Five Minutes with Bethesda's Todd Howard

Russ Pitts

The Boss of You
May 1, 2006
Five Minutes with Bethesda's Todd Howard

Bethesda Executive Producer Speaks on the Dissolution of E3

I recently spoke with Todd Howard, Executive Producer at Bethesda, for an upcoming two-part interview on Escape Radio. We spoke about The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, downloadable content, the development process, their upcoming Fallout 3, Patrick Stewart and a lot more.

The Escapist: What do you think about the dissolution of E3? Were you surprised?

Todd Howard: Yeah I think everyone was a bit surprised and then when they thought about it, not surprised. E3 is a giant undertaking for everybody. We've always taken sort of the meeting room approach. We don't have loud crazy booths. And the last two years we've had a booth on the floor but it's basically been a big meeting room on the floor that most people can't get into.

In general I have felt that it's a waste of money to put on a big circus - you don't really get the time to show your game well. For us, we're still fortunately in the position with most of our games to get the press or the retail channel to give us the time of day. "OK Bethesda's here, we'll give you the time of day and sit down and listen to what you have to say." And so we're able to give nice, juicy several-hour presentations.

The one thing I've never liked about E3 is I have 20 minutes to give you a presentation on our games that by their nature are hard to demo in that time period, and then the person is going to check their watch and walk out and go see someone else's demo. It's like a beauty pageant. That part of it I'm definitely not going to miss.

But I do think the industry's got to have some sort of event or thing where you can get lots of press to see lots of games they would never give the time of day. From our stand point I don't think it's a big deal for our games in particular, but as an industry I think we need some kind of event.

TE: What would you like to see it become?

TH: I don't know, I mean I've been involved with this since it was at CES. I've always enjoyed CES because it was Las Vegas and I got to look at car stereos and stuff as well. I don't know, I mean ? in the end maybe something that's more consumer oriented. People can pay their way and get in and look at games and get excited about them and a lot of the press would go there as well and that's what the even is for. It's not for everything; it's not press and retail and lots of people who are enthusiasts. I think its good for the industry. E3 always gets covered outside of the industry.

It's one of those things we were talking about before: Everyone who doesn't like videogames is wrong and E3 helps educate them as to why videogames are great.

Part One of my two-part interview with Todd Howard will be appearing in Escape Radio Episode Three, which will be available for download at The Escape Radio Page [], or through iTunes on Friday, August 25th.



#virgil { display:none; }
Jun 13, 2002
You tease us with mention of Fallout 3 then talk about E3? Harsh!

Todd Howard said:
... and E3 helps educate them as to why videogames are great.
This is the one thing here I don't know if I agree with. Certainly it helped raise the awareness of the industry to the more general media (and thereby to their audience), but I don't know if E3 in its recent form has actually helped educate positively. The last one is probably evidence of seeing that problem, with a push to tone down the booth babes and other things that don't really help the image of the industry at large.

Looking forward to hearing the rest.