Open-world action and adventure games are becoming "commonplace" in gaming today in part because that genre represents what is "really great about video games." That's according to Fallout 4 director Todd Howard, who told GameSpot that the type of games the Bethesda Game Studios creates aren't as unique as they once were.
"I think it's starting to become commonplace. It's not as unique, so you're seeing it a lot," Howard said when asked how he sees the open-world adventure game genre evolving in the future. "People are discovering that particular way of playing a game is what is really great about video games."
Howard went on to say that gaming overall has the potential to be more impactful than movies and books because they can virtually transport you basically anywhere.
"Gaming can put you in a place; it can pull off geography," he said. "Movies and books, they can't in that way."
Bethesda, under Howard's direction, has created a number of pioneering and celebrated games in the Elder Scrolls and Fallout franchises. For his contributions to open-world gameplay and development, Howard will receive a lifetime achievement award at March's Game Developers Choice Awards.
Howard also told us that he expects more studios to make open world games in the future, in part because, "more people [have gotten] their tech footing where they can do it."
Further fueling the popularity of big-scale open-world games today is not only new projects from Bethesda, but also the Grand Theft Auto series, Howard said. The latest game in Rockstar's series, Grand Theft Auto V, has shipped an astonishing 60 million copies.
He also praised the contributions that Ubisoft has made to the open-world genre with its own games. He didn't name any specific Ubisoft titles, but Watch Dogs, The Crew, Far Cry 4, and The Division are some examples. For its part, Ubisoft has said it's committed to making more open-world games because "gamers want more freedom."
"Ubisoft does a great job; they do a lot of it," Howard said.
Just recently, Howard revealed that Bethesda Game Studios has three "longer-term" projects in the works, described as a "big and crazy." One of these games is smaller than the other two, but Bethesda has not shared any specifics on any of them.
For more from our conversation with Howard, check out the stories below.
- Fallout 4 director on why Bethesda intentionally held back info before launch
- After big success of Fallout Shelter, Bethesda making more mobile games