In honor of the recent 10th anniversary of one of the most popular games in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, we’re talking about Bethesda. Bethesda has always been one of the biggest names in gaming, with Bethesda Game Studios acclaimed as one of the best game studios in the world. Even after being purchased by Microsoft last year, people still absolutely adore what Bethesda does.
Ranking the Games Directed by Todd Howard
Then, one man is synonymous with the studio, and that is no other than Todd Howard. Howard has been the lead for many of the Bethesda Game Studios games that made their reputation today. Thus, today we shall be ranking the Bethesda games that Todd Howard has directed. However, upcoming games like Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI won’t be here today. Honorable mention to games he was the executive producer on, like Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
Starting off the list is the most recently directed game by Todd Howard with Fallout 4. Fallout 4 was one of the most hyped-up releases of the early PlayStation 4 and Xbox One generations. Announced at E3 2015 and released later that year, Fallout 4 was met with excitement and delight from fans who had patiently waited seven years since Fallout 3’s massive success under Howard and Bethesda.
The companions were great, and the introduction of more layered systems made gameplay more in-depth than what they were in Fallout 3. The settlement construction system brought something new for players to make the world more their own. Thanks to settlements, N.P.C.s felt more alive as they could join your settlement instead of just being out in the world.
Unfortunately, the reason why Fallout 4 lands this low on the list is because the game was released the same year as The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, which felt like an evolution for the entire Western RPG genre, whereas Fallout 4 just felt like more Fallout and didn’t take enough from what developers were doing outside of the classic Bethesda formula.
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
The oldest game on the list and the first video game that Todd Howard directed at Bethesda. Released way back in 2002, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind didn’t achieve the same success as later Bethesda games, but, for the time, felt like a huge step up for Bethesda as their first game in the new millennium. It was the first time the series had made its way to consoles by releasing on the original Xbox and P.C.
Back then, having a wider scope with the size of the world was, how much freedom you had to explore the way you wanted to, and the ability to deviate from the main quest line wasn’t something that players were used to for RPGs, especially on consoles at the time. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind felt like a new path for classically known computer RPGs to migrate over to consoles. All this showed that Howard was the right call to take on the franchise and lead Bethesda into the future.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
What needs to be said about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. This is one of the biggest games of all time in terms of mainstream impact. Upon its release ten years ago, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim took the world by storm. From the new engine, new diverse world to explore, and updated combat, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim felt like a true evolution in the long-running franchise and brought the franchise truly to the mainstream.
It has sold enough to be the only mainline entry in the franchise for ten years. It has come to almost every console from the launch on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 to the past generation with Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch to V.R. devices and is now available on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S. Bethesda has nailed the support of the beloved game. With all that success, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will continue to be the only main game in the series for the foreseeable future until we get a release of The Elder Scrolls VI whenever that may be down the line.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has even transcended video games as many people know the game from the plethora of memes that have come out over the past decade, like how the game is released on everything. Even Bethesda joined in on the fun when they announced a version on Amazon Alexa devices, plus jokingly saying it was coming to devices like smart refrigerators. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has had such an impact and is one of Todd Howard’s best-directed games.
While The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim may have had a more significant cultural impact, Fallout 3 reinvented the Fallout series entirely and brought the series into the limelight. Coming out in 2008, Fallout 3 exploded onto the scene in a year that already had plenty of big hitters. Under Bethesda for the first time, Howard and Bethesda turned the isometric series into a full-fledged first-person action RPG where you could tackle the world in any way you wanted.
Unlike the typical fantasy setting that Bethesda had been known for with The Elder Scrolls, Fallout felt more gritty and grounded (even though there were monsters and mutants all over the place). The wasteland of Washington D.C. was amazing to explore, with tons of things and stories for you to discover. The V.A.T.S. system was completely new and unique at the time and brought an interesting take on combat, even if it wasn’t always the best. The story kept drawing you in with intrigue but let you explore it at your own pace. Plus, it attracted tons of new fans into an already beloved franchise that someone new had taken over. Thus, Fallout 3 is ranked at the top of the Todd Howard-directed games.