Next Elder Scrolls to be a MMORPG, ready for 2011?

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Elder Scrolls: Oblivion remains one of the biggest and best single-player experiences available on the current generation of consoles. But in a bold step, it seems the next entry into the series could be about to go all World of Warcraft on us, taking the path marked “MMORPG”.

The source for this story? Well it’s a bit convoluted, but here goes. Back in 2007, Zenimax Media, the parent company behind Oblivion developers Bethesda, formed an MMORPG arm called Zenimax Online. They were given access to some $300 million in development funds, but other than the registration of elderscrollsonline.com, all went very quiet.

Until recently that is. If you weren’t already aware, Bethesda also built Fallout 3. They’ve been caught in a legal battle with Interplay, the original owners of the Fallout franchise, for some time now.

Now, according to Fallout fansite Duck and Cover, testimony from an early injunction hearing has revealed that the rumoured Elder Scrolls Online project still seems very much alive, with “close to a hundred people” quietly working away since 2007. According to Duck and Cover, the game looks set to have a four-year development period, putting its release sometime in 2011. Zenimax have since asked for the information to be redacted.

Now it may not give 100% confirmation of the MMO title, but lets add this all up; $300 million dollars, the registered URL, a team of 100 working on a secret project, a massive installed fan base ready to lap it up, the redaction of top-secret info. It’s got to be true, surely? $300 million is a hell of a lot to risk on a brand new intellectual property, and, if not, it’s a licence to print money totally going to waste.

In terms of a final product, this one could swing both ways really. Elder Scrolls games have always succeeded by totally immersing the player in the game world and its lore. The thought of some 12 year old running around and calling me a “noob” while I’m playing wouldn’t exactly be a positive addition to that experience. Let’s not forget the inevitable monthly subscription costs, too. On the other hand, they are massive, great looking games; the perfect setting for some MMORPG exploration.

Fingers crossed that if this proves true (which to be honest, looks incredibly likely) Bethesda pull it off.

Gerald Lynch

36 comments

  • This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. Thanks.

  • oblivion is an awesome game. its HUGE.. spectacular graphics. but i dont have time to play it unfortunaltey i like to run around and kill shit mostly. like the gta games, kill shit and kill more shit. well put an online deathmatch in the next elder scrolls AT LEAST.. i like jumping right into the action. so yes make it online and dont listen to the fucktards saying not to. just make it an OPTION not mandatory online

  • yeah dont make the next elderly scrolls an mmo, but i do like the idea of having another player come into the game to do quest with you.

  • I would like it to be a single player but with an option to play with 3 other friends or so. by choice or by some sort of matchmaking

  • nope its not gonna be a mmo cuz there is an article on there forums saying that its not going to be because they are not the kinda company to make those kinda games sorry guys! 🙁

  • I like what someone said above, and maybe build upon it. If you have a ‘common’ area – where players congegate and socialize, you could then leave that common area and quest with whoever you choose, rather than have idiots running around everywhere.

  • elder scrolls can’t go mmo it would wreck the story line and gameplay. they should improve the game and make it like oblivion but with more funtions. one good mutiplayer options would ne like an areana match against a real person or a time trial race to complete a quest or cave

  • if there was a single player side it would be better or if you could choose who you want in your game like Red Dead Redemption

  • Dont we have enough MMORGP games out there? I say continue the elder scrolls series and if thats not enough make Elder Scrolls Online separately.

  • I agree with Crazybird, there should be an option whether the player would like to play online of offline like Phantasy Star Online. If it’s more like WoW or FF11/14 then you’d probably have to make a private server.

  • Ok, fallout 3 and oblivion were good What now though, just make the same game on the same engine with the same single player? No, i have to have somthing different or i will die… i would agree with some of the comments of it being peacful and there being no retards running around trying to jump on you while your doing a quest. So maybe somewhere in between. If you want to play offline then play offline. If you want to play like with 4 other friends then get online and play with them. But hope that it is not another WoW I will pay to play but it better be good. If borderlands and oblivion had a baby. With the online stuff of borderlands and the graphics of oblivion and with the option of playing online or offline that would be a game i would buy.

  • I hope it doesn’t go multiplayer. Pay to play it isn’t that bad. Maybe it will go like LOTR online and be switched to optional free play but not all access. And yes I agree. Not another runescape with 7 year olds whining and calling everyone noobs.

