The History of Bethesda Game Studios

(clicking) (dramatic music) – So I played Daggerfall
first and then got hooked and started playing all
the other Bethesda games. But Arena at the time, I
was like, oh, I don’t know, that cover’s so goofy, I don’t
think I could get into that. – You know, after we finished
Redguard, the whole team, the whole entire company went
downstairs into the basement and we would all package the
games up to be shipped out and that was sort of how
things worked back then. (whooshing) (game character grunting) – A girl, we’ve got a daughter, Catherine! (radroaches chittering) – Ow, that hurts! – We had to create gun
combat from the ground up, something this company hadn’t done since the Terminator games
and so that was a big thing. And we knew with gun
combat came combat spaces and that meant designers
who knew how to make levels. – But I didn’t wanna tell him, “Yeah, I’m actually
taking pictures of this “so I can blow it up in a video game,” which is exactly what I was about to do. – We have a lot of takes
of Ron Perlman giving us, “War never changes,” in many, many ways. – [Game Narrator] War, war never changes. (gun firing) (beeping) (raider yelping) (guns firing) – Hello friends and welcome
to Rockville, Maryland, home of Bethesda Game Studios, creators of the Elder Scrolls series and proud adoptive parents
of the Fallout franchise. If you’ve watched our
documentaries in the past you know we like to travel to developers and interview them about
the games they’ve made, but until now we’ve
never had an opportunity to talk to a team while the
sausage is still being made. That’s why we’re here,
to talk to the people behind Fallout 76, to dive
into the game’s design and find out about the
challenges and pitfalls they encountered during
the games development. To do this we spent over
a week at the studio interviewing everyone we
could, from design to art, to animation, QA, marketing and more. All to try and paint a picture of how Bethesda Game
Studios make their games. So naturally, that also
involves a lot of looking back. Many of the folks working
on games here at BGS have credits on their older games, too. Games like Skyrim, Fallout 3, Oblivion, Morrowind and even Arena. Games that have each, in their own way, contributed to the story
of Bethesda Game Studios and their plans for the future. But before we dive into the
studio’s exciting future, we’ve decided to spend
some time looking back. We’ve got quite a lot of
ground to cover here, folks, but as it turns out, a lot of
Bethesda’s history happened in this rather unsuspecting-looking
office building behind me. (mystical music) – I had gotten Wayne Gretzky
Hockey 3 for Christmas from my then girlfriend,
who’s now my wife. And I looked at the address on the box and it said Bethesda
Softworks and I was like, “Oh these guys, they’re doing
that Terminator game as well,” so I said I’ll just drive by the office. And I went to William
and Mary in Virginia, this office was on my way,
so we’re right off of 270 and this is the same building. So I remember, it was
Martin Luther King Day, must’ve been ’93, and I drove and just, I knocked on the door, I came in, but most people weren’t
here, it was a holiday and someone kinda met like,
“Who are you? What do you want?” And I was like, “I love your games, “I wanna work here one day.” And when there was an
opening they finally said, “Hey, we have something,” and I jumped, this is where I wanted to be. – [Interviewer] How big
was the company then? – Oh! 20-some people? The development staff was maybe 12. And so this is my 25th
year, like, in my 25th year. Same building, right
downstairs where you came in, that’s where I came in. – [Danny] The original Bethesda Softworks was founded in 1986 by entrepreneur and software developer Christopher Weaver. Named after the town of
Bethesda where it was founded, the studio developed and
self-published a variety of games. Everything from football game Gridiron to some early hockey games and even some Terminator spin-offs. One of Todd’s first responsibilities
once he joined the team was to port a CD-ROM version
of a role-playing game that had been made internally. Ted Peterson, Julian
LeFay, and Vijay Lakshman were spearheading the project,
a game that would take the first-person dungeon
crawling of 1992’s Wizardry 7 and evolve it using more
modern 3D graphics techniques. That game had been
originally conceptualized as an arena combat game but quickly grew into something much, much larger. (tense classical music) – I think I found out about it because I worked at a
software store at the time with a friend of mine in Houston, so we were just employees on the floor. I’m trying to think why
we found out about it in the first place because
I didn’t necessarily follow RPGs or read Dragon
Magazine or whatever. – [Interviewer] (chuckling) Right. – Maybe it was just the box art, I’m sure that was part of it. There’s a lot of literature
on the back about how it’s, I don’t know if the term open
world was used at the time, but how it’s this limitless thing and you can do this and you can do that and that sounded great to me, I always wanna just make my own story. And in playing it and
thinking about it now, I don’t think I ever did
anything with the main quest, I left that to some other hero. No, I just wanna buy a house and chill, that’s all I wanna do. Houses were really expensive in that game, I remember that too. – I saw Arena in the computer game store and looked at the cover and I was like, “There is no chance I’m buying that game.” I don’t know if we should
leave that in this. So I played Daggerfall
first and then got hooked and started playing all
the other Bethesda games, but Arena at the time I was like, “Oh, I don’t know, that cover’s so goofy, “I don’t think I could get into that.” – [Interviewer] It’s a strong
cover, it’s saying something! – It was, it was. – [Interviewer] Maybe
it didn’t speak to you. – It didn’t. (both laughing) – It has massive ambition yet is very, very elegant, in my opinion. It knows what it is. It will feel really simplistic
to an Elder Scrolls fan now, but in its day, it had massive scope. It gave you the feeling,
despite it being old, of, “This world, I can do whatever I want, “I can go wherever I want,” and that the things you found,
you felt were unique like, “I found this, only I did,
and this was there for me,” and, like, it has the time warp. – [Danny] By the time Todd had finished his work on the CD-ROM port of Arena, the Elder Scrolls team was
already working on Daggerfall, so Todd was made producer
of a Terminator game. You have to understand
that back in the mid 90s there were almost as many Terminator games as there were people living on earth. In fact, Bethesda had made
a bunch of them themselves! But this Terminator game
was going to be different. Terminator: Future Shock was
Bethesda’s first full 3D game. It had a height map, it
had instanced 3D objects, and the game took place
across large, sprawling levels set in post-apocalyptic cities. Good design practice, as it turns out. About a half dozen people
were working with Todd on Future Shock and as
that game was released and Daggerfall was going through
its own tough development, many of that team went to help
on the Elder Scrolls game. (adventurous music) – Because of the state of the project, I did half the levels as well, I did the sound effects for Daggerfall, so anything you hear in
Daggerfall, the little guys, like, yelping, or all the
creatures, a lot of them are me. – [Interviewer] Just in a microphone? – Yes. (interviewer chuckling)
(Todd yelping) – At the time it just
felt bigger and deeper than a lot of other RPGs
out there and, you know, oddly enough it wasn’t the
quests so much in Daggerfall, the story of Daggerfall is kind of thin, it was more about your character and the world you’re exploring. All these different
dungeons you could go in, how you leveled up, through actions not just experience points, it was just a really different kinda
game, it was really cool. – The memory I really
have more than anything, because you start off in a dungeon which I thought was always
a strength of the series, to kind of keep you walled in, don’t show you everything at once. You really get used to that, that darkness and the corridors, you get taught about the
fighting system and so forth. I didn’t realize it at the
time but that’s great design. Only give you a few tools,
let’s give you a hammer and once you’ve mastered
hammering in the nail, like in Karate Kid, then, okay, now we’ll show you the
wrench and whatever else. So when you finally do make
it out of that first dungeon, which is not easy to do
without seeing a map of it, you know, you get this whole big reveal and the music changes for the first time, and suddenly it’s all these possibilities. – If Arena is the world, Daggerfall pushes on the character system. So if you look at the
two character systems, Daggerfall introduces
the whole skill system and the way you level up and
the way factions feel about you and you have language and
you have pluses and minuses. It’s a very, very heavy
character system, but awesome. A lot of the world stuff stays the same. And it has a very
sophisticated quest system, despite how it might express itself if you go back and play it,
but it mostly becomes a game about pushing the character
system much, much further. – [Interviewer] Before
we start, for the sake of our name bars, can you tell us
your name and your job title? – Yes, my name is Ashley Chang, I’m the studio director
at Bethesda Game Studios. – [Interviewer] All right, you’ve been here a little while, huh? – I have, I’ve been here
for, oh man, 18 years. – [Interviewer] Okay! – I was one of two people in the marketing department
at Bethesda Softworks, this is the old-school, mom
and pop Bethesda Softworks. And the first thing I ever
did when I joined the company was I was mailing out review
copies of Battlespire. – [Interviewer] (chuckling) Okay. – Mailing, mailing them out, by myself, and then calling up all the press going, “Please play this game,
please review this game.” Todd and I worked on, I was
the PR guy for Redguard, a very, very little-known game. – [Interviewer] The long-lost
forgotten Elder Scrolls game. – It is! It’s an action-adventure game, you should definitely try
to find it if you can. And back then the company was so small, after we finished Redguard the whole team, the whole entire company, went
downstairs into the basement and we would all package the
games up to be shipped out, and that was sort of how
things worked back then. – It was a mix of, like,
my love of Prince of Persia and Tomb Raider had come out, like real action-adventure mash-ups. More had kind of been going,
but really not anywhere in a Daggerfall mix and
then there was Battlespire, and a lot of the Terminator
team that I had worked with, we were gonna do Redguard,
we wanted to do something. I could see where we got
with the engine at the time, like 3D was still coming online,
that we could do something, we could make a much more rich world. Like, despite Daggerfall’s
ambition and Arena’s ambition, the detail of the world was
lacking for me personally. Like, I liked the game flow, like this is what we should be doing, I like the character system, but, like, I wanted Ultima-level detail in the world, I wanna break the bread and
I wanna move the bottles and I wanna do all these things. And Redguard was a little bit
of an experiment in, like, okay, how detailed of
a world can we build? So the way we built the world in Redguard is how we built the world in Morrowind, just on a much, much larger scale. The other thing Redguard does at the time, also coming off of Daggerfall, we felt the world was generic, it was very kind of bland-Tolkien. It had backstory and stuff
once you dug into it, but it didn’t have something
you could look at and say, “Oh, that’s a little bit more unique.” But that comes in Redguard and then Morrowind builds on that. Redguard was too safe, it
missed a technology window, it really should’ve been a console game, it should’ve been on the PS2. Redguard did not do very well, it did very, very poorly
for a lot of reasons. We made some bad decisions, we made some games that
weren’t out best stuff, and the company really
got very, very small. – [Danny] Despite the success of the earlier Elder Scrolls games, these spinoffs, Battlespire and Redguard, had struggled at retail
and put the company in a precarious financial position. In an effort to avoid bankruptcy, the organization restructured. A new company was formed, ZeniMax Media, which would act as administrative entity over the games development
and publishing wing. A few year later, publishing
and development were separated. Bethesda Softworks became
the publishing arm, while the development staff had a new name, Bethesda Game Studios. All these entities would
live under the same roof. In fact, they still do
today, but only thanks to the incredible success
of their next game. (epic music) – We needed to do Morrowind, do the game that we’re here to do, and it’s kind of like,
this is our last shot, like if this one doesn’t
work, we’re not here. I think the failures of the previous games made Morrowind what it was. Because that’s where you say, “Well, we just gotta do
what we think is right “and what our audience wants “and we already think
we’re not gonna be here, “so fuck it, let’s just makes the game “that we think we should be making.” – Well, there’s a contingent
of fans out there who believe, and I actually have met a few even today, saying that it’s the best
game that they’ve ever played, it’s the best game we’ve ever made, and it’s been downhill since then. – [Interviewer] (chuckling) Right. – Like, Morrowind’s the greatest game, and a lot of it is because of the tone, the flavor, the art
direction, the character, the story in that game,
and it was very unique, very, very unique for its time. – I thin kthe main idea behind Morrowind was stranger in a strange land. You are in an alien world
and so how do we show that? We had a lot of different influences and the concept artist
who did the work there did just crazy, amazing, weird
