With true MMOs, the ones sharing massive persistent open-worlds on big megaservers, being so large and so full of content it can be difficult to get them right for a modern audience of gamers. When the developers behind them must bring said game to not just PCs but a range of new, next-gen consoles as well, it can be that much more problematic.
For that very reason, publisher Bethesda is fighting an uphill battle with their game The Elder Scrolls Online, struggling to keep the subscription-required game together amidst fans’ high hopes and expectations for a title in the ever popular Elder Scrolls series. Critical backlash over some fundamental aspects of the game, along with bugs, glitches and other problems that can’t necessarily be fixed with patches, seem to have ZeniMax Online Studios and Publisher taking more time with the console version and rumors that it be delayed resulting from a slip-up on the official site have since been confirmed.
There’s a strong chance that each and every one of the issues that have helped earn TESO mixed reviews was set to migrate with the game once The Elder Scrolls Online was released on Xbox One and PS4 during its planned release date of June. Forging ahead with a release date that’s just a month away could see the integrity of the Elder Scrolls brand watered down, making for a cool glass of MMO that would neither be pleasant to gamers’ tastebuds nor Bethesda’s pockets in the long-term.
As a result of the possible impending backlash from reviewers playing on two more platforms, Bethesda has now officially announced that The Elder Scrolls Online on Xbox One and PS4 will be delayed for six additional months in order for ZeniMax Online Studios to bring it up to scratch.
Some players point to previously addressed complaints (such as those about gold spammers and gameplay that were reported earlier this month) for the delay but in a new message to update fans, Bethesda has explained that this is not the case.
“We continue to work on the console versions of ESO, and game development has been progressing steadily, but we are still working to solve a series of unique problems specific to those platforms. Integrating our systems with each console manufacturer’s networks–which are both different from the PC/Mac system as well as different from each other–has been a challenging process. It has become clear that our planned June release of the console versions isn’t going to be possible. Though we have made great progress, we have concluded that we’ll need about six months to ensure we deliver the experience our fans expect and deserve.”
Clearly Bethesda is adamant that the problems that The Elder Scrolls Online’s next-gen versions is facing aren't down to pre-existing issues with the game itself but fans will still be concerned that if the only thing that’s being fixed is how the game works on PS4 and Xbox One, what about the other problems? These are obviously valid complaints, although it’s unlikely that the heavily critiqued aspects of TESO, such as the long respawn times for bosses and quest items or the lack of varied settings, will be changed up much in the next six months, especially as The Elder Scrolls Online is a game that has been in development for several years.
In order to soothe fan fury, the publisher did also announce that they are working with Sony and Microsoft on the following special offer:
"Via a special offer, anyone who purchases and plays the PC/Mac version of The Elder Scrolls Online by the end of June will have the opportunity to transfer their character(s) to either console version when they are released. The offer will allow you to begin playing immediately on the PC/Mac, and then add the PS4 or Xbox One version and transfer the character(s) you have created and developed. And, you don’t have to pay full price for the game twice. For $20/â‚¬14.99/£12.99/AU$20, eligible PC and Mac players will have the option to add a full, digital version of ESO on either the PS4 or the Xbox One with your character transfer(s), and another 30 days of included game time."
Players made skeptical by The Elder Scrolls Online’s delay will also be able to test their hand at a console beta at some point but Bethesda has yet to reveal any info on that for now so we’ll keep you posted once they do.
The Elder Scrolls Online is out now for PC and will be released later this year for PS4 and Xbox One.