Last month's gameplay reveal of Fallout 76 was one of the biggest stories to come of E3. But not entirely for positive reasons. The multiplayer centric spin off of the popular franchise will include many recognizable traits of the burgeoning Games-As-Service. Leaving some fans to express concern over Bethesda Softworks' future in single player games.
In an interview with GameIndustry.Biz, Todd Howard (Bethesda Game Studios Director and Executive Producer) emphasized Fallout 76 as just one of many ideas the developer will continue to peruse.
"Anyone who has ever said 'this is the future and this part of gaming is dead' has been proven wrong every single time. We like to try it all. For a long time we wanted to try a multiplayer game and we had this idea. We shouldn't be afraid. We should try it."
Though Bethesda has primarily focused on single player experiences, 2014's The Elder Scrolls Online remains one of their marquee titles. Receiving a plethora of additional content and sizeable updates over the past four years, with last spring's Summerset being the most recent expansion.
In similar fashion, Bethesda has utilized their two most famous franchises to gain a foothold in the mobile market. 2015's Fallout Shelter and 2017's The Elder Scrolls: Legends topped the digital charts upon release and received modest to favorable reviews due to their limited use of microtransactions. A philosophy Howard intends to bring to future projects.
I was forced to meet with a lot of 'monetisation experts' during Fallout Shelter that didn't work for us. I said 'that's nice' and then it came out and the first week it was above Candy Crush with a very light touch... We did learn a lot though."
"How do we keep somebody who's playing the game a lot? How do we give them value beyond 'here's a timer, give us some money'?"
Bethesda's latest development into the mobile space, The Elder Scrolls: Blades, was announced during their E3 presentation in June. Unlike their previous efforts, Blades follows the more traditional format of the Elder Scrolls franchise. Featuring first person dungeon exploration and combat preformed entirely through touch controls. It too will feature online multiplayer.
"... Blades, there's nothing else like it, but I view that as a positive to whatever market it's in."
Though Howard notably doesn't discuss The Elder Scrolls VI and Starfield, both have already been confirmed to be single player games. With tentative next generation release dates, it will likely be a couple years before further details are revealed. But this does prove Bethesda's commitment to the future of single player, online, and mobile games.