ideas and it was awesome. You know, and we borrowed
from a lot of things, you know, it felt a little bit like, what would Star Wars be if it
was, you know, a fantasy game? And then combining the
culture of dark elves from all these different influences and how they lived in giant
bug shell-shaped houses and wore bug shells as armor and lived in this, essentially desert, how did that shape who they were? How did it shape how they built things? How did it shape what you
as a player got to explore? It became a mix of a lot of really different and interesting things. A lot of it’s based off
of, you know, giant fungus or just strange thorny roots
that grow in the Ashlands. So it was doing something weird and then playing of the idea of scale, so it’s a little bit
like Alice in Wonderland. Imagine taking things like mushrooms and scaling them up as giant trees. How does it feel now to
run around that world? Well, it’s pretty cool, I haven’t done that
before, that’s interesting. So I think things like
that stand out a lot, they make the world feel really different and not like something you’ve seen before. – Well, we knew we had to do it, I think, let me put it that way. The company really wanted
to make Morrowind then, but it was such a, the
ambition and scope were so big, obviously from the final
product, that it took a while. And the team was only about 40 back then. – Microsoft approached
us and they were doing the original Xbox and it was very PC-like, this would be great, we’ll have an RPG. The other thing is, you need to go back to RPGs of that time, which are like Final Fantasy and other things. And it is, well, we
don’t really do the RPG that a console crowd wants,
can we translate the menus? Can we keep the experience the same? Can we do a console RPG
that we would wanna play? – And a game like Morrowind,
you know, back then, the Japanese RPGs were
what everyone loved, the Final Fantasies,
that was what an RPG was. Western RPGs weren’t really, you know… – [Interviewer] Cool? (Ashley laughing) – You could say that, but nobody was making them like we would. This is gonna be a
first-person experience, this is gonna be an open world, you’re gonna be able to
go wherever you want, like Morrowind’s not gonna
hold your hand at all, you can break you game in
Morrowind and we’re not gonna, like, Morrowind literally
tells you what you’ve done, you’re about to break your
save, are you sure you wanna go? And we go ahead and let you say yes! We let you say yes we let you
break your game intentionally, that’s how open that game is. – It was fantasy, open world, and the idea that you could just sort of
wander anywhere and do anything, very, very unique at the
time, a streaming system. How the NPCs, how they tried
to make it so you could ask any NPC any question,
which was great in theory. In practice, ah, but the
ability to just sort of wander around and do whatever
you want in that game. And I remember the
first time I came across one of the ruins in that game
and the feeling of exploration was just, you, literally,
your mind was transported into another world in a way that, I love video games and gaming, but it was so unique to me for its time, it was just amazing. – So Morrowind comes out,
is a much bigger success than even we, it’s beyond what we need, it’s a much bigger success
that we anticipate, it’s huge, and it’s really huge on Xbox. I believe it became
the second best-selling title behind Halo, it crushed
because people were hungry for, “Oh my gosh, have
you seen this thing?” So that really made it
as far as us as a company and as a studio, and that was
going into a Oblivion where, hey, the console part is huge. – [Interviewer] Right. – The audience that wants this
is much bigger than we think. – [Danny] Morrowind, in many ways, is responsible for everything
Bethesda has done since. Not only was it adored
by those who play it, but it established the creative process through which BGS would
make their open world games. The team had good tech, good art, good engine, good storytelling. It was the foundation of a
team that still exists today. A team that would gain confidence with each project they took on. And though this team was
working under the same roof as their parent company,
the financial success of Morrowind gave them just
enough slack on the leash to go for something even bigger. – Morrowind on is like the
second phase of Bethesda. You have like the pre-Morrowind, you got the Arena, Daggerfall success, some bad things happen and
the company’s kinda uh, and it really got, there
were six or seven of us. And then ZeniMax Media is
formed to sort of recapitalize and, “Hey, what do you guys wanna do?” That’s the other part that
really needs to be mentioned, like that business side, to
keep us independent and say, “Hey, what do you need to make Morrowind, “what you really want?” Without that, you know, we probably couldn’t have pulled it off. And then so Morrowind on was like the second phase of the company. – You know, we all worked together, we all moved on to Oblivion afterwards which was, again, a big
investment for the company. The company, were like, “There’s a new generation
of consoles coming, “we don’t know what the spec is, “we’re gonna make this big game, “it’s gonna be a big AAA
investment for the company, “and you’re gonna wait
four years, is that okay?” (eerie music) (sword clashing)
(game character grunting) (booming) Actually, that was a very
interesting four years for us because we were traditionally
a PC developer all along, even though Morrowind was on Xbox. It took us a while to really pivot and it’s hard for developers to do this. If you’re traditionally a PC developer and you start making console games, like, it takes a different mindset. Oblivion was sort of our learning curve, that was our project to learn how to make games for consoles, how to make games run fast and look good within the constraints that consoles have. – I remember one of the high-level goals, not officially but we had been talking, if Morrowind was the Lord
of the Rings trilogy, the books, you know,
there’s a lot of text, then Oblivion will be the Lord
of the Rings movie trilogy. You know, much more visceral,
a different aesthetic, more colorful, more
accessible in a lot of ways. – We were working on it for
the Xbox 360 at the time, which was not actually
out so we were working on hardware that was not done yet. So anytime you’re trying to make a game, you don’t know what the game is yet and you don’t know what the hardware is, that combination can prove
stressful (chuckling). That and then just how do we take a huge, open-ended role-playing game that’s traditionally been on PC? They put Morrowind on console, but sort of the next evolution of that, the controls and the feel, and
what things do you leave in, what things do you take out to make it have the most appeal but
still keep the depth. – It kinda swings more
traditional fantasy, you know, so in Oblivion it’s more castles and lots of shiny armor,
a beautiful world. Like we wanted to do forests,
we wanted lots of NPCs, lots of people, they
all have full schedules, they’ll eat, they’ll sleep. – [Danny] Oblivion was
a very intentional pivot to something more accessible and it wasn’t without a backlash. Some fans of Morrowind saw it as a dumbing down of their favorite RPG. Many elements of the game were simplified. There seemed to be less, less skills, less weapon types, less
factions and diseases. Having voice acting for every line of dialog meant less speech options. Morrowind was an incredible RPG sandbox but with the dawn of HD graphics, Todd and the team had
to pick their battles. They wanted a bigger world,
they wanted far more detail. They wanted a more simplified interface that would work on consoles. They wanted to bring
fantasy into the mainstream and that meant paring back. But the team was still
small and this work required to make the Oblivion the
game they wanted to make wasn’t without its challenges. – So the forests for Oblivion
were really interesting. We used SpeedTree, we were, I believe, the first video game
company to use SpeedTree. – [Interviewer] No way! – Yeah, and it worked incredibly
well for us, it was great. But what we ended up doing is we used all the SpeedTree assets and we’d bake ’em out and
we’d put ’em in the game and we created a procedural
generation system. So we generated each area
of the game and made it and it turned out it wasn’t so good. So all the artists then basically did like a terraforming
pass where we’d go over the procedurally-generated
work and make it hand-crafted and it took two years to do. – [Interviewer] Right. – It was an insane undertaking and we really had to ramp up the team of environmenters to come do that. – Like we knew what we needed to make, we knew the number of
towns, but, like, okay, this town has how many buildings? How many NPCs? How many interiors? How many exteriors? Like, all the details. So it used to be, well, we
needed a town, somebody make it and then the artist
would go off and make it and the designer would help design it and then you’d have your town. So it was really from that to now it’s very much more designed out as far as how big the town is, how many buildings are in
it, what it’s made up of. The way we designed dungeons,
some of them are for quests and some of them were more randomized and then we had the Oblivion
realm so it’s like, okay, making dungeons is
obviously a big part of this and it sort of separated there. And then figuring out how we were gonna make all
the Oblivion realms, I remember that as a key
part on the schedule, like, we had our game and our date and we knew what we were
doing but the Oblivion realms we still hadn’t quite
figured out what they were. – [Danny] During this stage at BGS there was no delineation
between designers. Level designers were also quest designers. And as the game got more complex this was beginning to cause issues. Elements of the game were getting trimmed in an attempt to make
the Xbox 360 launch date, and in some cases, to even
fit the game on the disc. – So in the shipped game there’s an arena in the Imperial City and the original plan
was there was going to be an arena in every city and I had done the majority of that work
and we ripped it all out because we realized we need to focus on one to make it better. That was painful, that
was 800 lines of dialog, that was all the scripting work. And it was definitely the
right decision, absolutely. It was fun to do all the fighting and fight and become a champion, but I actually really
enjoy when I play it, just betting on a fight and watching and finding all the weird bugs with that. Like, I would set it up
so the two combatants, there would be a nord woman
and an elf guy and they would, I look at the script they were
always really evenly matched, and, invariably, one
team would always win, and it was supposed to be
random, and I didn’t know why! And I wasn’t taking into account some of, like, the racial abilities,
like nords are stronger, so this guy was beating
the crap out of this person and I didn’t, I had to
figure out all that stuff. – [Interviewer] The
Khajiits were always losing. (both laughing) – So for us for Oblivion
compared to Morrowind, the biggest thing is scale. Morrowind’s actually kind of a small game, and if you actually look
at the draw distance it’s foggy pretty much right
in front of the player. We didn’t have LOD, there
were no mountain views in Morrowind, so for Oblivion it was, hey, you’re in this giant valley, you can see the mountains everywhere, and that’s what started the whole, hey, if I can see it, I can
go there and explore it, that really happened in Oblivion. That initial view when you
come out of the dungeon from character generation
and see the world and see the water and see
the ruins reflect in it, we spent a lot of time on,
like, the framing of that, how the water looks, how the
mountains look, to know that, hey, welcome to this world,
go do whatever you want in it. – Elder Scrolls games are
like kitchen sink games. There are so many
systems, so much crafting, there’s magic, there’s all
these different systems that have to interact together. There’s cities you can explore
that are teeming with people. – How are you? – There hasn’t been a
nuclear annihilation yet, you know what I mean? Everything’s still there,
everything’s still beautiful. – So we started getting into
this when we realized that the guards are the best reflection, we started doing this in Oblivion, the guards are the best
reflection of the character. So they comment on you, they
comment on what you’re wearing, your accomplishments, like,
hey, I heard you did this thing, or, like, and it gets really tough with stuff like the Thieves’
Guild, they’re like, “Did I see you sneaking
out of that house?” – But the voice cast in general
had not been figured out other than let’s bring folks back from Morrowind who we like. Michael Mack, the voice of
the redguards and so forth. – Cast a few more people
to fill in the space or change up the cast from before. – And all in all, it’s 10 or 11 actors for what I think started out
as 60, 70,000 lines of dialog and eventually we had to trim that down to 40, 50 or something
like that it shipped with. Because it physically, at the time, we could not fit it on the disc, it was just too much, something had to go. – I don’t see any good options here. – One actor per race, gender,
and some were ever shared. The nords, I think the male nord and the male orc are the same guy, and originally they
were gonna be different and we had to combine ’em,
it was just pure disc space whereas now you could just, you know, we could just tack on another
archive you could download, it’s all down to your
local hard drive space on your console or
whatever you’re playing on. So it’s a lot of ground
covered by very few people so days and days and days
and days and days of just imperial male with Wes
Johnson, our local voice actor. – In fact, I always forget his name, but one of our voice actors, I see him like once every two months at the Dunkin Donuts down the street. I swear to God, I always
mean to say hi to him, I can never remember his
