It's incredibly odd talking to a high-profile game developer when they can tell you very nearly nothing. It's akin to squeezing lemonade from a lemon husk that's been sitting in an open garbage bin for upwards of a year. All that comes out is dust and lemon-scented whispers of "no comment." But Bethesda's case is special. The complete and total lack of any sort of Fallout 4 announcement has become the thing that people are talking about. And when they're not doing that, they're making hyper-elaborate bogus ARGs about it and registering false trademarks. So when Bethesda game director Todd Howard approached me on the D.I.C.E. red carpet, that's exactly what I asked him about. Here's what he told me.
“The ARG was very, very well done," he chuckled. "It's a testament to our fans. And they're doing that stuff and making mods. The stuff they do, we often look at and go, 'Well, why don't we just do that? That's really great.'”
But surely an announcement is just around the corner, right? Right? That's where things get strange. While one might expect Bethesda to be gearing up for a big reveal, Howard sure made it sound like very little is on the horizon for the time being. Things, he seemed to suggest, are still in a rather experimental phase.
“We don't [have a timeframe for our next game announcement]," he said, "but I think it's gonna be a while.”
“We've gotten fairly used to all the questions and curiosity over the years. Everyone wants information. Right now, we're just trying to figure out which of our ideas are going to stick and finding an appropriate time to talk about it.”
So then, it'll be "a while." But what about all that voice casting stuff? Well, somewhat ironically, that's where Howard clammed up. There is some good news, though. PC has reclaimed its spot at the forefront of gaming's charge into the future, and Bethesda has absolutely taken notice.
“PC is resurgent," enthused Howard. "Skyrim did better than we've ever done on PC by a large, large number. And that's where the mods are. That feeds the game for a long time. And it's exciting that the new consoles are very PC-like. That opens up avenues for us going forward to do things that we've wanted to do in the past. There are kind of random ideas we're working on right now, and it's like, 'Wow, I think there's potential here to do some really cool stuff.'”
So there you have it. I did my best to squeeze lemonade from Todd Howard's tightly clamped mouth. For my next trick, I'll leave before this metaphor gets any stranger.