The Elder Scrolls Online

Updated Info:

[ul][li]Q1 2024 release.[/ul][/li][ul][li]Monthly subscription fee. No plans (currently) for F2P.[/ul][/li][ul][li]Will be released on PC, Mac, PS4 and XBone. No cross-platform support.[/ul][/li][ul][li]In closed beta (as of November 2013).[/ul][/li][ul][li]In development since 2007.[/ul][/li]
Original Post:

Officially announced over at Game Informer. Looks like it’s not just a rumor after all, and it seems all of the spoiler info posted in that thread is correct.

The basics:

[li]PC/Mac Exclusive[/li][li]Scheduled to come out sometime in 2013[/li][li]Takes place a millennium before Skyrim[/li][li]The world encompasses all of Tamriel[/li][li]3 playable factions[/li][/ul]

  • Jon



First Bioware, now Bethesda. I’m not happy to hear this–I think the gaming world in general needs open world single player RPG’s a lot more than yet another MMO, and that’s where I wish their resources were being allocated.

Why so upset? Maybe it’ll be great, we don’t know anything yet.

This shouldn’t delay their next huge single-player RPG. Zenimax Online is an entirely different studio than Bethesda.

Same deal with Bioware, incidentally. Bioware Austin is a separate studio. Bioware’s RPG decline with dragon age 2 is EA’s fault, not TOR’s.

Sure, but they are studios that could be working on huge single player RPG’s instead of MMO’s.

… again they are separate studios.

What’s going to kill me the most, though, is that if they truly go across all of Tamriel, I’ll want to play just to see those exotic locales like the Black Marshes and Elsweyr.

Other than that (and the prospect of screenshots), I’m not all that excited about this.

No thanks. I mean, I’m sure plenty of people will play this, and I’m sure Bethesda will make a jillion dollars (at least for the first few months) but “Elder Scrolls” to me isn’t just the lore or the setting with RPG on top. I consider the emergent wackiness (including the glitches and mods) to be a big part of the experience.

Interesting. But for the budget and talent pool required to make an MMO, they could have made Elder Scrolls 6, Fallout 4, and Awesome Space Opera 1.

Given the choice, I’d rather have those than the MMO.

I don’t see them releasing more ES games at the same time as an MMO, it would pull away a large portion of the people who they plan on playing the MMO. Just like Bioware, who aren’t going to be making any competing single-player KotoR games, I think this will be the same way.

More important to note is that the second studio wouldn’t even exist had it not been for the MMO opportunity. So your choices are pretty much either a single-player RPG and an MMO, or just a single-player RPG. The only reason these companies spend huge sums of money starting up another large team is for a shot at the truly huge profits that MMOs (and MMOs alone) provide.

  • Jon

I agree. Assets used to produce MMO’s have to take away from development of the next single player RPG. I don’t do on-line MMO’s.

Again, this has no impact on their ability to make those.

Bethesda the developer is owned by Zenimax, a company that has expanded its gaming holdings over the years. Bethesda still makes single player games and is undoubtedly well on the way with Fallout 4 as we speak. Meanwhile, a few years ago Zenimax created an MMO studio and are using the Elder Scrolls as the setting for their first game.

This is effectively just the same as if Bethesda had allowed a third party to do an MMO. And by using a time frame from well before the single player games it impacts nothing.

As blah! points out, though, there are marketing realities to releasing these games. The Old Republic means we don’t get more KOTOR, just as this will mean we don’t get more single-player The Elder Scrolls (for a while).

And the general point that publishers have a limited amount of resources, and that allocating them on one project means they don’t go to another project, is absolutely correct.

Damnit I came too late to post this.

…which almost certainly means there will be no competing single player Elder Scrolls titles until a few years after the launch of the MMO since they won’t want to cannibalize their own player base. Elder Scrolls 6 just got pushed way, way back by this. Beyond that, as I said in my first post, the parent company only has so much money to throw at game development. Money spent on MMO’s isn’t going to single player RPG’s.

Edit: Giaddon just made this point.

WTF? Seriously, there is zero reason to think there will be no more Elder Scrolls RPGs. Zero. Once they finish Fallout 4 you can pretty much guarantee Bethesda will start working on the next Elder Scrolls. And marketing aside, think about the time frames for a second:

  • Bethesda releases its single player games roughly every three years. They’ve been pretty consistent about this for quite awhile. As Skyrim was released last fall, we can pretty safely expect that Fallout 4 will be out in the fall of 2014. That’s a full year after the 2013 release for this Elder Scrolls MMO. Then it will be another three years (~2016) before the next single player Elder Scrolls game. In other words, four years after the MMO. Given MMO cycles, that’s well beyond having any real negative impact on the next single player game.

And again, this MMO has zero impact on the release timeframe for Bethesda. Ever since Fallout 3 we’ve been on an alternating schedule that means six years between titles in a series either way, unless they let a third party (i.e. Obsidian with Fallout New Vegas) do one. Remember, it was nearly six years between Oblivion and Skyrim.

Makes sense to me. Bethesda has always been a quantity over quality studio. A sprawling MMO would be a perfect match for their design philosophy.

What makes you think that that a company would release a single-player version of a game that they are trying to get people to subscribe to? Is there a single example of this ever happening? ToR killed any future KotoR games, WoW killed any future Warcraft games, and most likely ES Online will kill any future, at least in the foreseeable future, ES games.

It doesn’t matter that it’s a different studio or that they can make both games, I don’t see any developer/publisher fracturing their playerbase this way, especially when the amount of money spent on the MMO will be immense and anything that pulls away from their profits will be a very bad thing.

That’s not necessarily true. Many times (as in this case, with Zenimax Online) hundreds of millions of dollars were invested from other companies so that an MMO could be made. Zenimax very well might not have had access to that capital (or be willing to take the risk of spending that much money) had they not been making an MMO.

Is there some kind of an effect? Sure. As you point out the KOTOR universe has been ‘hijacked’, and the same happened to Warcraft. But the situation isn’t as simple as “every dollar they could have spent on this dumb MMO could have been spent on another great single-player RPG!” That would be like claiming that the reason why some people are poor is because the rich people are hoarding all the money. Life is nothing but a shade of grey, and the effect of MMOs on single-player RPGs is no different.

  • Jon