name, it’s so embarrassing. – [Interviewer] And he goes, “Halt!” – And he’s great (laughing). And I’m like, next time. (rain falling) (sword clashing) (booming) (game character yelping) – [Danny] Oblivion’s
four-year development cycle was tough on the team. They had doubled in size trying
to keep up with the workload causing them to missed the
Xbox 360 launch by 4 months. But this delay probably only contributed to Oblivion’s success. By the time the game
arrived on store shelves, console players were foaming at the mouth to get their hands on this game. The scale of Oblivion was something that had never been seen
on a consoles before. And while some of the
Morrowind fans may have felt that the game had been overly simplified, Oblivion struck a chord with gamers in a way that no RPG ever had before. Not only was it a red letter day for the open world console game, but it had tapped into a
love of the fantasy genre that had never had its mainstream moment. You could argue the release
of Lord of the Rings films had helped, or perhaps they had just tapped into the same thing. Oblivion was a costly
venture for ZeniMax Media. Four long years and a lot of money went into the development of this game, so they wanted a backup. Something else for the team to work on as Oblivion wound down. Something they could use
all this technology on but perhaps in a different genre. – Looking toward Oblivion,
which was a four-year gap, three-and-a-half years, about four years, you realize, this is gonna take a while. You know, there wasn’t pressure, but hey, we should probably get
more than one thing going ’cause these things take a while, what would you like to make? And we made a list, you
know, it was basically, post-apocalyptic, we
had some other worlds, you know, science fiction this,
I could go through the list but you never know if we’ll make ’em so I don’t wanna spoil it. I actually made this logo for
the post-apocalyptic game, it was called Apocalypse Road. It was like a road sign
that said Apocalypse. And I had written Fallout, it’s Fallout. And they said, “You want Fallout?” Yeah, but that’s, you
know, we don’t have that. And somebody here knew
someone at Interplay and said, “I think, you know, they’re
having a rough time, “they’re not using it, we
might be able to acquire it.” And I was like, “Oh my
God, that would be a dream. “If you could get that, I’m tellin’ you, “this would be perfect here.” It fits what we do, it’s different
but the vibe of the game, it would fit with our style of game. And, maybe, it was probably
a while, it was a year, he comes back and says, I remember, I actually got a sticky
note from Todd Vaughn on my, I can remember it vividly,
just a sticky note on my desk when I came back said, “Got
you Fallout, it’s yours.” It was just like, when does that happen? (eerie music) – Yeah, Fallout was incredibly exciting for everyone here because
it was new, new to us. We’d all played the Fallout games before, I think most people here
are fans of Fallout 1 and 2, and it was exciting to, hey, we’ve all been a fantasy group, right? We’re makin’ fantasy role-playing games. Let’s jump in to a post-apocalyptic world, what’s that gonna be like? – [Interviewer] You a big
fan of those older games? – Oh my God, I loved ’em! I think it’s genius stuff, you know? All the credit to Tim
Cain and Jason Anderson, all those guys who did that game. That’s the other thing, why don’t you make your own post-apocalyptic thing? I said, well, we could, we
could do all this gameplay, but there’s this shtick with it, with Vault-Tec and the world,
the 50s, that’s the sauce. Even though, I know there
was a lot of fan angst, understandably so, I
would’ve been the same way. – If you ever get a chance
to work on a video game, work on a Fallout game, you can do practically anything in a Fallout game. – [Interviewer] (chuckling) Right. – And just the breadth
of the storytelling, the breadth of the art direction,
the tone and the humor, I mean, it’s unlike anything else. When we got it and we started
Fallout 3, that was just, for me personally, I was excited, I was very, very excited
to be working on that game. (old patriotic music) – When it was time for
Bethesda to pick a location for their Fallout game,
they chose Washington, D.C. and they did so for a number of reasons. First of all, thematically,
it just kind of works, right? This is the center of
government in the United States, there’s a pretty good chance that if a nuclear war happens,
this is gonna get hit. Second of all, it gave
them creative distance from those earlier Fallout
games which we set, of course, on the west coast of the United States. And third of all, this was 20
miles from Rockville, Maryland where Bethesda’s based. This nuclear apocalypse
happened in their own backyard. – Well, this is how we make our games. Like, when we first decide on
a game, we start with a map. And so we started with a map of D.C. and started mapping out the locations and where everything is gonna be. – So I remember Matt
Carofano, the lead artist, this was after 9-11, he went down to D.C. to take reference photos. So he’s walkin’ around the
capitol in different areas, lookin’ up, lookin’ down, takin’ photos, and security comes up
like, “What’re you doing? “You can’t do that.” And they stopped him. He was like, “I’m just taking pictures,” and they’re like, “No, you’re not.” So a lot of the artists did go downtown and being right here it
was much easier to do. – So I went down and took a lot of photographs of the capitol, which turns out is not a good idea to do, I do not recommend doing this. I asked one of the police officers, “Hey, I make video games,
can I take pictures?” The cop went, “Yeah, take as
many pictures as you want,” and while I’m taking
pictures of the capitol I realized I’m taking
pictures of a very angry guard in the capitol and he came out and told me I had to leave immediately and didn’t want any questions asked. But I got enough reference
to build the capitol but I was very careful about
not wanting to do that again, because it’s security risks but, hey, I just wanted to
make a cool video game, but I didn’t wanna tell him, “Yeah, I’m actually
taking pictures of this “so I can blow it up in a video game,” which was exactly what I was about to do. – And a lot of the concept
art for that game was, like, a ruined capitol
building which, you know, back then and even now is a
little iffy, it’s a little shaky and I remember that we
bought ads in the Metro and we used that concept art, so you’re walkin’ through the D.C. Metro and you’re seeing like this
massive piece of concept art on an ad of, like, this decayed, destroyed, nuked capitol building. And I was like, are you
sure this is a good idea? I mean, I guess. (both laughing) – We knew that the game
was set in Washington D.C., we know what the overall story is, and then we start with the map, and looking at where in Washington, D.C. the player is gonna go. So one of the first things
you realize when you look at any map, you have a lot
of real estate to cover and you want your quests to take the player all over the place. That sort of naturally involves going into easier zones, more difficult zones. And then we start come up with, because we want to tell the story, but we tell the story through the quests. So for us it was coming
up with those quests and how they all fit
together and what feels good and what are the core combat beats. When we started talking about Fallout we knew that we wanted to do something structurally different
and so that structure was a main quest and miscellaneous
quests but no factions. – [Danny] Oblivion had over
a dozen joinable factions but there were four main ones: the Thieves Guild, the Mages Guild, the Fighters Guild, and
the Dark Brotherhood. And each of these had
exhaustive quest lines that took the team
significant time to design. So they made the decision to
drop factions quest lines, instead incorporating
factions like the Enclave and Brotherhood of Steel
into the main quest. Perhaps one of the reasons they cut it was a particularly
significant design challenge that they hadn’t figured
out yet, gun combat. The original Fallout
games were turn-based, using a system known as V.A.T.S
to aid the player in combat. So the team pooled together
a group of designers to help get this turn-based style of combat into their 3D FPS. This group was known as a strike team. So, by the time the public saw
the game for the first time, first-person V.A.T.S had been
realized, but it was something that BGS struggled with
throughout development. – Well, one of the big
things with Fallout, we had to create gun
combat from the ground up, something this company hadn’t done since the Terminator games. – I had grabbed Emil and
said, okay, we need something, it’s like Knights of the Old Republic meets crash mode in Burnout. We were like, how do we put
these two things together? We messed with some
really phase-based stuff but then it kinda came together. But I would tell you, that was one during the development
everybody questioned. – [Interviewer] Really? – Well, you can either go
like, is this a superpower? Is this just a glory shot? Like, what is the actual, what should the player be
feeling or what’s the use of it? – We went from Oblivion,
which had, you know, it was a very robust RPG, it was still very sort of hardcore, we were making the
bridge to a more general player-friendly game but it
was still pretty hardcore. And Fallout had guns and
our combat in Oblivion was, like, you swung and you’re
in some kind of distance and you hit, right? And then when you have
guns you have all sorts of different combat mechanics
you have to take into account, very technically,
high-technical requirements that are had by many
projects that have done first-person shooters much,
not only in experience but better than we could ever do it. So we were trying to
find that balance between how are we gonna keep players who love our role-playing games and also make a decent
first-person shooter, because those two things don’t often mix and that sort of was V.A.T.S. V.A.T.S was, you know, part of Fallout, it worked very well
within the lore of Fallout and we were able to make it so, hey, you’re not so great at twitch-shooty, you can hit that button, pause
the game, see what you want, select targets, just like
Fallout 1 and 2, right? – [Danny] It would take BGS
another Fallout game before they’d get the feel for this
aim-down-sights combat down. But one of the improvements
they’d made over Oblivion came from the team’s new structure. Designers were now split into two pools: level designers and quest designers. This allowed for the design of better combat spaces,
more varied locations, and a lot more variety
when it came to quests. It meant that instead of one person taking creative leadership
of a chunk of the game, designers were working
together to solve problems. What this resulted in was a game packed full of memorable moments. So we decided to ask the team
about some of their favorites. Vaults full of Garys,
tunnels full of snakes, and much, much more. But seeing as we have to start somewhere, how about we start with the start? – I always loved the vaults. Probably every Fallout we do you’ll be coming out of a vault. I like the emerging into the world. And it was an initial idea, I’m usually designing the
very beginning of a game. Like, okay, it’s like this, you live your whole life in the vault and that snapshot of your
life as you go through it and then the emerging, I love
the beginning of Fallout 3. – [Interviewer] Right. – And if you go back, if
you’ve played it a bunch, it’s a little bit like, I just wanna get, a lot of people feel like
the game hasn’t started, but I love the, like, when you step out, you do feel like you lived
your life in a vault. (wind whistling) (eerie music) But if it was just the view,
like, you see that clip and you look at the view and you’re like, “It’s okay, it’s not bad, it’s okay,” but it’s the fact that, the
stuff you did beforehand that make you really feel like
the character you’re playing. Anytime there’s sort of
dissonance with that emotion or, or I know more than the guy
on the screen or whatever, then we’re trying to like massage it back. – Actually, we learned from Oblivion, this is when we have a
controlled area in the beginning that’s your characters gen, we’re trying to teach you things, get your character made,
and then that’s the point where we get to set you
loose into the game world. And we want it to be sorta overwhelming. How amazing is this? What am I gonna do? And we want that vista
to be really impressive, so a lot of work goes
into how much you can see? Where does your eye lead? Do you think you’re gonna
run down to the ruins? Can you see the LOD for
the Red Rocket station? And how am I gonna go explore this world? So we try to lead you into it but then let you go wherever you want and there were lots of discussions
about how the game looked in terms of being a dystopian,
post-apocalyptic wasteland, but I think a lot of it really was we wanted this oppressive
feeling in the game, we wanted it to feel bad
and that you are the hero who’s gonna come help
make this world better. And it was a big jump from
the lush forests of Oblivion to a blasted nuclear wasteland
with dead trees everywhere. A lot of the environment artists joked, “Hey, we’re not allowed
to use the color green “unless it’s in the HUD.” There’s no live plants, there’s no grass, it’s all dead, it’s all brown. – Everyone’s dead so you don’t
want it to feel like too lit, but you also don’t want people just stumbling around in the dark, so you have to find
like this fine line of, like, just enough flickering
lights that you can navigate and see all the monsters,
find the quest items. So you have to play through every quest to adjust the lighting, like
where are the people standing, make sure they have a nice light on ’em and they’re not just, like, a really bright background
and they’re in the shadow. And then it’ll move ’cause
something’ll change in the quest and you just have to keep playing it and keep adjusting it all the time. – Before class, eh?
– Get out of my way you stupid Tunnel Snakes! – I can show you a real
