Bethesda Softworks - Inteview @ CVG
CVG interviews Bethesda's Pete Hines to talk about the Elder Scrolls Online subscription model, and other games in the development.
Why do you think other publishers consider it a risk to ship without multiplayer?
I have no idea. On this side of the fence in the gaming industry, I've never worked anywhere but Bethesda, so I can't really speak of what happens at other publisher developers. I suppose it's because they think it makes a game more appealing to a wider audience, that it's got replayability or additional features which will make you want to buy the game more. That would be my assumption.
Elder Scrolls is probably your flagship series at Bethesda. Star Wars: The Old Republic didn't work with a subscription model and that's one of the biggest entertainment brands in the world. Is there any anxiety about this model not working?
Anxiety? I would say yes, because I'm anxious about everything all the time [laughs]. I don't get paid to sit around and assume that everything is fine, so I tend to worry about everything and I want to make sure that we're doing things in the right way for the right reasons. But I guess, to answer your question, I don't know whether or not previous games that have done subscriptions haven't succeeded because they were subscription-based, or because of the game that they were and the value that the customer got, and that's ultimately what we're talking about.
If you feel like you're getting your money's worth for whatever you're paying - whether it be $15 for a month or $2 for a DLC - then you're going to be happy. If you're not, then you won't. You could do a free-to-play game where somebody wasn't happy, because maybe they don't feel like they're getting value for the money that they played upfront, even if it's not a pay-by-month subscription. We felt like the subscription model fit best what we wanted to do, not because we want you to pay per month to play the game, but because we want to provide real and meaningful content support on a regular basis.
Does Bethesda have any more announcements this year?
It remains to be seen. Is that coy enough? I think it's rare that we let a year go by that we're not talking about something, but you know, we've got a number of studios at work on a number of things: Battlecry, which we started up a year-and-a-half ago is working on a free-to-play thing we haven't talked about. Arkane and id [are working on projects], and even among folks that we do have announced titles for, there's lots going on. We'll just have to wait and see.