Real Todd Howard Revealed: A Former Bethesda Developer Speaks Out! [VIDEO]

Bruce Nesmith reveals in a candid interview how Todd Howard’s role at Bethesda has changed over the years. And how this has affected the development of Starfield.



Bruce Nesmith, former lead designer on Skyrim, recalled his time at Bethesda in a recent interview. He revealed that most of the critical decisions regarding Starfield were made through Todd Howard. Although the game broke several vital milestones, most players were not entirely happy with what they got.

Features such as the ship builder received much praise from the Starfield community, but problems with proper space travel, loading screens and procedural generation led to outright criticism from fans.

Nesmith spoke at length about the development of Starfield in an interview with MinnMax. He pointed out that the scope of Starfield was much smaller before his departure. One of the main points of contention, even within the team itself, was the uncertainty about how much Bethesda wanted to rely on procedural generation to expand the scope of the game. Nesmith favoured a more traditional approach. Focusing on just a dozen hand-crafted worlds to tell an immersive story. In contrast, Todd Howard envisioned “a hundred star systems” for Starfield players to immerse themselves in. It became increasingly clear that these ideas were incompatible.

Bethesda’s success over the past two decades has contributed significantly to its growth. It has expanded the team to an almost uncomfortable size for Nesmith. He says frankly that the restructuring of the company played a part in his decision to leave Bethesda and pursue a career as a novelist. Starfield was the last project Nesmith worked on. Compared to previous Bethesda titles, Todd Howard’s availability was dramatically reduced. However, even though the lines of communication had become more rigid, Howard still had the final say in Starfield’s creative decisions. “All decisions run through Todd,” Nesmith said. “He would hate, hate, hate me for saying that because he doesn’t believe it’s true. But unfortunately, it is true.”

It’s a role Howard didn’t particularly want, but the studio went in that direction anyway because Todd Howard’s opinion became extremely valuable.

According to Nesmith, Howard has been able to imagine himself as a casual player much better than most of the design team since Morrowind. His ability to see things from “the average person’s point of view” was a critical factor in Bethesda’s success. For example, Howard has said before that exploring Starfield was much more complicated during development. There was a much greater emphasis on environmental hazards, and the decision to simplify it was probably for the better.

Ultimately, Starfield was a learning experience for Bethesda. Many of the lessons learned will no doubt be applied to the development of the next Elder Scrolls game. Nesmith pointed out that Skyrim’s magic system will undoubtedly be carried over to the long-awaited sequel. Though hopefully with more inspired, dynamic magic.

Source: YouTube

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"Historian by profession, gamer since historical times."

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