CanvasGate

In today’s Two Minutes of Hate, we’re once again getting very angry on other peoples’ behalf for something we find them stupid for buying in the first place:

FO76_Canvas

In short, the $200 Power Armor edition of Fallout 76 is advertised as containing, among other things, a canvas bag. But the bag that arrived was actually nylon instead. When someone wrote into Bethesda support to complain, they were greeted with the meme-worthy:

We’re sorry that you aren’t happy with the bag. The bag shown in the media was a prototype and too expensive to make.

We aren’t planning on doing anything about it.

An actual Bethesda PR went on to clarify:

Thanks for tagging us in this post. We’re not sure if you’ve seen this make the rounds on various areas of the internet, yet, but we’ve made an official statement about this issue and included it below:

“The Bethesda Store’s Support member is a temporary contract employee and not directly employed by Bethesda or Bethesda Game Studios. We apologize to the customer who took the time to reach out. The support response was incorrect and not in accordance with our conduct policy. Unfortunately, due to unavailability of materials, we had to switch to a nylon carrying case in the Fallout 76: Power Armor Edition. We hope this doesn’t prevent anyone from enjoying what we feel is one of our best collector’s editions.”

Many people are hammering on this response as well, for essentially restating the first message while throwing the other employee under the bus. After all, is there much of a difference between “unavailability of materials” and “too expensive to make”?

Well… yeah, actually. Enough canvas might not have been available in order to reach the distribution date, whereas enough nylon would have been. Sometimes you can throw money at a problem and make it go away, and sometimes you can’t. Or maybe it truly was a $1 vs $5 decision and they scrapped the plans for canvas based on that alone.

Speaking of $5, Bethesda put a little extra squirt of acetone on the PR fire by offering 500 Atoms to anyone who purchased the Collector’s Edition of the game. It’s difficult to imagine this amount not having been selected due to $5 being the actual value of the canvas bag in question. In any case, the gesture itself only inflamed the nonplayerbase further, who then took to the streets of /r/fallout to advise others to not accept the Atoms, lest they forgo their potential class-action lawsuit payouts.

I was originally planning on making a joke about how my food never looks like the pictures on the menu, but this older article on false advertisements is making me think people might have a case. The ad says canvas, it wasn’t canvas, case closed. I’m no expert in bird law though.

That said, I get it. If I were a nonplayer of Fallout 76, I’d be bored enough to be outraged too. As an actual player of a game that has become a punchline however… well, shit. It’s tough defending an otherwise fantastic game (IMO) that’s going to get better with each patch when the company behind it can’t seem to stop embodying (hilarious in the abstract) metaphors of their own products. “We were promised canvas, but the game we got was nylon.” Shit literally writes itself.

Ultimately, Bethesda will be fine. “I’m not going to buy Elder Scrolls 6 at release based on Fallout 76!” “Bethesda’s reputation is ruined forever!” Yeah you are, and no it’s not. Skyrim sold 30 million copies since 2011. Fallout 4, which was widely panned before and after release, sold 12 million copies the first day. This doesn’t mean that Fallout 76 is safe from being dropped, but as controversies go, this will be forgotten (and forgiven) the moment we get another 5-second video clip of some mountains overlaid with monks singing. Or by Christmas. Either/or.

I just hope that, you know, there continues to be Fallout 76 patches until then.

Posted on November 30, 2018, in Commentary, Fallout and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Yeah, I’ve seen quite a few posts dealing with the fallout of, well Fallout.

    I’ve never played the game, or any other Bethesda titles. But as far as collectors editions, and Warcraft is concerned, my last collectors edition was Cataclysm, it had a hardback book and other cool stuff that made it worthwhile. But it was no where near $200. Since then the collectors editions have not really offered me any “omg, I haz to haz” feelings. I can see where those that bought expecting a canvas bag would be fuming.

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    • I’m totally fine with the people who bought the $200 edition to be mad about the bag. I would be too. I’m also fine with players of Fallout 76 to be displeased with Bethesda’s response to the mishap, as it reflects poorly on their purchase/support of the company.

      But the frothing rage from people who pointedly didn’t buy the game, think everyone is dumb for having bought the game, and actively wish for the game to fail? Those are some serious alligator tears, my friend. I’m all for some good schadenfreude on occasion, but the tactical outrage is wearing a bit thin.

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  2. If your food never looks like the pictures on the menu, there is a way to fix it :)

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  3. For what its worth, the sales of F76 aren’t anywhere close to F4, and all this bad PR and reviewbombing isn’t going to turn that tide. And yea, ES6 (assuming its a real ES game and not a F76 style game) is still going to sell well, no doubt. But some amount of sales, at least day one, have been lost because of F76.

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    • Oh for sure Fallout 76 is not going to be as successful. It may not even achieve “commercial success.” It currently has a lower Metacritic score than No Man’s Sky had at release, which just highlights the absurdity further.

      But there is zero chance anyone who was otherwise going to preorder Elder Scrolls 6, chooses not to do so because of this particular fiasco. People talk big now, when the game is still years away, and the news cycle is slow. The moment Bethesda starts typing “Preorder TES:6 and get beta…” and they’ll have 10 million orders before the sentence is complete.

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  4. OK, I don’t know who is the bigger retard here:
    – the one who pays $160 extra for a plastic helmet and a bag
    – the one who makes $100 profit on every sale of said helmet and bag but wants to make it $105 by making the first group angry

    Please remember that while most of the rioters are nonbuyers, the original guy was a buyer, and I’m sure he won’t buy shit after he wasn’t only scammed, but laughed at the face.

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    • This is precisely why I believe it more likely that the bag makers told Bethesda “we’re going to miss our shipping deadline with canvas” than it is that Bethesda’s fiscal department wanted a better Christmas bonus check this year.

      On the other hand, game companies also say/do ridiculously dumb things. A single class-action lawsuit would wipe out any “savings” that might exist from the material swap, to say nothing about the PR/social media disaster it becomes.

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  5. You did nail it with the first sentence of the post, I think. Had F76 been an unqualified success, this would have been a minor disappointment. Once there’s enough blood in the water, however, confirmation bias kicks in and we’re off on the merry ride to Out Of Proportion Land.

    Liked by 1 person

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