I’m going to preface my post by stating that this question has already been asked by another Redditor on a related forum some years ago. At the time the general consensus was that this could and would not be the case. At the time, I even agreed with them. The technology powering the Xbox One X and PS4 simply weren’t on par with such a massive undertaking, but all that will soon change with the upcoming release of next-gen hardware. As a result of this shift in the landscape I though I would revisit the topic by providing what we will endearingly call ‘alternative facts’ to the old – going on four years now – counter-arguments.
- Technology Argument – First, it was generally agreed that the technology simply wasn’t capable of even attempting such a thing with either the Xbox One (Pre-Xbox One X) or the PS4 (then the most powerful console on the market). Again, I think this point is now mute. I’m no better than your average gamer when it comes to discussions relating to gaming hardware, but from what I have seen of the next generation of gaming devices will be far and away the best set up we have ever had to date. Though I am certain that the PC market will quickly surpass us console fan boys yet again, as it stands to date the Xbox Series X is thought to be the most powerful device on the market (putting aside the as yet unreleased Nividia Geforce RTX).
- Resources Argument – Second, It was believed that such an endeavor would spread Bethesda’s resources too thin resulting in a lot of quantity, but no quality. Many of the posts published at the time talked about how they wanted a compact game where they were made to feel like adventure was around her corner, and how they absolutely, under no-circumstances, seriously-were-not-kidding-Todd-Howard, would accept a world that was procedurally generated, sparse, or in any way a downgrade from the perfection that was Skyrim. When considering the validity of this argument I was initially dissuaded from writing this post. However, as I began to take account of the time gap between then and now, and now and mid-next-gen (hypothetical release date) I became convinced that it was not outside the realm of possibility to think that the nearly 15 year delay between Skyrim and Elder Scrolls 6 was in response to this exact realization on the part of Bethesda’s.
- Lore Argument – Third, it was often noted at the time that Tamriel was simply too complex a place for all open story threads to be addressed adequately in a single game. Elsweyr, Valenwood, Black Marsh and the Summerset Isles are particularly important in game locations that were nearly impossible to pull off as a collective when considering the difficulties that would arise from simply attempting to get one of them right. However, I would like to note that we have now seen all of these locations in ESO. The continent of Tamriel is shrinking fast, there is very little that we haven’t seen or done, and in all honesty, the series as we understand seems to be coming to its end. I know that is my own opinion on the subject – but referencing the debated lore here, most of the towers are now inactive. The Thalmor are actively seeking the destruction of the remaining few and the Empire, the only group with enough political and military power to stop them is no more. (Yes I know that the empire hasn’t completely crumbled as of Skyrim, but I personally will be impressed if it manages to hold out another 5o years the way things are going.)
In short, I think that there is enough here for us to at least have the discussion. The setting is perfect for a Continent wide game, spanning all the knowns and unknown factions as they vie for their place in the world. The enemy is already known to us, and their empire world ending ambitions aren’t going to be stopped by a single hero confined to a single region. Plenty of time has passed in the real world to allow Bethesda the opportunity to realize any ambitions that they might have once had – not to mention Microsoft is now backing them with a piggy-bank fortune that dwarfs the GDP of most small countries. And Finally, the technology has now caught up to where it needed to be to even begin to think of such an undertaking.
I will close by referencing some small points preemptively.
- “16x the detail.” Someone was going to say it so why not me.
- “You see that mountain. You can climb it.”I know that this one seems like a joke as well, but in all honesty it isn’t. We know that this is Todd Howards ambition when it comes to gaming and that is certainly the upside to doing a continent wide, rather than a region specific game.
- We have all now spent a fortune on keeping ESO running and in development. And seeing as the majority of Tamriel is now built, It wouldn’t be hard to translate (relatively speaking) that into a new game with a series of new quests that they have spent over a decade designing in the back room.
Tl;Dr – I can’t summarize this. Read the damn thing. But I would like to stress the point that I am posting here simply for the discussion.
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