Bethesda Softworks Interview has a three-page interview with Bethesda vice president of marketing and PR Pete Hines, talking about the company's upcoming jam-packed year and overall design philosophy. It's a pretty interesting read.
Q: Are you concerned by the conditions that led to the other publishers struggling?

Pete Hines: No, because our philosophy and our structure, the way that we're built, we're built to be the company that we are now. I have heard a lot of other companies talking about 'well, we're going to focus on fewer triple-A titles', changing their philosophy - but they're changing it to something that we've always been structured towards, and believed in since I started at Bethesda in 1999.

Which is the answer - not churning out 30,40, 50 games a year; the answer is not trying to be in every genre. Not 'oh no, now it's the casual, now it's social gaming!' We don't go running after the latest, hottest trend. We tend to pay attention to what we're doing, we the make that kind of games that we want to play, because we think there's an audience for those and we try as best we can to execute them to the highest level possible - whether that's development, PR, marketing or sales.

That's how we're structured. We're not structured to put out 50 games a year and now suddenly we're only going ten, now we're laying people off left and right. We've been hiring and hiring non-stop for years, while other folks are laying off and downsizing.

I certainly hate to see those kinds of things, but I think when you see it, it relates to them and their business, and doesn't really have anything to do with us because we're built to do what it is we're doing now - which is a couple of big games a year. We have that this year, we have that next year - obviously we've only announced one of those [Prey 2] but we're now hitting the spot that we have been growing towards for years and years.


Q: Does it make it more challenging to convey that from a marketing perspective?

Pete Hines: Well, look at Oblivion. Everybody said 'there's no chance you're going to sell Oblivion into a console audience; it's too big, it's too complicated, it's too much of a PC thing. They won't get it. Console gamers don't like that kind of stuff.' And then they bought it by truckloads, and it was like 'well, there goes that theory. What other theories do you have?' And then they're 'you can't take an old-school PC isometric turn-based role-playing game and turn it into something that's relevant on next-generation consoles.'

So we did Fallout 3, and that won game of the year and sold a gazillion copies. It turns out that people just like good stuff, and if you market it well and you get people into what the game is about people like it. People want to play good stuff, they want to get value for they're paying for these games. So I think we do a pretty good job of delivering on that, making sure that when you buy a game from us that it's gonna be fun and different and unique from what you played last week, last month, last year.