enough overall influence on the world. Additionally, he seems to make it sound like Bethesda’s Fallout series fails to provide different ways to approach certain situations.
For those who may not recognize Spector’s name, his influence on gaming is easily discernible. As one of the fathers of the immersive sim, Spector is also known for Ultima Underworld and System Shock. His work on immersive sims gave rise to the significance of player choice, which extended beyond dialogue options. Every action counted in his titles. It gave his games depth and a feeling that most, if not every, action has purpose. This, Spector seems to propose, is absent in Fallout 4.
For fans looking forward to diving back into another Bethesda adventure, a new Fallout is mere days away. Fallout 76 will hit store shelves on November 14, 2018.