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What are the best Bethesda games that aren’t Bethesda games?

If you see it, you can go there. But who does it best? Find out in The Best Games Ever Podcast episode 66!

With the imminent release of Starfield, people the world over are about to fill their boots once again with Bethesda’s signature style of go anywhere, do anything game. Unless they don’t have an Xbox or a decent PC, that is. But Bethesda aren’t the only studio who have had a crack at that particular style of vast open-world RPG: indeed, they’ve inspired plenty of copycats and homages over the years, and are often namechecked by other developers when talking about open world game design.

So Bethesda aren’t the only studio who create Bethesda-style games. Who, then, aside from them, has made the best one? That’s the question we’re asking our esteemed panel on this, the latest episode of VG247’s Best Games Ever Podcast, the show where we performatively argue about this sort of thing for your entertainment. Or bemusement. Whichever.

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You could also simply read the summary below, if you're the sort of person who skips to the last page of a book (a wrongun, a reprobate, a Bad Seed).


Image credit: Bethesda Softworks

Tom picked RAGE, which is id Software's most Bethesda-like game and would be a fine pick for this topic were it not for the fact that it was published by Bethesda Softworks.


A massive koi carp approached a tiny human in a pond in Grounded.
Image credit: Xbox

James picked Grounded, Obsidian's survival game that riffs on 'Honey I Shrunk the Kids' and definitely isn't a Bethesda game, so he gets points for that. But it definitely isn't a Bethesda game, so the same points get reducted from his total, leaving him with

checks notes

Zero points.


Alex went with Dragon's Dogma, a fine 360 era RPG that has built enough of a cult following to get a sequel due out soon. Crucially, it was Capcom's stated goal during development to do something Bethesda-inspired. The studios are so wildly different that it makes for an incredibly unlikely blend of styles, and the end result is as mad as you'd expect. But it is, nonetheless, a brilliant game, and one we're lucky to have.

“What is the Best Games Ever Show?” you ask? Well, it is essentially a 30-minute panel show where people (Jim Trinca and associates) decide on the best game in a specific category. That's it. It's good. Listen to it.

Come back in a week for another exciting instalment of the Best Games Ever Show.

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