Todd Howard is like one of those flowers in Borneo that only blooms once every seven years, when a Skyrim or Fallout 3 is imminent. Catch him then and he’ll muster 100 words per minute; any other time in the cycle, and he’s a mystery wrapped within an enigma tucked inside an elder scroll.
His sage-like tone at the recent D.I.C.E. summit was disconcerting for that reason: Howard said he had no timeframe to give for Bethesda’s next game announcement - but suggested “it’s gonna be a while”.
“We’ve gotten fairly used to all the questions and curiosity over the years,” Howard told RPS. “Everyone wants information. Right now, we’re just trying to figure out which of our ideas are going to stick and finding an appropriate time to talk about it.”
We really are a long way out from Fallout 4, or whatever else it might be, if the PVA has yet to set on its design tenets. But perhaps that’s not so surprising: it’s been less than a year since Bethesda drew a line under Skyrim DLC and threw themselves wholeheartedly into their new thing - though pre-production had been happening for a while before.
And I wasn’t kidding about those seven years: that’s precisely how long Skyrim was in ongoing development. The nearest thing we’ll have to an announcement for the time being is the Fallout 4 hoax that costs its creator $1000.
“The ARG was very, very well done,” said Howard. “It’s a testament to our fans. And they’re doing that stuff and making mods. The stuff they do, we often look at and go, ‘Well, why don’t we just do that? That’s really great’.”
So what are our chances of getting a Fallout 4? RPS say that Howard “clammed up” when asked about voice casting rumours, which is interesting. And Obsidian weren’t at work on a New Vegas sequel this time last year, when they were last asked - so there’s no reason to suspect Bethesda have farmed the Fallout series out for good.
Whatever Bethesda are working on, you can expect it’ll be on PC.
“PC is resurgent,” said Howard. “Skyrim did better than we’ve ever done on PC by a large, large number. And that’s where the mods are. That feeds the game for a long time. And it’s exciting that the new consoles are very PC-like. That opens up avenues for us going forward to do things that we’ve wanted to do in the past. There are kind of random ideas we’re working on right now, and it’s like, ‘Wow, I think there’s potential here to do some really cool stuff’.”
Is Fallout 4 what you'd like to hear Howard talk about next? I'd love to see Bethesda build something else from scratch, actually - Fallout 3 seemed to do wonders for their creative muscles.