It seems 2014 is the year of the delayed video game. Some of the most notable game delays have included The Crew, Battlefield Hardline, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Batman: Arkham Knight, and Evolve. And although delays have come to be expected in this industry, 2014 seems a banner year.
Not to be left out of the current “delay-your-upcoming-game” trend, ZeniMax Online Studios has confirmed that The Elder Scrolls Online for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will be delayed (again) into 2015. The game was slated to release in June of this year, shortly after the PC and Mac version released in April.
Game Director Matt Firor shared a post on The Elder Scrolls Online website, stating that the game is currently playable, but is still missing some of the major features he and his team would like to have available at launch:
As I’ve mentioned, we have been (and will continue to be) steadily working on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of ESO. They are playable and fun right now, but there's still some work to do before we can set an official launch date. First and foremost, we want to make sure that two of our most important systems still in development—the Justice and Champion Systems—are included in the console release. Those two systems will introduce a huge amount of content to the game, and we know everyone is looking forward to the new types of gameplay they provide.
Both the Justice System and Champion System will have a significant impact on a player’s experience within Elder Scrolls Online. Through the Justice System, guards within the game will react to players’ actions, actively working to stop them from thieving or hurting the NPCs. Additionally, players will have the opportunity to take on the role of Enforcer and do the work of a guard, stopping Outlaws from their nasty business.
The Champion System will provide a slightly different ranking system for Elder Scrolls Online than other MMORPGs. Through the Champion System, players who reach level 50 won’t be expected to grind-binge for Veteran Rank progression, but will rather obtain Champion Points, which can be used in a “constellation” – Elder Scrolls Online's leveling tree – that will help maximize a player’s character. This new system will both level the playing field, while still providing a slight edge to players who have put in the time and dedication for continued progression.
The Justice and Champion Systems will play a crucial part in the success of Elder Scrolls Online on consoles, as they help extend the game beyond the stand-alone Elder Scrolls games into a full-MMORPG experience. While the Justice and Champion Systems are available on the PC/Mac version of Elder Scrolls Online, Firor stressed that the console version of the game isn’t just a port from PC/Mac, but has been built from the ground up for the PS4 and Xbox One:
We have completely replaced the PC user interface with a console-specific UI designed from the ground-up with a controller and a living room play experience in mind. We’ve also added voice chat and full integration with XBL and PSN. Expect to see lots of news about our console versions in early 2015.
The move to hold off the launch of Elder Scrolls Online may be a smart move by ZeniMax Online Studios, especially considering that players will be paying a monthly fee to play Elder Scrolls Online. The success or failure of this venture relies heavily on retention of players. If a sub-par game is released, it’s almost guaranteed that many gamers would drop out before these features could be added.
That means lost revenue for ZeniMax Online and Bethesda. Attracting players at launch is far easier than recovering disappointed players, so having a stellar launch is imperative for Elder Scrolls Online on console.
What do you think about this announcement? Do you think the delay is good for gamers? Let us know in the comments.
The Elder Scrolls Online is available on Mac and PC, and is set to release on PS4 and Xbox One.