As part of the YouTube Live at E3 show hosted by The Game Awards producer and games journalist Geoff Keighley fans were given further insight into the biggest projects Bethesda announced last night at their E3 2018 Showcase. In this interview topics concerning the nature of Fallout 76 gameplay and questing, Starfield’s development progress, and The Elder Scrolls VI were covered.
Geoff Keighley opened up the interview by asking Executive Producer and Game Director Todd Howard if it was always Bethesda’s plan to show so many unannounced games at this year’s E3. Todd responded saying that “fans find out a lot of what we’re doing and they want to know,” proceeding to add that the team decided an attitude of “let’s just be up front,” but that it was not always the plan in fact. The Starfield rumors and leaks would have let fans in anguish as they waited, possibly years, to find out if the game is truly coming or not. Instead the team decided to let it be known that the game is real.
We are told through the questions and answers between the two industry figures that Starfield has been in development for a long time. It was discussed as a concept for 10 years. Five years ago the game began the pre-production stage and is in a playable state right now. What was shown at E3 was just a confirmation that the game exists, but a release date has not been decided yet. There will be a deep dive when Starfield is close to release, revealing lots of gameplay systems, the story, the world, the characters, and more. For now, we are told the game is a next generation single player game with story focus. Social online connection has not been decided on yet, but it is not a shared online world game like Fallout 76, it will be a true single player, open world RPG like the main titles Bethesda is known for.
The Elder Scrolls VI is in pre-production at this time and Todd lets us know that the teaser trailer contains clues as to where the game will take place. He expects Elder Scrolls fans to dissect the trailer and have a lot of information gleaned from the short snapshot.
When asked whether Bethesda will tease more, or show more, in between now and their deep dive right before launch (in regards to Starfield and TES VI), Todd has said it’s unlikely, but he’s not sure, adding “it’s new for us” in reference to announcing games that aren’t close to their launch window.
Todd Howard says that his team reached a moment in which they were asking themselves, “What are all the games I wanna make?” leading to the conclusion, “Let’s just do it. Life is short.” which has helped them gain the courage needed to take on projects like Fallout 76 and Starfield. These games can be seen as adventures out of the normal Bethesda formula by some fans. Todd mentions that “Our fans are the best. They give us crap when we deserve it.” hinting that he may be aware of concerns surrounding Fallout 76 being an online game. This game’s details were also discussed at length in the interview.
Fallout 76 has more developers working on it than any Bethesda game to date. That’s in part due to the fact that Bethesda Game Studios is a constantly growing company, with the average Bethesda dev being with the company 10 years so far. The game is not playable offline, and you will always see other players. Although there are no NPC’s and all enemies will be real people instead, quests and story are still important. Part of how these will be told is through robots, terminals, holo-tapes, etc. with PVP not completely avoidable but PVP can be reduced. There are social incentives and in-game rewards for participating in PVP but “grief’ing” is said to be discouraged naturally by the game’s systems and limited in how much it can affect a player’s experience.
Fallout 76 features a real-time version of V.A.T.S. in which players who might not be great at shooting games can level up their character and perform head-shots a little bit easier than they normally would. Exactly how this works is still being fine tuned, but we are told the game is nearly ready for Beta to finalize such gameplay design decisions after seeing how players utilize the system. Mod tools will come to Fallout 76 in the form of a service, but not at launch. First the game must be robust and running well, and then Bethesda will launch a platform for mod developers to enhance the players’ private areas of the game through additional content. In general, Fallout 76 is seen by Bethesda as an ongoing game that will evolve over time and be expanded in many different ways.
Last but not least, Skyrim for Alexa was a joke that has become real. Although they didn’t announce it during their Press Conference, Bethesda Game Studios decided to make the joke commercial first, and ended up making a full-on text adventure style role playing game that can be played simply by speaking to Alexa devices. You can enable it on your Alexa device for free through the Amazon Appstore, although it is mainly for comedic value, it is a real game.