Todd Howard

  • Bloomsbury Academic
  • 2020
  • 176
  • eng
  • 1
  • 9781501350986

The newest addition to our Influential Video Game Designers series explores the work of Todd Howard, executive producer at Bethesda Studios, known for how he consistently pushes the boundaries of open-world gaming and player agency. Howard's games create worlds in which players can design their own characters and tell their own stories. While many games tell the story of the game's main character, Todd Howard's worldbuilding approach to game design focuses more on telling the story of the game's world, whether it be the high fantasy environments of the Elder Scrolls series or the post-apocalyptic wasteland of the Fallout series. This focus on sculpting the world allows for remarkable amounts of player freedom and choice in an expansive game environment by creating a landscape rich with open opportunity. Drawing on both academic discussions of narrative, world design, and game design, as well as on officially released interviews, speeches, and presentations given by Howard and other designers at Bethesda Games, Wendi Sierra highlights three core areas set Howard's design perspective apart from other designers: micronarratives, iterative design, and the sharing of design tools. Taken as a whole, these three elements demonstrate how Howard has used a worldbuilding perspective to shape his games. In doing so, he has impacted not only Bethesda Studios, but also the landscape of game design itself.