Howard was born in Lower Macungie Township, Pennsylvania and developed an interest in computers, particularly video games, at a very young age. He personally considers Wizardry and Ultima 3 as his greatest inspirations for his future games. In 1989 he graduated of Emmaus High School and in 1993, he graduated from The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he majored in finance despite his desire to create video games. He later said 'it seemed like the easiest path to get through college'. After playing Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey he requested a job from a Bethesda office he encountered each day on his commute from school to home, but was denied.
Howard joined Bethesda Softworks in 1994. Most recently he was Game Director and Executive Producer of Fallout 3. Prior to that he led the creation of The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, the 2006 Game of the Year winner. He also led the development for The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.
His other major credits include Project Leader and Designer of The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind (2002), Producer and Designer of The Terminator: Future Shock (1995) and SkyNET (1996), and was also Project Leader and Designer of The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard (1998).
He is a frequent speaker at industry events, and his games have been featured in lots of popular TV such The Today Show and to magazine covers worldwide. Howard has stated that Bethesda's philosophy for the Elder Scrolls games is to allow people to 'live another life, in another world.'
Howard's Three Designing RulesEdit
Howard has said that he has three rules when designing a game. These are:
- Great games are played not made. – 'You can have the greatest design document ever made, and you're going to change 90 percent of it as soon as you play the game.'
- Keep it simple. – 'Doing something really well takes time, more time than you think it will. Simple systems acting together create complexity that players can appreciate.'
- Define the experience - 'Don't define your game by a list of bullet points... define it by the experience you want people to have.'