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]

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  • Abaigeal - July 21, 2011 3:03 p.m.

    I would like to know a little more about Skyrim's story and gameplay. Could anyone recommend some articles? Also, I understand from the article Skyrim will be released to both Xbox 360 and PS3 ... but given the developer's credentials wouldn't it be better to play it on PC? Would playing it on PC require any special accesories? Thanks for your help!! (:
  • gamephreaque - July 3, 2011 9:05 p.m.

    Will be playing Skyrim on the 360 because right now I cannot afford a new PC. (Cue the audience laugh-trac and the rim shot) Oblivion runs fantastically on mine, but I KNOW it won't handle the load of TES V.
  • Siion - July 2, 2011 2:30 p.m.

    I would love to play this on the PC but since my PC is...lacking...the Xbox will have to suffice.
  • D0CCON - July 1, 2011 5:05 p.m.

    All 3 platforms are viable options, but I fell in love with the Elder Scrolls on 360 and that's where I'm staying (PS: I picked up Morrowind! Damn is it hard adjusting to it!)
  • Maineiac - July 1, 2011 4:55 p.m.

    With the many skilled modders out there playing an Elder Scrolls on anything but a PC is like buying half the game. Elder Scrolls are always top notch, but they can't have time to do everything little thing everyone wants in it. Mods let us do that.
  • Butters130 - July 1, 2011 8:37 a.m.

    Has anyone tried out the Power A 360ish controller for ps3? I've always favored my 360 because of the analog stick placement/size but if a 3rd party controller isn't crap I could switch my allegiance.
  • NullG7 - July 1, 2011 4:48 a.m.

    Xbox 360
  • BackwaterRifle - July 1, 2011 1:08 a.m.

    @ Redoutlive 10 Not entirely true but what I would agree with is that mods made Oblivion a hell of a lot better.
  • RedOutlive10 - June 30, 2011 9:58 p.m.

    Without mods Oblivion was a sub par game at best.
  • Defguru7777 - June 30, 2011 9:10 p.m.

    360, because I don't have a PC capable of running high-end games like Skyrim. I can't wait for my first Elder Scrolls game.
  • NightCrawler_358 - June 30, 2011 7:22 p.m.

    I love PC, but I want to run this game smoothly while retaining nice enough graphics, so I'll be doing it on PS3. (Especially with how screwed up Fallout New Vegas was on Steam day one.)
  • Myko - June 30, 2011 7:13 p.m.

    getting skyrim, on PC of course, no other way to go, my xbox is for fighting games
  • Modroneman - June 30, 2011 5:53 p.m.

    I will be getting this for the 360 and PC. 360 for the cheevo's, and PC, because I want those graphics!
  • NatDaGamer - June 30, 2011 4:22 p.m.

    i preordered it the other day :D. the guy sed "xbox or ps3" and when i said "pc" , he looked very surprised lol :P
  • AlienHunter117 - June 30, 2011 4:05 p.m.

    shut up RobX ur going to play Skyrim on ur damn computer and some time during your gameplay ur computer will either give you the blue screen of death, freeze, or even get some virus from the internet. So is playing Skyrim on the computer worth it? Nope. The only thing you have to watch out for on the xbox is the red ring of death which Microsoft fixed now. Also you better watch out for those people who make mods for computer games because they end up screwing up your computer or making the whole game experience suck because you just had to download the invincibility mod. Last words for today Xbox rocks because who likes using a keyboard when u could use a controller and enjoy hack free live, ps3 sucks because of its crappy online servers and why do you think they did not show a demo of skyrim for the ps3... oh ya because it sucks and dont get me started about the wii. I cant wait for Skyrim!!!!!!!!!
  • ObliqueZombie - June 30, 2011 2:41 p.m.

    I'm not exactly jealous, nor mad that the PC makes it look better for two reasons. One, it looks superb on the 360/PS3 regardless of who you are. I won't notice that the shrubbery looks a little cleaner on the PC version, and that guy's nose seems more realistic. And two, I need to spend roughly $200 more on a PC (without the already pricey $500-$700 tag for a good one) to upgrade it to the newest processor and/or graphics card. Consoles have been looking great for years already, and with only $250 down on a new one. Suffice to say, I'm getting it on the 360! I prefer PC gaming ONLY when it's a PC-only game. If it's console, I gotta use my good ol' 3-year account on XBL.
  • kor2disturbed - June 30, 2011 1:56 p.m.

    360, I don't usually play games like this on m ps3 I usually just play exclusives on it, and my pc is shit so....
  • Clovin64 - June 30, 2011 1:34 p.m.

    Under-promise and then Over-deliver... clever Bethesda! I'll be getting it for PS3, considering that my PC sucks ass and can't play jack.
  • nesther - June 30, 2011 8:49 a.m.

    In what way are the 360 controls better than on the PC? You get to choose between any type of control if you play it on the PC. Be it Keyboard and mouse, or a joystick controller.
  • Crabhand - June 30, 2011 6:36 a.m.

    I would normally choose 360, but I'm willing to give this 'mod' thing a try and get it on PC.

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