|Born||Lower Macungie Township, Pennsylvania, USA|
|Alma mater||College of William and Mary|
|Occupation||Video game designer/producer|
|Employer||Bethesda Game Studios|
|Known for||The Elder Scrolls, Fallout 3|
Todd Howard is an American video game designer, director, and producer. He currently serves as Game Director and Executive Producer at Bethesda Game Studios, where he has led the creation of Fallout 3 and The Elder Scrolls video game series. GamePro magazine named him to the Top 20 Most Influential People in Gaming over the last 20 years. He has also been named one of IGN’s Top Game Creators of All Time. He received one of the industry’s highest awards by being named Best Game Director by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences in 2012. Howard is one of the only developers to create four Game of the Year winners in a row with Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout 3, and Skyrim.
Howard was born in Lower Macungie Township, Pennsylvania in 1971, and developed an interest in computers, particularly video games, at a very young age. He considers Wizardry and Ultima 3 to be inspirations for his future games. He is a 1989 graduate of Emmaus High School in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. In 1993, he graduated from The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he double majored in engineering and finance despite his desire to create video games, saying "it seemed like the easiest path to get through college". After playing Wayne Gretzky Hockey 3 he requested a job from a Bethesda office he encountered each day on his commute from school to home, but was told to finish school then apply again. After he was done with school he went back to Bethesda and asked for a job again, but was denied.
Beginning and other games
The Elder Scrolls
Howard's first development credit for The Elder Scrolls came in the form of the CD-Rom of The Elder Scrolls: Arena, released in 1994, and followed by design on The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, released in 1996. He was also the project leader and designer of The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard released in 1998.
Howard would then become the project leader and designer of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and for the expansions that followed. He led the creation of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and all of its downloadable content.
After taking a break from The Elder Scrolls and developing Fallout 3, he returned to the series to lead the fifth installment, Skyrim. It was released in 2011. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim received universal acclaim from critics.
He was Game Director and Executive Producer of Fallout 3. As of April 2013, Howard and his team have moved on from Skyrim and have turned their attention on their new game, which is highly expected to be a new Fallout title. However, Howard said on February 19th, 2014 that a new Fallout game was not in Bethesda's timeframe yet, and that it would likely "be a while" until they began development.
He is a frequent speaker at industry events, and his games have been featured in everything from Newsweek, CNN, USA Today, and The Today Show, to magazine covers worldwide. Howard has stated that Bethesda's philosophy for the Elder Scrolls games is to allow people to "live another life, in another world."
Howard spoke before developers at the 2009 D.I.C.E. Summit, sharing his three rules of game development:
- Great games are played not made. – "You can have the greatest design document ever made, and you're going to change 90 percent of it as soon as you play the game."
- Keep it simple. – "Doing something really well takes time, more time than you think it will. Simple systems acting together create complexity that players can appreciate."
- Define the experience. – "Don't define your game by a list of bullet points… define it by the experience you want people to have."
Howard returned as a speaker at D.I.C.E Summit in 2012 as the keynote speaker.
He also said that developers should ignore demographics and installed base, and follow their passions, saying “if install base really mattered, we'd all make board games, because there are a lot of tables.”
- "Around the Web: Interviews edition | Bethesda Blog". Bethblog.com. 2009-05-07. Retrieved 2013-04-16.
- "IGN - Top 100 Game Creators of All Time". IGN. Retrieved 2013-04-16.
- "Game of the Year Picks Blog". http://gotypicks.blogspot.com/. 2012-12-12. Retrieved 2013-07-01.
- Road To Skyrim: The Todd Howard Interview.
- [dead link]
- "DICE 2009: The Following Colorful Wisdom Is From Todd Howard". MTV.
- Todd Howard D.I.C.E. 2012 Opening Keynote Address.
- Remo, Chris. "DICE 09: Bethesda's Howard On Supreme Playability". Gamasutra.