Todd Howard: Fallout 76 Doesn't Mean Bethesda is Abandoning Single-Player Experiences

Todd Howard: Fallout 76 Doesn't Mean Bethesda is Abandoning Single-Player Experiences

Bethesda isn't pivoting to live-service games.

Fallout 76 is a departure from Bethesda's previous Fallout games thanks to its multiplayer-focused shared world experience. While Fallout 76 can be considered the latest entry into the games as service genre, Bethesda Studio head Todd Howard says this isn't the case, and that Bethesda isn't moving away from single-player epics the studio is known for.

Games as service has become a rather hot genre for big game companies looking to extend the shelf life of their biggest games. Upcoming titles like Anthem join games like Destiny 2 and Grand Theft Auto Online which keep players engaged years after the initial launch of the game. But as Howard says, Bethesda has experimented with a variety of different game services and pay systems, but still make single-player adventures.

In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz during Gamelab Barcelona Howard says that Fallout 76 "doesn't mark the future," of the studio. "Corporately we've done a mix; people forget sometimes. Elder Scrolls online is one of the biggest online games in the world, we have Fallout Shelter which we keep updating, and Elder Scrolls: Legends."

Elder Scrolls Online is Bethesda's MMORPG based on the Elder Scrolls universe. It was formally a subscription-based MMO but transitioned to a one-time purchase model with a premium subscription and optional in-game purchases. Fallout Shelter is completely free-to-play while Elder Scrolls: Legends functions like other online trading card games, letting players purchase packs for cards or winning games to earn in-game rewards.

Since so many studios are experimenting with games as service titles, and news that single-player games like Visceral's cancelled Star Wars game are being shut down in favor of open-world service games, there's an idea that single-player games are on the way out in the industry. Something Howard disagrees with.

"Anyone who has ever said 'this is the future and this part of gaming is dead' has been proven wrong every single time. We like to try it all. For a long time, we wanted to try a multiplayer game and we had this idea. We shouldn't be afraid. We should try it."

Fallout 76 was announced at Bethesda's E3 2018 press conference and is a multiplayer-focused spinoff of the post-apocalyptic Fallout games. Players will play together in a post-apocalyptic West Virginia and must either work together or fight against one another to survive the hostile wasteland. Bethesda's Fallout games have traditionally been single-player games, so a multiplayer Fallout game is a big change for the series.

For more on Fallout 76 including trailers, news, previews, and release date check out our complete Fallout 76 guide. Fallout 76 comes out November 14 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

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Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

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