Fallout’s Howard: Console RPGs must be “easier to learn and easier to play”

Thursday, 1 July 2010 18:57 GMT By Stephany Nunneley


In a chat on console RPG development between Irrational legend Ken Levine and Bethesda’s Todd Howard, the Fallout 3 boss has said console players want RPG experiences that are just as deep as their PC counterparts, but developers “need to ease them in a bit more.”

Levine, however, said console gamers just “don’t have the patience to wade through the introduction of systems.”

The developers’ comments came in the inaugural episode of a new Irrational Interviews feature – in which studio boss Levine and 1UP journalist turned Irrational staffer Shawn Elliot interview senior industry figures.

“[Levine and I] had talked about how we were going to translate [the core RPG] experience to the console audience,” Howard said.

“We had lots of conversations on how we were doing that, and at the end of the day it was, ‘Look, we can have all that stuff in the game but we just have to make it easier to learn and easier to play.’ Ultimately it makes the game better for everybody.

“You go into a PC game that has all those kinds of constructs, and there’s this assumption when you’re making those games that, ‘This PC player by his nature is really hardcore and I really don’t have to explain all this stuff,’ whereas when you go to the console world, you need to ease them in a bit more.

“But once they’re into the game, the console guys want just as deep of an experience as the PC guys.”

Levine added that console gamers just “don’t have the patience to wade through the introduction of systems,” and how the battle sequence introduction to Oblivion was the perfect example of how to get console gamers used to the controls – instead of a more text-based tutorial, like in System Shock.

The podcast is a little over 43 minutes long, but it’s well worth the listen. We couldn’t stop, actually. Fascinating stuff from legendary folks.

Howard’s latest game was Fallout 3, and there’s been no word on another Elder Scrolls title, despite rumors to the contrary.