Has games giant Bethesda ever been tempted to turn its hugely successful Fallout and Elder Scrolls franchises into annual releases? That was the question posed to the company's head of PR and Marketing recently, ahead of the release of Fallout 4 in November.
"It's just not how we are set up − it's not in our DNA," said Pete Hines in an interview with Examiner.com. "We did [The Elder Scrolls 3] Morrowind in 2002 and we could've turned around and done another one right away, but we wanted to wait and do a bigger and better thing with [Elder Scrolls 4] Oblivion.
"We believe in taking time to do the games right, so that when they come out, they're special and you pay attention to them. They are worth following because you didn't just get one last year or the year before, you had to wait a while for another Fallout game, which is part of the reason for all of the excitement, interest, rumours and speculating because people really wanted another one. It's because Bethesda Games Studio did Fallout 3 back in 2008 and seven years is a long time."
It is. Not many big-name series can get away with such a big gap. There was a seven-year gap between Metal Gear Solid 4 and this year's fifth in the series, but Vita game Peace Walker sits in-between. Even the five-year gap between that and MGS5 is large for an established franchise. Another series that has the luxury of being able to get away this is Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto.
Most other big names in the gaming industry are seen more regularly. The Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty series are annual, with multiple studios working on overlapping development cycles ensuring there is a new game every year. Then there's names like Battlefield, which is a little looser but won't often go more than a couple of years without a new game.
"For us, we do what we feel works well for us and the kind of company we are," continues Hines. "We're not set up well to do 12, 14, 18 games per year. We do fewer titles and try to put the whole attention of the company from a publishing standpoint behind it to make sure it gets the time and attention that it [deserves]. We're not hedging our bets by saying 'oh we've also got this shooter, this platformer,' it's all about the few games we release each year."
Fallout 4 will be released on 10 November for PS4, Xbox One and PC.