  • soo soo many comments asking to not go mmo … not good … to be honest i love mmo but i also loved single player … you know i think the only reason that mmo’s tend to suk is from the people… yep .. the people.. if the put certain Blocks on things and tweeked it it would be soo wonderfull .. and i agree that if u just cant stand mmo then have the single player available .. yes .. but im a lover of having friends and an actual community … after 6 months i get soo lonely and bored in single player after a games released… i killed oblivion and basicly bored to death cause i was a god in there after mastering everything .. now thats boring… having friends to go to dungons with and alot of mystery and puzzles to solve and things to keep reaching for is what mmo’s DONT have
    im damn sure the creators of elderscrolls serries are worthy of a hell lot more trust in making the very BEST mmo u ever saw (in addition american made mmos just areant available … atleast not ones worth playing) i bet this would be sooo awesome it would take over internet..

  • Er…. I hate MMOs. Honestly. I do. I can’t stand them. The gameplay is too repetitive, there’s too many idiots running around doing the same thing you’re doing, and the graphics are terrible. And I’ve been waiting THIS LONG to finally hear that Bethesda might make the next Elder Scrolls into one of them? WHY? WHY GOD, WHY?!?! I can’t believe this. Call this immature if you will, but a lot of the people -playing- the freaking MMOs are immature. I don’t want the next Elder Scrolls to be a disappointment but if it’s going to go this way then it’s going to be a disappointment for so many people because it’s just not what Elder Scrolls should be. The whole “walking around alone in a peaceful, tranquil world then battling ferocious monsters one on one, then feeling like you’re the hero because nobody else is with you” thing IS what’s best about those games. Now they’re doing this to it? I hope not. I really, really hope not. 4-5 years since I bought Oblivion and I am STILL wandering around having fun discovering new things by myself, the genius of it all is that special feeling of adventure you get when it’s just you and the forest and that serene music that plays, that makes you never want to put the controller down. It’s a world all to yourself to explore.
    Please, Bethesda. Please don’t do this to me, and countless other real fans.

  • I think an Elder Scrolls MMO would be great actually. When everyone thinks of MMOs they think World of Warcraft but frankly, World of Warcraft got its stuff from Everquest. An Elder Scrolls MMO doesn’t mean it has to be anything like World of Warcraft. Look at Runescape for instance. It’s an MMO and it’s more along the Elder Scrolls line (not as awesome as ES of course) they don’t have raids and so on a so forth.

    If you think about it, when your playing Oblivion, imagine the world around you but instead of extra empty space in the town filled with only the NPCs, think of other players being there too. You can make the MMO exactly like the ES we know and love just with the main story line being a world event kind of thing and then off shoot dungeons that you can do by yourself if your strong enough or if you want to, go with some friends or random strangers as long as you have the option to do something by yourself if your strong enough or fool-hardy enough =P. You don’t have to be a cookie cutter MMO to be an MMO. An MMO is what you make of it and if it’s just like ES with a lot of other players as citizen/adventurers in the streets and forests I don’t see a problem.

  • If the next Elder Scrolls game is a MMO I’ll be highly disappointed. Oblivion is by far the best game I have played on the Xbox 360 console, but if the the next Elder Scrolls is a MMO, as I said earlier, I won’t be happy with it. I won’t pay for it if it is. Maybe if Bethesda made it where you could play on Live and with your friends on split-screen in an “Arena” type area, but this game should be mainly focused on single player action. Please, Bethesda, don’t go out on the MMO branch! For a fan of the series.

  • I think the sweet-spot for the next Elder Scrolls will be single player, with the option for closed-network play with 1-4 other players (not another MMO).
    Users have submitted a goldmine of comments here, some of the best centered around how well this series has let each player be “the savior of the world”, how fun interacting with NPC’s can be, and the true joy of exploring rich, detailed, graphically-intensive and huge environments. Please don’t inadvertently turn Elder Scrolls into Diablo 2, where everyone “rushes” characters and seeks exploits to gain better items. Keep this a single-player focused series!

  • I loved Oblivion, but won’t buy the next one if it’s a MMO. I hate multiplayer. Oh, and Bethesda, i’ll never forgive you for making Fallout 3 GOTY unplayable because of the bugs, and not even making a patch to fix these… I’ll only buy your games from now if it’s clear from the reviews they are bugfree and are in the bargain bin.

  • hopefully last two comments are liars. MMO will ruin the game with grinding and nerdrage, just like world of warcrap.

  • sorry everyone that doesnt want it to be mmo but unfortunately it will my brother works there and he has been telling me all about it trust me everyone will be so pleased with it

  • It is an MMO…trust me…maybe end of 2011 early 2012. Shame they hope to be another WOW. Sick of the MMOs. Want multiplayer, but no more MMOs!

