news\ Sep 7, 2012 at 10:38 am

Wii U development still 'TBD' for Bethesda


Bethesda Softworks, the developer The Elder Scrolls series, is still on the fence when it comes to developing for Nintendo's Wii U console. Speaking in the latest issue of MCV, Bethesda's VP of pr and marketing, Pete Hines, expressed concerns with developing for the Wii U and other next-gen consoles, warning that the new generation "comes at a price".

Hines told MCV that Bethesda'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," he said, adding, "Whether Wii U does down the road is TBD."

It's not just the Wii U, however. In fact, it looks like the publisher/developer isn't quite ready to say goodbye to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. In fact, Hines expressed Bethesda's belief "that there is still plenty [it is] able to do" on the current generation of consoles. I say they start with getting Skyrim DLC to work on PlayStation 3, a problem Bethesda has already admitted they aren't sure they can fix.

"I don't think the current generation of consoles are holding us back," Hines said. "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."

I definitely agree with Hines in that aspect. As we learned from Journey, this generation is perfectly capable of creating a lasting impression among gamers, but I believe developers are too content with just spitting out clones. Sure, some of them are pushing the envelope. Bethesda definitely did so with Skyrim. Still, I can't help but feel the next generation will only improve upon that. The big question is: at what cost?

Hines believes the jump to next-generation consoles could create "problems".

"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," he explained. "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."

Bethesda is also concerned, and justifiably so, with dividing their audience. As with anything, you'll have the early adopters and late adopters. Not everyone will jump at the opportunity to buy the Wii U or Xbox 720, which will create a divide in their target audience. They are then faced with the tricky question of whether they make the game for the next-gen or current gen.

"The second point is that your install base always starts at zero," he continued. "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," he added.

"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."

If you were Bethesda would you pay the price to develop for the Wii U, or are they better off just waiting?


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