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Todd Howard Says Starfield Xbox Console Exclusivity Has Benefited Development

Todd Howard Says Starfield Xbox Console Exclusivity Has Benefited Development - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 01 December 2022 / 5,442 Views

Bethesda Game Studios' game director and executive producer Todd Howard in an interview with the Lex Fridman podcast on YouTube discussed Starfield and how being an Xbox console exclusive has helped with development.

"It is exclusive - Xbox, PC...keep in mind for us that exclusivity is not unique even though we've done PlayStation stuff," said Howard via PureXbox.

"We were traditionally PC developers in the beginning, we transitioned to Xbox, [it] became our lead platform, like Morrowind was basically exclusive to Xbox, Oblivion was exclusive to Xbox for a long period of time...our initial stuff is all Xbox, so we get into development saying we're focused on Xbox, it's not abnormal for us in any way."

Todd Howard Says Starfield Xbox Console Exclusivity Has Benefited the Game

He added, "From a development side, I like the ability to focus...and have help from them - the top engineers at Xbox, to say 'we are going to make this look incredible on the new systems', is like from my standpoint, it's just awesome."

Starfield will launch for the Xbox Series X|S, PC, and Xbox Game Pass in the first half of 2023.


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 and taking over the hardware estimates in 2017. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel. You can contact the author on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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54 Comments
Qwark (on 30 November 2022)

This goes for all exclusives basically. Although in general games like these would sell well enough to hire a dedicated support studio to port the game from platform A to B.

  • +6
Leynos (on 30 November 2022)

No shit. That's every exclusive ever as you only need to worry about the strengths and weakness of one system rather then multiple.

  • +4
smroadkill15 (on 30 November 2022)

Of course it benefits development. Making a game for less systems is easier than more. They aren't saying, "Well Xbox is better suited for our games..." then sure, that's a dumb excuse because we all know the real reason. This isn't the case with this statement.

  • +4
gtotheunit91 (on 30 November 2022)

That's how I've always felt when it came to BGS games tbh. Morrowind was my first ever Bethesda game on my Xbox and that took me away from playing Halo for quite a while. At least until KOTOR. I've always since associated BGS games with PC (where I play now) and the Xbox brand over the years. It wasn't until Skyrim that platform releases were the same across the board, but I've heard from several PlayStation users that their games have always run like crap on PS.

As long as the game turns out better for it. We all know how notoriously buggy BGS games are lol

  • +4
DonFerrari gtotheunit91 (on 30 November 2022)

What I hear most is about Oblivion running like shit on PS3 and that it was never solved, I believe the titles after that although had issues weren't as jarring.

  • +3
Pemalite DonFerrari (on 30 November 2022)

Oblivion and Morrowind weren't flawless experiences on the Xbox hardware anyway.

It was always smarter to buy the PC version.

  • +3
DonFerrari Pemalite (on 01 December 2022)

Thanks, I tried playing Oblivion on PS3 and hated it so I didn't try the franchise after that, if ES6 is good I may try it. With MS being stricter with Bethesda to ensure the game run good that is a good possibility.

  • +1
Johnd gtotheunit91 (on 30 November 2022)

Expect the ps4 versions of all their games run considerably better than xbox. And Bethesda sold the most console games ever on PS4.
Hence why Microsoft took it away.

  • -9
yvanjean (on 30 November 2022)

All of that extra development budget from Microsoft as allowed for this latest delay to improve performance. I can't wait to play this game next year.

From the sound of it; what Todd Howard really saying is going exclusive gave them access to Microsoft's quality control to make a much better experience.

  • +3
Angelv577 (on 30 November 2022)

well they better deliver at least performance wise.

  • +2
Signalstar (on 30 November 2022)

Less competition from Sony's stellar 1st party efforts. Among Xbox exclusives it stands tall.

  • +2
Azzanation (on 30 November 2022)

Lets be real. What else is he going to say? That its terrible and ruins the game?

  • 0
KratosLives Azzanation (on 01 December 2022)

He's always been an xbox fanboy. Remember the hate he had for playstation 3.

  • +2
DonFerrari Azzanation (on 01 December 2022)

As any other employee of any other company unless the person is either nuts or don't care about being employed.

  • 0
Dante9 (on 01 December 2022)

Yeah, really easy to develop for two markedly different specs on Xbox systems.

  • -3
KratosLives (on 01 December 2022)

He needs to stop talking and focus on putting out a quality product.

I wonder how he feels about having to develop for both series s and x. Deep downing he's probably fuming.

  • -3
Random_Matt (on 30 November 2022)

Too bad it looks and runs like garbage, although it is a Bethesda game. The PC mod scene will likely fix the bugs this developer cannot be bothered to fix.