tunnel snake, Amata. – Adam Adamowicz, our concept artist who passed away a few years ago. Yeah, he had drawn this concept art. We knew that we wanted,
like, I had had the idea of, there’s this greaser gang
and they’re the bullies and it’s a very 50s type of,
you know, greaser gang thing and he had down a concept
art, a concept image with that exact logo, Tunnel Snakes. – Tunnel Snakes Rule is awesome. And, by the way, if you ever see, if you’re ever online somewhere and you see a guild or a thing
that says Tunnel Snakes Rule, that’s us, to a T every time. (interviewer laughing) Anytime someone here is
making a faction or guild or a clan, or whatever in another game, everyone at the studios knows, yeah, it’s Tunnel Snakes Rule. (gun firing) – Ah, Gary! – Gary!
– Gary! – That’s a classic example of something I had nothing to do with. It was just the level
designers just doing something, they had, “We need a vault,
we need an experiment, go!” – They did all these vaults and they had this one with all the Garys. And the level designer
comes to me, he’s like, we had, it was a big deal, we record all the VO
and we have to lock it. And he’s like, “We have this
vault with all the clone Garys, “I wanted to record some more lines, “just the guy saying Gary,” I’m like, “They do what?” He says, “They just say Gary.” I’m like, “That’s the fucking
stupidest thing I ever heard.” – I remember when we added
it, I remember it being, I’m always assembling the
scripts before they go off to VO. I think at the time, I always
think things are stupid at first, I’m like, this is stupid. All right, fine, whatever! – So you want us to reopen the archives, get him to record Gary over and over? And he’s like, “Trust me.” – (laughing) Gary! (gun firing) – And they go in and they do it and it, I tell you what, before that, that is one of the worst
levels you’ll ever play, can you imagine it without the? But then it goes in and
there’s a couple, oh my God, I was so wrong, it’s great, I’m like, “Perfect, I love it, it’s hilarious!” – Gary! (gun firing) – (laughing) Gary! – Gary! – We had this nice tower kit
that I’d been working on, I was like, “Ah, this’ll be really cool.” And the designer knew,
hey, we want this to be this group of people who
thought they were above all of the way this horrible
wasteland would live so literally we put them
above all the wasteland, so they had this really tall tower out in the middle of nowhere
and it turned out to be the perfect view for, all right, let’s nuke Megaton, if
you choose to do that. (rumbling) (booming) – The verticality was interesting, it gave us some advantages like, you know, you could have Allistair
Tenpenny at the very top in a very unique position where he’s like sniping people in the wasteland. But the real challenge there
was just all the permutations of, you know, do I let the ghouls out? Who do I save? Who don’t I? Because we had this goal in Fallout 3 that the player can do anything, if the player wants to kill a quest giver, they can kill a quest giver. We talked about Megaton,
if you tell Lucas Simms, the sheriff, that you’re
gonna disarm the bomb and so you have the good quest, and you shoot him and kill him, but then you disarm the
bomb, like, who rewards you? His little son actually
come up to you like, “My dad’s dead but he wanted
you to have this,” like… – Every Fallout game I do
what I call a profanity pass where I go through all the dialog and I rip out probably
50% of the profanity, ’cause it really doesn’t need it. But in the case of Fallout
3 in Little Lamplight, we have the character of Mayor MacCready who we decided we want this kid
to be the most foul-mouthed, like, we were gonna through
80% of the F-bombs on this kid. – And he comes, the voice actor we got, I don’t even know what the
kid’s parents were thinking, but he just did a great job
and it comes across as a kid who’s trying to be
tough and he’s the mayor and he’s in charge and, oh God, it’s little moments like that. (eerie music) – [Danny] Fallout 3 was a
success for Bethesda Game Studios and as they moved onto their
next Elder Scrolls project, a corporate level decision was made to make a sequel to Fallout. Fallout: New Vegas was made
by many of the developers who worked on the original games. The game was put together in 18 months and so launched in a pretty buggy state, but fans generally
appreciated the way in which Obsidian evolved the first person Fallout. They tightened up the gun
combat, added back factions, and created a wonderfully immersive world packed full of interesting stories. There aren’t many New Vegas
posters lining the halls of BGS and in talking to the team here, it sounds like they
weren’t overly involved in the production at all. – We were very hands-off with that. We had, I think, you know, it was corporate level
decided we should do this and we wanted to support
them as best we could but we knew they were capable folks and they were doing their own thing. I think we had like one or two
meetings with them just to, like, go over some high-level stuff and like what are the ground rules? What should we be doing? But we were busy working on
our own stuff here so we knew, that was one of the things,
we knew that, like, listen, if they were gonna do this,
we were not gonna really have the time to work on it with them because we’re doing our own stuff. – [Interviewer] How much
support did you give Obsidian when it came to New Vegas? Was that very much just their very own thing that was going on or? – It pretty much was their own, we were pretty knee-deep
in Skyrim at that point and there really wasn’t a lot of help that we could give them. Interesting enough, of all the people, I was probably the one on the team that worked on New Vegas
the most, actually, but they did a heck of a job
where we literally gave them like this, here is the engine
and the tech, Godspeed. And we gave them all the
source, it was basically, we gave them all the raw
assets from Fallout 3, like, here’s everything, you know, they gave us a great pitch, a great story, and it was pretty exciting, actually, to see someone else do their take on it and it was obviously
well-received as well, but I thought they did a
great job with that game. (majestic music) – [Danny] The team at BGS has
a monthly hands-on meeting where their new studios in Austin and Montreal are dialed in. They begin each meeting
with a list of new employees and recognition of their anniversaries. – This is in Montreal, Jason,
a year, Sebastian, one year, Katja, four years, Jared, four years, Jarod, four years, five years, sorry. Gabe’s five years, and
Nate and Emmet, five years, so a lot of people. (crowd applauding) – [Danny] It went on for quite a while, the top Bethesda Birthday
that month going to quest designer Brian Chappy
Chapin, who celebrated 17 years. The average tenure at BGS is pretty high. This has meant that as they
moved from project to project, the team has become more
battle-hardened and more trusting of the process through
which they make their games. Bethesda has a process. They overlap projects so that
as one game is being finished, another is being spun up. They always start with the map. They add new technology
help to build the world. Then they write stories,
add in new tent-pole ideas, and create strike teams to
focus on problematic areas. Crucially, they’ve gotten
better at finishing games and pulling less out of
them at the last minute. This is a process that
used to terrify the studio, but through experience, they’ve become a lot
more comfortable with. – I don’t know, let’s
say seven, eight months before release, it’s a serious mess. – [Interviewer] Right. – Always. Hey, we wanna push ’em in this direction but things just don’t click
together as much as you want and then you start shaving. There’s tricks you have to
nudge the player this way or, hey, let’s cut this or
let’s change this into this, or let’s make this
expose itself and become, you know, more of a thing. And then when you ship it sometimes, there’s something you miss, you realize, ugh, this is the one
everyone’s drifting toward and that wasn’t our intention. – Three months before we
ship there’s this pocket where things are in the game, you’re in alpha transitions into beta, and the game is done and,
like, people are like, “Yeah, this doesn’t feel right, it sucks!” And you’re like, I know,
but we always get it, like we know that it sucks,
that’s our job at that point to make it not suck, to make it fun. Like it’s a, you know, it’s
finally, the giant block of granite has been
delivered to the sculptor, thank you, it’s sitting in there, now I’m just chiseling
away little by little, just give me a little more
time, it’s getting there. And at this point we’ve been doing it so long we know it’ll get there. – Yeah, I think everyone here
to almost an obsessive level wants these games to be amazing. We don’t, like, hold back, we’re putting everything we
possibly can into this game. And that, actually, is
probably our biggest problem, there’s a time when you gotta realize, okay, this isn’t gonna be good enough, maybe we should cut this back or pare this back a little bit. But it’s not for a lack of trying. Everyone wants everything
in this game every time and then the next game it’s, “Okay, that was great, what can we do now? “How can we make this better? “We’re done, next!” You know, what’re we gonna do
that can blow that one away, no one will ever wanna
play that game again after they’ve seen this. – [Interviewer] That
didn’t work for Skyrim. – No, that’s good. Our fans are amazing, that they
play our games for so long, having the creation kit and modding be such a big part of Bethesda
is just really, really cool. I’ll often go look at mods and just can’t believe what they’ve done. Mostly on the visual front, like, oh, wow, that’s really amazing how they’re using some
new effects on the games. Or the teams who will
go and try to recreate one of our older games
in the newer engine, that’s like the biggest, I don’t know, praise you could possibly get that people want to remake
an entire game you worked on in the newer engine just ’cause it’ll be a little bit better and cooler and they wanna see what they
can do, it’s really awesome. – There are a lot of people
on the team, myself included, are huge fans of mods and
the modding community. And they’ve been doing it
for just as long as we have! The modding community is 15, 18 years old, that’s unheard of in the
industry, no one, like, there are no fans of, like, not even the Minecraft
community is that old, like, there’s nothing
like that in the industry so we’re in a really unique situation. (gentle music) – You know, I talked to
Todd a lot about this because it was just kind of Todd and I talking about Skyrim early
on, nobody was working on it, they were still working on Fallout stuff. And we both wanted, he and
I somehow align on the ideas of what we wanna do in the
next Elder Scrolls game. We both wanted something
that wasn’t sort of the generic fantasy of Oblivion but wasn’t as alien as Morrowind was. So we wanted to do something that had a lot more of the local culture, so we picked the nords, we were both excited about doing nords, but wanted to kind of mix in
some of the other elements from the other provinces around Skyrim. And then I drew a map and that
kind of helped me figure out, well, what is this game? All right, I’ll make a map
and I’ll start figuring out where everything goes
and what could be in it. And I pulled references for
all the different regions, ’cause early on we told
the team, hey, yeah, we’re gonna be making Skyrim
and everyone was like, “Is it gonna be all snow? “That sounds really boring.” So I did a presentation for
the whole team that was, “No, it’s not gonna be all snow and plus, “there’s so many different kinds
of snow you don’t realize.” So we broke apart this
sort of arctic environment into tundra, different types
of tundra, volcanic tundra, the more open fields tundra,
rocky wastelands on the edges, a snow environment, a
arctic glacier environment, and then forests, make ’em different, we can have pine forests,
we can have fall forests, which we called it ’cause we kinda set the tone of the game in the fall. – What it was, it felt that Oblivion had tipped back to being too generic. It’s welcoming, right? But it doesn’t have, its
character just became, “I’m the next gen
role-playing game in forests.” And we needed something that at an instant felt a bit more rugged
and had its own identity. And the dragons and the
shouting, they work into that. – Fallout 3 had a very
tight design, it was very, we hadn’t done factions,
it was a smaller game in a lot of ways than even Oblivion, which allowed us to polish. And we knew that with Skyrim
we were gonna go big again. – Skyrim would be the team’s fourth bite at their particular brand of
open world role-playing game. And with that confidence came the drive to improve on things that
they had done before. To plan better so they had more time to add new flavors to their world. – We’ll come up with the basic ideas behind each town or each city and say, all right, these are the
people who live here, it’s kinda based on, you
know, if it’s Solitude, it’s a heavy Imperial
presence and we want it to be near a port, come up with some ideas. And then Ray, one of our
concept artists, drew that and put it on top of a cliff with an arch over to
another rock formation and everyone was like, “Oh,
all right, this is really cool, “this is starting to feel really unique.” – With the cave kit we tried
to do a lot of different things ’cause I already did the
cave kit on Fallout 3 so we tried to branch out and
make them a lot more organic. ‘Cause the way we would build them before it was pretty much LEGO pieces and it would all snap
together in 90 degree angles, caves aren’t really 90 degree
angles so we expanded on that and added all these
pieces that you can jam in so things can flow around really natural. It’s more work for the designers but then it doesn’t just feel
like old-school grid RPG thing so I think it made a big difference and sort of laid the ground work for what we did on Fallout
