Obsidian promised Meta 85 bonus for Fallout: New Vegas

Thursday, 15 March 2012 11:51 GMT By Johnny Cullen

Obsidian was promised a bonus from Bethesda alongside straight payment on Fallout: New Vegas if it had hit an 85 on MetaCrtiic.

The info was mentioned in a tweet by studio co-founder Chris Avellone when asked a question by a fan following recent lay-offs at the company.

“FNV was a straight payment, no royalties, only a bonus if we got an 85+ on Metacritic, which we didn’t,” said Avellone.

Instead, it got 84 on PC and Xbox 360, with an 82 for the PS3 version.

Fallout: New Vegas launched in October 2010.

It was reported yesterday that Obsidian had been hit with up to 30 layoffs, linked to a next-gen Xbox title codenamed North Carolina that would have been published by Microsoft.

The workforce reduction hasn’t been confirmed yet.


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  1. DrDamn

    It’s crazy to have bonuses based just on something like MetaCritic rather than sale figures. It’s not a stable and unquestionable enough metric.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. NeoSquall

    @1 Sales figures are more volatile than Metacritic rates, for which every press entry may be accounted for.

    No wonder Obsidian wouldn’t get royalties from the game, since it’s basically an “outsourced work” from Bethesda, the current legal owners of the Fallout franchise, still it sucks if the layoffs are tied to the missed bonus payment.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Phoenixblight


    “No wonder Obsidian wouldn’t get royalties from the game, since it’s basically an “outsourced work” from Bethesda”

    This is what happens. All outsourced developers just get a larger amount instead of getting royalties. They should have worked on some of the bugs and maybe that would be helpful enough to gain a point on meta critic.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. DSB

    @2 And that’s a pretty big problem in and of itself. Games reviewers suck :P

    #4 3 years ago
  5. YoungZer0

    Pity, considering that it’s superior to Fallout 3 in about every possible way.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. NeoSquall

    @3 I think that most bugs are inherited by the “Bethesda style” application of the Gamebryo engine and, by the look of it, it always needs a “public testing” before having an idea of them.

    @4 I have faith in those users that can give useful feedbacks and point out eventual flaws in the reviews posted online.
    Of course this faith is seldom misgiven to some people, but one can hope.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Phoenixblight


    THat maybe so but Fallout 3 got a high score which uses the same engine so there is no reason why they couldn’t have received a higher score or equal score.

    Obsidian also has a knack for having buggy games just look at alpha protocol.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. DSB

    @3 Well… It was a lot more broken than Fallout 3. Obsidian just can’t make a stable game apparently, and for me that really matters. I didn’t buy Fallout: New Vegas before the Steam xmas sale brought it down to 15 euro, because I don’t want to buy games that don’t work.

    Not that Fallout 3 was stable, but New Vegas was really fucked up. For the longest time, even the launcher would just randomly break down when I loaded it up.

    The most insane thing is that the people who work at Obsidian are notorious for this stuff going back to the 90′s. Chris Avellone and Feargus Urquhart worked on Fallout 2 which is one of the best games of all time in my book, but it was so incredibly broken that people are still patching it up.

    @6 Point is it’s broken. If you have to rely on your buddies or random commenters for honest criticism, then those people should be writing the reviews. Really, I feel invigorated when I’m in the mood for a movie and I start looking at reviews online. Those guys are serious and opinionated, it’s a real shame gaming has never gotten to that point.

    But yeah, we make due. I’m sure we all have buddies we listen to.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Just-Joe

    @5 yeah right.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. TheWulf

    I’m really sad about that, to be honest.

    New Vegas is my gold standard for RPGs, because it’s all that was good about old RPGs with all the crap and unnecessary stuff stripped away. What did it have?

    - Brilliant, stellar writing.

    - Characters you cared about (anyone remember talking to Gannon about the Enclave, Raul about his usefulness, or Lily about her medicine?).

    - A compelling setting which decided to actually do the original, proper post-post-apocalyptic setting (they’re rebuilding around the time of Fallout 2, so Fallout 3 was a weird step back). It didn’t push the envelope as much as Fallout 2 or Tactics, but it was still pretty great.