  • I really hope its not an mmo. I have been waiting and hoping for so vary long to get another game like oblivion, and this would crush me. I would honestly be sad for like 24 hours straight. then I would just tell mtself its just a game and remiace over the good times I had in Oblivion. But NO I would not pay for an online service like that. No way. Thats not the same game.

  • Surely i would be happy maybe just for a two player option where it can be easily done on computer and online systems for the consoles, I ‘ve always wanted to delve into a dingeon with my friend for back up.

  • NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! please dont do it you guys are way to good to going into an MMO. not saying MMOs are bad but the npcs and quests are so good and mmos just nerf thier npcs to make them worthless compared to what elder scrolls can do with npcs. i really hope they read this site’s comments.

  • Just another to voice his opinion. It seems that many many people (myself included) will hate Elder Scrolls 5 being a MMORPG. As much as we all hope and pray it isn’t so, that fact is that if they (Bethesda) have been working on the game for a few years now (and if indeed their original intent was to go MMO) there is slim to no chance that even if every fanboy (myself included) on the web protested; that the game would be changed. It’s the world we live in. How can you deny the money making machines of WoW or LOTR? Think of it this way – look at all the amazing mods the community has mad for us with oblivion. (OOO, Frans, MMM, FOCOM, etc . . .) Now imagine the suits (who are the ones with the real power to say what gets made and what doesn’t) devising a way to CHARGE us for supplemental material and/or a monthly subscription fee. Their coffers will be overflowing. People will still buy the game (no matter what they say on the various forums – just look at the Fallout 3 forums in the days before/after it’s release). Bottom line is, even if the developers are not making the game they want to make (and I think if they are going the MMO route, there are many who are not)– It is their job. Just like you and me, they have corporate bigwigs who dictate what must me made, and when. Unless you are one of a very select few individuals (Sid Meyer, Will Wright); this is just the way it is. Yeah, it sucks. And we can pray to Akotosh that this is not the case, but I fear that it is.

  • Please do not move Elder Scrolls to MMO. The true immersion of the game is dependent on the feeling that ONLY ONE can make the difference. I would never forgive Bethesda if they move the game play to online.

  • They should have the great single player like always, but have a online option. Not one to pay for every month thats just stupid. I dont know why people even do that. But i would love to run around and do some black hand quests with my friends.

  • I for one would be horrified if they move over to MMO! Dont get me wrong, I love multiplayer games. But more along the lines of FPS Deathmatches and Co-ops. Plus Borderlands was great fun with friends! But when it comes to games like Elder Scrolls (Also Final Fantasy to name another) I’m not looking for the social interaction. I’m looking for an immersive story and world that can totally draw me in! I dont even want it to be co-op because that again can just take away the realism. I enjoy the interaction with the world’s residents and the emotional connection with the main charactors. Ever since I finished Oblivion I have been waiting with baited breath for the next installment. Please Bethesda, do what you do best!

  • I personally wouldn’t mind if they at least made it a one to four player co-op, but not required to be so, like Outlands for instance. There have been times while hunting tombs that I have thought, ‘if there was someone over there firing arrows on the minions while I go Tank the boss, this could be done more efficiently.’ MMO’s is a standard of play that works for some titles, Elder Scrolls is not one of them. To do so would simply make it just another Medieval MMO and not Elder Scrolls at all. We have enough of those already. Elder Scrolls is about depth in plot, and environmental detail. I can’t help but wonder if those essential elements would be compromised otherwise.

  • I do and I dont like the idea, for I have left a few online games because of a few reasons. i like playing my one player game no one to squbble with lol but if you were to make it so just our friends can play together would be cool sortta like some other games I know of.

  • I realy hope so that it stays with a nice single player .
    They own on every other RPG at the moment ,the best ever i think.
    It would be a dumb failure when they put it in a MMO .
    But hell yeah ,even when it happens i still gonna buy it .
    Maby it would be usefull to ask the gamers themself what they want , then they have a much bigger croud i think 😉
    But we will see ,cant wait 😛

  • Dude for real, I can’t stand most MMO’s. There are way too many annoying people. I love just relaxing and playing Elder Scrolls and just getting immersed(spell) in the story and game. That is so much harder to do in an MMO because everyone does the same quests so it’s really hard to feel like the hero who saved the world. And there are far less NPC’s in an MMO, which, in the Elder Scrolls case, are fun to interact with. Sorry I kind of got into a rant here. I just had to express my opinion. And also, how much I really hope the series doesn’t go, quote, “All World or Warcraft on us”.

  • Don’t do it Elder Scrolls! Leave it single player! That’s what you do so well. Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, hell even Arena, are all such unique, wonderful single player games. There are already so many damn MMO’s out there. We want another beautifully sculpted single-player RPG!

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