Every Bethesda RPG prologue, ranked from affliction to best

A ruin on the far side of a river, seen as you exit Oblivion's prologue
(Image credit: Bethesda)

As a developer, Bethesda Bold Studios has become alike with a assertive affectionate of RPG. We apperceive what to expect: accessible worlds, band quests, acutely accustomed articulation actors, jank. And, back Oblivion, we apprehend a prologue that includes a bit breadth you footfall out of a aphotic breadth into a ablaze breadth and see a apple of opportunities and diversions placed in advanced of you like a cheese platter—only there's a ruin you ability appetite to analyze and a adjustment abounding of sidequests instead of some brie and a aciculate cheddar.

Attempts to echo this in consecutive Bethesda RPGs haven't consistently formed as well, but it's absolutely become a thing. Which is why it's time to accede all those things calm and rank them from affliction to best, like parents do back they anticipate their kids aren't advantageous attention.

Because Bethesda Bold Studios was founded in 2001 back Bethesda Softworks rebranded itself as a publisher, this account alone covers amateur from that point onward. That agency annihilation beforehand than Morrowind, which is a acceptable affair for Daggerfall, because that amateur alcove with monsters who could alone be afflicted by bugged weapons and grizzly bears that appeared back you dared to accept a blow can go and do one.

Non-RPGs by Bethesda Bold Studios aren't on the account either, so affliction if you absolutely capital to see how the tutorial of IHRA Able Annoyance Antagonism 2005 abstinent up compared to Starfield. Now, on with the list.

Fallout 4

I assumption Bethesda listened to all the complaining gamer pissbabies who complained the aperture of Fallout 3 was too long, because Fallout 4's prologue is such a blitz it's arena YYZ. You go from bushing out a Basement access anatomy to antagonism through a afraid artery into said Vault, calmly placed two houses bottomward from you, so fast it feels like it charge be ambience up some affectionate of twist. Did the Vault-Tec rep who shows up to your aperture apperceive what was about to happen? No, it turns out, he was aloof aggravating to get you to assurance up so he could ample his allocation to win a set of steak knives.

Rather than actuality able to accept what affectionate of Basement aborigine you'll be, you're ashore as either a ancestor who acclimated to be a soldier, or a mother who acclimated to be a lawyer. And your action for abrogation the Basement will consistently be the wombo admixture of avenging your asleep accomplice and rescuing your kidnapped son. It's a compound affirmed to leave you sprinting out of the prologue with a appearance whose accord in an accessible apple abounding of settlement-building and faction-choosing distractions will accomplish no faculty at all.


(Image credit: Bethesda)

There's a acumen alternating starts are capital Skyrim mods. Few of us appetite to do the boring ride to Helgen on a bastille wagon a additional time. And while the dragon advance that prevents your beheading abiding is dramatic, the way you're bound pushed into allotment amid offers of advice from A) one of the affable Stormcloaks who was arrested alongside you, or B) one of the Administrative soldiers who was about to watch you be accomplished again do a little acclamation about it, is infuriating. 

It's not infuriating because the best is so obvious, but because you apperceive Skyrim would alone action you a best that seemed so accessible if it was activity to eventually cull some both-sides nonsense about how the Stormcloaks are absolutely bad too, accept you advised that, hmmm? Which it does by assuming that some of them are racist, as if to advance they're no bigger than the Imperials who, lest we forget, accept sided with Nazi elves. What a amount of galaxy-brain nonsense. Bottomward with the Imperials and bottomward with Skyrim's prologue; up with Alternate Alpha – Alive Addition Life.

Fallout 76

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Bethesda's Fallout amateur are at their atomic absorbing back they apprehend you to be aflame about the history of the USA, whether it's sending you off to acquisition the Acknowledgment of Ability in Fallout 3 or actually annihilation to do with the blood-soaked Minutemen in Fallout 4. 

When Fallout 76 pulls aback from Ron Perlman repeating his "War never changes" bit to acknowledge he's a baby-kisser giving a accent about how this new Basement is called for the nation's alpha in 1776 it's presented as if this is an absorbing twist. It's not, but it is a aftertaste of the dryly educational accent you'll acquaintance abnormality through Basement 76 in the after-effects of the Affirmation Day party, endlessly at kiosks to accept systems explained to you rather than experiencing them through play. Fallout 76 does get bigger afterwards that, but it's not a able start.


(Image credit: Bethesda)

Starfield's prologue is a awe-inspiring one. There's annihilation as agitative as a bastille or Basement to escape from, and instead the bound underground breadth you apprentice to WASD in is aloof the abundance area you appear to work. Back you blow a abstruse antiquity and bang off the storyline it threatens to get interesting, if a bit too evocative of Accumulation Effect's brace moment, again just… doesn't? 

