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Bethesda boss happy to be the “Pixar of video games”

Thursday, 15th August 2013 02:25 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Bethesda-published games may be very different in terms of genre and style, but PR and marketing vice president Pete Hines feels they’ve all got one important thing in common that clearly shows their origins.

Speaking to Polygon, Hines reiterated earlier messaging that the publisher is in no hurry to release squillions of games each year. He noted that although Bethesda is best known – as a developer – for first-person RPGs, its publishing catalogue is quite diverse.

“We don’t want to be defined by a genre. The Elder Scrolls is the crown jewel and probably always will be, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t continue to evolve and grow in other areas with games that share common sensibilities. We’re very proud to be a company that does single-player when a lot of other folks won’t,” he said.

“We just want to be known for continuing to innovate, for focusing on a few key titles that are done really well, at a really high level from quality, and then go and do another one.”

The company aims for every title to have something in common, though – a common quality level or “premium feel” that marks it as “a Bethesda game”. Hines compared this to Pixar movies, which are very different but easily identified.

“Wanting to be the Pixar of video games is not a bad thing,” he said.

“Like, ‘Well, you made [Finding Nemo], and you made Wall-E, and those things are nothing alike.’ But at the same time, they’re still forms of entertainment that share some commonalities in terms of level of execution, story, characters and the kinds of things they do, like, ‘Yes, I love both of those things even though they’re very different, and it doesn’t feel weird that a movie about a robot set on an abandoned Earth came from the same studio that made a movie about fish under the ocean.’

“It’s just how those things were executed and told that made them both Pixar things. You look at both of them and say, ‘That’s a Pixar movie.’ I would like for people, long term, to think of Bethesda like that. When you play a Bethesda game, there’s just something about it that makes you feel like that’s a Bethesda game.”

Bethesda’s other aim it commercial success. Critical success is not enough, Hines warned.

“I don’t want to be Realms of the Haunting, which is one of my favorite games of all time that nobody’s played. Such a great game, but not nearly enough people played it,” he said.

“I don’t want to do that. The reason that Dishonored was a success wasn’t because it was a great game, it was a success because it was a great game that a lot of people played.

“There’s a big difference there. If you make something awesome and nobody plays it, what were the last three years about? How do you face those guys at Arkane and say, ‘Sorry you just poured four years of your life into it and I couldn’t get anyone to buy it.’ That’s not a conversation I want to have.”

Bethesda’s upcoming slate includes Wolfenstein: The New Order and The Evil Within, both of which will appear on next-gen consoles early in their lifecycles. Hines sees this as an opportunity for Bethesda to make those titles stick in the mind for years to come.

“[Wolfenstein: The New Order] is still able to take advantage of that opportunity, and potentially dig in that foothold – same for Evil Within – with this new generation, and to be one of those year one launch titles that we all remember. We’d definitely like to establish Wolfenstein in this new iteration and The Evil Within as hallmark things,” he said.

The full articvle on Polygon, available through the link above, contains much lengthier discussion of how Hines sees Bethesda as a company, how it chooses its partners, the new free-to-play and MMO movements, and his plans for the future.

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13 Comments

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  1. DSB

    Wow, that is so awkward!

    Seriously, Bethesda couldn’t write a character to save their lives.

    Someone’s been drinking the kool aid, and the kool aid gone bad.

    #1 11 months ago
  2. YoungZer0

    I don’t think Pixar ever tried to fuck over a developer in order to buy them at a cheap price.

    What happened to Prey 2, asshole?!

    #2 11 months ago
  3. Cobra951

    No Pixar movie ever froze mid-animation and forced me to start watching it again from the beginning.

    #3 11 months ago
  4. redwood

    if there IS a pixar of gaming it’s not bethesda..In my book naughty dog and people like irrational are better contenders.

    #4 11 months ago
  5. GwynbleiddiuM

    This fragging hilarious. If Blizzard said that one could understand because they at least make unrivaled cinematics. Bethesda’s boss is totally drunk.

    #5 11 months ago
  6. KineticCalvaria

    @4, definitely has to be ND or Irrational, much better characters.

    #6 11 months ago
  7. Joe Musashi

    If there’s a Pixar of videogames then I’d say it’s Nintendo.

    To be fair to Pete Hines, he’s talking about the comapny’s aspirations. But the headline suggests he considers Bethesda to already be the Pixar of videogames.

    JM

    #7 11 months ago
  8. Dave Cook

    @7 Definitely Nintendo.

    #8 11 months ago
  9. DrDamn

    He’s taking about a commonality in execution but diversity in content. So in the respect that Bethesda games tend to be marked by being a buggy mess with poor animation then yes there is a commonality in execution :)

    Agree with JM and Dave – in terms of consistent quality and commonality in I’d say Nintendo.

    #9 11 months ago
  10. KineticCalvaria

    @8, nah, Nintendo are the Uwe Boll of the industry. :)

    I jest. :D

    #10 11 months ago
  11. The_Red

    If Pixar had made a sequel to Warner’s Oscar winning “What’s Opera, Doc!” as a first person rabbit hunting simulation, then sure, Bethesda is just like Pixar.

    #11 11 months ago
  12. YoungZer0

    @7: If Pixar would only release sequel after sequel then yes, I’d say it’s comparable to Nintendo.

    #12 11 months ago
  13. sebastien rivas

    I agree that Bethesday was great years ago and then well tried to please mass audience which in terms their titles suffered in uniquess one way or another.

    All this to say I would prefer to see Bethesday make a Realms of the Haunting than a game so loose across audiences that the game suffers.

    That would be called dedicated, originality, creativity, visual and gameplay achievement.

    For all I know the authors of Realms of the Haunting did not know how to publish/market their product.

    By the way, while Toy Story sequels transported me, others were very cool to watch but nothing more.

    #13 11 months ago