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

Thursday, 1st 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.



  1. Erthazus

    And thats what i don’t like about console RPG’s.

    these days they are not deep enough and not interesting at all.

    When i saw Arcania: Gothic Tale as a console version i saw just a MEH version of Gothic game, while Witcher was deep, interesting, mature and looked like an RPG.

    So much RPG games died because of consoles. TES series almost died, Fallout series almost died. Gothic series died. Even Risen was consolised.
    Mass Effect just another slap to the RPG genre and even Dragon Age is just not the same as it was before.

    From all RPG’s i’m looking only forward to Witcher 2. Only one RPG this generation. Crazy.

    RPG game must be: Easy to learn, hard to master (c) Blizzard

    #1 5 years ago
  2. fdelfino

    Headshots in Fallout 3 are the coolest thing…

    #2 5 years ago
  3. Dralen

    Demon’s Souls is pretty deep. Pretty fucking hard too.

    PS. There is no sexual reference going on in the above comment…I swear.

    #3 5 years ago
  4. Erthazus

    @3 Demon’s Souls is fucking amazing and i agree. + it’s deep enough and hard enough.

    But it’s more hack and slash. I’m talking about games with dialogs that are very important in RPG games.

    #4 5 years ago
  5. YoungZer0

    @1: Blizzard said that? Weird. They never made a real RPG.

    #5 5 years ago
  6. Phoenixblight

    They never aimed that at RPGs. Erthazus just used to it to prove his opinion. All rpgs are easy to master even the harder ones so not sure what the hell he is talking about. Farming plants and materials to make a special alchemy brew to give you an edge in the Witcher is not hard at all. Witcher while being expansive was not difficult or that in depth, it was very much similar to DAO in its depth.

    #6 5 years ago
  7. loki

    Howard you absolutely wrong

    #7 5 years ago
  8. Kalain

    In all honesty, I do think that consoles have removed the depth from rpgs. I do miss the days of baldurs gate and planescape. The depth of those rpgs have yet to be beatn or even equalled.

    #8 5 years ago
  9. ethomaz

    Demon’s Souls say hi!!!

    #9 5 years ago
  10. Freek

    Consoles haven’t changed anything. The audiance in general has changed and games changed with them.

    Because geuse what: the PC is still around and people still make exclusives for it.

    The reason you don’t get old school RPGs is the same for any dead genre: it doesn’t sell anymore. Gamers taste has changed and no amount of “console blaming” is going to help that.

    #10 5 years ago
  11. Erthazus

    @10 I agree about mass market, but there was always mass market.
    I remember when Sony didn’t touched PC market much, there were a lot of Hardcore RPG games on PC and Sony and Nintendo continued to innovate in it’s own market.
    Lately when Microsoft started to push it’s Xbox 360 with PC kind of games, Sony started to chase them and PC started to lose it’s support.

    Lets be honest, PC gaming had much more support than now. I had a lot of choices back then, but now i have only Witcher 2.

    #11 5 years ago
  12. Dralen

    Well there sure isn’t enough of them. I want more!!!!

    #12 5 years ago
  13. DaMan

    what Freek said. consoles have nothing to do with it, the market has changed, the mass market has increased. gaming isn’t just a niche hobby it once was, hence companies make games that appeal to universal tastes more than ever.

    even if PC games wouldn’t come to consoles, Bethesda would still ‘ve turned TES into what Oblivion was. why lose money? they aren’t a free theatre, and they aren’t indies.

    #13 5 years ago
  14. Gheritt White

    I have fond memories of playing super-hardcore RPGs… but in truth, I simply wouldn’t have the time to get engrossed in them nowadays like I did way back when.

    #14 5 years ago
  15. hitnrun

    @10: You’re almost right.

    There’s a plenty big market for hardcore RPGs. Problem is, there’s an even bigger proven market for a dumbed down and mainstream console RPGs.

    The question is, why would a company chose to spend roughly the same amount of money making a game for a smaller proven audience when they could make another talking-head console RPG with a blocky interface and reach an audience several times bigger?

    This effect of simplifying for the mass market goes far beyond RPGs. Tactical shooters have a large enthusiast market, but publishers discovered almost a decade ago that with virtually the same effort, they can produce an arcadey shooter with 5 times the sales potential.

    #15 5 years ago
  16. DaMan

    maybe if all those whiny gamers wouldn’t ask for graphical updates all the time, companies could afford spending more time on something like depth. developing is one thing, playing is another.

    #16 5 years ago
  17. Erthazus

    @16 Mr. Youtube Expert enraged? Didn’t you see Witcher 2? It have maybe the best graphics in RPG games including Direct X11 support.

    and it’s a Hardcore RPG PC game. If developers have talent, they can do both stuff at the same time.

    and no one is asking for RPG game to be at a Crysis level.

