“I think chasing scale for scale’s sake is not always the best goal,” says Todd Howard.
As technology has caught up more and more with game developers’ ambitious, open world games in particular have grown progressively more impressive. The sheer size of the worlds many open world games have taken place in over the last decade has been staggering to see- but there are many who feel that that size, perhaps, shouldn’t be prioritized as much as filling out worlds with meaningful content and systems.
Bethesda’s Todd Howard – who is currently working on Starfield and will move on to The Elder Scrolls 6 once that is done – is definitely among that group of people. Speaking recently in an interview with The Guardian, Howard said that he hopes to see open world games becoming more reactive and more systemic in the future, rather than “chasing scale for scale’s sake.”
“The kind of games we make are ones that people are going to sit down and play for hours at a time,” Howard said. “If you can access a game more easily, and no matter what device you’re on or where you are, that’s what I think the next five to 10 years in gaming is about.
“I’d like to see more reactivity in game worlds, more systems clashing together that players can express themselves with. I think chasing scale for scale’s sake is not always the best goal.”
Howard’s argument is one that’s very easy to agree with, and one that’s been made by several over the last few years. For instance, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is a prime example of a game that’s been criticized for having an open world environment that is just too big for its own good, and often ends up feeling bloated as a result. As Howard says, hopefully, open world games will prioritize quality over quantity going forward.
Starfield is currently in development, but has no release date yet, with details on it probably a ways out yet (which, by extension, means The Elder Scrolls 6 details are even further out).
Bethesda will soon be a Microsoft-owned company, though there have still been several questions about whether their games will stop releasing for PlayStation or Nintendo consoles. Both Bethesda and Microsoft have suggested that that might not necessarily be the case.