    - Did I mention the writing? I’ll mention it again. Good writing can have an intellectual and an emotional impact, it can make you think and feel without any cheap tricks (such as Bioware’s ghost children, which was just silly).

    - Choice and consequence (real choice and consequence, not the illusory Bioware stuff). Everything you did can impact how other factions fee about you and can leave a permanent impact upon the world that can help/hinder your progress and impacts the sort of ending you get.

    - As mentioned above: An ending which reflected everything you did (are you paying attention, Bioware and Bethesda?). No stone was left unturned by that ending and it was fantastic for it.

    - The ability to play the game very specifically your way at all times, even right up to the end where you could talk an army into retreating (are you paying attention, Bethesda?). It’s one of the finest examples out there of player freedom, and right up there with Deus Ex.

    - Tied into one of the above: It had quests which were all tied into the ending and the main quest, nothing felt ‘tacked on,’ and nothing felt like padding (unlike those effing dwarf tunnels in DA:O).

    It had a few shortfalls:

    - It didn’t do much to go outside the genre, so Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics are still more interesting to me as Fallout games (because they pushed the setting more), but NV is more important for being a brilliant RPG regardless.

    - It felt like it was trying too hard to be ‘normal.’ It was just a straight up high-tech wild west at times and that was disappointing. I got the vibe that Obsidian were reigning in the more unusual elements they could have put in just so that they wouldn’t alienate boring people. (Screw boring people!)

    - Up until Old World Blues, it felt a little dry and serious. It lacked the trademark intelligent black humour of Fallout (but at least it didn’t have the terribly ill-fitting slapstick humour of Fallout 3).

    I worry the reason it didn’t reach its score goal is because NV actually required people to think a bit about their choices. It gave you choice, choice that mattered. But I think that most journalists just want a gun put in their hand, and they want to be told what to point at, they want to be told how to pull the trigger as well, and… talking? Or sneaking? Or any non-violent approach? Well… fuck that!

    Sign of the times. And it makes me genuinely sad, sometimes.

    You have no idea.

    But if you haven’t checked out New Vegas yet, then I implore you to do so. It’s very good. It’s not the best Fallout game out there, noap, not by a long shot. But soars above most of the RPGs released in the past decade. As an RPG, it’s a gold standard and how it handles being an RPG should be observed by other developers.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. TheWulf


    Bull. Shit.

    I’m always around the Nexus sites and one thing I can tell you now is that many people were surprised how much it wasn’t broken COMPARED to Fallout 3 (and Skyrim, frankly).

    There were people who were amused that Obsidian actually had to create script workarounds to COUNTER bugs that occurred in Fallout 3. There were times that they actually left slightly irritated comments by how lackadaisical Bethesda’s engine felt.

    Fallout 3?

    - You couldn’t walk into 25% of the map (bottom-right end) without it HARD LOCKING, which was a game breaker. This took them a MONTH to fix.
    - There were a bunch of escort quests in Fallout 3, but often the AI would fuck up and the escorts would start walking back and forth on the spot.
    - There were tens of quests that broke in such a way that it required reloading an old save, which required a MASSIVE unofficial patch (the size of the patch notes for the NV unofficial is only a quarter of the size of Fallout 3′s).

    Fallout: New Vegas had a few quest bugs, and it had an issue caused by STEAM ITSELF where it wouldn’t download the assets properly (which Valve quickly fixed). Yep. That’s so much more broken than Fallout 3.

    Sorry. I call nonsense when I see it. Stop being one of the herd and actually consider how ‘broken’ NV was compared to FO3. Again, as one of the Nexus folks, I can tell you that NV was pretty damned polished compared to FO3. But your memories may not be coloured.

    I’m so sick of hearing sheep repeating this though that I’m not going to give you the benefit of the doubt. Go do the research. See for yourself.


    When the Boomers’ plane in New Vegas starts flying BACKWARDS… then we’ll talk.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. NeoSquall

    @8 IMHO game reviews are written for the users, or else who you’d write them for, if you don’t take in account the objective feedback from your user base?

    Do you write reviews for yourself?