4 which went even further. (peaceful music) – [Danny] Whatever way you slice it, one of the elements that
defines Bethesda games is bugs. These games, with all their openness, all their interactive objects
and emergent storytelling, are rife with bugs. In the past, bug hunting was something that was done by the entire
team as they approached launch but as the studio grew, they
were able to put resources into starting a quality
assurance department. Now they were hiring people, many of whom were fans of the games, to join their QA department
and find bugs for them. And as it turns out, bugs
came in all shapes and sizes. – There were some that dealt
with menus and then you’d be the person who was just
scrolling through menus trying to find typos, trying
to find issues with the menus. Then there are the people
that had the gameplay access where they were trying to find whether they could run through a wall or whether this collection of spells, if we’re using Skyrim as an example, would cause the game to crash. So there were teams that
were specifically put on, quest completion and
making sure they can get from point A to point
B without any issues, just running the specific path. Some would have to divert
and do side quests. There were achievement testers
that would do the quests or do what they needed to
do in order to figure out whether the achievements and trophies were gonna pop properly. – [Danny] Skyrim wasn’t
the first Bethesda game to ship with bugs, but
thanks to capture cards and the growing popularity of YouTube, it was the first to have so many of them immortalized for millions to see. I asked the team about
some of their favorites, some you may have seen yourself, and others you probably haven’t. – In the DLC for Skyrim,
I think it was Dawnguard, there was artwork that was
supposed to be a fork and knife. So there’s a fork and knife, you weren’t supposed to
be able to pick them up, they were just supposed
to be placed on the table, but there are two in the
game, still to this day ’cause they never fixed it, that you can pick up and hold as weapons and you can enchant
them and you can, like, decapitate people with an
eating fork and an eating knife. Had a blast doing this
but the bug part of it, like that part wasn’t that big of a deal, but the bug part of it came
where if you created a save game and then loaded that game with
the fork and knife equipped, it would load you into the
artwork somewhere in the game. So, like, you’d just be in the middle of a table place setting. – [Interviewer] The game,
like, when you load back in, makes you, like, the plate? – Yeah, you’re basically
the plate, and you’re not, you’re not standing on top of the table, you’re standing in the table, anywhere where there’s a fork and knife if it’s in the same load set. So if I’m in that area
and there happens to be somewhere later in the
level a fork and knife, it will propel me to where
the fork and knife are. – So after Skyrim came out, the first thing there’s
videos going up on YouTube of people throwing buckets
over people’s heads in towns. – Welcome to the Pawned Prawn. What can I do for you? – You don’t look so good,
are you feelin’ all right? – I have all sorts of
interesting items for sale. – Because our system
for the AI was literally a line of sight, a pick drawn
from the center of the head to whatever they were going for. You put a bucket on their head they couldn’t see you anymore, right? No one thought to do that, all our QA, all the hundreds of hours, thousands, tens of hundreds of thousands hours we collectively played that game. – The giants would launch,
like, characters into the sky and I didn’t know that the
bear was being launched. Every once in a while you would see, like, you’d be playing Skyrim
before we released, you’re like running around, and you would just see a mammoth, like, fly up in the air and then you’d see it, like, drop, and you’re like,
“What the hell is going on?” Like, little by little,
that’s how I started asking the animator who animated the giant, like, “Dude, have you seen the flying mammoths? “Like, what’s happening?” Something will aggro the giant, the giant will then hit the ground and because they’re always
paired with the mammoths, they send them in the air, but I never saw the
bear until we released. And so then the game released and then suddenly there’s this whole thing where my bear was being
launched across the map and then, obviously,
spawned that fan video of that bear that keeps
flying around and all that. – [Player] Attack bear,
please attack bear. Yes! (laughing) – [Danny] As much as we all
enjoy a good flying bear, bugs weren’t the only element of Skyrim to be immortalized in by internet culture. Emil is responsible for so much of what makes these games special. He’s written all the the
Dark Brotherhood quest lines, he helped design every lockpicking game Bethesda has ever worked on, he even wrote an entire
arena combat mode for Skyrim, with arenas in every city
just like the original concept for Oblivion, but just like
that it didn’t make it in. But despite all of his work
on all of these elements, the thing that Emil is
probably most famous for is a single line of guard dialogue that he wrote in about five seconds. – Yeah, so, again, I was Dark
Brotherhood, guard dialog… – [Interviewer] Are you
responsible for arrow in the knee, then, is that what you’re telling me? – Yeah, I am, actually (laughing) that is the weirdest thing ever. But yeah, it’s just, it
was one line of dialog in a stack of hundreds, I don’t know, the guys say a bunch of stuff. And for some reason,
could never have foretold, to this day I still don’t
know why, there you have it. Yeah, so weird. – [Interviewer] Presumably you
wrote it just one late night. – Yeah, I was just writing a stack of ’em, a bunch of randomized lines like, “I used to be an adventurer like you “then I took an arrow in the knee,” you know, “hey, I saw
a horker down there,” you know, whatever, it wasn’t, didn’t give it a second
thought, like, you know, just trying to get into the mindset of what these guys are like. – I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow in the knee. – [Danny] Something else Emil worked on was the dragon language. The team had wanted to
put believable dragons into a 3D Elder Scrolls
game since forever, and now that they finally had
to the technology to do it, they wanted it to be an
integral part of the main quest. – I don’t know if this has ever come out, but one of the biggest
inspirations for the shouts is actually the power of
the voice in the Dune movie. – [Interviewer] Oh really? – Yeah, the Maud’Dib, yeah, ’cause he has that device (grunting) and it blows up the rock. There’s a sort of cadence to it, ’cause each shout can be
a maximum of three words and so, like, if you find one word, it’s an exhale like “Fus,” if there’s two words it’s an inhale then an exhale, it’s like “Fus ro!” And then if it’s like, “Fus ro dah!” So getting that pattern and that sort of, it feels a little bit musical
but you feel a power behind it and then coming up with
all the shouts and stuff. – [Danny] For Fallout 4,
the team had put together a strike team to figure out
how V.A.T.S combat could work and for Skyrim, there were a
bunch of strike teams, too. One of them ran for the entire length of the game’s development,
as it was responsible for one of the most
important parts of the game, the dragons. – They’re very special
because they have to, if you think about draw distance, right? In games you wanna be a fish in a bowl. Okay, when can I unload something or when can I deal with memory issues? But the dragon, you
expect to see the dragon from as far as your eye can see, right? Because you can go
wherever your eye can see so he’s basically like loaded all the time and he’s costly, he has the most bones, you know, the most dense mesh. If you think about him,
he’s a heavy character. – Dragons were tough in multiple ways. Just how did they work? Just with the way the games work and the way we build the worlds, it’s very sort of cell-based
’cause technically it has to load a certain number of cells and a certain number of acres
and so the technical aspect of well, here’s this thing that’s in the sky that can go wherever it
wants, how’s that work? How’s it work within the
game world for the player? And then once it’s within your space, how do you actually fight it? – [Interviewer] Right. – So fighting in the air if
you’re shooting spells at it, when it’s on the ground. So I remember we basically
had a strike team and it was one of those
things where the whole game, from beginning to end, we
were working on dragons. Just sort of, can we do this, and then once we got
to a point where, yes, we can make this work, and then, okay, what do we do, what don’t we do? Like the quest wouldn’t
work, where’s the dragon? It’s over here, there’s a
bunch of sheep it just killed. That’s when we go back and
debug it and where’s the dragon? ‘Cause it uses a radiant AI so it would go off on its
own and do its own thing. – [Danny] Skyrim was a massive commercial and critical success. It become one of the most
modded games of all time, spawned a huge community
of both young and old and has since been released on practically every console known to man. Something the team
laughs about themselves, referring to Skyrim as the
game that will never die. But the success the game enjoyed was a surprise to most of them. – I would’ve never guessed
that game would be as popular and do as well as it did. We knew it was a fun game,
we knew it was awesome, like I knew playing it, you
know, at six months I’m like, “I think we have something here “but I don’t wanna say it out loud “because I don’t wanna jinx it.” And yeah and that would’ve
been, for the designers, that would’ve been their third game now, so that’s practically
unheard of in the industry, for a team to be together
for that long at that point. We started with Morrowind
and then Oblivion and then Fallout 3, now we’re
gonna do it for a fourth time. And it’s one of the
advantages that we have because of our history and all the games that we’ve worked on, we can track, how’re we doing now compared to where we were on this
project with Fallout 4? How do we compare versus Skyrim? How do we compare versus
all the other ones? And that’s sort of another advantage that we have in the industry that we have all these
games and experiences. I call them playbooks, like,
we have the Skyrim Playbook, how did we solve this problem in Skyrim? How did we solve this
problem in Fallout 4? Like, we need a new game mechanic, okay great, we have 15
years worth, pick one, like which one do you wanna try? (peaceful music) – The first thing is for us is figure out where the hell is this game set? And it wasn’t Boston originally. I grew up in Boston and I
thought it would be great but I didn’t wanna be that guy, I didn’t wanna push for it so I’m like. It was set somewhere else and
I still have the design doc in my desk, an original design doc. And in that design doc, the one thing, the one holdover is the
character of Nick Valentine, was conceived even way back then, he was like the first
character they came up with. – [Danny] Emil’s design doc focusing on a New York-based Fallout was one idea that the lead’s were floating around. They could place this game anywhere, in fact at one stage
they had asked Obsidian to remove a line in New Vegas about San Francisco being
totally wiped off the map, they wanted the Bay area to at least be an option for future games. The idea for Boston actually
came from a lunch meeting between Istvan Pely,
Todd Howard, and Emil. And once Beantown was given the thumbs up, Emil headed home with his camera. – I had a friend of mine who was MIT, so the Institute is MIT, obviously, right? CIT in the game. But I had a friend who was an MIT cop, he drove me around, have me
a little tour, and he said, “Hey, I don’t know if you knew this, “but it’s an open campus,”
it was in the summer, and he’s like, “The campus
is open, you can walk around, “you can walk through the classrooms, “you can walk through anywhere.” And you know the whole
cryo hook with Fallout 4? I was wandering on a side tunnel
down this corridor at MIT, there’s this cryo lab with
these giant cryo tanks and I sent these selfies and
sent them to Todd, I’m like. (interviewer laughing) Looked pretty funny and
then I knew back then, the story just started to
take on a life of its own. – I have friends that live there so we toured around the city and I was taking tons
and tons of pictures, which should’ve been a red flag to them, but then the extra big
red flag should’ve been, “And then we’re gonna go
and check out Fenway Park.” That was designed to be
that way from the start, like that was the very first
thing I worked out on Fallout 4 was starting out building
Fenway and from the beginning we knew we wanted those stadium lights and we knew the player was gonna have, like, their first quest
pointing towards that. So I always wanted this beacon and I always like to build worlds in a way where you have these landmarks that you can help orient
yourself with, too, that way you don’t have to, like, pull up the map all the time
like, where the hell am I? You can just navigate using what you see. – My childhood bedroom is in the game, my high school’s in the game. A raider boss named Bosco, he has a bear. So it was the Don Bosco Bear was my mascot back in high school, so
goofy stuff like that, yeah. Fenway Park, well, I mean,
you know, Diamond City. We knew that there were the
big things that we had to have. You have this quest to
get paint for the wall and you can repaint the
wall blue or yellow, which is the most sacrilegious
thing you could possibly do, I was like, we gotta do this. It was great. Boston Common and the public garden, the swan boats are big and
that’s why we have Swan, the supermutant behemoth. The Old North Church, we knew that that had to be a significant place. The Old Statehouse which
is where Goodneighbor is. The name Goodneighbor comes
from Holly Goodneighbor, who was one of the last
burlesque dancers in Boston, so Goodneighbor is in an area
that was once Scollay Square, which was the original red
