Todd Howard will be inducted into The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) Hall of Fame at the 20th D.I.C.E Awards ceremony in February 2017. The game director and executive producer at Bethesda Game Studios will be the 22nd recipient. He will join the likes of other industry legends such as Greg Zeschuk, Ray Muzyka, and brothers Dan and Sam Houser.
Contribution to Gaming
Todd Howard’s involvement in series like Fallout and The Elder Scrolls has made him a leading figure in game design. He’s been a part of some of the most critically and commercially successful titles of the last decade. Skyrim was named Game of the Year by both IGN and Gamespot in 2011 and Fallout 3 is considered by many to be one of the best video games of all time.
Mike Fischer, president of AIAS, said Howard “made us all reconsider the player-game relationship and extended the storytelling possibilities of our medium.”
Fischer went on to add that “Todd’s impact on his studio, our company, and the gaming industry as a whole has been truly remarkable.”
As a key figure in a studio that’s going from strength to strength with recent releases like Fallout 4 and Doom, Howard is an instrumental figure in gaming today.
But Todd Howard is popular not just for his work but also for his presence in the gaming community. Charismatic and humorous at E3 in 2015, his relaxed demeanor and passion when introducing Fallout 4 made him a fan favorite from the conference. This was especially clear when compared to other presenters that could appear awkward or nervous.
Previous inductees to AIAS’s Hall of Fame share this kind of fan following. In fact, industry giants like Shigeru Miyamoto and Hideo Kojima have also received the honor. In recent years, the games industry has seen a rise in the cult of celebrity surrounding figures like Miyamoto and Kojima, awarding them the same status usually enjoyed by stars in other cultural industries like film and television.
As the winner of the Industry Icon Award in this year’s Game Awards, Kojima mounted the stage to chants of his name from the crowd. Along with his triumphant appearance at E3 2016 as part of the Sony conference, Kojima has reached a new level of gaming royalty. Death Stranding, the game he premiered at this year’s E3, didn’t even have an engine at the time of its reveal. Yet it has already generated unprecedented amounts of interest just because of the man behind it.
It’s not only designers and directors that are awarded this new status. Voice actors like Nolan North and Troy Baker are becoming household names as well. With games like Uncharted, Bioshock, and The Last of Us under their belts, it’s no wonder they’re becoming just as recognizable as actors you’d see on the big screen.
The Rise of Celebrity
It’s not only the big industry figures that have achieved this level of influence. Within the gaming community, others have come to the forefront with their own fan followings, thanks to streaming services like Twitch and let’s plays on YouTube.
Due to the popularity of channels like PewDiePie, Toby Games, and The Syndicate Project, YouTube personalities are starting to outrank Hollywood celebrities among teens and millennials. Whether or not these are impressive credentials, it shows a growing trend to raise gamers and industry insiders alike to this celebrity status.
This is all indicative of the expansive growth of the international gaming community. Most importantly, this could signal a transition occurring within the industry. With individuals rising to celebrity status, it could draw non-gamers into a culture that is always trying to reach new audiences.