Todd Howard also says a focus for the studio going forward is finding out how to tell better stories in its open-world games.
Bethesda Game Studios’ latest titles, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) and Fallout 4 (2015), each still have “millions” of daily players, game director Todd Howard told GameSpot in a new interview.
Skyrim’s playerbase received a jolt of new interest thanks to last year’s remaster, the Special Edition, while Fallout 4’s new updates have kept players coming back, it seems.
Also in our interview, Howard talked about returning to the Skyrim series with the Special Edition after so many years of working on Fallout 4. “It was like seeing an old friend from high school and realizing how much you missed spending time together,” he said.
“When you’re making a game like Skyrim, it’s your whole life, and you start losing perspective on, is this fun? Is this not fun? What’s good? What’s bad? Being able to come back to it, you really see it–it’s kind of one of those rare times when you sit down and you see something you made as a gamer. You kind of forget all the versions of a certain feature or what it took to get it there and you’re just playing it for what it is.”
Howard also talked about the unique qualities of both Skyrim and Fallout 4, saying Skyrim was more about letting the player forge their own story.
“I think Skyrim is a little bit more of ‘find your own way.’ It’s more inviting for the type of character you want to play,” he said. “Whereas Fallout 4 probably tells a stronger but specific story.”
Asked what Skyrim does better than Fallout 4 and vice versa, Howard said, “How content is presented; they both have their strengths and weaknesses. We’re very critical of our own stuff.”
Additionally, Howard talked about how telling stronger stories in open-world games is among the things that Bethesda Game Studios is thinking about for its future projects.
“How do we tell a better story in an open world? With each of our games we’ve had successes and failures and if you ask us internally, we have new ideas that we want to explore in the future because we feel like we haven’t really cracked it yet the way we think it could be,” he said.
“So we really break it down and say, ‘Going forward, what do we think the best way to proceed is?’ Where were the times where we spent a lot of time on something, innovating, but you can’t really tell; it doesn’t show up on the screen for the amount of time that we put into it. And there are other things that we didn’t put a lot of time into that are really shining through and we should have made that one stand out even more because that was a better design feature or better bang for our development buck.”
Bethesda has confirmed The Elder Scrolls VI is on the way, though you should not expect it soon. The studio is working on another mobile game, following Fallout Shelter, but it has not been announced.
In other Bethesda news, the developer is holding its E3 2017 briefing this year on Sunday, June 11.
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