light district of Boston. – 2011 I think there
was the earliest version of that drawing out, how we wanted the market laid out and stuff. I actually laid that out myself and one of the things I wanted was I knew players were gonna
be going there all the time, ’cause you’re always
selling things in games and sometimes people will lay out a city and it’s like, the clothing
shop is over there, the weapon shop is over there. I was like, that is super annoying and takes 30 hours of
additional time in your game, just like running back and
forth between those shops. So I was like, let’s take all the shops, and we put them right here in the middle so you can just buy and
sell everything right there. – Fallout 4 I think, for
us, was the first time we really handled a giant
city in a much better way. Technically and artistically,
it was really hard to jam everything we
wanted to into a city, make sure you didn’t get lost, and make sure it ran well and it was fun. That was quite a lot of
work went into figuring out how to build the downtown city of Boston. We had like key colors that popped out where there was like a
certain color of rust and a certain red and a certain blue that you’ll see used on everything. Like, the high-tech buildings will have the same blue as the cars, those were very conscious
choices that we had. We just wanted these accent colors, so you’d have, you would know
where important things are, so you’d have sort of the
background of the terrain and ruined stuff is a certain color but then you’d get these pops of color to make it feel a little bit more alive while still being trashed and crappy. Color and lighting have a
lot of similarities, too, where I think of it as,
like, mothing the player. They see something and go towards it. Yeah, that was intentional,
we really wanted to say, here are these bright
colors and when I see that, I know I’m gonna go find
something that’s interesting, that’s gonna lead me
through this dead wasteland that we’re in and just be kind
of a guide for the player. – [Danny] The location for
a Bethesda role-playing game is always a point of interest,
but in the case of Fallout 4 many of us had heard that
it was set in Boston, years before the game was released. In December of 2013, a Kotaku article revealed the location to be Boston, referencing a voiceover script that had been leaked to their news desk. Communications between the studio and the outlet have
been frosty ever since, but I wanted to know
how the studio reacted when they first saw the report. – There were some small
ones but nothing really bad, there were some VO script
leaks, that wasn’t pleasant. You know, I was, separate story really, but literally the first
time I saw those documents was when they were emailed to me from somebody outside the company. And then you’re like, what is this? Where’s this coming from? But you know what? I think you gotta let
that kinda, you know, roll off the shoulders pretty quickly, like, we have enough to do
to worry about that stuff and there’s so much going on that the fact that more doesn’t leak, like in general, not
just us but other people, is kind of surprising. – That was pretty, it was surprising, and obviously we tried to track it down and figure out what happened. And that was, you know what,
and that also kind of told us, like, if you’re gonna obfuscate
stuff related to Fallout, you really have to hide it, you can’t simply just give it
a codename and call it a day. Like, if you look at the thing you’re like, oh, this is a Fallout game. – [Danny] Bethesda Game
Studios continue to grow, expanding departments with a focus on improving the general
production quality of the games. Technical artists were hired to create bespoke tools for the team, dedicated animators helped
to create more complex rigs. They added cinematic cameras to dialogue, upgraded the animation system, and even sharpened up the shooting. – We really, I felt
like what happened was, with Havok Animation in particular, when we integrated that into our system, I think Fallout 4 was the beginning of us really catching a groove with that. Like, there’s a certain
time when you start to learn a new tool when we adopted Havok, there’s a time when you’re
just trying to learn it, so we did that with Skyrim. But I think when we had Fallout 4, we knew it well enough where
you’re not fighting the tool so much and you’re much more in the realm of creating the art, right? I started on Dogmeat and I kind of did the pre-production on Dogmeat and then I passed it on to someone else who actually did an amazing job with it. And then I stayed primarily on scenes, directing any actors we had
for mo-cap, focusing on faces. We spend so much time talking in our games and it’s the area where I feel like we continually need to push. I did a lot of the mo-cap, I was also the actor
for most of the mo-cop. – [Interviewer] Oh really? – Yeah, yeah, yeah,
so, like, the salesman, when he first comes in,
I did all his stuff, I shot the infamous cryo pod scene where the guy was shooting the spouse. That we did with a couple people here. Yeah, we have like a mo-cap station, I just go downstairs and just shoot it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I just get
in the suit, I play the audio, and I try to perform to
the people’s performance, or I grab somebody else and say, “Hey, I need your help, let’s go shoot.” – You know, it’s funny, I grew
up with a kid, Jay Giannone, the last time I saw him in
person, we were in a fight, me and him and his friends were
against me and it was like, it was like this bully-nerd situation, did not end in a good way. And I had known that Jay
throughout the years, he’d gone on to be an actor
and he’d been in some stuff and I liked the things he’d been in, so I reached out to him, I’m
like, “Hey man, how’s it goin’? “I know you’re an actor, do
you wanna be in the game?” So he’s actually, he does a
couple voices in the game. (guns firing) – [Danny] Before each project Bethesda hosts a game
jam where they invite everyone in the studio
to prototype something for a new or existing game. It can be anything, big or small. For instance, one of the producers learned how to animate
cats during a game jam. Those animations are used in Fallout 4. Another game jam gem came from physics programmer Mike Delaney. He knocked together a
system that allowed players to build and furnish their own bases. This system, Workshops, ended up being one of the tent-pole
features of Fallout 4, but the truth is that it almost didn’t make it into the final game. – The Workshop mode in Fallout was on the cutting block for so long. We were like, “I don’t know if anyone “really wants to do this,
it’s kind of fun though. “Well, I guess we’ll just
kind keep it in there.” It was always kind of,
it just refused to die because we just weren’t sure, like, does anyone even care
about this, you know? And it turned out to be huge, like there’s a contingent
of fans who hate it and there’s a contingent of fans, hardcore fans, who absolutely adore it. – Workshops was the
easiest thing for us to cut because we were always so afraid of it. Not, afraid’s the wrong word. It was ancillary to the rest of the game. It was a side thing, so we kept it there because it was such an ambitious endeavor, like it became part of the
quests towards the end, certain quests you had to do. But we could’ve easily, had we
known and invested more time, it could’ve been a big
part of the main quest, rebuild a town or something. One of physics programmers,
Mike Delaney, sat there and was like, “I did this
thing and we can trip lights “and turn lights on and
move the objects around,” and then Todd saw that and was like, “Well, you get to do that
for the rest of the project.” Well, some parts of the
rest of the project. And it built and built and built. – [Danny] One of the conspiracy theories that fans of BGS games love to talk about is the idea that these games
all exists in one universe. The way in which the studio
creates these games in series means that there are always
elements of Elder Scrolls games being brought into the
Fallout games and vice versa. But one of the most
exciting crossovers ever, was actually left on
the cutting room floor. It involved the town
of Salem, Massachusetts and a bunch of magic kids. – In the real world,
there’s a city of Salem, there’s another town of Danvers, and there was a rivalry
between those two towns with, like, the high school teams with, like, the Danvers soccer team
and the Salem soccer team. So we decided, let’s do
a little bit of a rivalry between Danvers and Salem in the game. We were like, okay, what
is the theme of Salem? It’s witches. All right, and so what if we have people with mutations
that have weird powers? They’re kind of X-Men-ish but
they’re caused by radiation, but they’re viewed as witches
by the people of Danvers. So there’s this sort of, like, they’re being persecuted somehow, we’ll get that witch theme. We were using the Skyrim code base, which had magic built in. So we had, all right, fireballs
and telekinesis or whatever. Well, you know, eventually
as we got deeper into Fallout 4’s development,
that code got ripped out, and so we were like, we don’t have this magic stuff anywhere, there are no more fireballs,
you can’t, oh great. So, long story short, that
quest had gone through, I wanna say, four or five variations and four or five designers and it was this close to getting cut. And one of the issues was
because our world is compressed, right, Danvers ended up
being right next to Salem and it was so close we
ended up combining the two. And so there were no two towns that could compete against each other, so we had to like, what do we do? We know we have this museum
and then Liam Collins, one of our designers,
he was like, I think, one of our newest quest
designers at the time, he was given this quest and was like, we gotta do something with
it, I don’t wanna lose it, I want there to be a quest
there, what can we do? And we worked together and it’s a very, it’s one of the coolest quests in the game and it’s such a cool, it has
a totally different vibe. It’s basically like, what do you do if you have a deathclaw
that’s trapped in a building? And trying to escape from it and doing some really
cool scripted sequences and, like, we know we can trim it, are we gonna trim it out of existence, is it still gonna be fun? And it is, we just had to
change the nature of it. (deathclaw growling) (gun firing) (whooshing) (deathclaw roaring) – [Danny] If the team was
simplifying quests in some areas, they were making them far
more complex in others. Fallout 3 didn’t have faction quests, the team decided to scrub them out to make time for other
systems that needed building. The system had been re-introduced
in Fallout: New Vegas with faction alliances having
some impact over the end game. So when it came for
BGS to start Fallout 4, they decided to make factions an integral part of the
entire Fallout experience. – In Fallout 4, there
was a design decision to make all the factions
interwoven into the main story. We did not do that in previous games and it kept things simpler,
but you often felt like, hey, I played the Mages Guild in Skyrim and they didn’t particularly care that dragons were
attacking the whole world. But in this game, all the
stories kind of combined around this Synth threat, it made things vastly, vastly more complicated. – Oh my God, I joined the
Railroad but I wanna kill Synths but then I do this over here but then I join the Brotherhood of Steel and I have Danse as a companion but then I also wanna have Strong, and, uh, it’s mind-boggling. – And it worked out really well in that each faction got their own group
of people to work on things so they got ownership of it
and got to kind of run with it. So even though the Brotherhood of Steel is a little bit evil, I
particularly enjoyed that. – From my perspective, Fallout 4 is our most
accomplished title to date, like that game was playable far earlier than any other game we’ve had. We were playtesting it far earlier, we had all our processes
and tools and technology and it was pretty rock solid. (gentle music) – [Interviewer] What
are some of the things that you’re most proud of? – I think there’s a comradery
and there’s a shared history that when you go to that meeting
and you see that up there, there’s a sense of pride, that,
like I can go through a list of like, yeah, I worked
with that guy for 20 years, and this person for 18 years, and 16 years, and enough of us. These are the games we
would run out to buy, like, we really enjoy the games. More so, we enjoy doing it with each other and if we didn’t we wouldn’t
still all be here doing it. I think, like, it’s a lot of work. I spend more time, I’ve spent more time with the
Elder Scrolls and Fallout, or even just Elder Scrolls,
than anything in my entire life. Like, anything. My family. Like, if you count up the hours. And that has to mean something
to everybody or we won’t, we’ll do below average work or people will move on or it’s just a job. But there’s a certain, there’s
a certain vibe in the studio that I think a lot of us get the sense of, I don’t know if you’re coming in, I don’t know if you do or don’t, you’re spending limited time. It’s sort of that thing
like, you can do something, but if you do it with other people, it’s just far more meaningful, right? It’s like, we’re always trying
to do too much or, like, have we bitten off more than we can chew? Of course! Like, that’s who we are, and we won’t always get all the way there, but I’d rather shoot for it and then see where we end up then be safe. – Thank you for joining us on our journey through the history of
Bethesda Game Studios. And now that we’ve suitably
indulged our nostalgia, it’s time to look forward
towards and exciting future. In our next documentary, we talk to the people
working on Bethesda’s future as we explore the design of Fallout 76, and give you an exclusive window into the studios lofty plans. – So we’ll catch up after
Bethesda’s E3 showcase for an exciting
behind-the-scenes deep dive into the new games this
studio has been working on. Enjoy the show! (wind whistling) (clicking)