  • -3
shikamaru317 Random_Matt (on 30 November 2022)

At E3 it looked and ran pretty damn good in my eyes, certainly far better than their usual standard. And it will be releasing with nearly 1 year further optimization beyond that.

  • +7
zero129 Random_Matt (on 30 November 2022)

I am happy you got to play it before the rest of us.

  • +5
DonFerrari (on 30 November 2022)

Sure, because any sane employee would say otherwise.

  • -3
Imaginedvl DonFerrari (on 30 November 2022)

And any fan of the opposite brand would say exactly what you just wrote :) I mean, what is your point there?

  • +7
DonFerrari Imaginedvl (on 30 November 2022)

Nope, when a GoW:R person said PS4 didn't hold back at all the title I pointed out that they wouldn't publicly complain about the company. At least if they are sane and want to keep employed.

  • -8
Imaginedvl DonFerrari (on 30 November 2022)

You realize nobody forced/asked to say that. It is the difference here, you think that just because someone from a company says something positive about the company (esp. when it is the brand you dislike very much), it cannot be true by default. Unless you will also pretend that he is getting a bonus or been threatened to get fired for saying or not saying that in an interview?
I mean come on, why do you even pretend not to be biased in all your comments is beyond me...

  • +7
DonFerrari Imaginedvl (on 01 December 2022)

You are reaching a lot. I haven't said he lied or anything. I just said that he wouldn't say otherwise no mater what. Even Azzanation said the same stuff.

  • -3
chakkra DonFerrari (on 30 November 2022)

So.. you don't think that TLOU2, SM, HFW and GoW benefited from being exclusives?

  • 0
DonFerrari chakkra (on 01 December 2022)

I do think. You also seem to have not understood the point at all.

  • -3
chakkra DonFerrari (on 01 December 2022)

Let's see, the guy said that the console exclusivity has benefited development, and then you said that you think that that is true for Sony's exclusives... You're right, I do not understand the point of your first post at all.

  • 0
DonFerrari chakkra (on 02 December 2022)

Nope, what I said is that he wouldn't say otherwise since he works for the company doing it, independent of the company or the truth.

  • 0
pokoko (on 30 November 2022)

If the game can scale with a vast array of hardware configurations on PC then it would work just fine on the PS5 with very little effort.

Political answer is political.

  • -5
DonFerrari pokoko (on 30 November 2022)

"We are focusing in Xbox (already 2 models) and million of PC combinations, but removing 1 system (PS5 that is quite similar to Xbox and PC anyway) will make all the difference" =p

  • -5
Imaginedvl DonFerrari (on 30 November 2022)

It is one dev. kit; who cares about PC and 2 Xbox models... That's a FACT that it is easier to develop with one single dev kit than 2 or more and use the SAME exact API on both PC/Xbox than having to leverage/support more... And the spec differences is already there anyway (Play Station Five or not...) so removing an additional device/target/SDK is surely making things easier. Not matter from what angle you are looking at...

Or are you also going to pretend that's not a real thing too?

  • +4
pokoko Imaginedvl (on 30 November 2022)

So you're saying that Sony buying exclusives is a good thing since it results in higher quality games?

Interesting argument.

  • -2
Imaginedvl pokoko (on 01 December 2022)

Yes "making things easier" for the dev. clearly means whatever you said; you are def. quoting me words for words here.
I mean if this is how you argue about something you must "win" a lot of arguments :)

  • +1
pokoko Imaginedvl (on 01 December 2022)

No, don't slink back into facetiousness. What are you saying, then? The point of the article is that being exclusive has benefited development. Is that NOT what you are arguing? No one actually gives a fuck if it "makes things easier" for the developer, this is about the end result being superior or not. So which one is it?

  • -1
DonFerrari pokoko (on 01 December 2022)

I can bet he was very very very sad that MS bought Bethesda and made their games exclusive as restricting game from one platform is very very very bad or so I heard.

  • -3
Imaginedvl DonFerrari (on 01 December 2022)

lol dude you are making no sense. I mean I get what you are doing everytime you post anything in Xbox article but going from there to what you just posted now based on what I said... Is quite something...

