In an industry rapidly transitioning to the games-as-service model, developer Bethesda Game Studios doesn’t see the trend overtaking the studio or the industry in any manner gamers should concern themselves with.
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz at the recent Gamelab Barcelona conference, Fallout 76 game director Todd Howard discussed the apparent proliferation of games choosing to launch content incrementally over time instead of launching as one complete package. He claimed that the developer’s recent dalliance with this format isn’t meant to prophesy a new direction for the studio, nor the industry.
“It doesn’t mark the future,” Howard said. “Corporately we’ve done a mix; people forget sometimes. Elder Scrolls Online is one of the biggest online games in the world, we have Fallout Shelter which we keep updating, and Elder Scrolls: Legends.”
“Anyone who has ever said ‘this is the future and this part of gaming is dead’ has been proven wrong every single time,” he continued. “We like to try it all. For a long time we wanted to try a multiplayer game and we had this idea. We shouldn’t be afraid. We should try it.”
This address is in reference to the confirmation that Bethesda Softworks’ recently teased The Elder Scrolls VI and Starfield would both be single-player focused games. Many fans were questioning the direction of these two games following the reveal that Fallout 76 would be multiplayer focused. This affirmation of Howard’s is further emphasized by the director’s reveal that future Fallout installments will return to the series’ single-player roots.
Howard also covered the developer’s approach to monetization in the interview. With the upcoming free launch of The Elder Scrolls: Blades on mobile later this year, the director explained what it took away from the monetization of its previous free mobile game, Fallout Shelter.
“It’s definitely a lighter touch, which surprisingly worked very well for us in Fallout Shelter,” Howard said. “I was forced to meet with a lot of ‘monetization experts’ during Fallout Shelter that didn’t work for us. I said ‘that’s nice’ and then it came out and the first week it was above Candy Crush with a very light touch.… We did learn a lot though.”
The Elder Scrolls: Blades is currently set to launch on mobile and standard platforms sometime in late 2018, while Fallout 76 is slated to launch November 14th on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The Elder Scrolls VI and Starfield do not currently have release windows.