‘Fallout 4’ Director Todd Howard Says RPG Characters & Choices Must Improve In Future Games

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Fallout 4 director Todd Howard is about to be inducted into the Academy Of Interactive Arts & Sciences hall of fame for his recent work in the wasteland and other mega-hit Bethesda RPGs like Skyrim. He chatted with Polygon about how future games in the genre must improve based on the foundation he helped build.

Despite the fact that Dogmeat and Codsworth are two of Howard’s favorite characters in Fallout 4, he believes game designers “have a very long way to go in how the other characters act and react to you. “We have a good handle on game flow, the rate you get new things, how you're rewarded over time. But we need to be innovating on [characters],” he said.

The subject of choice has also been paramount in Bethesda titles, and it played a key role in faction alignment in Fallout 4. Howard admitted that his team is “pretty good at asking those [moral] questions” but suggested “we need to get better at letting the player deliver answers to them.”

In large part, these qualms should be relevant to anyone who’s played an open-world RPG in the past decade. Isn’t it weird how NPCs just stand there waiting for you to interact with them? When was the last time a significant gameplay choice really and truly changed the outcome of a virtual experience? It’s these shortcomings that we believe Howard may be alluding to.

We’re aware of the problems, of course, but the big question on everyone’s mind is when we’ll see the results of Howard’s solutions. That part of the equation, however, remains unclear. As it stands now, Bethesda has at least three projects in incubation, including The Elder Scrolls VI. The Skyrim follow up was supposedly not in active development as of last October.

Howard wouldn’t talk much about the future, but he offered one tiny tease. “We have so many ideas that we didn't think we were ready for. But given our size now and how the tech is coming together, we can do some of the things that we've talked about for a very long time.”

Fallout 4 is available now on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.

Do you think character interaction and choices were a weakness of Fallout 4? Tell us in the comments section!

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