The Elder Scrolls/Fallout Franchises Interview

Ever since Bethesda acquired id Software, QuakeCon has become a general showcase of their current portfolio of titles. As such, it shouldn’t really surprise anyone to see interviews like this piece with VP of PR and Marketing Pete Hines come out of the event. The questions and answers largely focus on Bethesda Game Studios’ two big franchises: The Elder Scrolls and Fallout. An excerpt:

MMORPG: You’ve made a lot of changes to The Elder Scrolls Online over the two years since launch: all the DLC, veteran rank changes, dropping the sub, and you’ve got One Tamriel on the horizon. But for a lot of players, their opinion of the game was shaped early on, in the first month or two, or even in beta. What can you say to try and convince those players to give the game another shot?

Pete Hines: I don’t think there’s a “magic bullet” reason, like there’s this one thing you need to try the game again. I think across the board, we have continued to try and improve the game by listening to player feedback, trying some new things, introducing some new stuff, and continuing to remove the barriers that get in people’s way, like with One Tamriel.

Personally, my son, who’s now 13, had jumped on and started playing it with one of his friends. And I was like, “Hey, we should get on to play together.” And I told him before he started, he needs to join the Daggerfall Covenant, that’s the one I’m in. But of course, he joined the wrong faction, and I told him, “You’re in the wrong faction, we can’t play together.” And he was like, “What? I didn’t know!” So I told him, “Well, there’s an update coming later this year and once that comes…”

I think little things like that make a difference. That’s one of the reasons why, late last year, we did the free trial where you could download the game and try it for a weekend because we feel like the best thing is to offer folks a chance to dip into the water and try it for themselves. No amount of explaining is really going to do it when you can jump in and see all the stuff that’s going on in the game. I think that’s the best case that the game can make.

MMORPG: A lot of people have talked about Elder Scrolls: Legends in the sense of, “Hey this is cool, but where’s my Elder Scrolls VI? Why are you guys not doing that instead?” Not to say that you’re not working on something (or several somethings), but that can often be the perception.

PH: This studio is not a vending machine. They’re not a two-button vending machine, where first we press Elder Scrolls and then we press Fallout, and then we press Elder Scrolls and then we press Fallout… They’re an incredibly talented studio of creative people. They’ve now made four games in a row, all of which were named Game of the Year, and they have a right to decide what they’re interested in working on next and which direction they want to go.

I, for one, am perfectly willing to ask questions, but I’m not going to second guess Todd Howard when he says we want to do this next, and this, and then Elder Scrolls VI happens somewhere down here. He’s got reasons why, and I think once we get down the road, those reasons will be more evident to folks once we get there, or maybe not. But at the end of the day, these folks have a right to not just have to make Elder Scrolls game after Elder Scrolls game, which is why they switched to Fallout, and they have a right to stretch their legs and try something else or do something different. I know what they’re working on for the next decade, and I think all of them are things to get excited about, for different reasons, and once they come out, folks will enjoy them for what they are.

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