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    The Elder Scrolls Online: Escaping development hell, one mob at a time

    TESO’s game director Matt Firor has restored our dwindling faith in the Daedric gods: “We’re still hard at work on the console versions of [The Elder Scrolls Online]– we look forward to sharing more info about them soon.” For the first time in seven months, we can once again believe that The Elder Scrolls Online might actually make it to Xbox One sometime this generation. Molag Bal be praised.

    Launching an MMO is risky business in the 21st century. Putting the huge development cycles, unrelenting server maintenance, post-release support and demonically dedicated fan-bases aside, if an MMO doesn4t have ‘ World Of Warcraft’ in the title, its chance of success will receive a devastating critical hit. Most contenders struggle to recover.

    MMOs have never had an easy ride on consoles. In hindsight, ZeniMax’s attempt to launch its debut title across PC and next-gen consoles simultaneously was a little over zealous (and that’s putting it politely). After all, the forefathers of Xbox MMOs Final Fantasy X Iand Phantasy Star Universe did a better job of highlighting limitations of the console platform than anything else, while Trion’s underappreciated Defiance launched too late to make any real impact.
    “In hindsight, ZeniMax’s attempt to launch its debut title across PC and next-gen consoles simultaneously was overzealous”
    So why bother getting excited about TESO? It’s a valid question, but one that we can answer with certainty: we played the bloody thing well over a year ago. We ventured into Tamriel with friends by our side and an Xbox controller in our hands. We fought bandits and beasts as we levelled our character through the opening stages of a grand adventure. One that seemed, for all intents and purposes, relatively polished and ready to launch. It was fun, it was fresh and it should have helped carve the potential of the Xbox One in its first year for all to see.

    ZeniMax is still cagey on the details surrounding the delay. Nor is the studio willing to provide a firm date on its release window. Ultimately, TESO launched on PC last April to a handful problems that it’s taken the better part of the year to totally solve. The result is PvP content in Cyrodill that’s stable and smooth, the end-game is stronger than ever and the questing has  been  streamlined to support solo adventurers and groups like no other MMO before it. For better or for  worse,  the  version of TESO we receive in 2015 will be far improved from the version we could have had back in April. But whether it’s got what it takes to hold player attention against the likes of Halo 5: Guardians, Rainbow Six: Siege and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt  is a different story.

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