Comments 100

  • Someone should tell them about the Half-Life 1 and 2 modding communities, if they think that their mediocre games have the biggest, oldest or the most unique modding community. Who gives a fuck about massive jiggling boobs for anime babe characters, unless you're some teenage boy masturbating furiously. Also fuck that Todd Howard guy. Morrowind was a good game with an excellent and captivating plot but I guess that's pointless, when you can have so many endless and flavorless quests, boring story, idiotic characters and stupid kill animations.

  • I would love to see insider footage like this during a time like this for Bethesda, where fans are pissed off because all these things have sort been building towards this crescendo. Like how do they handle it inside? Because often all we get is silence from the devs, or very obvious corporate speak. When you watch this you see a more human side to the devs, but when this stuff happens it's the exact opposite. It's hard to imagine what they're doing internally. Like I wonder honestly if this team in the video above had much to do with FO76 or the shady decisions like the nylon bag ripoff, etc, as I'd wager they are knee deep into their next big triple A. But they still take the flak. And if so, who is this other team that pushed out FO76 and why. Like their decisions lately haven't made a ton of sense, really seems like bad management.

  • At this rate this could end up being a retrospective of a former game studio…

  • Can't wait for part two…
    "the proper integration into the money grabbing bastards gaming industry"

  • Danny, always great work. A shame that the studio focused here isn't deserving of your hard work.

  • so many years and they still can't properly do debugging. 🙂 what wasted potential lies in that studio

  • Idk their games always seemed infantile and borderline retarded to me.

  • and then came fallout 76

  • sad to say i turned this off the moment fallout 76 was mentioned

  • These documentaries makes me appreciate the games discussed on another level.

  • Yeah Bethesda's modding community is large, older, and really good, but they don't have shit on the Half-Life series in terms of making long-lasting impressions in the entire industry.

  • I just want fallout 4 to work. I played through it at release but over 3 separate new pc's I get the infinite loading screen. the last build I got it in 1 hour of gameplay. Maybe I am a idiot, but all the "fixes" havnt worked for me.

  • Holy shit British voice lame exposition sucked all the energy out of this video

  • Guys seriously, ur videos are so good until that British guy comes in and kills the chill and interesting vibe, fix this!


  • 53:20 "We KNOW it sucks" this just details the entire problem with Bethesda's mindset from the beginning. They've resigned themselves to the game "sucking" at first then eventually fixing it via patches and updates and support from the community.

    Hopefully the recent mess will let them reevaluate their thinking. It's great to have a community that will continue working on the game you release, but you, as a developer, still need to feel that the game is finished before releasing it.

    I really just think all the praise they've received over the years went to their head and it made them lazy. If they can take an honest look at themselves they might be able to turn it around for the next game.

    I don't think they're evil, I think they've just given in to the trappings of human nature.

    If you can humble yourself, reevaluate your approach and the relationship with your customers, it IS recoverable – but at the end of the day you will be judged on the quality of your final product.

  • It is not an exaggeration to say that I played Fallout 3 steadily for more than two years, simply to try out different aspects of karma, tweak interactions with the NPCs, etc. One of the most enjoyable gaming experiences I've ever had. Bravo, Bethesda.

  • They all talk out their ass so much. They don't Know how to make a working game and their last few efforts have no inspiration behind them. Go sell Skyrim another 40 times you incompetent idiots.

  • Sad that the "sausage" being made turned out to be a shit sausage.
    Edit: the game, not your video. Your video is great 😉

  • A while ago, I thought that Bethesda should so a big remaster of oblivion or morrowind or something but now I know that they can't handle making 2 or more games at once.

