Bethesda Game Studios head Todd Howard has vigorously denied that the upcoming Fallout 76 signals the end of single-player game production at the popular publisher. The rumors of the death of single-player games at Bethesda first arose following the company's presentation at E3 2018.
It was here that Bethesda first unveiled Fallout 76 - a survival-themed MMORPG set in the same world as Bethesda's post-apocalyptic Fallout franchise. The company also released brief teaser trailers for the untitled sixth game in The Elder Scrolls fantasy RPG series and Starfield - a science-fiction game that represents Bethesda's first new franchise in nearly 25 years. Bethesda's focus on Fallout 76 coupled with the lack of any solid information on Starfield or the new Elder Scrolls game led some to speculate that Bethesda was giving up on the single-player games it has in development, in favor of focusing on online, multiplayer role-playing games.
Howard said nothing could be further from the truth, in an interview with IGN. When questioned about the fears that Fallout 76 signaled a shift away from single-player games, Howard pointed out that Bethesda is already in the business of making multiplayer games and that while Fallout 76 may be their most ambitious project ever in that arena, it does not mean they are giving up on single-player games. Howard stated:
"It doesn't mark the future. Corporately we've done a mix; people forget sometimes. Elder Scrolls Online is one of the biggest online games in the world, we have Fallout Shelter which we keep updating and Elder Scrolls: Legends."
Howard continued to tote Bethesda as a company that has always been about gaming in general rather than any one particular sort of game. He also criticized those pundits who are quick to label any kind of change or experimentation within an established franchise like Fallout as a sign of disaster on the horizon. Howard noted:
"Anyone who has ever said 'this is the future and this part of gaming is dead' has been proven wrong every single time. We like to try it all. For a long time we wanted to try a multiplayer game and we had this idea. We shouldn't be afraid. We should try it."
Howard's comments are consistent with earlier statements regarding similar concerns over Starfield. The long awaited science-fiction themed game, reportedly in pre-production as a concept since 2004, was rumored to be in development as a multiplayer game poised to compete with EVE Online. Howard refuted those rumors, however, saying that Starfield was always intended to be a single-player game and it is being developed as such even now.
Two things seem certain in all of this talk regarding what games Bethesda Game Studios is producing. First, that Howard and his teams are as committed as ever to delivering fantastic games like Fallout 76 - both for single-players and multiple players. The other is that Bethesda's fanbase is as loyal as ever and fearful of losing one of the strongest and longest-running legacies of quality in gaming history.