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Bethesda: Next-Gen Development Will "Come At A Price"

Jonathan Lester
Bethesda, Next Generation, Next-gen

Bethesda: Next-Gen Development Will "Come At A Price"

Wary Of Wii U "Risk"

Bethesda seem to be taking a rather standoffish approach to the Wii U at present, with the publisher unconvinced that Nintendo's console is a good "fit" for their games. Unlike many graphics-obsessed developers, they also don't feel that the current generation isn't "holding back" development - and that developing for an entirely new generation will "come at a price."

"Our approach has been to put our games out on all of the platforms that will support them," Bethesda marketing guru Pete Hines told MVC magazine [via Videogamer]. "So far the Wii hasn't fitted into that. Whether Wii U does down the road is TBD."

It's not just the Wii U that Bethesda are slightly wary about: it's the next console generation in general. In a far cry (heh) from the likes of Crytek and Ubisoft, Hines suggests that Bethesda are taking a much more measured approach to new hardware.

“I don’t think the current generation of consoles are holding us back," Hines continued. "There is still plenty that we are able to do visually, technically and from a story-telling standpoint. And there’s this huge built-in audience now”.

As far as developing for new consoles goes, Hines suggested that "developers are trying to hit a moving technical target, because the platforms are being built. A new console doesn’t just show up a year before launch and is exactly what it will be when it comes out. It moves and iterates along the way, and introducing something like that to games that are in development is always a bit tricky. And that is obviously an element of risk.”

Hines also believes that the next console generation will fracture install bases, leading to potentially low sales for a while.

"The second point is that your install base always starts at zero," he elaborated. "Then it comes out and suddenly a certain number of people buy it but it won’t be the same number as the current gen. So you have divided your audience."

“It’s then a case of: Are we just making it for the next gen? Or next gen and current gen? And how many people from the current gen that I’m targeting have moved over to the next gen? It does complicate things a little bit. Obviously the changes they are going to make technologically, in terms of the things we will be able to do, are exciting. But it comes at a price."

The thought of Elder Scrolls and Fallout games on next-gen hardware is enough to make your mouth water, but it's clear that Bethesda believe that there's life in this generation yet. With Arkane's Dishonored set for an October release and Prey 2 potentially (fingers crossed) launching next year, Bethesda are at least willing to give it a proper sendoff.

Add a comment 1 comment
DivideByZero  Sep. 7, 2012 at 18:48

It will come at a price, you need to learn loads of new stuff and develop new things rather than just stick out games on the same engine over and over.

But that price has a counter argument, with the next gen you will generate a whole load of new interest and excitement. People talk a lot more about games on new systems as they are few and far between at first. Nowadays the only games that people talk about are the amazing ones, leaving the middle ground games to fall by the wayside.

Then again, graphics wise, RAGE was amazing thanks to Id tech 5... If the next Fallout comes out on that it will be amazing.

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