ZeniMax discusses studio's future and Fallout's E3 absence

Fallout fans may have been disappointed that developer Bethesda didn't reveal a new installment in the series at E3, but vice president of parent company ZeniMax, Pete Hines told Polygon that expecting a major announcement at this early stage is unrealistic.

Hines said that even though Todd Howard's Bethesda Game Studios — the studio responsible for developing the Fallout series — revealed that it is already moving on to its next project, it's not going to "say or hint" at all at what they are doing and that "making assumptions" about the unannounced title is a "bad idea."

"I mean [fans] have been clammering for a Fallout game for a long time now. What people need to understand — whether it is Bethesda Game Studios, Arkane or anybody — expecting information like that in any short period of time after they moved off one project to the other is really unrealistic," Hines said. "We are not into annual franchises — just trying to spin out a version of our game year, after year, after year — like, we have never done that, I don't see that it is something that we are doing anytime soon. But that doesn't mean that we are going to take our time and wait six or seven years in between a game that a studio puts out. But these are big games that take a long time and folks need to understand that we have a very certain way of going about things."

"Expecting information like that in any short period of time after they moved off one project to the other is really unrealistic."

According to Hines, what ZeniMax generally does is give a game development studio lots of time to flesh out what it is they want to create and wait until they are ready to say "OK, we are ready to talk about what we are doing." Hines said that he has no set time frame to talk about "whatever Bethesda Game Studios what is doing next," saying "Todd will let me know when he is ready and I will tell everyone else what he is up to."

In February, Bethesda announced that it was going to make "considerably more noise" in 2013 as a publisher. Hines explained that the push began with the announcement of Elder Scrolls Online not just being released for the Windows PC and Mac, but that it was also coming to next-generation consoles. It was a major announcement for Bethesda and the game, which is "undoubtably" Bethesda's biggest brand. "So to be able to bring that to an even wider audience or console audience where we did so with Skyrim, it is a pretty big deal for us," Hines said. He went on to say that it was nice to be able to start talking about some of the other studios that ZeniMax has been working with and show what they are up to.

"You know, we are very pleased that we were able to announce and start talking about titles from two of the studios that we had acquired and had been with working for a couple of years now on and the games they are working on for this gen and as we'll as for next-gen because, you know, up until a while ago we had Dishonored and we had been talking about Elder Scrolls Online and not a whole lot else."

ZeniMax's perceived pattern of doing original IP, then switching to franchises and now seemingly shifting back with unique titles has been pretty consistent with what the company is trying to do, according to Hines.

"So whether it was working on new IP or working with developers — Fallout: New Vegas was maybe something we have never really tried before, which was to do something in a franchise that is a bit of an offshoot with a different studio and see how that works," he said, saying its ultimate goal continues to be the same, which is it wants to work on stuff that excites its developers, with people "who have been in this industry for a while and are known for doing cool innovative things."

"So, I think you saw that with Arkane and Dishonored obviously and everything that Todd Howard taught us with game studios," he said. "Todd Howard's studio kind of fits that mold where they constantly sort of reboot from scratch and build something new all of over again."

He said that when Evil Within's game director Shinji Mikami told Bethesda that he wanted to a survival horror game, the company agreed to it even though the genre is not something Bethesda is known for.

"The thing that we are most excited about is that they are much more similar to each other than maybe they have been in previous generations."

"But we like immersion, we think that doing something is really really well, even if it just benefits single player only or whatever, we are willing to make the those games like a Dishonored, like an Evil Within, even though it is not what everyone else is doing," he said. "So I think in that respect, I think our sort of approach, our philosophy has been pretty consistent even if the way we do go about it has changed and evolved over time. And I think that we'll continue to."

With recent announcements and controversies of Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4, ZeniMax will continue to make all of the games that it had announced for both pieces of hardware and holds the belief that both are good consoles.

"The thing that we are most excited about is that they are much more similar to each other than maybe they have been in previous generations," Hines explained. "They aren't final yet, but hopefully when they are, we'll see that when we are developing for one, we'll see that they aren't that very different from the other. And therefore more efficient to make a game for both and not have to worry so much about how is this is going to work on this and how does this work this."

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