Once Upon A Time, Bethesda Almost Went Out of Business

Studio picked back up following the release of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.

Developer Bethesda Game Studios was almost shut down in the late nineties, executive producer and game director Todd Howard revealed recently.

Speaking in an interview with German gaming publication Gamestar, translated by Kotaku, Howard spoke of the difficult times following the developer's release of The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall.

"We spread ourselves thin. We started doing a lot of games, and they just weren't good enough. And they weren't the kind of games we should've been making at the time," Howard said.

With Zenimax's acquisition of Bethesda, he described the studio as being granted "a new lease on life" which it was able to use to work on The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. The game went on to be well-received by critics, and is what Howard describes as "kind of the new genesis of Bethesda." According to him, "bits of code" that were used in Morrowind still appear in Bethesda games today.

Zorine Te is an associate editor at GameSpot, and you can follow her on Twitter @ztharli
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Zorine “harli” Te is a long time competitive gamer and also an Associate Editor at GameSpot.

Want the latest news about The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind?

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

Discussion

123 comments
rhymesmatter
rhymesmatter

okay to all people here that started playing TES from Oblivion : OPEN your minds and go play Morrowind! You won't believe in your eyes especially with the currently existing mods that can transform the game and almost completely eradicate old bugs! Then you can come back and giggle as you see the names oblivion and skyrim!Seriously try it!

taker254isback
taker254isback

Bethesda makes good 4ucking games! Time for Fallout

jfudacz
jfudacz

I really loved Morrowind!  Oblivion and Skyrim just didn't live up to that standard for me.

sethfrost
sethfrost

My fear is the TESO game, which ZeniMax showered with the earnings from Skyrim, burning the money, will not only be lost as an investment, but put even more pressure on 'the real' Bethesda Studio to deliver another huge 'hit'.

theprismhead
theprismhead

I just hope they stop making the NPCs immortal.

pizzaboyuk
pizzaboyuk

Was actually expecting a larger article piece than this.................

bearfan15
bearfan15

The 90's? They weren't anything until morrowind and even then they didn't hit the big time until oblivion and fallout 3.

arqe
arqe

Elder Scrolls and Fallout series got hardcore fans. Developer / Publisher who owns these 2 games wont lose a cent.

insloanwetrust
insloanwetrust

Well now they've got two game franchises that are basically gold mines. Just bring out Fallout 4 and TES 6 and you will have all the money you could possibly want.

fraguvorot
fraguvorot

They actually created first mouse controlled shooter - "Future Shock"

d3adxm3rc
d3adxm3rc

Make us FALLOUT 4. We are begging you Bethesda.. You'll never come close to shutting down again if you do so! 
I personally love fallout 3 and fallout: New vegas, don't disappoint the fans by not making a 4th

kik4444
kik4444

Solution: Make Fallout 4 as good as Morrowind

gamefreak215jd
gamefreak215jd

I personally think that Bethesda is a much better company when compared to EA,Activision and Ubisoft even though several of their games are riddled with bugs.

ascendedcobra
ascendedcobra

My favorite game company. I can't tell you how much time I've put in to skyrim, oblivion, and fallout 3. They are literally the best games I've played since I've been a gamer. Thats basically since pong.

logansnider
logansnider

And that's where babies come from... :P

Hornet85
Hornet85

Perhaps they should make another game as good as Morrowind 

Dumachum
Dumachum

"According to him, "bits of code" that were used in Morrowind still appear in Bethesda games today."

Just not any of the code that actually made Morrowind GOOD. They got rid of all that years ago.

vadagar1
vadagar1

pff I love Bethesda and even though OB and skyrim were lacking they were both good games and i played them


even TESO I got that too to support them

giedrius1001
giedrius1001

Morrowind revolutionised open world rpg, respect

freedomzealot
freedomzealot

Under capitalism, growth can only be resumed after a certain amount of capital is allowed to be destroyed and/or drastically devalued, a process that brings much human misery in its wake.

DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

Once upon a time, Gamespot reported on actual news stories.

nurnberg
nurnberg

I remember the mid to late 90s for the PC.  It seems that tons of great games were made for PC in that time, but most studios went out of business.