  • +1
Imaginedvl pokoko (on 01 December 2022)

Don't talk in the name of everyone :) I know it makes your "argument" sounds better (because that seem to be super important for you to win an argument over the internet) but I 'give a fuck' and many others playing mainly on Xbox/PC see this as a good thing that Bethesda going to spend more time and resources on the platforms 'we' are using the most (Xbox/PC). How"da fuck" (trying to get to your level here) could you even argue that is beyond me lol

This is simple logic... And nothing in what I said is about how good or bad exclusivity is for the consumer in general. Nothing. You are stretching this out of your ass for some reason ( Like the FerariThingDude). I think that exclusivities, in general, is bad for the players, this is hard to argue lol But pretending that a developer having to spend time and resources on fewer platforms is BAD for the game itself, is ludicrous at best... But you guys keep going, I'm out of this.

  • +1
pokoko Imaginedvl (on 01 December 2022)

Now you're just a hypocrite. lol :) (trying to get on your level here). You see it as a good thing that Starfield is exclusive but you think exclusives are bad for the players. lol :) I'm guessing your answer would change dramatically depending on which system we're talking about. lol :)

And where did I say that being an exclusive was bad for game development? Now you're just lying. lol :)

  • 0
Johnd (on 30 November 2022)

Bulls**t. Hes just towing the company line which is Microsoft. Up until the day Microsoft officially took over he was saying it was coming to playstation. Following day he was coming out with this rhetoric.
When the incredibly rough series s potatoe turd version comes out youll see he was talking through his behind.
Xbots will still be saying wait for the tools, patches, excuses etc.

  • -7
scrapking Johnd (on 30 November 2022)

He didn't deny it was originally also coming to PS, it was. He was saying the game development by focusing on just the Xbox and PC (which have largely harmonized their development tools, these days, even moreso on the Xbox Series consoles than was true on the Xbox One).

I bet most people couldn't tell the difference between the Series S and X versions without a side-by-side comparison, since we're well into the point of diminishing returns.

The "wait for the tools" thing was ultimately proven true. The Series X outperforms the PS5, not always but more often than not, in Digital Foundry testing. it's been like that for about a year now.

  • +4
Johnd scrapking (on 30 November 2022)

In some games by a small %

  • -6
scrapking Johnd (on 30 November 2022)

The "wait for the tools" reference was very early in the generation when the PS5 games were unexpectedly outperforming their Series X equivalents. Microsoft promised updates to the development tools that would solve the issue, comments which many Sony fanboys ridiculed with the "wait for the tools" comments.

The Series X is only marginally more powerful than the PS5, but the games now generally show that relatively small advantage. So Microsoft delivered on the promise. So the "wait for the tools" disses from back then haven't aged well, let alone saying it now.

Since you didn't respond to my other points, I'll take you as ceding them.

  • +2
DonFerrari scrapking (on 01 December 2022)

Sorry but not seeing any difference between S and X is an exaggeration.

  • -2
scrapking DonFerrari (on 01 December 2022)

I didn't say people couldn't see a difference, I said that the average person couldn't see one without a side-by-side comparison. The average person doesn't go to VGC, or watch Digital Foundry. The average person doesn't necessarily even have that impressive a TV (or have it calibrated particularly well). The average person just isn't nearly as picky as we are, in my experience. And we've reached a point of significantly diminishing returns, too.

  • +2
DonFerrari scrapking (on 02 December 2022)

This average person seem quite impaired if he can't see without side by side the difference between 30 to 60fps, 1080p to 2160p, stuttering and other issues. And this average gamer also plays on a 32" 720p from 12ft away, blind of one eye I imagine.

  • -2
scrapking DonFerrari (on 02 December 2022)

Depends on the game. Lots of games are the same frame-rate on each, just at different resolutions. Sometimes the resolutions are fairly similar, just at different levels of detail (for example, 1440p@60 on X and 1080p@60 but at a lower LoD on S). Sometimes it's more obvious, sometimes it's less obvious. But in most cases, if you haven't previously seen either version of the game, and both look pretty good, how would you know which you were seeing?

I would defy anyone who has never seen Forza Horizon 5 before to correctly guess which version they were seeing if the console were hidden, for example, as both X and S versions of the game look absolutely fantastic.

  • +1
DonFerrari scrapking (on 06 December 2022)

So we are moving the goalpost? For some games Series S would even have very close resolution and IQ to the X version.
Of course you can't know for sure where the game is being rendered seeing only a single example (at most you can know if it is good/bad and assume where it would be run, because there is nothing stopping a dev of making a game that is 1080p30fps on Series X for whatever reason or poor optimization).
Forza Horizon is a very poor example, as racing games have had high IQ even during PS360 time.

  • 0
scrapking DonFerrari (on 06 December 2022)

I haven't moved the goalpost, I am conceding that I think I'm right for certain games and that you're right for other games. :)

  • +2
DonFerrari scrapking (on 07 December 2022)

Ok then.

  • +1
rapsuperstar31 (on 30 November 2022)
  • -17