According to former Bethesda According to developer Bruce Nesmith, pretty much all decisions about the team’s games “go through” Todd Howard, even if the studio head doesn’t want him to.
Nesmith recently spoke to YouTube channel MinnMax about all things Bethesda, including when we’ll be able to find out more about The Elder Scrolls 6. In the interview, he explained his motivations for leaving Bethesda, noting that it was partly due to the size the Bethesda studio had gotten. “There were a lot of changes and the structure of the company was also such that – half because of the pandemic and half just because of the necessary changes – you couldn’t interact with Todd as much anymore,” Nesmith explained.
However, Nesmith doesn’t seem to hold any grudge against Howard, saying, “When you’re running six different studios and have a dozen projects going on at the same time, he’s just one man.” Even though Howard is responsible for a lot more responsibility than he used to, that doesn’t mean , that he doesn’t oversee most of the creative decisions that are made. “All decisions go through Todd. He would hate, hate, hate me for it because he doesn’t believe it’s true. But unfortunately it’s true.”
However, Nesmith also made it clear that Howard doesn’t necessarily want this: “I have to give him credit: he’s tried really hard not to be the Last Say Guy… that’s not something he wants intellectually.” Nesmith noted that Howard “was able to get into the role of an everyday player much better than the rest of the design team,” which is one of the reasons he ended up being the Last Say Guy. Of course, even if Howard has the final say, it’s important to note that there are a large number of people working at Bethesda. So don’t think that the quality of the game is entirely due to the Starfield director.
Unsurprisingly, Starfield has massively increased Xbox’s gaming revenue despite a decline in hardware revenue.