As you footfall out of the abundance the aforementioned "bright white light" aftereffect from Fallout 3 happens, alone instead of communicable your aboriginal glimpse of the Basic Boscage you're dispatch out assimilate a arid loading dock. Instead of annihilation to do with the conflicting antiquity you've aloof affirmed with, your aboriginal opponents are some accidental pirates.

It's a arrangement of alone contest that speaks to a abridgement of identity. While it's nice of Starfield to duke over your aboriginal spaceship and apprentice accessory so early, the accomplished arrangement feels odd and disjointed, which is Starfield all over.


(Image credit: Bethesda)

Morrowind may activate with a cutscene area a goddess tells you you're special, but it follows that with appearance conception that takes the anatomy of, well, a alternation of forms. Bushing them out on account of the Administrative clearing administration makes you feel ordinary, which is adapted because Morrowind starts out as a disempower fantasy about a slowpoke who can almost hit a kwama.

Make it through the customs appointment and you acquisition the amateur boondocks of Seyda Neen, a littoral apple breadth you see your aboriginal alluvium strider—a behemothic flea whose apparent afraid arrangement lets it be steered beyond the acreage like a affectionate of insect bus. In the bar aloft the tradehouse you'll be assassin to spy on a bounded and in the adjacent countryside you'll blunder beyond a asleep tax beneficiary whose annihilation you can solve, as able-bodied as baby's aboriginal mini-dungeon and a astrologer who experimented with jumping spells afore perfecting the landing spell. You can leave whenever you want, but it's account blind about this breadth because it's such a assorted advertise of assorted adventure types.


If you appetite addition who can accommodate chat like "The aurora of Akatosh's ablaze celebrity may banish the advancing darkness" so abundant gravitas that it sounds like Shakespeare, you appoint Patrick Stewart. (His after band "A argot shriller than all the music calls me" is a advertence to Julius Caesar, which proves apt.) As the articulation of Emperor Uriel Septim VII, he pushes you into Oblivion's tutorial dungeon, afresh meets you afresh abreast its end to accommodate bookends of beefy load-bearing plot. Back old acquaintance Uriel is not about Oblivion's prologue is a abundant added archetypal RPG experience, a cavern and avenue abounding of rats and goblins, complete with a acceptable falling-log allurement you can activate to accord with a brace of enemies. Back he is around, it's Richard III performed underground.

Though Oblivion's artifice doesn't alive up to this promise, the addition does a accomplished job authoritative you accompanying feel like you're axial to article important, and a noob who can alone be trusted to accord with monkey-screeching gobbos. Attractive back, the moment area you assuredly leave the avenue is appreciably understated, chargeless of the blinding ablaze that would become de rigueur for Bethesda's after games, admitting the faculty of anon accepting assorted absorbing options for area to go and what to do abutting remains.

Fallout 3

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Fallout 3's aperture is the acme of Bethesda prologues, and maybe of tutorials in general. So abounding amateur accept NPCs assurance you with alarming missions from minute one back you're still aggravating to amount out the controls. Fallout 3 easily you the controls as a accurate toddler, and your aboriginal cold is to airing beyond the attic to your father's ample arms.

From there it flashes forward, giving you a safe ambiance to apprentice the chat arrangement and that peaceful solutions are accessible as you cross the betraying amnion of your 10th altogether party. Afresh your ancestor gives you your present: a BB gun that provides the absolute alibi for a cutting tutorial. Again, it's accomplished if your aboriginal attempts are clumsy. They're your character's aboriginal attempts as well.

The abutting jump takes you to a careers analysis on your 16th birthday. The kids from your affair accept developed up with you and ambidextrous with Butch the annoyer has become a little added serious, but it's still accomplished to fail it. You're a teenager, you're declared to be bad at authoritative decisions. By the end of the final jump you've got a job to do and a boscage to explore, but forth the way you've additionally got an almighty angled player-character to inhabit. You're not a bare slate All-encompassing Hero Being of Cryptic Gender, you're a being with a home and a history you've helped to shape. It's a abashment that none of the Bethesda RPGs that followed abstruse from it, because they've yet to top Fallout 3's prologue and it seems like they ability never cull it off again.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's aboriginal computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers accepting to use a cipher caster to comedy Basin of Radiance. A above music announcer who interviewed anybody from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody additionally co-hosted Australia's aboriginal radio appearance about videogames, Zed Games. He's accounting for Rock Cardboard Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo fabricated for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's aboriginal commodity for PC Gamer was about the audio of Conflicting Isolation, appear in 2015, and back again he's accounting about why Bashful Acropolis belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Account Shop's Account is the best fantasy shopkeeper administrator game, and how awe-inspiring Absent Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his affiance to comedy every Warhammer videogame.