    #17 5 years ago
  18. Phoenixblight

    Again Witcher was not “Hardcore” it was simple compared to the 90′s RPGs. And to say Witcher 2 will be hardcore is a bit moronic because: 1) No info out on it
    2) You’re speculating.

    #18 5 years ago
  19. Happy Hardon Harry

    Indeed, the console versions of Mass Effect and Dragon Age: Origins are piss-poor due to the interface implemented in each of these games.

    The PC versions are different class due to the M&K interface and the games are better because of it.

    #19 5 years ago
  20. DaMan

    the irony is crazy.

    erthazus, you’re a moron and a nutcase . ‘enraged’ lol? I was being sarcastic, and wasn’t referencing your pathetic littlle ass, then again now that you’ve popped up yes you’re a whiny little bitch as well, heh.

    #20 5 years ago
  21. DaMan

    also, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    #21 5 years ago
  22. Erthazus

    @18 It was first of all Great RPG game with great quests and great story, with not so good battle system.

    I have faith at the CD Projekt that made Witcher and it looks great + there are a LOT of info about this game. A LOT.

    @20 This is the best level of your joke calling others: “Moron, nutcase and whiny little bitch.”
    you need to be more creative than that Mr typical Youtube Expert. You need some sleep and a cup of coffee. :D

    @21 Of course not, because you are a typical Youtube expert that know something. :D Haha :d nailed

    #22 5 years ago
  23. DaMan

    internet vendetta! you would be quite surprised if you knew whom you call ‘toilet washers’ and ‘mr youtube experts’, sonny boy. whatever though.

    I know a good rpg for you: it’s called ‘outside’. consider that.

    #23 5 years ago
  24. Phoenixblight

    Where is this info you speak of because there none on IGN, Gamespot besides the obvious.

    #24 5 years ago
  25. DaMan

    it’s in his head, same as his internet friends and enemies.

    #25 5 years ago
  26. Erthazus

    @24 There are at least two video diaries and one leaked gameplay footage for it.

    @23 Thats it? You are done Mr youtube expert?
    So you can surprise me with few youtube links? :D

    #26 5 years ago
  27. DaMan


    I ‘m wondering if you have a down syndrome or just actually under the age of 16. in the latter case I apologize.

    #27 5 years ago
  28. Erthazus

    @25 MR Youtube Expert, WRONG!

    @Phoenixblight, here you go:

    also there are two dev diaries with gameplay footage, but they are old. But you can find them in youtube. There are lots of stuff with Witcher 2.

    #28 5 years ago
  29. Phoenixblight


    Seen them both it doesn’t show much difference as far mechanics as the original. Graphic are a little upgraded other than that nada.

    #29 5 years ago
  30. LordCancer

    “consolised” is the kinda term that jilted thief’s use when pc developers stop making games for them to pirate. pc users are cry babies. they think they deserve to play games for free cause they spent $500 on a graphic card. If all you really want is to make love with stats join a math club, seriously.

    morrowind was perfectly fine on xbox, it sold well. the xbox 360 didn’t ruin tes, todd howard and his cronies did. stop blaming console and blame the developer who made a shit game or the lame ass journalist who never criticize anything and give all games from publisher with a marketing budget perfect scores.

    Developers don’t actually have to improve anything if journalist can’t be critical of games or if the customer can’t make valid complaints on a forum without being run off by lamer’s.

    If anything the forum users bitching about morrowind and incompetent todd ruined oblivion. The only thing been consolised is your tiny little dicked fucking brains (todd).

    Maybe if we all invest in our luck stats good rpgs will rain from the sky. Maybe todd will finally shut his fucking mouth. Maybe pc users will someday put there money where there mouth is and buy games instead of pirating them so risen doesn’t have to be “consolised”.

    #30 5 years ago
  31. DaMan

    hillarious. more please, erthazus.

    #31 5 years ago
  32. Erthazus

    @29 They improved the battle system, Graphics are improved and maybe the best among RPG games. What i saw was jaw dropping. Great story, no more stupid quests like: “Go there and bring me something”
    There are a lot of improvements. A LOT.

    @27, Mr youtube expert if you don’t have nothing to say on topic. Get out or read maybe will feel a little bit better after that ;)

    @30 Except that Morrowind was already consolised RPG game ;) it’s still was great, but the last game i enjoyed from Bethesda really.

    #32 5 years ago
  33. DaMan

    ‘no u’. I wonder, if you believe what I’m saying is irrelevant, why keep referencing my posts with that ‘@’ thingy?

    also, I’m deeply saddened if I was wrong about your age.

    #33 5 years ago
  34. LOLshock94

    fallout 3 is pretty easy on hard but mass effect 2 and 1 on hard are impossible

    #34 5 years ago

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