Ex-Bethesda Developer Sheds Light on Unreleased Project

Ashton Clark


Ex-Bethesda Developer Sheds Light on Unreleased Project

Brent Erickson, a seasoned game developer with an extensive tenure as Development Director at Bethesda Softworks, has recently provided an intriguing look into several game ideas that the celebrated studio never brought to life. During a revealing interview, he reminisced about his experiences at Bethesda, shedding light on one project that caught many eyes but only made it within the initial phases.

The game in question, titled "The 10th Planet," was a space combat adventure that began in the creative minds of Todd Howard and Bruce Nesmith. Erickson was part of the foundational stages, offering his expertise in preliminary development gatherings and tech-centric debates. He conveyed a sense of regret over the project's abandonment, though the precise causes remain somewhat ambiguous. Contributing elements to its sidelining included a withdrawal of interest from Centropolis Entertainment and the need for the studio to prioritize other projects. Consequently, while "The 10th Planet" wasn't officially shelved, it naturally fell out of the spotlight.

Erickson's revealing discussion showcased Bethesda's vast creative pursuits, ranging from potential partnerships with Centropolis on high-profile titles inspired by Godzilla and StarGate to franchise-specific ventures with Gretzky and baseball. Bethesda's internal ambitions also flirted with broadening their Terminator series, underlining the studio's eclectic tastes.

Offering a broader lens on Bethesda's journey, Erickson detailed the transition he observed, from Bethesda's early days as an original content-producing publisher to its evolution into an entity shaped by multiple acquisitions and investor-led decisions. He maintains an impartial stance on this transformation, acknowledging the distinct operational contrasts of each business model.

Looking at current industry patterns, Erickson touched upon the spate of job cuts, attributing them to an overzealous hiring spree during the boom periods of the COVID-19 pandemic and perhaps overly optimistic predictions regarding market expansion. He also referenced the "Pixar model" of employment, where gaming studios staff up significantly for particular projects and scaled down once these projects conclude.

Erickson remains active in his creative endeavors, harboring a fascination with simulation and narratively rich games. The anecdotes of Bethesda's shelved projects like "The 10th Planet" draw attention, especially given how their development could have impacted the production timelines of other titles. As for Bethesda, while continuing to be a notable game publisher, future similar ventures may be on hold as the focus shifts to resolving issues with upcoming releases such as "Redfall."