    #12 3 years ago
  13. The_Red

    It’s a real shame that the game didn’t reach 85. While it has many MANY critics and haters, I found the game to be much more fun and closer to real Fallout than the Bethesda developed one (F3).

    #13 3 years ago
  14. TheWulf


    Many of its critics and haters keep repeating the nonsensical notion that it was buggy though. This is something I’ve disproved factually many times, and I’m ready to do it again with links to the unofficial patches if it starts again.

    Just because a lot of people say something, it doesn’t make it true. But hey, if you want to believe that, then you stand with all those people who believe in alien abductions.

    More power to you.

    (This isn’t aimed at you, Red. Just those people who believe everything they hear, just because it’s ad populum.)


    It really irritates me sometimes how people keep repeating things without ever doing their own research.

    What bothers me about this whole sordid affair is that I was talking with some fairly damn notable modders about New Vegas and they were amazed by it. A lot of this is because they hired Oscuru (yes, HIM, he of Oscuro’s Oblivion Overhaul).

    This is why the game wasn’t very buggy, because they had one of the most experienced mod makers ever to have graced a Bethesda game working with them. And he really helped out.

    When I was talking about this to people, I was talking to modders, and we were browsing scripts.

    You know, things that have a basis in objectivity.

    But these people who go on about the bugginess of FV… usually it amounts to “Hurr hurr… but my friend said…

    Your friend is an idiot!

    Unless you’ve spent some time in the GECK, and actually paid attention to the unofficial patches, and chatted with the modders, you really don’t have the first clue about the game. Modders went over that game with a fine tooth comb when it was released.

    And how polished it was compared to Fallout 3 was amazing. Sure, there were a few quest bugs, but nothing on the epic levels of fail that Fallout 3 had.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. DSB

    @14 I don’t quite get the argument here. Fallout 3 was full of bugs too, so that serves to make New Vegas less of a broken mess? Is that really what you’re suggesting?

    New Vegas still managed to make Fallout 3 look like a perfectly engineered game. I bought New Vegas over a year after release and it was still barely stable at that point. I bought Fallout 3 around release and while that was certainly bugged as hell too, I had no problem playing it to the end.

    Obsidians track record, and that of its developers is pretty well established at this point. Their games either crap or incredibly poorly engineered. Usually it’s one or the other.

    When you can’t even code a stable launcher for your game, it’s time to seriously reconsider what you’re doing.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. The_Red

    @14 I definitely understand what you mean and I confess I have made that mistake before. For some time I was under the impression that Alpha Protocol was an unfinished mess and absolute garbage. Then I played it and really enjoyed it as a Deus-Ex lite experience (Unlike the Mass Effect comparisons, I found it to be much closer to the original DE albeit not as memorable and mindblowing).

    Back to NV, I have to disagree with the part about bugs because I found a lot of horrible and unforgivable bugs. The thing is that I didn’t play F3 that much because it felt rather insulting to the original Fallout games. Maybe it had more bugs than NV but from what I’ve seen, they were both messy and broken games.
    One of them at least was well written and decent RPG while the other one was an overhyped insult created by Bethesda.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. fearmonkey

    @The Wulf – Fallout:new Vegas did have great writing, and it had some awesome moments. But overall, it wasn’t nearly as polished as Fallout 3.
    Also, Fallout:New Vegas was the buggiest game I have ever played. I struggled with the game 4 to 6 months after it was released, constantly fighting game killing bugs. The main quest made me choose a path I didn’t want to choose because OBSIDIAN NEVER FIXED THE BUGS. I would run into a bug, load a prior save game to that mission and play around it, hoping after the patches that it would be fixed. I finally just gave up and completed the main quest anyway.

    I really enjoyed the game, but I enjoyed Fallout 3 more. New Vegas was far more quirky and had the flavor of the originals, but Fallout 3 was story wise a more polished package.

    It seems everything Obsidian makes is not bad but not awesome like it should be. I wanted to love Dungeon Siege but I liked the originals more. KOTOR2 was not as good as the first, Alpha Protocol was a bug fest, I never played NWN2.
    I am hoping South park is awesome, I want them to wow me.

    #17 3 years ago
  18. YoungZer0

    “Fallout 3 was story wise a more polished package.”

