The Truth Behind the Bethesda & Obsidian Rivalry, Revealed



A rivalry between Obsidian and Bethesda has been growing over the years, all the more inflamed by the announcement of Obsidian’s new RPG, Avowed.

Bethesda Software’s The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is still considered to be one of the best and largest high fantasy role-playing games of all time. But that title is now receiving a proper challenge, in the form of Avowed.

The announcement came during july’s Xbox Games ShowcaseAvowed is set to be a large first-person RPG that takes place in the world of Eora, the setting for Obsidian’s Pillars of Eternity. Along with Avowed, Obsidian announced DLC for The Outer Worlds, “Peril on Gorgon,” and the full release of their multiplayer game, Grounded. Avowed is to be released on Xbox Series X, Xbox Game Pass and Windows 10.

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Related: Mass Effect: Sur’Kesh, The Salarian Homeworld, Revealed

Despite encountering financial difficulties, the company has garnered a loyal following. Mainly those who remembered Obsidian and its predecessor Black Isle Studios, for creating the original Fallout video games, as well as Fallout: New Vegas. This was most evident when Obsidian managed to create the first Pillars of Eternity, with the help of over 77,000 Patreon donations, bringing in $4.1 million. The game was praised for its characters, mature storytelling with meaningful choices, and was regarded as a spiritual successor to classic RPGs like Balder’s Gate. With Avowed in the works and being funded by Microsoft, Bethesda has earned an actual rival.

But how and when did this rivalry start between the two companies? Before Obsidian was formed, many of its employees once worked at Black Isle Studios, a division of Interplay Entertainment. Though their games were well received, the company suffered financially and eventually shut down, selling the rights to all their IP’s in the process. This included Fallout, which was purchased by Bethesda.

Bethesda’s games have been commercially successful; however, the company has made many blunders and mistakes in recent years that have all but alienated their fan base, the best example being Fallout 76. Controversy surrounded the game from when it first released, with players accusing Bethesda of releasing the game in an unfinished and buggy state, easily hackable, little to no storytelling or role-playing on display and the infamous canvas bag debacle. Even before 76, many of the games developed by Bethesda have increasingly become more focused on gameplay and graphics than stories, characters and player choice.

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Read More: The Truth Behind the Bethesda & Obsidian Rivalry, Revealed

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