In an interesting interview with Gamestar, Todd Howard of Bethesda Game Studios admitted that if Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind had not been the commercial success that it was on both the Xbox and the PC, then Bethesda might have gone out of business.
After talking about the epic success of its popular RPG Skyrim and the role open-world games have in the industry, Howard was asked which of his games he liked the most. Acting like all of these games were his children, Howard didn't want to name a favorite, but ended up singling out Morrowind (thank goodness he didn't say Battlespire). Why? Because Morrowind helped the studio survive very difficult period in its history.
"The company went through some very hard times," Howard said, responding to a question about his most favorite game. "We were very very close to going out of business in the late nineties."
When asked if the previous game, Daggerfall did well, Howard said:
"Daggerfall did fine, then we spread ourselves thin. We started doing a lot of games, and they just weren't good enough. And they weren't the kind of games we should've been making at the time."
"We did Battlespire, I did Redguard—a game I love, but it didn't do well for the company—and we have been working on the Tenth Planet, and there were other projects no one had heard about. So there was this period… Daggerfall was '96, maybe to 2000, we went through some very rough times. And that was when Bethesda became part of Zenimax, and that gave us kind of a new lease on life, really. And we went into Morrowind."
We're glad Morrowind did so well and Bethesda is still around. Had it not done well, we probably would not have ever seen Fallout 3, Oblivion or Skyrim.
You can check out the interview here.