Earlier today, Bethesda director Todd Howard extolled the virtues of focusing development on fewer platforms, saying that it enables developers to “learn a lot in making [a game] the best it can be for those systems.” He was of course speaking of Starfield, Bethesda’s big sci-fi RPG, announced in 2018 but not really revealed until last week’s Xbox E3 showcase, in which it was also confirmed as an Xbox (and PC) exclusive.
In a separate interview with GameSpot, Bethesda senior vice president of marketing and communication Pete Hines expressed a very similar sentiment, saying that reducing the number of platforms a team is working on enables more “streamlined” development.
“You’re not worrying about, ‘How does it work on this box versus how does it work on that box?'” Hines said. “We’re not making it on that box, so it just needs to run as well as possible on this one, [and] on a PC. Narrow focus always helps.”
It works both ways: Hines said the same thing is true for Deathloop, Arkane’s upcoming Swinging Sixties time loop shooter, which is exclusive to PlayStation 5 and PC: “When we decided to do a partnership with Sony on Deathloop and that game became exclusive to that platform, that development got more streamlined because we said, ‘PS5 and PC, that’s what we’re focusing on’.”
At the same time, Hines acknowledged that while it might be a boon for game makers, it can suck for platform owners. “I totally understand if you are unhappy or pissed or whatever. I get it. Those are all real feelings and frustrations,” he said. “How should you deal with that? I haven’t the foggiest idea. I would never presume to say, ‘Here’s how you can make it better and feel better’.”
“I don’t know how to allay the fears and concerns of PlayStation 5 fans, other than to say, ‘I’m a PlayStation 5 player as well, and I’ve played games on that console, and there’s games I’m going to continue to play on it. But if you want to play Starfield, [it’s] PC and Xbox. Sorry. All I can really say is, I apologize.”
Starfield is set to come out on November 11, 2022 on PC and Xbox Series X/S, and will be available on Xbox Game Pass on launch day. Hines’ full interview with GameSpot is below.