Hi! I’m Todd Howard, Game Director and Executive Producer at Bethesda Game Studios. I'm part of an incredible team of people who work on The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and the upcoming Starfield.

To celebrate Skyrim’s 10th anniversary, I'm here today to chat with you all. Though I haven’t posted on the internet in 15 years, I read Reddit often, and love the community. Thanks for being here and for all the support you’ve given our games over the years.

Excited to hear what’s on your mind, let’s get started!

Proof: https://twitter.com/BethesdaStudios/status/1456342288905510917!

Have to go! Just want to thank all of you again for being here, your thoughtful questions and all the years and great adventures together. Looking forward to more. We'll have to do this again before another 15 years.

From everyone at Bethesda, your passion for our games means the world.

Comments: 7155 • Responses: 27  • Date: 

thenumber6ix9443 karma

Since everyone's gonna ask: Any updates on TES6?

ToddBethesda16181 karma

We know it's a long wait, we're with you. For Father's Day this year my son gave me a card that said, "You're an amazing Dad, but where's TES6?"

inexplicablehaddock8031 karma

There's a cut underwater Vault in Fallout 4- Vault 120. What was going to take place there?

Also, a whole lot of Fallout 4's map is underwater. Was there any content planned for it?


ToddBethesda12731 karma

Unfortunate cut content. Bioshock style Vault. With massive sentient octopus living outside it.

protoflufff5482 karma

Hi Todd! Is the Amazon's Fallout TV Series still in the work? Is there any chance you can give us some details? I'll buy an extra copy of Skyrim 🥺

ToddBethesda5421 karma

Moving ahead. Really excited to be working with Jonah, Lisa, and Amazon on it.

Hired_Thug5193 karma

How has the release of Cyberpunk 2077 influenced your teams philosophy towards releasing games?

ToddBethesda7480 karma

I can only speak to the issues we've had, such as Fallout 76. We let people down and were able to learn and be better from it.

We're fortunate 3 years later to have 76 be one of our most played games, and it's thanks to the 11 million players who have made it an incredible community.

It's made us much better developers in the end.

anonymousmiku5014 karma

Hi, Todd. You probably don’t remember me, but when I was 13 I wrote a letter to Bethesda Game Studios talking about how I lost one of my parents and how playing your games inspired me to pursue a career in game development later in life. Bethesda sent a letter back with a bunch of merchandise, including a Fallout 4 guide you signed, which made my entire year. As of right now, I’m in college for game development, but I’ve had to deal with some great struggles. I now have lost both of my parents, and I have been living on my own since age 16. I’m wondering if you can give me any advice or motivation. Did you face any significant struggles in your quest to become a game developer? How were you able to persevere?

Thank you so much again for inspiring me, and thank you so much for the gift (I don’t need a sweetroll or anything like that. Your response means enough to me)

Here is proof for anyone wondering: https://imgur.com/a/lhjKS

ToddBethesda5941 karma

Thank you for your letter and this touching post. We're so grateful to know how our games have touched you.

Advice or motivation? You've already been through so much. Look how far you have come. Use that strength and resiliency to fuel your passions.

Creating games, and seeing their impact is something you'll get to give to others. Keep going.

Hybrid_Spaniel4853 karma

Do you get to the cloud district very often?

ToddBethesda5175 karma

Yes. Yes I do.

Common-Barber30544542 karma

I am currently playing Oblivion, any tips?

ToddBethesda10690 karma

Pick acrobatics and jump constantly.

IndvsRiverFolly4396 karma

In a 2018 interview with Dean Takahashi you mentioned that had Bethesda not acquired the rights to Fallout you would have made an original post-apocalyptic universe.

What ideas did you have for this universe and how would it have differed from Fallout?

Thank you for your hard work and ask Emil how he ages backwards.

ToddBethesda4623 karma

It was called "Apocalypse Road" and had a great logo with a street sign.

I'll pass along to Emil, thanks!