    What’s that supposed to mean?

    #18 3 years ago
  19. fearmonkey

    It means the quests in the game, the stories behind them, were at least in my opinion, better fleshed out than the quests in Fallout:NV.
    I loved the new vegas quests for House, and again it had more of the slightly demented Fallout feel, But Fallout 3′s story was more heroic, and the quests around it seemed more like a real place to me.

    That said, NV was very entertaining and I loved the quirky quests and wierd things in the game. However, I never had to stop playing Fallout 3 for awhile waiting for patches that didnt end up fixing the problem.
    I never had to change my choices in fallout 3 as I did in new vegas.
    New vegas also had more hard locks than fallout 3, though F3 did have some, especially before the first patch.

    my courier is still in the process of going through old world blues, which plot wise and quirky wise is great, but the last time I played I shot at a group of nightstalkers who registered no damage. I reloaded several times and each time my shots did no damage and I died. I reloaded and went around it, i dont know if that was just a glitch or an issue with the game in that area.

    #19 3 years ago
  20. DSB

    Alpha Protocol might have been considered a good game 10 years ago, but it’s just not very good today. It’s like a dumbed down Splinter Cell. On the PC there are minigames you can’t play with the mouse, and they haven’t even bothered to issue a hotfix.

    I thought Fallout 3 failed in a lot of ways. It had no personality, no charm and no edge, which is pretty much the best things about Fallout. I have no idea why they got Liam Neeson to voice a part that was so stale and completely passive to the game. You’d think they’d at least try to build him a character that meant something.

    Pretty much all of the entertaining bits were out in the desert far away from the main quest. And if you chose to act a certain way, you weren’t sent there so it just lay off the beaten path.

    New Vegas was definitely the better game to me, and my opinion it was more faithful to the original Fallouts, but neither really hit that crazy, sad Fallout vibe.

    #20 3 years ago
  21. YoungZer0


    Well i gotta disagree with you there. NV had more options to finish a quest, the quests themselves were much more interesting, and while some of them were funny, they were never stupid. Fallout 3 had a lot of those. Trying to be funny but failing miserably because the writers obviously never understood the humour of Fallout.

    A little town full of children, who call you names? Funny, but not smart-funny. A ‘vampire’ clan … not even funny, just stupid.

    Yes, it was more heroic, but that made it less Fallout to me.

    Fallout was never about epic adventures, going out and saving the world with your awesome, righteously-good buddies from the Brotherhood. No. It was as Gray as it can be.

    Everyone had an agenda, something they wanted. No one was good. Not even the good guys. You walk into a town, thinking the NCR are the good guys, you talk to the folks in the town and they don’t like the NCR, because the NCR only helps when there’s something to gain.

    I remember one line from Cass about the Legion, when she said that although they are as bad as it gets, when take good care of their caravans. That the NCR could never protect merchants as good as the Legion.

    And seriously how cool were characters like Graham, Boone, Lily, Dog/God and Yes Man?

    The only character i remember from Fallout 3 is the Father and only because of Liams Voice.

    #21 3 years ago
  22. absolutezero

    Alpha Protocol is one of the worst games I have ever played. The writing is dire, the script is terrible, the delivery is flawed. It has AI problems, animation defects and dodgy gameplay all over the place. Its buggy, its glitchy and its not fun to play. Its story is cliche and tiring, it has a Russian female wearing a vest I think her name might be Olga (oh hang on that might be someone else).

    Its a terrible terrible game and if it was produced by anyone else apart from Obsidian it would never even be remembered. It would have been buried but now because its an Obsidian titles its somehow attained a cult status where its cool to dig through its mass of problems to try and find something good underneath.

    On the otherhand Dungeon Seige 3 managed to be perfectly fine (apart from a massive memory leak towards the end of the game dropping frame rates down to single figures on even the most meaty of systems). Only there was little to nothing of the Obsidian magic people keep on going on about.

    The first time I went into a fully patched new copy of New Vegas I was met with an empty socketed dog with his eye balls roating around its head.

    Patrolling the Mojave almost makes you wish for a nuclear winter.

    #22 3 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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