One of the best ways to drum up interest for practically anything is to maintain an air of mystique via aloofness, and by not revealing too much too soon. The principle works most of the time, especially when it’s applied to advertising campaigns. As a matter of fact, rather than tediously announce that an announcement would happen soon, all Bethesda did in order to get people talking about Fallout 4 before the title was even revealed during the studio’s first-ever E3 press conference was post a countdown timer on Twitter and its website.
Bearing this in mind, it was brilliant to keep the promotion simple, as the public ended up generating most of the attention for Fallout 4 without Bethesda having to do too much heavy lifting as far as media exposure went. Not to mention, most gaming fans would argue that by playing their cards close to the vest, Bethesda has been able to successfully make the upcoming installment in the popular post-apocalyptic franchise the most highly anticipated title of the year. As it happens, Bethesda’s Vice President of Marketing and PR, Pete Hines, divulged that such a strategy was intended from the very start.
In a recent interview with IGN, Hines had this to say regarding Bethesda’s desire to keep the details of Fallout 4‘s overall narrative a mystery:
“I would be stunned if we said anything else about the story ever again [prior to launch]. We’re going to let everybody experience that in the game as much as possible. But there are certain trade-offs you have to make to build some amount of awareness to what the game is offering, so you’re willing to make some sacrifices.”
Hines’ above statement lays bare a general truth about plugging products. While Bethesda is allowing fans some surprises with Fallout 4‘s story arcs, the company had to dribble out a lot of details about the title’s gameplay changes – the inclusion of main character voice acting comes to mind almost immediately – so as to goad gamers onto the hype train. Plus, if the studio didn’t make audiences aware that they intended to improve the game with tweaks such as Fallout 4‘s ability to let players craft and customize weapons, armor, and settlements, people would have been less inclined to pay attention if absolutely nothing was said about the game.
At any rate, Hines is adamant that Bethesda is focused on ensuring the base title is top-notch before moving on to ancillary materials. Concerning the matter, the executive says:
“I can tell you with all confidence that right now the team is 100 percent focused on the game itself. Mod support, DLC . . . That’s all nice, but if we don’t deliver an awesome game by November 10 our DLC plans won’t matter and our plans for mod support will be irrelevant.”
All in all, Hines assures fans that Bethesda’s benchmark of quality remains intact with Fallout 4, saying that the studio “pushes the boundaries of what is possible”. Additionally, he goes on to explain that the developers are confident the experience will be nothing short of stellar, saying, “The team believes that this is the biggest, most ambitious game that they’ve ever made, and from the guys who made Skyrim, Fallout 3, Oblivion, and Morrowind, that’s a pretty lofty goal.” Taking such views into consideration, perhaps it would be wise for gamers to trust Bethesda’s track record, and declare that 2015 is the year of Fallout.
Fallout 4 is set to release on November 10, 2015, for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.