The Elder Scrolls franchise, on its way to debuting its fifth installment, represents that other massively anticipated RPG of the fall season. While we finally received confirmation that Mass Effect 3 will not feature a multiplayer component, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim won't be jumping into the realm of multiplayer either.
This is not a "bad" thing in either case however, since both games will offer some of the richest and deepest single player experiences in the industry. Forcing multiplayer into either game may detract from that experience, and the trade-off, at least for the current design of the games, is not worth it.
In chatting with Edge magazine, Bethesda's head of marketing, Pete Hines, talked about the commonly desired multiplayer gamelay that many players would like to have seen implemented in Morrowind, Oblvion and now, Skyrim. He responded that it's something that they can do, but something that would take away from the core focus of gameplay we know and love:
"So certainly we could do multiplayer. Unquestionably. It's not a thing we're technically incapable of figuring out. But when we draw up the list of things we'd like to have cut or change in order to support that feature, what we end up with is unpalatable. It'd make a lesser version of the game. And there is no doubt on the dev side that that is the case."
A "lesser version" of the game is unacceptable and we can appreciate that notion of quality, but would something like a co-operative feature actually hurt the game should they decide to implement such a thing in The Elder Scolls VI?
The good news is that while many publishers are focing developers to "tack on" multiplayer components as a bankable feature for triple-A releases, that is not the case with Bethesda. Hines explains:
"I've always said: 'You tell us whether or not your game needs it. I'm not going to tell you it has to be in there, or it has to be on the back of the box. If that's the reason you're doing it then don't waste your time and don't waste ours."
The realm of Tamriel is ripe for a multiplayer game eventually, it just needs to be a design decision from the outset. Take a look at our discussion on Elder Scrolls multiplayer potential for more on this.
While I'm all about the rich story of The Elder Scrolls titles, being able to explore and fight dragons with a friend does make sense. I know I wouldn't go it alone with a sword if I were in the same situation, even if I could shout at dragons.
Perhaps, like with BioWare's Mass Effect, an Elder Scrolls MMO could be in the cards for Bethesda down the road.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim arrives November 11, 2011 for the PS3, PC and Xbox 360.
Source: Edge (via CVG)