Eurogamer: It's a great match.
Todd Howard: It's awesome. Same thing with id. When we did that, the first thing we looked for was, are these guys we can sit down and talk about development and talk about games? There's no ego, they want to do cool stuff.
Eurogamer: So Arkane is here and they've been on a panel. The Respawn guys [Jason West and Vince Zampella] are here and they've been on a panel. Should we read anything into that?
Todd Howard: [Laughs] No, you shouldn't. The Respawn guys are doing their game, and I think EA is publishing it, but we've just been friends with them for a long time. Tim [Willits] and I know Jason and Vince pretty well and we thought it would be a cool panel.
Eurogamer: Is it a bit weird to be publishing Hunted based on Unreal Engine 3 given that you now own id, who obviously do their own engine, id Tech 5?
Todd Howard: Not really. Again, it's what the developer is comfortable with. We wouldn't want to force technology on somebody. Even internally, there's no mandate for anyone internally to use id Tech 5. I'm using our stuff.
Eurogamer: Are other studios using id Tech 5 within Bethesda at the moment?
Todd Howard: I don't know that I can answer that correctly or appropriately. If someone wanted to use id Tech 5, it's pretty much part of that deal that it would be a game we're going to publish.
Eurogamer: Recently you gave an interview and said that you don't really get Facebook and social games, and then a few days later Disney spent three quarters of a billion dollars on Playdom. Does that sort of thing make you think you should have your eyes more on that?
Todd Howard: Well, that's Disney - it's different. I just meant that personally the games I play are the kind of games I make. I want big, awesome-looking epics. That's what gets me excited.
I'm sure there will be some Facebook games that I look at and think are cool, but the stuff I've seen so far doesn't do anything for me. That's not that it's more of a casual thing, it's just that it doesn't excite me. On the iPhone though, I love that stuff.
Eurogamer: The iPad is a bit closer to the sort of graphics you'd be happy with - does that excite you?
Todd Howard: Absolutely. John [Carmack] and I talk about iPhone stuff a lot. I started an iPhone game and then once we got together with id it got put to the side, because their stuff was there. So I stopped to see where their stuff went.
When I was over at the id offices the other day it [Rage on the iPad] was the first thing John showed me. "You've gotta see this!" I was like, oh my goodness, it's awesome.
Eurogamer: Has he helped to solve any technical problems in your games?
Todd Howard: Not specifically. He's helped validate some of our thinking. So if we say, "Hey, this is how we're doing shadows, you're John Carmack, what do you think?" And he says, "You're going about it the right way," and he gives us some things to consider at a high level - things he's messed with in shadow filtering and so forth. It's up to us to go try that and see how it registers in our tech.
Eurogamer: Oblivion and Fallout 3 were huge successes, but what can you do to improve still as a company?
Todd Howard: There's always stuff to improve. If I had to take a step back, I think our worlds are very good, I think we're on the cutting edge as far as that goes. When it comes to the characters and the animation, I think there are other people who do it much, much better. That's something we've put a lot of time into - not just technology but people and talent, and how long we spend doing individual elements.
How other characters behave and look on the screen is the next thing people need to do better. There are people doing it really well, but by and large the environments look good and it's just getting people to behave in those environments better.