Bethesda's divisive Creation Club launched into beta last week to a mixed reception. Despite claiming not to be a paid mods system, there are aspects to the initiative which make it seem that way—something Chris has discussed on more than one occasion. Speaking at PAX West last week, Pete Hines addressed Bethesda's standpoint on mods, its future plans, and the Creation Club itself.
In conversation with Tek Syndicate, Hines was first asked about Bethesda's relationship and overall goal with mods into the future.
"We have been supporting mods and making the mod community grow and be viable since 2002. We're going to continue to try and do new things. That's it," says Hines. "We're gonna continue to try new stuff and see what works and see what doesn't. We tried paid mods—it didn't work. Allowing people to pay for the mods and have them be that long and all the stuff, all the problems, we said: okay, we're not going to do paid mods."
Tek Syndicate then suggests to Hines than an underlying worry of players is that modders who feature their work on Nexus Mods and/or Steam workshop might stop supplying mods here in the pursuit of money.
"It doesn't seem to have been the case for many of the creators we're working with so far. They're like: there's stuff that I want to pitch you guys for that and I still have mods that I want to do and so I'm going to do both," Hines explains. "You have to understand that one of the reasons that this is not paid mods is that when they're working for us it's a job. They're not getting paid only if the stuff sells, they're getting paid like an external contractor all along the way.
"The risk is removed for them because they're getting paid and treated like a real external developer, working alongside us. They wanna go do mods in their free time? Well they still can, because this is a job and that's mods and the two just aren't the same."
Hines continues: "You get to take somebody who's known for mods and give them a chance to get to experience being a game developer… Look it's early days, it hasn't been a week [at the time of interview]. I know people are upset and frustrated but at the end of the day mods are and will continue to remain free. Modders can continue to do whatever they want through our own stuff, through Nexus, go nuts."
Hines is then pressed about the standard of mods that feature on the Creation Club, with Tek Syndicate suggesting it's possible to get better quality mods on the likes of Nexus for free.
"Right. But that's subjective. And we're not requiring you to buy Creation Club creations to continue playing the game that you already own," Hines replies. "It's no different than if there's a videogame out there and you don't like it because you don't think it's as good as something else that's free-to-play or some mod that somebody's doing—then don't buy it. I don't understand what the problem is that across all platforms that there's an offering that somebody has to buy, because you also have the choice to not buy it.
"We've been supporting this for 15 years, it exists because we wanted it to. We put all of the effort into the Creation Club, we continued to put tools out to make sure that modders could do that. We could have a long time ago said: no, you can only make it available through these.
"There was all the same concern, by the way, when we said we were doing mods on Bethesda.net. And what was the big outcry? Oh, they're trying to shut down Nexus and everything else. Did that actually happen? Are you having trouble finding mods on Nexus? Is there a shortage of those? No. People can continue to do whatever the hell they want, have fun, it's modding, play with what you want, create what you want, go nuts."
Skip to 3.50 below for Hines on the above.