The director of The Elder Scrolls series explains that despite the overwhelming backlash over the purely cosmetic Horse Armor DLC for Oblivion, it was a huge success.
Bethesda is well known for crafting massive games and releasing quality DLC, but it also has a blemish tarnishing its past. The legendary Horse Armor DLC from The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion received responses from fans ranging from amusement to rage, and now Bethesda director Todd Howard is opening up about it.
Todd Howard, in an interview with IGN, explained that contrary to the outcry of many fans, the cosmetic Horse Armor DLC for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was actually one of Bethesda’s biggest DLC successes. While other DLC offerings have offered entire new areas to explore and quests to partake in, apparently just as many gamers were gladly buying the DLC as there were gamers complaining about it:
“[Horse Armor] was one of the most popular [DLC packs] we’ve done, believe it or not… What’s funny is, we went away from Horse Armor, and the rest of the industry has gone toward Horse Armor.”
By this, Todd Howard means that regardless of the sales the Horse Armor DLC generated, Bethesda refrained from ever producing another piece of DLC that was purely cosmetic with no in-game benefits of any kind. In the meantime, countless other developers and game series have decided to go in the opposite direction. From Destiny‘s dance emotes to Team Fortress 2‘s hat-based economy, optional cosmetics that have no real impact on gameplay are all the rage now in recent games.
While Bethesda recently made a blunder by opening a mod store on Steam that allowed gamers to purchase mods for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim made by fellow fans, it’s moved on from developing DLC that’s just for looks. Instead, they filled their latest title, Fallout 4, with dozens of hairstyles and even dog armor for Dogmeat without asking gamers to pay a single extra penny beyond the cost of the base game. The upcoming DLC for Fallout 4 is also quite promising, with new quests, areas, and robot battles to partake in. Bethesda may have also taken the lesson to heart when they created Fallout Shelter, which has performed remarkably well for them despite the fact that microtransactions are purely optional.
In comparison to the successful DLC offerings of Skyrim, Fallout 4, and even the other offerings for Oblivion, the Horse Armor DLC blunder is but a distant memory at this point. It’s nonetheless interesting to learn that no matter how loud the uproar over the Horse Armor DLC seemed, though, there was apparently still a large audience who just wanted their horse to look pretty.