Yesterday, ZeniMax announced that the many rumors of an Elder Scrolls MMO were true, and officially announced The Elder Scrolls Online, only to be met with fan backlash. The main reason being, that fans believe that Bethesda will be less likely to release another single-player Elder Scroll game, since they do not want to compete with themselves.
While Bethesda is owned by ZeniMax, they are two separate development studios; with ZeniMax developing the Elder Scrolls MMO, and Bethesda doing what it normally does. As a MMORPG gamer first, and Elder Scroll fan second, I don’t see a conflict of interest. A single-player RPG and a MMORPG are not in the same market. It’s like World of Warcraft and Warcraft 3, one’s a RTS game, and the other a MMORPG. Both can exist at the same time without affecting the other.
One comment on the Bethesda blog stated,
Please say this won’t indefinitely post-pone the release of the next real TES title, the way World of Warcraft has indefinitely put Warcraft 4 on hold.
This user is failing to see that Warcraft 4 was not put on hold for WoW, but for Starcraft 2. Both are RTS games that do compete in the same market. A single-player RPG is no more of a threat to a MMORPG than any other single-player game.
The only issue I could see is that Bethesda wouldn’t want to saturate and cheapen the Elder Scrolls name by releasing too many games around the same time. However, considering that the Elder Scrolls RPGs normally have a 4-5 year development cycle, we won’t see Elder Scrolls VI for at least another 3-4 years anyway. Elder Scrolls Online has a release date of 2013, which provides a big enough buffer that it probably won’t have any affect on the next Elder Scrolls RPG release date anyway.
Regardless, I can’t wait to learn more about Elder Scrolls Online.