The Hollywood Reporter managed to snag an interview with Bethesda CEO Todd Howard over E3 and discussed his views on the future of the company, specifically his thoughts regarding how the video game company ties to broader media.
Despite no new information over the course of the event regarding Bethesda’s new IP Starfield, Howard spoke to the balancing act the company has with regards to new franchises and supporting the older successful ones.
There are two parts to this answer. The first is that the basic worlds of, say, Elder Scrolls and Fallout are so good that it’s really about presenting it again with new technology and fresh eyes. We’re only doing big games every three or four years. As the time goes on, it does keep it fresh. We have been working on a new IP, Starfield, and that’s our first new one in 25 years, so our balance on that is not very good, right? That was something we thought about for a while and we take it very seriously in terms of what would make a great IP and new universe to play in. Our hope is that Starfield stands up to Elder Scrolls and Fallout.
THR goes on to question whether or not Bethesda have made similar advances towards the creation of films based off their titles, as have Sony and Ubisoft:
It’s come up a lot of times, particularly over the last decade as our stuff has gotten very popular, but nothing has really come of it. I’ve taken a lot of meetings. I can’t say never, but there hasn’t been one up to this point where we say, yeah, that’s it.
Would you be open to it if the right opportunity came along?
I would, yes.
Ever thought of developing your own film or TV projects?
No. (Laughs) I’ll let the people who are good at that do that.
Sony are obviously the leaders in the contest, not only for having IPs that have a natural habitat in the big screen like Spider-Man but a well established and growing animation wing that’s striking hard alongside other film animation giants like Disney.
Ubisoft is later in the game with only a mixed-review Assassin’s Creed feature film under its belt, but with more than a half-dozen other titles in various planning stages, including multiple Tom Clancy entries (made up of subfranchises like The Division, Splinter Cell and Ghost Recon), Watchdogs, Rabbids, Far Cry and a possible Assassin’s Creed sequel.
Still, despite the prospect of a Fallout movie it’s sort of refreshing to see Howard take a non-hype, “we’re not going to stretch ourselves all over the place to make this happen” stance.
And with video game-to-film adaptations seemingly still under something of a pall for the foreseeable future, perhaps it’s not a bad idea to stay cool and let some genius finally work out the magic formula first. The Leonardo DaVinci of video game movie adaptations, as it were.
So I can’t say that I’m totally into the idea of a Bethesda, even with the prospect of a Fallout movie or three. The games I’ve played and loved from that company have been incredible because they have made definitive sandboxes; the stories are fun and sometimes even great, but that’s not why I play.
Hell, even the games themselves are things that many people like myself are more than happy to mod and tweak to varying degrees before they even get truly fun (I’m looking at you, carry-weight nonsense) and it’s the heart-filled communities that create entire adventure campaigns, fix bugs, tweak graphics down to the finest detail that makes these games truly come alive.
So while I may be traipsing through the wasteland with my Star Wars laser rifle, beer-dispensing robot companion and 110 golden oldies songs of the 40’s and 50’s blasting on the Pip-Boy, that is almost definitely something that even Bethesda could not have made work if not for the community of fans that cherish the games.
And that’s something unique that I can’t see ever finding its way into the world of cinema.
But what about you, Wasteoids? Can you envisage a Skyrim game that can capture those special moments like shouting a dragon off a cliff, or pure Fallout like watching the historical U.S.S. Constitution fly off into the distance (for a moment, anyway)?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!