“Over the last generation, open-world games became very popular as [developers] got used to making them, and saw the impact they could have on players,” he says. “I think this is what games do best. They do geography well, they put you in another world. A lot of mediums can tell good stories, and some linear games do fantastic things. But for us, putting you in another world asking, what would you do here? What are the possibilities? That’s really what sets gaming apart from other forms of entertainment.”
“Let’s just cast forward to the next five to 10 years of gaming - for me, it’s more about access than clock cycles,” he says. “Just the time it takes to even turn [a console] on and load up some of these games is a barrier – it’s time that you’re not enjoying being in that world … The kind of games we make are ones that people are going to sit down and play for hours at a time. If you can access a game more easily, and no matter what device you’re on or where you are, that’s what I think the next five to 10 years in gaming is about.
“I’d like to see more reactivity [in game worlds], more systems clashing together that players can express themselves with. I think chasing scale for scale’s sake is not always the best goal.”
“Obviously, we’re big fans of single player and we’ve had some success with some multiplayer-focused games,” says Howard. “We have found that even if it’s multiplayer, whether it’s Elder Scrolls Online or Fallout 76, a large number of our players want to play it like a single-player game and not have the other players distract from it. Games handle multiplayer in different ways, and I think it all has merit.”
“In our games whenever we go really linear, when we say, ‘Here’s the thing you must get, here’s where you must go’, it’s not as successful. When we give the player a short-term, medium- and long-term goal and then make sure they have a lot of options, and make sure that the game is reacting to them, that’s where I think the real magic happens. That’s when the player feels like, ‘Look what I did!’ Rather than a creator giving something to you and you consuming it, you gave something to the game. You come away with a sense of pride. You’ve accomplished something for the week.
“That’s one of the things people who don’t play a lot of games never quite understand. When you play a game and you accomplish something, that’s real. It’s a real accomplishment in your life, or it has been to me, and to other people I meet who love gaming. You can finish the week and say, ‘I saved the world’, and you legit feel that way. That’s the magic.”
Yeah, I am sure the CPUs last gen really put a limit on the world interactions they could do and I am kind of glad the next Elder Scrolls will have access to better CPUs. Also, we shouldn’t forget the potential of machine learning when it comes to these type of games specifically.