After reporting what Zachary Wilson, Bethesda's lead-level designer, said about legendary ships and explorable wrecks in Starfield, in this article, we will talk about something more general, reporting what Wilson said about his work. Developers always receive questions about their work, how they got started, the positives and negatives, what the company they work for, the advice to follow if they want to take the same path, etc., so Wilson decided to answer these questions for clarity.
What's Wilson's role in Starfield?
The first question, with which the interview opens, which you can retrieve in full at the following address, is linked to his role in the development of Starfield and what a typical day at work is like. Wilson responded by stating the following:
“I appear in the game credits as a senior-level designer, but as many Bethesda Game Studios employees are well aware, we each end up filling multiple roles. In the Union Colonial faction questline with Liam Collins, my collaborating quest designer, I also designed deep space content, such as the activities and encounters that occur while traveling the galaxy. I supported the planetary exploration team and worked with the tool development team to prioritize the level design team's tool requests.
I divide my time working with the editor to craft content and collaborating with the other teams to prioritize and refine the features needed to wrap up game development.”
What should you do if you want to start this job?
The interview then continues, and Wilson is asked how long he has been working for Bethesda, how he got started, and what tips to follow if you want to take the same path. Here is the answer from the lead-level designer:
“I started out by building a Civilization II fan site with an acquaintance. We were in high school at the time and the site was hugely popular (over 3,000 hits a day!), to the point where it crashed the state college servers Somehow I was able to use this to get an internship at Firaxis (where I worked on Civ 3), then I did environmental art and textures for EA Tiburon (the stadiums and uniforms of Madden and NCAA Football ). I then moved on to design, taking care of Superman Returns. Not exactly the best start to a career of which I am otherwise very proud. If nothing else, from that moment on I have only had greater and greater satisfactions.
I've been part of the team for seven years now and my advice is always the same: if you want to make games, you have to make games. There has never been a more propitious time: the tools are available to everyone, well documented, inexpensive, and easy to use. Everything needed to make the next great game already exists, just the hard work, dedication, and great ideas of those who want to try their hand.
If you're new to the industry and want to work at Bethesda, the best way to get started is by downloading our modding tools and creating content for one of our games. Enter the environment by joining a modding team and make content that we and the community can play with, that let us understand that you know what it means to lead a project to a finished product, that you know what types of games we make and that you have the technical skills to learn the use of our tools, which are not exactly simple. From time to time we hire modders. In fact, right now I'm mothering a level designer from the Fallout London team who is one of many recently hired inexperienced modders.
And then you never know. Maybe you like to lead a team and turn it into a self-contained studio, such as the team that made The Forgotten City or the one that signed Enderal. You could also turn your business into a freelance service – there are people who have worked for the Creation Club team and have managed to turn this occupation into a full-time job for Bethesda Game Studios.”
What is it like to work for Bethesda?
Obviously, the question of what it was like to work for Bethesda could not be missing. Some developers try to evade these kinds of questions, but Wilson answered the question very transparently:
“My favorite thing about Bethesda Game Studios is the creative freedom every developer enjoys. It actually takes some getting used to… but really, you can do pretty much whatever you want (within reason). Bethesda is that they contain a wide variety of voices that all talk about the same thing, but in very different ways.
I enjoy collaborating with other developers to bring a game to life and solve problems. Games are in fact a series of problems to be solved and each game and each component of a game is something unique: every time is “a first time”. The more difficult aspects of the art of storytelling and software design converge into a coherent whole. Furthermore, in the case of games there is a unique component to take into account: usability. The single person needs to be able to pick up a controller and use the game to tell their story without help from you.”