In an interview with Ted Price, CEO of Insomniac Games, Todd Howard, head of Bethesda, discussed how today’s games have adopted elements of RPGs, which influenced the approach of their latest game, Starfield.
“Yeah, I think drastically,” Howard responds. “I think the genre itself has gotten mixed up with everything. I can’t see a game that doesn’t have experience points and leveling up. Choose any game you want. “That has been infiltrating”.
A prominent example of this “RPG-ification” is the Assassin’s Creed series, which has transitioned from action-stealth adventures to open worlds packed with numbers and is now returning to its more action-focused roots.
The head of Bethesda believes that any game can be an RPG, since the genre has evolved and mixed with other styles of play. However, he emphasizes that Bethesda’s focus is on allowing players to take on a role within a world, as seen in Starfield, which is described as a “Skyrim in space.”
Howard also mentions that the concept of what defines an RPG has changed with the changing expectations of players. Although each person may have their own list of rules to define an RPG, he appreciates the versatility of the genre and seeks to maintain the essence of what he considers important in a game, mixing elements from different genres.
Howard points out that RPGs have greatly influenced the video game industry, and Bethesda seeks to stay true to its vision while exploring new ways to develop games that are unique and satisfying for players.