Bethesda: We Don’t Need to Dumb Down Skyrim

Many gamers might look at the expansive world of the upcoming Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and get worried that the game will end up being too hardcore for them. But Bethesda is not worried that the game might scare a few people off and feels that hardcore games can still attract a lot of players.

Design director Todd Howard recently sat down with Gamasutra and talked about this very subject.

Honestly, [making the game more accessible is] not something that we think about a lot, in that we’ve found that we’re getting a pretty big audience making a game that we want to make. We want to make it for whoever it is – even if you’ve played Elder Scrolls before, you haven’t played this one, so you don’t understand what a skill does yet.

Instead of making this more accessible, Todd explained that he wants to remove some of the “confusion” found in the latest Elder Scrolls installment.

We want to remove confusion, that’s what I’d say. As opposed to making it more accessible, we’d like to remove confusion for anyone who’s playing. What we’re trying to do now is lead you into it more… In our games or others’ games, they give you a character menu and say, ‘Who do you want to be, what powers do you want?’ [Players think,] ‘I don’t know, I haven’t played yet!’

What happens in Oblivion is you start the game, play for three hours, and then think ‘I want to start over, I chose wrong.’ So we’d like to sort of alleviate some of that. I also think the controls work better [too] … it’s more elegant.

You look at Call of Duty, the most popular game in the world, and that’s actually pretty hardcore. At the end of the day, it’s a hardcore game, has RPG elements in multiplayer, making classes, picking perks. I think the audiences are there, and we tend to make our game more for ourselves and other people who play a lot of games.

Do you think that they are right and that hardcore games can still attract a large audience?