Recently, Todd Howard of Bethesda Game Studios sat down for an interview with Germany-based Gamestar about Munich, bratwurst, and a game very special to his heart: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.
After addressing topics like the success of Skyrim and the role open-world games have in the industry, Howard was asked which of his games he liked the best. Of course he then went on to mention pretty much every game he’s ever had a hand in — but Morrowind, in particular, he said, was special because it helped the studio overcome a very difficult period in its history. Read on:
Todd Howard: “The company went through some very hard times. We were very very close to going out of business in the late nineties.”
Reporter: “Daggerfall didn’t sell well?”
Todd Howard: “Daggerfall did fine, then we spread ourselves thin. We started doing a lot of games, and they just weren’t good enough. And they weren’t the kind of games we should have been making at the time.
We did Battlespire, I did Redguard — a game I love, but it didn’t do well for the company — and we have been working on the Tenth Planet, and there were other projects no one had heard about. So there was this period… Daggerfall was ’96, maybe to 2000, we went through some very rough times. And that was when Bethesda became part of Zenimax, and that gave us kind of a new lease on life, really. And we went into Morrowind.
There were six of us at the time, right? The studio had gotten that small, and I was in charge of Morrowind, but by that time, once you get to that point, there was this element of no fear. What’s the worst that’s gonna happen? We could go out of business. Well, let’s go all in. This is the game. Let’s put all our chips on the table. This is the game people want from us, this is the game we wanna do. You know, a lot of times when you make a game you’re kind of… maybe you’re afraid how people are gonna like this, let’s only do this, maybe it will make money, but we were… ‘Alright. We’re gonna do it all.’
And that was kind of the new genesis of Bethesda. You can trace back to that, the stuff we’re doing now — there’s still bits of code in what we do now that was in Morrowind. So that game is special from that standpoint for all of us.”
You can check out the entire interview below for some lively chat about pretzels and beer:
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