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People Will Buy Anything: Todd Howard and Why the Horse Armor is Now Cheap

Fallout 76 director Todd Howard talked to IGN in a recent interview, and I’m still trying to catch up to some of the info. One of the juicy bits is his explanation of the horse armor DLC. For those unfamiliar, this was just what it sounds. Bethesda was selling DLC that gave your trusty steed armor in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. It was ground breaking for DLC in that is cost $2.50. Comparatively, it was a fortune at the time, and it opened a doorway to increasingly more expensive add-ons and DLC. It’s only slightly hyperbolic to describe it as the DLC equivalent of Skynet. (OK, so it’s pure hyperbole.)

When asked how this came to be, Todd Howard had two reasons and the first is making Picard facepalm so hard right now. He said:

“People will buy anything. That doesn’t mean you should do it. [But] they will buy anything. That sounds terrible.”

Sure, it stings, and maybe that’s because he’s right. It still feels a little douchey, especially when he admits, “And looking back now, it’s quite cheap”. To be fair, he probably didn’t realize it would become the industry business case justification for the massive inflation of prices over time.

He also reveals that the company had some encouragement at Microsoft to raise the price from their lower initial start. He explained “the Devil made me do it” situation as follows:

“Horse armor is not bad. I think horse armor is fine. The price point, at the time, was the issue. We felt, it’s probably worth this. I won’t say who at Microsoft said, ‘Well, that’s less than we sell a theme for; a wallpaper is more than that. You should charge this; you can always lower it.’ We were like, ‘Okay!’ It’s a price-to-value proposition at the time, not do I want armor for my horse.”

There is a part of me that appreciates Todd Howard’s openness when discussing some of these issues, whether I agree with him or not. Bethesda is a big developer, and I’m looking for hope after some very big missteps last year. I’ll keep looking.

Let me know what you think in the comments. Are you enraged, sad, or just don’t care anymore?

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