Bethesda has confirmed that a massively multiplayer online RPG set in the Elder Scrolls universe, where last year’s hit RPG Skyrim takes place, has been secretly in development for years. Titled The Elder Scrolls Online it was officially unveiled today.
The game is being developed by a team lead by Matt Firor who was previously the Executive Producer for Dark Age of Camelot. About his new game, Frior says “We have been working hard to create an online world in which players will be able to experience the epic Elder Scrolls universe with their friends, something fans have long said they wanted”.
This is something that long time fans of the series have been clamoring for at least since The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind introduced players to a vast free-roaming 3D world that was filled the same sort of depth and customization that one typically finds in a full MMO (If not since the first Elder Scrolls game’s arrival during the early days of the internet).
Frior continues with “It will be extremely rewarding finally to unveil what we have been developing the last several years. The entire team is committed to creating the best MMO ever made – and one that is worthy of The Elder Scrolls franchise.”
Many reviews of the most recent Elder Scrolls game, Skyrim, compared it to a single-player MMO experience due to the tremendous amount of character customization, and the extensive crating system. So it isn’t hard to image the mechanics of Skyrim being used to create a full online experience, in a shared world.
The Elder Scrolls series ignores many of the typical RPG mechanics, such as Experience Points. Rather the last few The Elder Scrolls games have required players to level up by actually using their skills, rather than having the option of spending points in skill they haven’t even tried yet. It will be interesting to see how this system translates into a MMO where Min/Maxing and grinding for XP is so common.
Another way that The Elder Scrolls have differed from other RPGs is the use of classes. The various The Elder Scrolls games have approached classes from different views, but by the time Oblivion had released, players were allowed to create their own custom class, and in Skyrim classes were done away with altogether.
With these unusual mechanics, plus an emphasis on free-roaming, nonlinear gameplay, The Elder Scrolls makes an interesting basis for a MMO, and has the potential to shake up the typical gameplay of the genre. The series’ setting, Tamriel, has become a heavily detailed world over the eighteen years since the series launched and should provide developers with plenty of inspiration, while allowing fans to explore these familiar areas in a new game.
The Elder Scrolls Online has been confirmed as releasing on PC and Mac, but no release date or ESRB rating has been confirmed as of this writing. More information on The Elder Scrolls Online is no doubt on the way and Explosion.com will have coverage as news breaks.