Bethesda’s Todd Howard on Skyrim, Switch and the failings of their open worlds

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Todd Howard talks Nintendo Switch

Bethesda and open-world RPGs are still synonymous with each other, and at the heart of it all sits Creative Director Todd Howard. The delightful face that graces stages at E3 to show off the likes of Skyrim and Fallout 4 has had his hand in crafting the legacy of Bethesda and their RPG staples, and recently had the chance to share some of this with Glixel. Howard understands just how strong Bethesda is with his RPGs, but also realises many fall short of where they could be.

Speaking specifically about Skyrim and the potential for the next Elder Scrolls entry for most of the interview, Howard reflected on some of the features in their open-worlds that he wishes they could improve. Citing that there would always be something the team felt could be done better, Howard singled out NPC interaction as a big focus going forward.

I think if you look at our worlds and our environments, they’re really rewarding. I think on the character side, how the NPCs react to you is still not quite where we want it to be.

Taking the idea further, Howard was asked whether Bethesda still has a problem balancing the urgency some of their main narratives simply through their writing, and how it conflicts with the open nature of their worlds. In a few words, Howard simply stated that they “haven’t quite cracked it yet.”

Shifting gears to the Nintendo Switch, Howard sort of confirmed that a Skyrim port was in the works for the Nintendo hybrid, and that the game would play the same on TV and on the go. Delving deeper into the device itself, Howard expressed his admiration for the hardware, stating the a demo at E3 might have been one of the most impressive he’s ever seen.

I love it. I got to play it. I will tell you – well, maybe that’s an N.D.A. thing. One of the best demos I’ve ever seen. Probably the best demo I’ve ever seen. At E3.

There’s clearly a lot more Bethesda might be sharing at Nintendo’s event in January, but to see one of their top designers excited at the prospect of developing for the hardware does instil some sort of hope for strong third-party support. But beyond that it’s clear Howard feels there’s still new ground to break with more iterations of their RPG series, and barriers they hope to tear down very soon.

Last Updated: November 22, 2016

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