So far, we’ve seen how Todd Howard proved to be Bethesda’s most recognized figure, being the director and executive producer for Bethesda Game Studios—BGS–, with his team bringing some of the iconic hits we’ve grown to enjoy. Hits like Fallout 3, Fallout 4, and The Elder Scrolls.
A few years ago, he received the Industry Legend award at Gamelab during Game Developers Choice Lifetime Achievement Award and 2017’s indictment in the Hall of Fame of Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences.
In an interview with GamesIndustry, Howard had a brief conversation on the next plan for Bethesda, thus, answering the million-dollar question of whether his studio’s subsequent titles like the new IP Starfield and the highly anticipated “The Elder Scrolls VI,” will be exclusive to Xbox and PC platforms, especially now that Microsoft recently acquired Bethesda’s parent company, Zenimax.
Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
We haven’t gone through all of that, to be honest. We do view it and always have by ourselves, on a case-by-case basis. We’ll do that as part of Microsoft as well. They’ve been pretty open on other platforms and not just within Xbox. This is an outside perspective, but if you go back ten years at Microsoft, you wouldn’t expect them to have a full Office suite on an iPhone either.
I can’t really project where things will be except to say we’ve done those sorts of exercises ourselves as an independent. If you look at every Elder Scrolls game, there has been some exclusivity on Xbox or with Microsoft. We’ve partnered with every game. Morrowind was a console exclusive; Oblivion was a long timed exclusive, Skyrim’s DLC was exclusive for an extended period. We’ll decide what makes the best sense for our audience when the time comes, and I can’t project today what that looks like.
To put things in perspective, Howard did agree when the interviewer suggested how foolhardy it will be for Microsoft to discontinue titles like The Elder Scrolls VI on PC and Xbox.
Here’s what Howard replied:
I would agree that it is hard to imagine.
However, Microsoft has made slightly controversial statements on this matter. Notwithstanding, Head of Gaming Phil Spencer made remarks about Bethesda a couple of weeks ago, saying Microsoft will have to recover from the massive $7.5 billion investment by publishing Bethesda titles on other platforms.
Last week, Spencer specifically highlighted how the deal is undergoing regulatory approval and that he’s in no position to call the shots on what happens to Bethesda’s portfolio just yet.
Moreover, the regulatory approval phase is expected to end in the middle of next year (2021). In that light, we may likely get more detailed info on the fate of Bethesda’s successive titles in terms of platform exclusivity, but until then, we’ll keep our fingers crossed.