As Bethesda Game Studios stands months away from entering a new realm of the gaming ecosystem with the forthcoming Fallout 76, creative head Todd Howard recently reflected on the studio’s hit-laden past and divulged some in-house positions that could upset some of the studio’s most ardent fans.
In an interview with The Guardian, Howard revealed that Bethesda isn’t currently planning to utilize third-party developers for studio-owned franchises. Obsidian Entertainment’s Fallout New Vegas was the last and most prominent title that was outsourced by Bethesda. Many fans of the Fallout series point to New Vegas as the best entry in the franchise, but Howard points to Bethesda’s growth in size and capability as a reason to not outsource development for the foreseeable future. ““I wouldn’t say never … now that our company is so big, it’s always better to keep stuff internal … it becomes less likely, but I could never say never,” said Howard. Despite fan communities cries for another non-Bethesda Fallout game appearing to fall unanswered, Howard was quick to praise the minds at Obsidian that produced the well-remembered offshoot RPG. “I thought the Obsidian guys did a fabulous job,” said Howard.
Howard also pointed out that he doesn’t see the studio committing much effort to another long-standing request from its fans: remasters of the studio’s previous titles. While the constant re-release of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim caused the practice to morph into a running joke that even Bethesda highlighted during E3 2018, Howard believes that remaking popular titles like Morrowind and the original Fallout would rob them of their uniqueness.
“I’d rather you play Morrowind the way it was … I think the age is part of its identity. For Skyrim Remastered, we had done some work on it but it was already pretty visually close. But for something like Morrowind, my personal preference is not to remaster it. We [also] get asked a lot to remaster [1997’s] Fallout 1, and I usually say, if you have a PC you can play Fallout the way it was. I think that’s how it should be,” said Howard.
The Bethesda head also highlighted advances in backwards compatibility as even more of a reason to let the studio’s older library be. “I’m happy that you can play Morrowind now on an Xbox One, as it’s backwards compatible. I’m really happy that Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and others are making it easier for people to play [older games] as they were played at the time. I actually prefer that over remasters,” said Howard.
Howard’s comments are sure to dash the hopes of many fans, but his vision for the future at Bethesda could provided a much needed lift to those affected. “Games have gotten so big and interesting that they’ve moved beyond the toy/entertainment space … It’s not just a diversion from their regular lives; for a lot of people it becomes an important part of their lives. I think we see that across a lot of games now, where people are getting joy and personal pride out of the time they spend in them … I always felt that way … That’s what I want our games to do: to transport people for the time they’re in it.”