Skip to main content

Now Starfield’s out, Bethesda’s PR and publishing honcho Pete Hines is retiring after 20-plus years at the studio

“The time is right”

The player character looks out over a vast rocky vista in Starfield
Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios

Pete Hines, head of publishing at Elder Scrolls, Fallout and Starfield studio Bethesda, is retiring. One of the most public faces at the developer behind perhaps only Toddy H himself, Hines has played a prominent role in the release of their biggest games for close to the last quarter-of-a-century - but says that the “time is right” to move on to “an exciting new chapter of my life”.

Watch on YouTube

Hines joined Bethesda in 1999 - literally last century (have an existential crisis about that as necessary) - helping to head up its global marketing and communications output as senior VP ahead of the release of Morrowind in 2002. In the time since, he played a huge part in the release of the studio’s widely beloved and acclaimed Oblivion, Fallout 3 and Skyrim (as well as the many, many re-releases of Skyrim across multiple generations and even VR), as well as helping ride the studio through rockier times around the release of Fallout 76 and this year’s Redfall.

While overseeing the launch of the studio’s most successful games, Hines also ran into some amount of controversy during his time at the spear-tip of Bethesda’s PR machine by announcing plans to pull pre-release access for all reviewers in 2016 - a decision that was later reversed, although even this year’s Starfield wasn’t made available to every outlet before its launch - and allegedly blacklisting other publications.

Last November, Hines moved over to become head of publishing, continuing to hype up (depending on your personal taste for enormous, hours-eating games) the then-incoming Starfield by calling it "irresponsibly large" in an effort to explain why it was an Xbox exclusive during the Microsoft-Blizzard discussions.

Key art from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind GOTY Edition showing a dunmer wearing armour and wielding a sword
Image credit: Bethesda Softworks

The release of Starfield - said to be Bethesda’s biggest launch to date - apparently inspired Hines to move on after 24 years at the publisher.

“I am retiring and will begin an exciting new chapter of my life exploring interests and passions, donating my time where I can, and taking more time to enjoy life,” Hines wrote on TwiXer. “This was not a decision I came to easily or quickly, but after an amazing career, culminating in the incredible launch of Starfield, it feels like the time is right.”

Hines went on to thank Bethesda’s fans, and called working at the company “the greatest experience of my life”.

In their own announcement, Bethesda said that “Pete’s public presence was only a small part of his role at Bethesda, although the way he represented us carried over into the values he nurtured here: authenticity, integrity and passion”.

“His contributions have been integral in building Bethesda and its family of studios into the world-class organization that it is today. His vision helped push us forward, and his hard work inspired us.”

In a heartfelt nod to Hines’ own gimmick of providing doctor’s note templates for players to use to be excused from school or work on the day launch day of their new games, Bethesda also replied to Hines’ announcement with a doctor’s note asking to “please excuse Pete Hines from work” and prescribing him “ongoing treatment” in the form of gaming, collecting cards “in all forms” (including Magic: The Gathering), looking after foster dogs, and “having fun with friends in the community”.

It’s unclear what Bethesda’s first game in over two decades without Hines involved will be just yet, but we do know that both The Elder Scrolls 6 and Fallout 5 are on the cards - if not for a good while yet.

Read this next