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curl-6 said:

But it does give you more time; no matter how much power you have, 30fps gives you more time.

And that's only one of countless jobs the CPU has to handle. For the kind of big and complex games Bethesda makes, they may not want to compromise their design goals to just for the sake of 60fps.

On fixed hardware, you simply can't do as much at 60 as you can at 30.

Yes, running the game at 30fps gives you more time. That doesn't necessarily mean "you will always be able to process twice as much per frame at 30fps as you can at 60fps."

"Big and complex" doesn't necessarily mean that performance will be affected. It does matter in which ways it is big and complex, and that is why it also matters what Bethesda is doing to optimize the title. If they are targeting 30fps and leaving performance on the table (because for example their engine and development team aren't utilizing the full CPU resources)and then using "big and complex" as an excuse for the performance target then that is a very different scenario from optimizing the game and realizing 30fps is the necessary target. 

Given their track record and how Todd Howard framed his statement, I think the first scenario isn't entirely unlikely.