YourCreepyRoomate4262 karma

Hey Todd, what happens when it just doesn’t work? What’s the best/worst bug you’ve encountered?

ToddBethesda8309 karma

Long time ago, during Redguard, the lead programmer made all the buildings hop up and down after you played for 10 minutes just to mess with me.

STuitt4127 karma

Who is the mother of Jarl Balgruuf’s children?

ToddBethesda3711 karma

He's not talking. https://imgur.com/K4zatno

TellurianInspector3756 karma

Hi Todd,

What sort of game would you make if you had an infinite budget and ten years of development time?

ToddBethesda5871 karma

We're incredibly lucky to have the support of time and budget to make the games we want. So, all of them?

Wayyzzz3263 karma

Hey Todd! What type of mod support can we expect to see in creation kit engine 2 for Starfield?

ToddBethesda4642 karma

Our plan it have full mod support like our previous games. Our modding community has been with us for 20 years. We love what they do and hope to see more make a career out of it.

avery-secret-account2804 karma

You lightly touched in your interview yesterday that you realize the clear issue of gaps between games in your franchises and know it is a problem. What is your plan (if any) to reduce the massive gaps of time between the games of your three franchises?

Also, I keep one of your quotes on a sticky note with me whenever I need it. “It’s not how you launch. It’s what it becomes.” Really helped me get through some stuff

ToddBethesda4079 karma

Great question, we certainly understand that they do take a long time to get right. Ultimately quality matters most to us, and we're careful with resources and priorities.

also, we're hiring, so...

TheSkyGamezz2762 karma

What do you think of Fallout: New Vegas?

ToddBethesda4445 karma

Great game, big fan of Obsidian and we have many friends there.

HunterWorld2231 karma

In a behind the scenes video for Oblivion, you mention being in the chess club in school. However, this year book image has surfaced showing that the chess club was not one of your many clubs. So what's up with that?

Also, what's your favorite dinosaur?

ToddBethesda3709 karma

Chess Club was JUNIOR High School.


Tenkay232086 karma

Will there be any robot companions in Starfield?

ToddBethesda2410 karma

Yes, kind of.

laser_velociraptor1977 karma

Hello, Todd!
In this past year, we saw the rise of some impressive Machine Learning tools that synthetize human voice, using assets from Skyrim (and other Bethesda games) to generate new realistic voice lines.
What do you think about this technology, in general? Do you have hope to use it in some future game? And do you think it will have a negative impact on the relationship between game studios and real voice actors?

ToddBethesda3788 karma

We actually use such systems during development so we can play the game with voices, but there is no substitute for professional actors. They are a huge part of our development and are amazing partners in bringing these worlds to life.

Smagby1896 karma

Todd! If you could be transported into any video game forever, what would it be and why?

ToddBethesda2564 karma

Does Flight Simulator count?

OdahP1864 karma

Hi Todd, Odah here. The guy who made a 50 page google doc. about the Starfield E3 2021 Trailer.

  • I'm going to ask, has there ever been a point in Skyrim's development where you thought of adding climbable ladders to the game?
  • Also about that ladder in the Starfield trailer....will it be an animation (like holding E to climb up like in Mass Effect: Andromeda)?

Ladderfield needs to know.

ToddBethesda2746 karma

Despite the advent of super-computers and next gen hardware - ladders are our arch-nemesis.

It's an animation, and we use sparingly.

boingydoo1771 karma

Hey Todd,

I recently became creative director on a decently sized mod project, so it had me curious. What's your favourite aspect of being in the role, and what kind of advice would you give to someone fairly new to that kind of position?

ToddBethesda3122 karma

Give your team room to have their own ideas and creative impact. The best results are always from a team, and the best teams are the ones that feel safe to fail and try new ideas together.

Ok_Tone46331462 karma

You've repeatedly said tone is the first thing BGS prioritizes when designing a game. How do you pick a tone to build an entire game around? Are there conversations or even debates on what the tone should be? Also, how do you preserve tone across so many different areas of development especially the non-visual ones (such as npc dialogue) that can't pull so directly from your studio's excellent concept art?

