It’s crunch time at ZeniMax Online Studios. The developers can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it is a mob of consumers, some with pitchforks and torches, waiting to finally play their game. Due out on 4-4-14 for the PC and Mac version the Elder Scrolls Online is one of the most highly anticipated MMO’s to come out in years. But you all know that.
While still under an NDA that is invariably going to lift sooner, rather than later, ZeniMax has released a number of items of note over the past week. The first bit of information that went public was a developer play session video that finally showed the community what they could expect to experience in group play. While there was nothing earth shattering presented it was nice to finally see, and not just speculate, how these systems would start to tie together. It was particularly nice to see the low level open world boss and how the dark anchors will work.
Later on that day we learned that the Elder Scrolls Online was saddled with a M rating which the developers had not been expecting. I hope that they learn to embrace this rating. They do not have to pull an Age of Conan and have topeless women everywhere just because they can, but they should not be afraid to be graphic. Blood, guts, exposed flesh, use it for what it is worth. There is no longer reason to be afraid of showing a little blood spatter for fear that you will not be able to keep that T.
The day after we were treated to the group play trailer and learned about the rating situation ZeniMax announced a professional cast of actors were involved in giving voice to Tamriel. This was the first in a series of divisive decisions that players would come to learn about over the next 6 days. Our own Christina Gonzalez did a great job of breaking down the argument for having top flight voice actors in an Elder Scrolls game. In order to keep from beating a dead horse I’ll just suggest you take a look at what she had to say.
From their we learned from a PlayStation Blog interview of ESO Game Director Matt Frior that PlayStation Plus would NOT be needed to play ESO on the PS4. This came as a shock to me as a PS Plus membership is required to play every other multiplayer game on the PS4. However it remains to be seen whether or not the XBox One crowd will receive the same treatment. This really is not a decision that is left up squarely to ZeniMax. Start casting your suspicious glares at Microsoft if you are left having to subscribe to ESO and XBox Live.
All of that has lead us up to the events that have transpired over the last 72 hours. While the war for Cyrodiil will be fought by three factions the forum wars over the Elder Scrolls has firmly cemented themselves into two. Those that believe ZOS is being greedy and those that are genuinely excited about the game’s collector’s edition.