Skyrim: Why Bethesda prefers the Xbox 360 for demos

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim looked amazing when we saw Bethesda’s gameplay demo at E3 2011. But one detail you may have missed in preview coverage was that the build on show was played on an Xbox 360. This isn’t unusual. But it’s always especially striking when we see a 360 demo for a franchise known for its PC roots. Even though Skyrim looked fantastic running on a 360, it seems reasonable to ask why the game wasn’t demonstrated on a PC. Wouldn’t it look even better running on more powerful hardware?

In response to that question, Bethesda’s Todd Howard explained why his team decided to demo Skyrim on a 360 at E3 in an interview at AusGamers. “Yeah it does, obviously the PC version looks better,” explains Howard. “It has higher textures, it can run much higher resolution and a lot more graphic features. We tend to show it on 360 so that it’s a good baseline for people to look at. So when they then see the PC version it’s going to go up. We’d rather do that than have people see the 360 later and it takes a step down.”

Above: A Skyrim teaser featuring gameplay

But that doesn’t mean Howard (or anyone else) isn’t pleased with how Skyrim is looking on consoles. “We’re really excited with how it looks on the 360 and the PS3. So we do author the art the same for all the platforms, it’s just that they render it differently,” says Howard.

At the end of the day, Bethesda’s preference for 360s – which seems to be shared by most developers we’ve met – really comes down to convenience. “Also for things like this [tradeshows] -- I don’t know if people realize -- but as a game developer, the 360 is just much easier to show it on, from getting it started, to showing it, to controlling it, it’s just much easier to demo on logistically.”

Regardless of whether your platform of choice is a 360, PS3, or PC, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will release on November 11, 2011. Just out of curiosity, what platform will you be playing Skyrim on?

Jun 29, 2011 

[Source: via CVG]