Todd Howard, the developer of Fallout and The Elder Scrolls will be inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame. Howard is highly regarded in the gaming world. His latest works Skyrim and Fallout 4 were both commercial successes. RPGs were once entertainment for a small number of followers. However, Bethesda’s fantasy exploration game has landed through mainstream media and had wide exposure.
Howard said that the game’s success has caught him by surprise. He said that they felt it when the game had crossed over to being referenced by television and other mainstream media. He said it was nothing that they have ever planned for and it just happened.
Howard believes that RPGs have elevated in status and it is mainly due to the fact that many games have some fundamentals in common such as exploration, character upgrades, NPC interactions and a strong story. However, the big breakthrough for role playing games is the freedom of movement. Howard talked about how video games put people in a different place. He said developers can put people anywhere and the players can do anything.
Howard explained that open world games have gotten more popular. He said that developers have to think about creating the kinds of interactivity that make players feel like they are really immersed in that world. Creators try to avoid activities that feel too gamey and those that take the players out of the story.
Howard said he thinks that in terms of how the other characters act and react to players, creators have a very long way to go still. He thinks that it is the biggest issue developers have to solve. He said that currently, creators have a good handle on game flow, the rate that players get new things, how they are rewarded over time. Developers are also good at pushing technology and world-building. The one thing that needs to be further worked on is innovating on characters as reported by Polygon.
Howard said that one thing that worries him is when everyone is saying, this is where the industry is going. Howard stated that he thinks that no one really knows where the video game industry is going. He elaborated that he enjoys the ride rather than the view of everything. Howard thinks that the true advancement of the industry is when people are true to themselves and true to the games they want to create. He noted sometimes it takes a long time and several versions of a game until the developers get it right as published by GameSpot.