Martyr77
Martyr77

Obviously their Quality department went out of business a long time ago. I love their games but I refuse to buy them simply because they don't take the time to make their games run right.

youmadd
youmadd

They've become sue-happy assholes these days.  Here's why a lot of people hate them or at least their parent company:

John Carmack while at Bethesda: Guys we need to start thinking about ways to integrate V.R. into our games, I think its the future.

Bethesda: No.

John Carmack: Okay then I'm leaving to go work somewhere that shares my vision of the gaming future.

Bethesda: K bye!

(Facebook buys Oculus VR for 2 Billion)

Bethesda: Wait, you were serious about that VR thing?  Can we .. oh nevermind WE'RE SUING YOU FOR 100 MILLION because you mentioned VR while you worked here.

kingtrax
kingtrax

I'd love to see Sony get them to port Fallout 1 & 2 to Vita. It makes sense that the great idea but terribly flawed The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall would kill them.  It almost killed me.

rhymesmatter
rhymesmatter

@jfudacz Exactly! The Legend of Nerevarine makes the Oblivion-Gates-shutting and Dragon-screaming heroes of the sequels look like pan$ies!aaah ... i have this urge to mod the $hit out of morrowind and replay right now!!!

rhymesmatter
rhymesmatter

@sethfrost Dont worry about it! ZeniMax probably kept the budget of REAL TES games intact. They probably figured that the idea of YET ANOTHER MMO in this MMO plagued era would be a bad idea anwy...Kinda makes me wonder why they went through with it! Oh well! At least the outcome will probably KEEP THEM from going for a FO (fallout online)

neroist
neroist

@sethfrost Allay your concerns, as Bethesda Game Studios (the dev Beth) has Fallout and TES to make. Either of those will be a "hit". Off the backs of the previous games, the new ones will sell.

rhymesmatter
rhymesmatter

@bearfan15 Morrowind was the Doorway to success mate. Oblivion was just their plan for Mainstreamizing the series and it worked. But Morrowind gave them the opportunity to do so

gawthy
gawthy

@d3adxm3rc If they are already making them let them take their time planning fixing bugs and the game will be amazing trust me

insloanwetrust
insloanwetrust

@d3adxm3rc After Skyrim they've already made sure they will never close down due to financial reasons.

bearfan15
bearfan15

@gamefreak215jd  There not riddled with bugs. There just not hiding behind a false coat of paint like many other games these days are.

rhymesmatter
rhymesmatter

@Hornet85 Well For me Morrowind cannot be reproduced as another game . The complexity that made it so distinct and wonderful has been literally obliterated throughout Oblivion and Skyrim so that CoD fans can play the game too! TES 6 will be a good game no worries there! But they can never make another Morrowind :/ First of all they need to bring back Legendaries! Crafting a weapon that can best Chrysamere is simply unacceptable :)

Ferric24
Ferric24

@Dumachum I've played all the TES series since Daggerfall. I enjoyed Morrowind the least. Oblivion and Skyrim were much better.

vadagar1
vadagar1

@freedomzealot total capitalism and total socialism both failed miserably in making life better for mankind

Dexyu
Dexyu

@cosades2002 Its not the story or the combat that makes TES games popular . .  its the mods and the adult mods!!

gamingfriendly
gamingfriendly

@Martyr77 They dumb them down each release too and that is a fact, Todd Howard ever since he joined Bethesda games started to get dumbed down more and more at one point he said all players want is not good dialog, story and good writing but they will just try to kill everything they see.

Ps. i am not sure as my memory on the subject is fuzzy but i think they took legal action or something against the people who first worked on / made The Elder Scrolls and i think they left the company.

ADomenick91092
ADomenick91092

@youmadd Carmack was with Id Software, not Bethesda. They are both owned by the same company - ZeniMax Media. ZeniMax are the ones suing Oculus VR. Bethesda has nothing to do with that situation.

DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

@youmadd Zenimax Media and Bethesda are not the same entities. And John carmack worked for iD, not Bethesda.

Slagar
Slagar

@vadagar1 @freedomzealot Actually total socialism has never existed on a large scale, at least not in recent history. Russia was totalitarianism, not socialism. A gift society would make for total socialism, I think.

neroist
neroist

@gamingfriendly 

Where are you getting your info from?

Todd Howard was credited on the first Elder Scroll game so he has been there for all of TES.  Also Todd says gamers like to feel pride most of all, not kill everything in sight. At least I haven't read him saying that. And your info seems fabricated.