Bethesda’s PR and marketing VP Pete Hines has revealed skepticism in embracing Nintendo’s upcoming console. In MCV’s recent interview, Hines explains that while the company’s ”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”.
Hines believes there’s still much more potential to be explored in the current generation before Bethesda begins developing for new tech.
“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”.
Hines continues, explaining that its the changes during Wii U’s development cycle that will make it difficult to anticipate exactly what the company can expect to deal with.
“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.”
He also fears that, upon Wii U’s release, the split in “current-gen” and “next-gen” will complicate matters. Being the first console of the next generation, the Wii U will be the most powerful machine at least for a little while, but PS3 and 360 will still likely be going strong.
“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.”
This seems unusual for Bethesda, an otherwise ambitious company with their gigantic and overwhelmingly vast games such as Skyrim and Fallout 3. It surely can’t be hard to create an Elder Scrolls game with touch-support and map display on the Gamepad. Still, one can appreciate their honesty and choosing not to hide behind insulting the machine as some companies might.
I can only hope that fear of the Wii U’s new capabilities doesn’t become a common trend amongst publishers, as Nintendo needs all the third-party help it can get if it wants to recreate its former success. A lot has changed since 2007 – many are now put off completely by anything vaguely motion control-related, the iOS market is a new threat and Microsoft are dominating in current-gen sales.