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Bill Murphy: What is Zenimax Online Studios’ Next Project?

By William Murphy on May 08, 2019 | Columns | Comments

What is Zenimax Online Studios’ Next Project?

As we learned yesterday, ZOS is indeed working on at least one new game that’s not Elder Scrolls Online. Judging by hiring calls on their website, it looks like it may be two new games - one PC and console focused, and one mobile F2P focused. Or perhaps it’s one larger project that somehow merges the two. The question is - just WTF is their next big game?

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I will gladly say that I’m friends with the fine folks at Zenimax Online Studios. I’ve known a lot of them longer than ESO’s been in development from their past work on other games, even. When you see the same people at conventions and talk to them in emails for years, it’s hard not to become friendly. But even so - I don’t have an inkling as to what Matt Firor’s next dream project is.

And that can me one thing only - THEY’RE NOT REALLY MY FRIENDS AND I HATE THEM.

Seriously, it means nothing, though. Developers are smart and know they’ll lose their meal ticket if they crow about their undercover projects to people like me. Until, of course, someone sends a dark raven to Jason Schreier and it gets out a week or two ahead of reveal...

In any case, we are likely some time away from ZOS’ next game announcement. Most of the job listings on their site refer to pre-production, but some nuggets of info can be gleaned. Notable is that they’re hiring for Console and PC work, or at least folks with experience in both. They’re hiring a lot of artists, including weapon designers specifically. They’re hiring managers for a mobile title as well, with a focus on F2P gaming. The roles for the console/PC game do not mention F2P gaming.

I’m of the mind that there are two products being built, but it wouldn’t surprise me if ZOS was making a title that spread across devices, much in the same way that Dauntless soon will, or Fortnite, or the upcoming Warp Nexus.

What I’m more curious about is the type of game it is, and if it’s a new IP or something established already in Bethesda’s catalog. We’ve seen how well ZOS can handle the Elder Scrolls IP, and I’d murder several pans of brownies if they got to take that expertise into a Fallout Online style game. But something tells me that Fallout 76 is the closest we’re getting to a Fallout MMO for some time. Bethesda will want to announce and launch a Fallout 5 before trying another stab at persistent online nuclear apocalypse, most assuredly. Still, I bet many would be quite happy with an ESO but in Fallout sort of game, and I’d be included in that number.

There’s a trademark Zenimax Media owns out there for something called Spyteam that doesn’t yet have an attached game. Could this be something to do with ZOS’ next project? It’s possible, but not likely. I’d be willing to bet that Firor’s next baby has a codename or unofficial title, but nothing concrete in the pre-production phase. Spyteam is likely something else altogether, and perhaps something we’ll uncover at #BE32019 in a month or so.

No, I think ZOS is working on a new IP, a new grand product with a new engine that they want to really do their own thing with. Matt is a creator at heart, and I’d be surprised if he didn’t parlay the success of ESO into Bethesda and Zenimax letting him make something entirely new. Of course, there are plenty of other people behind a project of this AAA scale, but Matt’s likely the creative force behind it. So I think one thing’s for certain... I’m going to stalk him, again. (I’m kidding, please don’t call the cops.)

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, and lover of all things gaming. He''s been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all of his pointless rambling.