Bethesda Is Unsure About Wii U, Next-Gen

September 9, 2012

Unlike most other game publishers and developers, Bethesda aren’t sure that they want any part of this whole ‘next-gen’ thing. Speaking to, Bethesda’s PR and marketing VP Pete Hines explained the company’s perspective. He said:

I don’t think the current generation of consoles are holding us back. There is still plenty that we are able to do visually, technically and from a story-telling standpoint. And there’s this huge built-in audience now.

Our approach has been to put our games out on all of the platforms that will support them. So far the Wii hasn’t fitted into that. Whether Wii U does down the road is TBD.

Hines thinks that a new generation of consoles can introduce a lot of new problems, rather than simply give developers more options:

For me the problems with new consoles are two-fold. The developers are trying to hit a moving technical target, because the platforms are being built. A new console doesn’t just show up a year before launch and is exactly what it will be when it comes out. It moves and iterates along the way. And introducing something like that to games that are in development is always a bit tricky. And that is obviously an element of risk.

The other issue with a new console, of course, is that it starts out with absolutely no install base. Who wants to pour money into a project for a console that very few people will own? He continued:

The second point is that your install base always starts at zero. Then it comes out and suddenly a certain number of people buy it but it won’t be the same number as the current gen. So you have divided your audience.

It’s then a case of: Are we just making it for the next gen? Or next gen and current gen? And how many people from the current gen that I’m targeting have moved over to the next gen? It does complicate things a little bit. Obviously the changes they are going to make technologically, in terms of the things we will be able to do, are exciting. But it comes at a price.

Will that price prove to be too high for Bethesda? They’ll surely have to move onto the next round of consoles eventually (unless they suddenly decide to go PC exclusive), but it seems that it’ll take more than promises and expectations to make it happen.