  • Puff piece

  • You've lost all your credibility by letting these crooks and scam artists have a platform. Shame on you.

  • Beautiful, isn't it?

  • I think they should make the star wars Sanger

  • Why were they showing Daggerfall gameplay for Arena chapter? lol

  • As always thanks Danny for making yet another amazing documentary….

  • This is very relaxing to watch, great job!

  • Bugthesda

  • Even though Fallout 76 didn't live up to everyone's expectations, I still believe Bethesda is one of the best games studios out there. Hope they listen to all the feedback and fix what is unfortunately broken. I still want to work there one day, the environment seems so genuine and lovely.

  • My wallet is awaiting STARFIELD.

  • i don't care what people think about fallout 76
    bethesda are the best and i love them and their games

  • Would like to have an update on their thoughts now, after the release of FO76

  • 15:20 this is the mentality they need now more than ever.

  • The first time i started morrowind, I was mindblown. But it was unplayable without a fix: A bucket helmet on character's head, and NEVER EVER remove it.

  • My Kajit Telvanni Master. Impossible in any other game.

  • "Have we bitten off more then we can chew? Of course. But I would rather shoot for it and see where we end up then be safe."

    That might explain what happened to 76. Or I could be completely wrong and it was just Bethesda being lazy, truthfully I don't know. But either way that's quite a thing to say.

  • 6:05 how big is that dude on the box

  • In my opinion Skyrim and FO 4 are the best games in existence.

  • After fallout 76 and the PR disaster that came after i can't take Bethesda serious anymore.

  • I wonder if they ever mention just how they fit all those bugs in their code.

  • Please put arenas back in TES VI. God I loved it. And for the love of god give us real guilds this time.

  • @1:12:30 Anthem should’ve taken notes

  • @0:00 Look at all the cool stuff they bought with the money from fallout 76 pre orders and using canvas bags with the power armor helms

  • They also polish old assets, in order to show them as a new game, insuring pre-orders and hype. sorry but to use fallout 4's buggy engine and all its assets and claim its a new engine ect is in my mind a form of defrauding someone of their money .

  • I finally get it now. Bethesda's biggest mistake was hiring Todd.

  • Bathesda is a heaping shit pile. Go fuck yourselves.

  • Depressing how toxic people get over one game. These comments are shameful.

  • The strongest thing I can say about the quality of these Noclip docus is that even when they cover the development of games I've never given a rat's ass about (Fallout anything, Elder Scrolls anything) I still find the vids fascinating and hugely entertaining. Always professional, always relevant, this is some of the best game journalism you will ever see.

    Having said that, back in the 90s I did play Terminator: Future Shock, and Terminator: Skynet and loved them both. Something I'm not sure I'm correct about is that the first appearance of the aiming red dot or reticle on the screen was with Future Shock. Before that, in Doom and Doom II and the like, there was no aiming reticle, no aiming down the sights, just a more or less primitive version of aim assist that got you there if you pointed your weapon in the right direction. I also remember seeing some developer notes on the nascent Duke Nukem (the first) that they added in an aiming reticle "like TFS". And once Duke Nukem hit it big it was par for the course until other games started letting you aim down the sights, a la Call of Duty 2 and others. I remember all this stuff so well because I came late to both the PC world and PC gaming. When Doom II came out I was a 30 year old police officer with a wife and kid. Duke Nukem and others, even older. There's always a tremendous feeling of nostalgia for me whenever I watch these Noclip vids, because they delve into the history of both games and game creators. I don't think I'd even thought about Terminator:Future Shock for decades until I watched this video.

    Many thanks. Already subscribed. Thumbs up, as always.

  • Bethesda claiming their modding community is uniquely the oldest in the industry when half life came out 4 years before morrowind…

  • I feel sad watching this after Fallout 76.

  • Morrowind is the best fucking game I've ever played don't @ me

  • It is sad seeing this and seeing how disconnected Bethesda have become from what made them so great F3 and Oblivion where some of the greatest RPGs in history and Todds statement of making games they wanted to play used to be true but now it feels like they just care about day 1 sales like all the other greedy publishers

  • Soy el único que vino por los videos a los que alex les dio like

  • What's the background music around minute 10? If it was composed for this documentary, how was it made?

    It sounds a lot like a very slow version of a Witcher 3 track. That instrument that gets plucked is particularly reminiscent of that games sounds.

    Thanks in advance?

  • If YouTube and all these trolls existed back when Bethesda made Battlespire and Redguard, yall would be like "BETHESDA'S GOING DOWNHILL! THEIR GAMES SUCK!" I mean, yeaahhhhh, Fallout 76 sucks but, based off of past experience, they know when they mess up and know how to bounce back. I'm confident that they will. And if they dont, then oh well. It was fun while it lasted.

  • Your games are shoddy. How are you still in business?
    Oh that’s right … Modders.

    Basically, you rip off game enthusiasts, who you treat as unpaid interns, who do the work, to fix your broken buggy shit.

    We, as consumers, need to boycott your bullshit.
    I have a few ideas for your games.
    Make them work.
    Fix the bugs.
    Release a finished game for once. (25 years. Has not ever released an unbroken polished, playable, game.. not even once)
    Don’t pretend it’s cute that your games are broken cluster fucks & glitchy messes. It’s not, it never was.
    When Todd Howard goes on stage & jokes that he read online that their games are a bit glitchy, like it’s funny, it trivializes a real very serious problem &, it shows that you, as a company, don’t give a flying fuck about your customer base.
    Oh, & maybe, just maybe, don’t fucking lie about absolutely everything.
    It’s not funny that your public face is seen globally as a pathological liar.

    Your writing teams are total crap, the quality is piss poor & make no fucking sense. You disregard your own lore. The skill just isn’t there, hasn’t been in many years & is getting progressively worse.

    Fuck You Bethesda.
    I will never buy another product from you.

    Your free pass .. has been rescinded

  • After fallout 76 it's really sad to look at this documentary

  • And not a single word about music???? WTF!!!! Without Jeremy Soul’s music there would not be this unique atmosphere of the game… how could you miss it???

  • Tunnel Snakes rule! Fucking gets me every time ahahhaha

    Also at 54 mins they talk about how amazing modding is. Decide to make 2 online games ditching their entire modding community. Kek.

  • "I'd rather shoot for it and see where we end up than be safe" Best thing I've heard all life.

  • 5:05 I literally cried

  • 16:25 Shout out to my boi Michael Kirkbride N´Wah!

  • Don’t get me wrong, I love Bethesda games, but my god the graphics need work, knowing that in the gaming world we are at the peak of photorealism.

  • ff you clickbait rom 11 months ago

  • No Clip: humanizes Bethesda
    Bethesda: releases fallout 76

  • Bethesda a good company? This doesn't seem righ…. oh… Jun 5th… this was before the shit shows named 76 and Blades released

  • "We had to create guns from the ground up"
    literally just modified spells from oblivion

  • Fuq bethesda!! Thumbs down 🙁

  • Watching this with 76 in hindsight makes me sad. What a waste of good PR and goodwill. Im not sure they´ll ever recover. They are gonna need some amazing PR-hires.

  • 1:13:20 I'm sorry, what?! That city ran like crap, your fps were halved in that area, constant stuttering and frame drops, it was barely playable on PC

  • "They could put resources into hiring a quality assurance department."

    That clearly didn't last long.

  • indeed Bethesda.

    morrowind is the best game you ever done and i have to admit its the best game i ever played.

  • This documentary and the bungie one in are AWESOME

  • Great documentary. Nice work.

  • I can't hear Todd without thinking he is lying every second of his life.

  • These docs calm down the angry gamer with an easy criticism in me and make me have a lot of tenderness for the developpers. I don't completely like their games (especially Fallout) but always play it with pleasure (weird feeling). And these interviews, where people show they do the best with heart, gives more appreciation to the games.
    The bad reviews on Fallout 76 doesn't matter. At reverse, maybe Bethesda need some kind of crises. Because when things were going wrong, they made Morrowind.

  • Bethesdas Lovs
    Subs portuguese?

  • I liked New Vegas better than Fallout 3 & 4

  • You should have cut workshop and minutemen from Fallout 4, I hated that it wouldn't let me NOT do it. I wanted to not have a base, not have a fort, not have to feel like I needed to run back and do something. I just wanted to play a game, not The Sims

  • "'Fallout 76', it just works…after more than a year after release." -Todd Howard

  • 55:22 forgot to mention that half-life 1 and 2 still has a dedicated modding community that are older than their games

  • Great documentary on a not so great studio.

  • Ce serai le fun si il ferai un fallout ou Fallout 5 dans un autre pays! Genre… la Canada!

  • this was before the downfall of Bethesada

  • I'm worried FO76 will make them think people don't want any more Fallout, when the actual message should be that brand loyalty can't save a bad game. They will learn the same lesson again with ES6 if they aren't more mindful about the cohesive experience of playing the whole game instead of just including cool scripted moments.

  • 55:21 the half life mod community, or the counter strike mod community, garry's mod mod community aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnndddddddddddddddddddddddd……… fair enough

  • I’m still trying to figure out how they got qui gon Jin to play in this

  • I just watched my whole childhood hail Oblivion!

  • They are making their history now. In a couple of years their history will be '' started as loved by many but then turned to greed and lazy poor quality + as scummy and corrupt as EA '' .

  • If they could have just fucked Todd off instead… then Bethesda would still be shit because its devolved into diversity pushing college grads with no love for actual gaming.
    Soul will never come back 🙁

  • Some of the best games I have ever played, but it seems that with each new release they want the audience to be bigger and the game to be more "accessible". This means reducing the RPG elements of each game. Skyrim had great character customization, but it was an action/adventure game more than anything else.

  • You know, they’d be better if you’d fucking fix them.

  • Cut it any way it really was a load of crap.

  • Some of this praise has not aged well… shame the slide has begun but time and methodical testing is needed. I would prefer a long wait for a tight package that is fully realised and above all else works day 1.

  • To the guy in the break room nursing that freak archery injury with no future in exploration, you be you.

  • Something that has not being acknowledge is that something really important, for me the most important, in the TES series is the music. That Jeremy Soule work is amazing and its going to last forever.

  • I'd honestly love to see a revisit documentary for Bethesda. An insight into how the wider studio felt/handled the whole Fallout 76 Shabockle and so on. I personally love the studio, while they've done things that are pretty morally gray or just shady I must say, at least within my knowledge they have either begun to correct their decisions or have remedied them in some way. While I'm not saying this makes things better, it's nice to at least see them acknowledging SOME of their mistakes.

  • Please do Civ!! These docs are fantastic, really happy this kind of stuff exists

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