Bethesda director Todd Howard has said that the studio expected a rough reception for Fallout 76, and that he thinks the online RPG has somewhat damaged the developer's reputation.
"We knew we were going to have a lot of bumps," he said, when asked by IGN whether Bethesda was prepared for the negative reaction. "We were ready for...we knew this is not the type of game that people are used to from us, and we're going to get some criticism on it, and lot of that [is] very well-deserved criticism.”
Asked whether Fallout 76's launch had dealt any lasting damage to Bethesda's reputation, or to the Fallout name, Howard said: "I'm sure it's had some. It would be naive to say it's had zero. But I think if people come to the game now...they'd be surprised."
Howard said he wishes the team had got Fallout 76 into players' hands earlier for more extensive testing. "The main takeaway we had was you've got to let it bake with a large live audience for longer than we did. There are just certain things you can never see until it's running 24/7 for a number of months." This could've taken the form of "something like" Steam Early Access, or a larger beta that was free for anyone who played Fallout 4, he said.
However, he believes the game has "really turned around" into a "fabulous game with an incredible community behind it.
"We felt strongly this is a game we want to play, this is something we really want to do, and all of the games like this...there's a [difficult] period when you launch. It's not how you launch, it's what it becomes, and I couldn't be prouder of the team that's worked on it."