Game delays are fast becoming a frequent occurrence with titles including Watch Dogs, The Division and DriveClub all having their release dates altered from the initial announcements. When it comes to next-gen development this is perhaps understandable, with much being expected out of the PS4 and Xbox One not long after release, despite it taking almost a decade for what many regard as the ‘full potential’ of the PS3 and Xbox 360 to be unlocked.
The Elder Scrolls Online is a game not unlike the aforementioned, with a recent announcement by Bethesda revealing that the game wouldn’t meet its June console release date, needing an additional 6 months in the MMO oven as developer ZeniMax Online “solve a series of problems specific to those platforms.” That and mixed reactions to the PC release. While the wait was deemed excruciating enough when it was announced, new comments from the TESO team suggest that the game might not be released until even later, possibly into 2015.
The suggestions comes after The Elder Scrolls Online Creative Director Paul Sage told IGN that a 2014 release date for the game could not be “guaranteed.”
“I will tell you we are working round the clock to try and make that happen. I can’t guarantee anything, that would be foolish to do, but we are certainly working with that goal in mind.”
While it’s definitely not unheard of for developers to hold back on a release date guarantee for fear of disappointing gamers (The Witcher 3’s devs are a notable exception), Sage’s comments do certainly have cause for concern.
The networks of the PS4 and Xbox One were both mentioned as sources of the delay in the initial delay announcement and any MMO worth its salt needs to be able to have smooth, lag-free play if it wants to prove itself so this something to concede but these same networks may also put under immense pressure should the updates that Sage also mentioned get rolled out.
These updates could amount to several months of new content for The Elder Scrolls Online, with the biggest of these set to be an in-game Justice System. Much like the law and order system seen in The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim and Oblivion, murdering characters along with stealing or attacking them often led to wild goose chases from city guards, ending in their deaths, your death or skill-deteriorating jail time if you couldn’t pay your bail fee.
The Justice System is first on the horizon as it will be an important building block for the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood TESO updates which would make use of the system heavily due to their reliance on thievery and cold-blooded murder, respectively. Sage was even quick to discuss a roadmap for the updates, explaining that,
“With an update like that it’s a little further on the horizon. The reason is we do want fully fleshed out skill systems and quest lines for that, so that’s further out. My prediction is we’ll probably get the Justice System in before we get the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood in, just because we want that system to be fully fleshed out and players used to the system before they have to use it. I don’t have a date lined up, but it’s a little further out. I wouldn’t expect it in the first four updates.”
As if those didn’t sound exciting enough, even player housing is being considered, which is yet another feature that could stress the networks that the development team is having issues with. However, with new spellcrafting and new weapon skills recently being revealed to balance gameplay, along with a newly announced pre-order incentive for console players also available, it may just turn out that The Elder Scrolls Online on PS4 and Xbox One is worth the wait.