Elder Scrolls Director Wants to See More Reactivity in Open World Games Rather Than Greater Scale


The name of Todd Howard is tightly intertwined with that of the Elder Scrolls IP. Indeed, the game designer and producer joined Bethesda in the mid-90s and immediately worked on The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, before assuming the lead on The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, then working as an Executive Producer on The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and as the Game Director of the hugely successful The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Speaking in a new interview published in The Guardian, Howard looked to the future of open world games and proclaimed he'd rather see more reactivity rather than greater scale for scale's sake.

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Let’s just cast forward to the next five to 10 years of gaming - for me, it’s more about access than clock cycles. Just the time it takes to even turn a console on and load up some of these games is a barrier – it’s time that you’re not enjoying being in that world … The kind of games we make are ones that people are going to sit down and play for hours at a time. 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.

This seems like a hint to what we can expect in Starfield, Bethesda Game Studios' first new IP in two decades, as well as the massively anticipated The Elder Scrolls VI, announced back in 2018 but still far away from even being unveiled.

It's hard to disagree with Todd Howard. After all, most open world games are already truly massive, but few are really meaningful in how they interact with the players. Let's hope this is indeed going to be the trend going forward.