Despite the fact I’m trying to remove the word ‘core’ and ‘hardcore’ from my vocabulary, I still have a lot of respect for what dreamy Todd Howard is saying in this interview. Apparently he attributes the massive success of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim to the fact “people underestimate how many core gamers there are”.
Speaking to Game Informer, Howard claimed he wasn’t precisely sure why Skyrim was so successful, but had a few ideas.
“The short answer is “I don’t know”,” he said. “I can give you my guess, which is people underestimate how many core gamers there are; people who want a lot of depth and will play a game for a long time. There are a lot of them. If you give them something unique and good, you don’t have to dumb it down.”
According to Howard, there was no attempt on the team’s part to make the game more accessible to a broad audience, just attempts to improve it.
“There are things we changed to make the game better, but not to appeal to a wider audience,” he said. “I think we always benefited in Elder Scrolls early on, the fact that it is first-person and kind of walks this action line sometimes. We’ve always benefited from that. Even our own lofty expectations for how the game would be received or sell, it’s way, way beyond that.
“I don’t have a way of explaining it.”
Howard claims he doesn’t put too much thought into chasing particular demographics. He’s happy to simply let his games breathe.
“I mostly just make our stuff and say, “Okay, this will find an audience,” and we’ve been very lucky when it comes to that,” he said.
Skyrim’s Todd Howard On What Makes A Success [Game Informer]