ToddBethesda1974 karma

Great question, and one we debate here often. Tone = world. What place would you want to explore? Why? Who would you be? What would you do? How does that pique your curiosity? How is that curiosity rewarded? We like mixing places with elements that you feel comfortable with or can relate to, alongside the fantastical.

drazgul1230 karma

I absolutely adored the Terminator games Bethesda did back in the 90s (still got the boxed copies!), the atmosphere of the future was so exceptionally realized when you consider the limitations of the time.

My question is this: Do you have any particular memory when it comes to the development of those games that stands out, and if the opportunity arose, would you ever consider going back to the Terminator IP for another game (not necessarily an FPS)?

ToddBethesda1411 karma

Thanks for the note reg Terminator. We loved working on it. The license was in limbo so we were able to do pretty much whatever we wanted.

We alternated fantasy worlds and post apocalyptic worlds with TES and Terminator before we did it with Fallout.

Vexxful841 karma

Will Skyrim Anniversary run 60fps on ps5? Thanks Tood!

ToddBethesda1043 karma

Yes, and same on Xbox Series X/S (different resolutions)

Suraru777 karma

Hey Todd!

Been a huge fan of your games since Oblivion. I've enjoyed every TES game back to Daggerfall, and Sank the entire last half of my childhood into Fallout 3. I've stayed up late on many nights preparing a long list of questions because I was so excited when this was announced, and spent a lot of time trimming them down from over 20 to 5 to not overwhelm you. Answering any of them would make my day!

  1. If I recall around Oblivion you made a comment you don't even code anymore. How has this changed your influence in directing games, and do you miss having a direct hand in development?

  2. Lore! What is your stance on retcons, and would you ever release a lore bible? There's a lot of fanon out there that fans confuse with canon, it would be helpful for us story writers and role players to have something more concrete; like a moon calendar for Khajiit breeds since the moons usually share a phase in game, or a detailed map including roads, minor towns, and topography. (Seriously, what IS the real shape and size of Tamriel? Is Nirn even a sphere?)

  3. Is the main quest of Skyrim more of a side quest to Elder Scrolls (The civil war being the main?) How many games have you written in advance?

  4. Do you keep the source files for all of your previous games? In Redguard, TES5 was labeled as Romanelli or something in the intro, and there was an oblivion PSP game that got cancelled, but on the loading screen, you can see an oblivion style map of High Rock and Hammerfell. Do you still have these files somewhere? Would you ever release the cut art assets?

  5. How DO you handle being the face of Bethesda? I couldn't handle it when some of the mean girls in high school didn't like me, I couldn't imagine having a large chunk of the internet jump onto a bandwagon sending hate my way, especially when their information is incorrect. What's your mental strategy?

ToddBethesda1204 karma

Great list of questions and thanks for being here. I'll give you a summary thought. I'm really lucky to have started so long ago that I was able to get my hands in everything, from code to design to sound. It's helped me see the big picture and work with so many parts of the amazing team here at Bethesda. It's odd often to see my face on things, and while I understand it some, this is truly a massive team effort and I get way too much of the credit.

bladeranger681 karma

Hi Todd!

Even after 10 years, I still consider Skyrim the gold standard of open-world single-player RPG experiences.

Does Starfield have any groundbreaking innovations that will set a high bar for the next generation of action RPGs, similar to what Skyrim has done this last decade?

Thank you for your amazing work!

ToddBethesda1056 karma

We prefer to just show it, which should be next summer. We're happy with the advancements we've been able to make, some of which you can see in the trailer shot in-game.

ShepardEG140 karma

Good afternoon, Todd Howard! Did you know that the new Custom Worlds mode is much less popular than Nuclear Winter itself? Is Bethesda ready to bring Nuclear Winter back to the game and its players while it's still possible?

ToddBethesda207 karma

We're pretty passionate about giving our players tools to mod the games, and thus shifted our priorities to custom game worlds. More to come!