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Elder Scrolls Online dev planning 5-year roadmap, first add-on already in the works

Friday, 23rd August 2013 12:32 GMT By Dave Cook

The Elder Scrolls Online developer Zenimax Online Studios is currently planning out a five-year content roadmap for the MMO, and the title’s first add-ons are being worked on now.

Speaking with VG247 at gamescom, the studio’s general manager Matt Firor said, “There’s a metric thing I have on my whiteboard that’s kind of a ‘game designer’ thing where it’s ‘five days, five hours, five months’ and ‘five years’. The game needs to work on those time scales.

“At five hours the art needs to be good, it needs to feel good when you sit down. Five days is the levelling needs to be good, five months is the end-game needs to be good and the five years is the one you’re talking about. That’s the magic one, the one that’s really ‘community’. You’re going back because you like the people you’re playing with, it’s also the hardest to achieve obviously.

“But yeah, that’s the ‘I’m going to this virtual world because I have friends there, and there’s some social pressure to log-in, I like it, I want to meet my friends there’. That’s one way to look at it, and so we have social systems built around that, all these big multiplayer games have them.”

During my hands-on today in Cologne, I found that the game can be played solo, with no obligation to party-up, and Firor explained that the core quest line – in which you try to reclaim your soul after it’s been stolen by Molag Bal – can be completed alone. It’s basically a new, full Elder Scrolls title with online aspects should you wish to use them. In first-person view, on one of Skyrim’s many islands, I felt like it was an extension of The Elder Scrolls V.

On the other side of the game’s long-tail plan, Firor continued, “The other side of it is, you need to make sure there’s something for those players to do that’s new and refreshing on an ongoing basis. So the other side of that is we’re planning regular content updates and pretty substantial ones like every month to six weeks – we’re working on the actual cadence just now – but we’re already working on post-launch content now.

“The game’s not done but feature-wise it’s pretty well done, so our content teams have kind of separated and some of them are working on data feedback, polish, fixing quests that players don’t like in the beta, that kind of thing. And then other teams have peeled off and are working on totally new content players won’t see until after the game launches. Even now we’e working on that.”

You can read my full interview with Firor and hands-on impressions of The Elder Scrolls Online here soon. It’s out on PC, Mac, PS4 and Xbox One in 2014.

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14 Comments

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  1. Tavarish

    Month 6 – Turn game into F2P

    #1 11 months ago
  2. sebastien rivas

    Things go soooo dam rapidly nowadays. The game just started beta release they are already on next expansion. Game industry is aserious business, indeed!

    #2 11 months ago
  3. Aullah

    @2 It will be free so its ok that they already working on it.

    #3 11 months ago
  4. Dendroball

    @2 The sole purpose of this announcement is to reassure potential gamers/subscribers because all the previous MMOs lived and died by the capacity of the developer to deliver frequent updates of content.

    #4 11 months ago
  5. TheWulf

    @5

    TOR rolled out a lot of content, that didn’t stop it from haemorrhaging subscribers at a rapid rate. It’s also funny because they reckon that an IP will save them from going free to play, and I think we can all see how well that worked out for TOR.

    That they haven’t learned from TOR is absolutely amazing to me. And without an IP, WildStar’s approach is even riskier. I don’t know why they just don’t do away with the pain and go free to play from the start.

    Oh. Huh. It could just be a clever plan to bring in some subscriber money before they roll out their free to play update. Hadn’t thought of that. I suppose that makes sense.

    #5 11 months ago
  6. fearmonkey

    I will have to play this game simply because I can visit new and old locations in it, for an Elder Scrolls fan, that is going to be really cool.

    #6 11 months ago
  7. GrimRita

    Bioware said all this about SWTOR, then look what happened. Developers/publishers can promise/plan all they want but nothing is guaranteed if they cant keep a player base growing.

    #7 11 months ago
  8. ps3fanboy

    you know what guys…. GUILDWARS, they got it right… but greedy as fuck Zenimax, there is no hope for. this will end as a wet dream… short’n bitter… LOL!

    #8 11 months ago
  9. sebastien rivas

    @9

    I agree partially, especially when you bring Guild Wars business model.

    How do they have a MP or MMO game without going subs+microtransaction is wonder.
    I am completely serious, I am really interested in knowing the differences why ArenaNet does not charge anything and/or does not relay only on microtramsaction to survive.
    They do have microtransaction but you can finish the game + go as high as you want in PVP without ever giving money.
    So where is the difference between Arena Net and let say Bethesda/Zenimax business model?
    Are we just talking about pure profit or both business model while it include 2 different types of servers. 1 model is so small/low cost/bandwith super efficient so it does not matter to charge anything while on the other hand the second model requires servers the size of a skycrapper and needs a power plant to itself which is why they have to charge subs and microtransactions?

    #9 11 months ago
  10. lookingglass

    SWTOR had a horrible endgame. That is why it failed. What little it did have was glitchy and boring both in PvP and PvE.

    Any gamer would gladly pay $15 a month for an endless version of their favorite game. Subscriptions aren’t bad. Bad games are bad.

    Subscriptions are win-win for players and developers.

    #10 11 months ago
  11. sebastien rivas

    @11
    Humm you cannot take an example as a single truth.
    In opposition, I can say Conan of Hyboria was a sub based game and yet the game was so glitchy with memory leak, tile texture disappearing and more that it was practically unplayable for the first 6 months.

    We need to consider that internet game base were still developping at this stage and could not get it right all the time for all and every title. Though I agree SWTOR end game was a bit of a let down, yet, the story and background as a whole lifted the entire game up… at least for me

    All this to say that it let me ponder and wonder at my own question on @10

    #11 11 months ago
  12. Dendroball

    @10 I think it’s more about a developer thinking the Elder Scrolls franchise is strong enough to ask for a subscription + a microtransaction shop on top, call it over confidence in the game or pure arrogance, ultimately players will decide when the game comes out. I also think the budget of TESO is not innocent, simply put this MMO must have cost a fortune to develop (5 years+ development cycle with hundreds of people working on it).

    So I guess TESO was more expensive to fund than GW2 and ArenaNet just took a chance on the Buy 2 Play model they’ve used previously with their first game. From the various reports ANet seems to be doing fine but still we don’t have the exact numbers, we don’t really know if they already got their money back and so on.

    IMO funding a large MMO like TESO is way too risky so I guess these sweating Bethesda execs don’t have the nerves to go the B2P route and want to get their money back as soon as possible before the game becomes too irrelevant which may explain the choice of the subscription model (let say microtransactions on the side don’t hurt).

    #12 11 months ago
  13. sebastien rivas

    @ 13
    agreed +1

    I know, I repeatedly stated across articles that nowadays, game development length+costs are just insane. There is no other word for it and I called many time upon Autodesk to elevate at least some of their DCC products to pure gaming DCC, it just takes too long, too much efforts, too many assets to create and/or pull/elevate for designers with current tools.
    It is just insane!!!

    #13 11 months ago
  14. penniman

    Stalin’s Five Year Plan?

    #14 11 months ago