While we still ponder whether or not the latest upcoming game in The Elder Scrolls series is something we really want, there are so many questions that need to be answered before we can pass judgement. ZeniMax Online Studios unveiled The Elder Scrolls Online earliest this month, and while the idea of travelling the lands of Skyrim, Cyrodiil and Morrowind again (but with friends!) excited us, upon seeing screenshots of the game and learning the basics of its gameplay mechanics, our interest began to fade.
Would a World of Warcraft-esque MMO that doesn’t even feature real-time combat like Skyrim even feel like it belongs among The Elder Scrolls games? Are the addition of other players enough to warrant the colorful aesthetic and the less-realistic designs of characters and creatures? According to game director Matt Firor, TESO will be familiar because of the vast amount of “lore” the franchise holds.
In speaking with Edge magazine Frior explains that while they want The Elder Scrolls Online to familiar for fans, they certainly do not want the buggy launches to feel familiar as well.
“[Laughs] It’s not only that, but there’s also many different types of tech problems when you create an MMOG. Account creation, servers, latency. The critical difference with MMOGs, though, is that you have a long beta test where you build up to thousands and thousands of players, and you tackle those problems as you run into them there.”
Considering this is an MMO, a buggy launch is not something a game that’s already receiving mixed reaction can afford. A lot of the game’s story can be played solo, albeit without the gameplay quality of Skyrim, but despite the game’s story being set 1000 years in the past, it’s the exploration and the lore and the history of the series that will feel familiar to long-time fans of the series.
“Even now, I come across lore that I didn’t know existed. It’s just so deep. People play games for different reasons, but the people who respond to Elder Scrolls the most like to get immersed in a world so that they feel they’re living there. They like to have freedom of choice to do what they want to do, and that’s the part that resonates with us the most.”
“This is what makes the IP so great for an MMOG already: people already know it’s the kind of game where they can head out and explore and be rewarded for it. That’s the one thing that player will learn immediately that’s different about us: if you see something in the distance, you can go and investigate and be rewarded for it.”
Is The Elder Scrolls Online a game you’d pay a monthly subscription for or does it need to be free-to-play to compete with what Skyrim already offers PC players with free updates and mods?
The Elder Scrolls Online is being developed by ZeniMax Online Studios for PC & Mac.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.