NYCC 09: Todd Howard, Ken Levine panel

Majed Athab
M. Athab|02.07.09

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NYCC 09: Todd Howard, Ken Levine panel

So, what happens when you stick game developers Ken Levine (BioShock) and Todd Howard (Fallout 3) in a room with two outspoken games journalists for an hour? You get a fascinating discussion on how Eastern Europe has become a new haven for PC games, how Bollywood perfected The Lost and, of course, a lesson about Horse Armor. That, and Howard reveals Bethesda is working on an iPhone game. MTV Multiplayer's Stephen Totilo and Newsweek's N'Gai Croal grilled both Levine and Howard on everything and anything gaming, and we were there to absorb it all.

When asked about what he thought the most notable game of last year was, Levine answered he was intrigued with Russian dev Katauri Interactive's King's Bounty: The Legend. He pointed out that Eastern Europe has been thriving with PC games, noting that games like King's Bounty are good reason to keep an eye on the region.

Todd Howard was asked by a fan where he draws the line on DLC, using Oblivion's Horse Armor as an example of seemingly unnecessary content, or content which should have been integrated initially. Howard responded saying that people shouldn't complain about the inclusion of DLC, as devs can't always include certain content within their given schedules. They're really extras for fans, he said; however, he ascribed merit to complaining about how much that content costs.

One last interesting discussion of the afternoon included a glimpse into how companies are using Achievements/Trophies in more ways than just giving you – the gamer – an ego. Game companies are using these accolade systems to check up on completion rates on their games (determined by the number of gamers who've received endgame Achievements). Levine revealed that 50 percent of BioShock players finished the game, while Howard noted a 30 percent completion rate for Fallout 3. Both those titles represented a notch up from the average 20 percent.
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