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Fallout 4's Todd Howard: DLC comes from internal game jams, and it sells great

Fallout 4 has been a massive success, and part of that, says Bethesda Game Studios director Todd Howard, is thanks to the studio's jam-focused culture.

Fallout 4 has been a massive success, and part of that, says Bethesda Game Studios director Todd Howard, is thanks to the studio's jam-focused culture. 

The team does multiple game jams during production, says Howard, and mines those ideas for improvements to both the core game and its DLC packages, he says, in a new Game Informer interview:


"Survival mode came out of that. We had talked about doing robot stuff, and there was a bunch of that in there. We do that every game. We do that in the middle of development. So we did that in the middle of Fallout 4. When we finished what we call our vertical slice preproduction build – when you can actually play the game – we do one for a week then. That fuels features for the main game like jetpacks and a number of other things. And we do another at the end, which is focused on mining ideas for DLC. We kind of talk about stuff, but when we start to see it on screen, we say ‘That’s really good. Here are the things we can do. What’s going to be in an update? Hey these fit in a package.’"

DLC, it turns out, is a big success for the company -- not a huge shock, but Howard reveals that it's not any one type of downloadable content that works. It's everything: 


"The one thing we’ve found about DLC is that we’ve done all types at all price points and all sizes, and we’ve come to the realization that it all works. It all sells really well. We went into [Fallout 4] and decided to do all types at all price points. With this initial run, we want to have a little bit of everything."

And here's one very notable fact: "Fallout 4 sold more day one digitally than at retail," Howard said. The fact is, Fallout 4 is a particularly popular game on PC, and hit the top of the Steam charts, so it's not surprising; it does, all the same, highlight the digital shift that has come to triple-A games

Howard recently spoke about Fallout 4's development at the DICE Summit, where Fallout 4 won game of the year; you can read more here, or watch the full video presentation

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