Bethesda isn’t interested in movies (unless it’s Peter Jackson)

Chris Stead 8 August 2016


We spoke to Pete Hines, vice-president of Bethesda Softworks, about the possibility of the publisher’s games becoming movies in the near future.

It seems like every other day a new game-based movie is being announced, led by the likes of Ubisoft, PlayStation and Activision. But what about Bethesda, whose stable includes games by id Software, Arkane Studios and Tango Gameworks?

In our interview with Pete Hines at QuakeCon, which we will publish in full shortly, I asked that very question and the response painted a clear picture of Bethesda’s cinematic future.

We’re seeing a lot of publishers at the moment taking their IP to the silver screen; how far into the conversation have you been in turning your franchises into movies?

I don’t know anybody who actually has total control over the film adaptation of their video game

Pete Hines: We get asked to all the time, but the short version is; we make games. That’s what we are known for. And this conversation usually falls into the camp of; are we going to let some other person do their own interpretation of what Fallout is, or Elder Scrolls is, or Dishonored is? Or are we going to hold onto it and let the developers be the only ones that are able to say, “this is what Fallout is, or Elder Scrolls, or Wolfenstein, or whatever?” So we want our developers to decide what our franchises are about and not a movie director, or producer or studio.

Even when they say, “oh no, you will have total control,” well, I don’t know anybody who actually has total control over the film adaptation of their video game. If you did, why would you not just make it yourself? Of course the film studio and the scriptwriter and the director are going to have a tonne of say. They will have their own vision. So we get asked all the time, but we see it as a distraction. We’re a video games company; let’s do what we know.

So it would have to take a Todd Howard to come out and say, “I’m going to make this film myself?”

Pete Hines: I think if Peter Jackson [Lord of the Rings director] turned up at Todd Howard’s office and said, “I want to do Elder Scrolls,” well that would be a pretty serious conversation you would have to listen to. But I think Peter is probably pretty busy (laughs). So I don’t see us any time soon looking at movies. And if you look at our board of directors, we have Hollywood heavyweights like Jerry Bruckheimer, Leslie Moonves and Harry Sloan, so it’s not like we don’t know where to go if we want to get a film or TV show made. It’s more about, “is this something we really want to do? What are we getting out of it? What kind of distraction is it going to create?”

Our Take? We say “respect” to that philosophy! There’s no problem here seeing Bethesda stick with making great games like Elder Scrolls VI. But all the same; Jerry, maybe put in a call to Peter…

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