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QuakeCon 2009: Todd Howard keynote highlights

While John Carmack's speech at QuakeCon 2009 was super long, Todd Howard's speech today was under an hour but still highly informative and extremely funny. The executive director at Bethesda Softworks made his QuakeCon debut with a video and slide presentation that was very entertaining.

Howard pointed out that Bethesda and id were very similar; both were PC hardcore developers that slowly turned into multi-platform teams. Currently Bethesda has between 85 to 90 employees. To work at the company you have to have several qualities, according to Howard, including having a "low a**hole quotient".

Most of Howard's presentation went through some of the things they did while developing their last game, Fallout 3.They looked through not only the previous two Interplay made RPGs but also old reviews of the games to see what people responded to in the games.

Bethesda makes marketing part of the process of developing their games because marketing is how people are first introduced to the game before actually playing it. Even things like designing what the art will look like on the game disk is part of that process.

Check out more from Howard after the jump
Admitting to mistakes is a big thing in game development. Howard said the final version of Fallout 3 was about half of the game they actually made. They don't hesitate to throw out something that just isn't fun. The company also charts how a game "feels" with Howard using a graphic that looks like a series of circles inside each other. At the center is the "perfect game" while at the outer part is the "bug and polish" part. The key is to make the "bug and polish" circle as small as they could make it before the game is released.

Howard took a few questions from the audience but didn't give out much info on their future projects, saying only, "We are working on our next big game but we are not talking about it." Don't look a new Elder Scrolls game in the near future; Howard said there are no current plans for an "Elder Scrolls 5." As far as an Elders Scrolls based MMO, he said in jest, "There's always a chance." He gave no new info on the third party developed Fallout: New Vegas, due out next year. He did confirm that they are through with creating any more Fallout 3 DLC content.

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