Players who’ve not signed up for The Elder Scrolls Online should get on that if interested since another wave of closed beta invites went out last week. For everyone still waiting, we have another few glimpses into the world of Tamriel as depicted in ZeniMax Online Studios’ ambitious MMORPG.
Along with several new screenshots detailing several of the environments and creatures of The Elder Scrolls Online, the devs share a behind-the-scenes look at crafting one of the more recognizable enemy creatures. Also, there’s word of the original game that started it all making a return: Arena [Updated at bottom of post].
We recommend that interested players read our extensive Elder Scrolls Online preview roundup to help put the images in better context:
As for the creature getting the spotlight this week, the Ogrim, first seen in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind – I still remember the Ogrim artwork in the instruction manual – is one of the obvious returning NPC creatures in TESO and ZeniMax Online Studios have taken to their blog to begin detailing the art and design work that goes into realizing the many lifeforms from The Elder Scrolls lore and to take fans behind-the-scenes.
When creating the ogrim, we first looked at the Morrowind model and existing lore fromThe Elder Scrolls games. This helped us get a feel for the creature and gave us a great starting place for bringing it into ESO. As with any art that goes into the game, the ogrim began life in the concept phase. Concept artists drew up several thumbnails–quick, small sketches–with lots of ideas for visual direction. Once the Art Team settled on a direction, more images were created: color studies and several different, more detailed concepts were developed to be used as reference by Figure Artists. Below, you can see some concept art for the ogrim.
For the ogrim (and all of our other creatures and NPCs), it was important to make sure it fit in with the world. It didn’t just need to look good on its own; it needed to fit into the environment and look appropriate alongside player characters and other enemy creatures. The artists paid close attention to this throughout the process and always work to ensure that every piece of art works with the game’s overall style; consistent visuals help us create and maintain immersion.
Longtime fans of the series and veteran gamers may appreciate the next bit of news. Much like Australia provided the original reveal of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, that very same ratings system is spoiling a major surprise from Bethesda. The Elder Scrolls: Arena was age-rated last week by the Australian Classification Board for a multiplatform release.
The original Arena was made freely available (the full game – download here) by Bethesda previously so this could be a mobile version of the game or what we’d much prefer: an HD remake or an all-out remake of The Elder Scrolls I. Bethesda did promise that they’ll be taking the spotlight this year with some major announcements. Pete Hines was quoted last week saying:
“I think you’ll hear us making considerably more noise this year than we did last year, as a publisher. Obviously The Elder Scrolls Online is out and we’ve got the Dishonored DLC, but we will be announcing new stuff and making some noise, and I think when we get the chance to show you guys what we’re up to, that you’ll sit up and take notice.
“I think we’re continuing to do the stuff that we get excited about, and people will get really excited about when they hear what we’re up to, which is continuing to push the boundaries, reinvent — find really smart, passionate teams who know what they’re doing and have an idea that they really want to do and do well.”
Could Arena be “reinvented” as The Elder Scrolls VI?
[Update 1: Nope, not happening. Bethesda says it was a mix-up]
Bethesda VP of PR and Marketing Pete Hines tells Joystiq:
“It apparently was never formally in their system because the release of Arena pre-dated [the Australian Classification Board’s] existence. This is simply an error on [the classification board’s] part. It should just say PC, not multiplatform. We’ve notified them and they’re going to fix. There is no new version of the game coming. Just a clerical mix-up.”
[Update 2: Skyrim is complete.]
Bethesda announced on their official blog that the team behind The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is moving on the their next project.
For the last year and a half we’ve been working on new content for Skyrim; from the game updates, Creation Kit, Steam Workshop, Kinect support, to DLCs. Parts of our team have also been in pre-production on our next major project, and that game is at the point where it requires the studio’s full attention to make it our biggest and best work yet.
Even though we’re moving on, we’ll still have minor updates to Skyrim as needed. We’ve invested so much of ourselves into Skyrim and will never truly say goodbye to it.
Read the full goodbye on page 2.
Let me know on Twitter @rob_keyes your favorite TES title!