Bethesda’s Creation Club is a Skyrim and Fallout 4 DLC pipeline offering paid work to amateur creators, not a paid mod scheme. No sir!
Mods are a great way of extending a game’s life cycle and generating further sales, and that’s probably at least partially why Bethesda has made great strides bringing Skyrim and Fallout 4 mods to PS4 and Xbox One. But DLC is another, and that’s one that makes money directly for the original publisher.
Hence Creation Club, announced for PC, PS4 and Xbox One during Bethesda’s E3 2017 presser and immediately summed up as another crack at the whole paid mods scheme that went down like a lead balloon back in 2015. Here’s a key difference, though: speaking to Gamespot, Bethesda’s Pete Hines said existing mods won’t appear on Creation Club as paid products, and the existing mod environment will continue alongside as a distinct entity.
“We want to continue to make and do stuff for Skyrim and Fallout 4, and we want to create an ecosystem that works across both games, but we want to leave mods the way that they are,” he said.
“We don’t want to change how that works. And we want to actually be able to do this ourselves but to also bring in external developers or even bring in people who are known for making mods, but not bring them in as modders – bring them in as, now you’re a game developer with us, not on a mod; whatever we greenlight that you make has to meet certain criteria.
“It can’t be something you’ve already created that now you say, ‘I want to offer this through Creation Club.’ That’s not what Creation Club is about.”
Bethesda has repeatedly emphasised that it wants modders to make money in return for the value they add to its games, and giving said creators a license to produce what amounts to DLC is certainly one solution.
“It’s almost like mini DLCs in some way, although that’s probably not even a great point of reference,” Hines further explained. “But they are internally created, or internally created along with external developers.
“They’re fully internally developed and work the same across all three platforms. They’re guaranteed to work with your save games. They don’t turn off Achievements or Trophies, unlike mods. They’re guaranteed to work with all DLC. They’ll be localized as needed. They will be put out and created as official content from the studio.”
So on the one hand there’ll be a whole world of game-breaking free mods available, and in the darker corners of the PC modding community, content that Bethesda won’t sanction – and if you want, you can continue donating to help out the creators behind these materials.
But on the other hand, you’ll see modders invited alongside existing development studios to enter professional contracts for paid work, which will result in quality assured products sold as DLC. Hines likened it to outsourcing assets, a very common industry practice.
It doesn’t sound too bad described like that, does it? Of course, the devil’s in the details. Valve has done something vaguely similar with Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2, and has come under increasing criticism for its allegedly inconsistent, below-industry standard compensation of community creators.
There’s one other point in the article worth noting, and that’s Creation Club is intended for small add-ons, not great huge conversion mods – so don’t expect Fallout 4: New Vegas to pop up there, alas.