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Bethesda's Todd Howard Would Like to See More 'Reactivity' in Open Game Worlds

Bethesda's Todd Howard Would Like to See More 'Reactivity' in Open Game Worlds - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 04 January 2021 / 2,770 Views

Bethesda Game Studios’ Todd Howard, who is currently focused on Starfield, in an interview with The Guardian said he sees the next five to 10 years in the gaming industry to be more about access with faster loading times. 

"Let’s just cast forward to the next five to 10 years of gaming - for me, it’s more about access than clock cycles," said Howard. "Just the time it takes to even turn [a console] on and load up some of these games is a barrier – it’s time that you’re not enjoying being in that world.

"The kind of games we make are ones that people are going to sit down and play for hours at a time. If you can access a game more easily, and no matter what device you’re on or where you are, that’s what I think the next five to 10 years in gaming is about.

Bethesda's Todd Howard Would Like to See More Reactivity in Game Worlds

Howard would also like to see more "reactivity" in gaming worlds than just larger worlds that don't add anything new. He is arguing for quality over quantity. 

"I’d like to see more reactivity [in game worlds], more systems clashing together that players can express themselves with. I think chasing scale for scale’s sake is not always the best goal."

Bethesda's parent company, ZeniMax, is in the middle of being acquired by Microsoft. The deal is expected to close in 2021.


A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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15 Comments
Fight-the-Streets (on 02 December 2020)

Honestly speaking, a real innovation would be if an Open World game has no, zero, side-quests. There's only the main story but it is so twisted, complex and deep that there's enough variety. Everything you do will be meaningful!

  • +5
Chazore (on 02 December 2020)

I don't think Todd is the right kind of guy to be giving a short speech on reactivity in open game worlds. The vast majority of his games have very little reactivity to them, outside of very obvious flags the player can trigger from certain quests or making a certain action, but those are all very linier and basic, while also not being anything new or revolutionary.

I'd love for open game worlds to actually be filled with 100% legit meaningful and decent content. No checkpoint towers, no "oh I lost my dog, can you find it for me while I sit here like a dead machine until you come back" kind of content, which permeates the vast majority of open world titles. Put stuff into the game that actually has more meaning to what you're asking the player to do or think of what they would like as a reaction.

  • +5
Zkuq (on 02 December 2020)

That's kind of what I was hoping for with Skyrim thanks to some of the things I read before the game was released. My expectations weren't all that high, but I don't think my expectations were met anyway. It's still a great game, but kind of feels like a missed opportunity as well.

  • +5
KratosLives (on 03 December 2020)

How about you focus on a new engine todd.

  • +4
Chazore (on 02 December 2020)

Why the hell would Gaming Wizz be downvoted for speaking an obvious and legit truth?.

I like me some Bethesda games, but holy hell are they buggy titles that need extensive modding to actually run right and look decent, even years later. Either fanboys are downvoting him or people just enjoy half baked crap.

I love Skyrim, still play it to this very day, but yeah...with mods, because they are pretty much needed to keep it looking/running decent...because Todd kinda forgot to patch out a good chunk of bugs, that modders have fixed via the unofficial patch (again which Fallout 4 has and is urged so heavily by the modding community). Switch version remains 2011 basic and I still run into bugs on that version, so CGW is absolutely telling it exactly like it is.

If there's one thing I get annoyed at, it's people looking the other way or defending buggy crap. Like be real people, you want good games, you want devs to do better, own up to it and hold to it. Don't defend for less.

  • +3
Cerebralbore101 Chazore (on 03 December 2020)

Welcome to the news section of vgchartz. Xbox fans downvote anything negative towards their precious console. MS now owns Bethesda. Hence the downvotes.

  • +3
Chazore Chazore (on 04 December 2020)

It just seems so very daft, because what he said was absolutely fact, not an opinion, lol. Beth are widely known for setting their dream bars high, but always coming out with broken dreams and cobbled together titles.

  • +3
Liquid_faction (on 03 December 2020)

When he says "Reactivity," he means radiation. Fallout 76 remaster confirmed.

  • +1
TheTitaniumNub (on 03 December 2020)

Bullcrap that gamingwizzz is getting downvoted. he's obviously right, take your fanboy glasses off....

  • +1
Dahum (on 02 December 2020)

I don’t like how almost every AAA game nowadays is automatically a massive open world. And whenever i hear a developer or a studio says they are going BIGGER i cringe honestly! I love some open world games but the formula is becoming a bit repetitive and the worlds just keep getting bigger and bigger without any real meaning to the size. I get lost now and get bored from just running around like i’m in a simulator.

Would love a combination between linear world games with medium size ones like recent Tomb Raider games with vast ones that have so much variety and high replay value.

  • +1
Manlytears (on 02 December 2020)

Leaving a bit of the Reactivity world issue and addressing another TES problem...

The combat gameplay proposal they use fits well with Fallout, but when we go to TES (especially melee combat) ... the thing is just bad.
Playing TES with bow and arrows and other forms of ranged combat (throwing weapon mod is good, lots of potential here, hope to see throwing weapons in the future) is a ok experience, small improvements (maybe more investment in some skills for a more diverse and fun ranged combat? ) would be welcome, the base of the ranged combat is good, but the melee combat ... is garbage.
I sincerely hope that they will pay close attention when developing a new melee combat gameplay for future TES. The current gameplay was not good 10 years ago and is absolutely unsustainable on today standards.

  • +1
GoldenHand80 (on 03 December 2020)

They should make Fallout 77

  • 0
Dante9 (on 03 December 2020)

I think he will find the loading time issue greatly mitigated by the new gen that is upon us. Have to agree with the other point he made. Don't make huge, empty worlds with lackluster quests and collectibles that feel like a chore, but rather smaller ones with better design, reactivity and meaningful stuff to do.

  • 0
sales2099 (on 02 December 2020)

Guess Xbox 1st party gonna see some of that soon enough

  • -1
ClassicGamingWizzz (on 02 December 2020)
  • -5