Why Bethesda has turned down Fallout movie offers

Creative director Todd Howard says he's yet to see a pitch that convinced him it would be a good idea.

GameSpot staff
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GameSpot staff
3 min read

Fallout publisher Bethesda has been approached multiple times for a movie based on the post-apocalyptic series, and the company has even taken meetings to discuss the idea, but so far nothing has lined up. Bethesda's Todd Howard says in a new interview with GI.biz that, in fact, a Fallout movie deal could affect the overall "identity" of the game series.

"We've had a couple of in-roads, particularly with Fallout, which is a bit stickier than Elder Scrolls, but everybody's kind of asked and I've taken a number of meetings over the years and nothing quite clicked where I felt, 'Oh, that would be as good as the game,'" he explained. "And that may happen. I don't rule it out, but nothing really has clicked where -- the games are popular enough and that's their identity."

Had there been a Fallout movie already, it might have made you feel differently about the overall Fallout brand when Fallout 4 was announced last summer. This could have affected the game -- and possibly not in a good way, Howard said.

Bethesda Softworks

"And one of them [game or movie] wouldn't be quite right and you wouldn't want that to be the game, where the movie takes it in another direction," Howard explained.

If a Fallout movie does happen -- and Howard is not ruling that out -- fans may be happy to learn that Howard said Bethesda would bring its trademark attention to detail to the project.

"I would say we have a pretty high bar as far as what we would want it to be if it ever happened and nothing's quite clicked," he explained. "Even little things like, 'What does the vault suit look like?' -- every little thing we obsess over so the game is the thing where it really exists."

Howard's comments follow those from Bethesda marketing executive Pete Hines, who said last year that the company has been approached "for a long time" about potential Fallout and Elder Scrolls movies.

Though Bethesda doesn't have any immediate plans to bring its franchises to the big-screen, Howard said Bethesda has a "really good window" into the film and TV markets by way of film icon Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS president Leslie Moonves. They both sit on Bethesda's board of directors, alongside former MGM CEO Harry Sloan and Hollywood legal expert Ernest Dell.

"We have a lot of folks who really know that space really, really well," Hines said.

In fact, their expertise in the areas of film and TV could be exactly the reason why there hasn't been a Fallout or Elder Scrolls movie to date.

"We've gotten a lot of very good advice about, 'There's way more things that can go wrong than can go right with this,'" Hines said about making a video game movie. "The concern is always...do you want the world's view of The Elder Scrolls to be what [Howard] envisions in Skyrim or do you want it to be some other director who decides to make a movie that looks like 'Cats'?"

Hines said an example of a video game movie done wrong would be 2005's "Doom," which starred Karl Urban and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Bethesda had no part in the production of this movie, having acquired Doom developer id Software in 2009.

"You look at the Doom movie, which I've only been able to bring myself to watch part of; well, that's not what I want people thinking of when they see Doom," Hines said. "I want them thinking of what [Doom executive producer Marty Stratton] had up on stage [at E3] and what we want it to look like and feel like."

Though Bethesda isn't making any video game movies, others are. Some upcoming video game movies include "Warcraft"(June 2016) and "Assassin's Creed"(December 2016). A new Tomb Raider movie is also in the works, with "Star Wars" actor Daisy Ridley reportedly being eyed for the role of Lara Croft.

Additionally, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford recently said the Borderlands movie will help the franchise reach a bigger audience.

Disclosure: CBS is GameSpot's parent company.