Next-generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft are on the way, and Bethesda boss Todd Howard has apparently seen them. That’s no surprise given both of Bethesda’s big upcoming games, Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI, are expected to launch on the new consoles. Howard has now offered some high-level thoughts on what to expect.
Speaking to IGN, Howard said, “They’re all … [pause] … How to not break NDAs? They are doing the right things.”
Throughout the entire interview, Howard spoke slowly and carefully as he seemed to run through his head what is public knowledge about the consoles and what hasn’t been revealed yet.
Whatever the case, Howard said he is “absolutely” confident about the direction the new consoles from Sony and Microsoft are headed.
“One of the big benefits of my position is I get to see stuff really early. I was one of the first people ever to see the Switch; that was one of the best hardware demos I have ever seen,” Howard said. “The things [Sony and Microsoft are] doing are, in my mind–no one is screwing up at the starting line which some people have done before.”
Pressed for more details, Howard mentioned the vastly improved loading times on the PlayStation 5 that system architect Mark Cenry previously revealed (see the faster load times here). Overall, Howard said both Sony and Microsoft are “focused on the right things.” Whatever those things are, they are suited to the kinds of games that Bethesda is making.
“Everybody is focused on the right things, and in particular, it helps the kind of games that we make tremendously,” he said. “Everybody has learned their lessons in some good ways and some hard ways. And they are very very thoughtful about their audience and the developers. My view of it is it’s going to be awesome across the board. Not just the systems but the business models.”
In regards to business models, Howard said the video game industry is finally growing and evolving and adapting to provide consumers with a variety of choices.
“Gaming is finally reaching the point that linear entertainment is,” Howard said. “Movies, television, all that, where you’re going to have games that are big tentpoles that people can buy for $60. That’s kind of like going to the theater. You’re going to have games you can play on a subscription service, you’re going to have ones you can download on your phone, you’re going to have ones you can play and they’re maybe ad-supported. I think that’s really, really healthy for the industry; obviously the players who want to consume it, but [also] the developers who say ‘I just want to make an adventure game for this budget.’ There’s an audience for that. My worry before was hey, will all of that go away?”
Howard further backed up his point by mentioning that traditional linear TV was generally overrun with lousy reality TV shows before streaming networks like Netflix and others came along and demonstrated that there could be a much bigger diversity in terms of the breadth and depth of content. Basically, something for everyone exists today in TVs and movies, and the same is now, finally, happening for games, Howard said.
In other news, Howard recently discussed how Bethesda always thought Fallout 76 would have a tough launch and receive lower review scores.