GameSpot may receive revenue from affiliate and advertising partnerships for sharing this content and from purchases through links.

Why There Hasn't Been a Fallout or Elder Scrolls Movie...Yet

"We think games are the best form of entertainment in the world."


Throughout the years, video game publisher Bethesda has been approached by film studios looking to make Fallout and Elder Scrolls movies. But the Maryland-based company, unlike others in the field, has shot down every proposal to extend its gaming franchises to the big screen.

Now we know why.

No Caption Provided

Bethesda marketing executive Pete Hines tells GameSpot that the company sees video games as the "best form of entertainment in the world." Retaining the kind of creative control necessary to faithfully adapt Fallout or The Elder Scrolls for the silver screen would be a tall order--it might not even be possible.

"Yeah, for a long time," Hines says after I ask if Bethesda has been approached for Fallout and Elder Scrolls movies. "Generally speaking, we view ourselves as a video game company. We make video games. Movies and TV shows are an entirely different thing."

Hines admitted, however, that Bethesda has a "really good window" into the film and TV markets by way of film icon Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS president Leslie Moonves. They both sit on Bethesda's board of directors, alongside former MGM CEO Harry Sloan and Hollywood legal expert Ernest Dell.

"We have a lot of folks who really know that space really, really well," Hines said.

In fact, their expertise in the areas of film and TV could be exactly the reason why there hasn't been a Fallout or Elder Scrolls movie to date.

"We've gotten a lot of very good advice about, 'There's way more things that can go wrong than can go right with this,'" Hines said about making a video game movie. "The concern is you want the world's view of The Elder Scrolls to be what [director Todd Howard] envisions in Skyrim or do you want it to be some other director who decides to make a movie that looks like Cats?'"

"We think games are the best form of entertainment in the world" -- Hines

Hines said an example of a video game movie done wrong would be 2005's Doom, which starred Karl Urban and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Bethesda had no part in the production of this movie, having acquired Doom developer id Software in 2009.

"You look at the Doom movie, which I've only been able to bring myself to watch part of; well, that's not what I want people thinking of when they see Doom," Hines said. "I want them thinking of what [Doom executive producer Marty Stratton] had up on stage [at E3] and what we want it to look like and feel like."

"We spend so much time and energy having developers make the games represent their brands the way they want," he added.

To then turn that over to someone else, letting go of creative control, could be a disaster, Hines said. Time and again film companies promise total creative control of a project, but, "It has been proven true zero percent of the time," Hines said.

Though Hines may sound pessimistic about the opportunity for a Fallout or Elder Scrolls movie, he stressed that the door is always open, and Bethesda has a "never say never" attitude about it.

"Our energy and focus is on [how] we think games are the best form of entertainment in the world. And we're going to try to keep trying to be the best in that space and not pretend like we're great TV producers and filmmakers," he said.

Bethesda's mentality around video game movies matches up very closely with that of Rockstar Games parent company Take-Two Interactive. President Karl Slatoff said back in 2013 that Take-Two has been approached on numerous occasions for a Grand Theft Auto movie, but has never reached an agreement due to quality concerns.

"If you’re going to invest in a movie--you can make a lot of money on movies--but as a licensor, you've got to look at what the success rate is, what the movie has to do for you to generate substantial economics that are worth taking the risk," he said at the time.

Though Bethesda is not currently moving forward with any video game movies, there are more than dozen such projects currently in the works. Sony is making Uncharted and Last of Us movies, Electronic Arts is pushing forward on a Need for Speed sequel, and Ubisoft has six game movies in the pipeline, led by an Assassin's Creed film starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard.

Disclosure: CBS is GameSpot's parent company.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are 120 comments about this story