Source: An "industry source" speaking to technology news and reviews site Tom's Guide.
What we heard: The tipster told the site that an Elder Scrolls massively multiplayer online game is in development and that Zenimax Online Studios and Bethesda will officially announce the project this May.
The site's source suggests the Elder Scrolls MMOG--to be titled Elder Scrolls Online--will be set an entire millennium before November's Elder Scrolls V: Skryim. This timeline would put the new game "several hundred years" in front of any Elder Scrolls game. This information was substantiated by two additional sources speaking to the site.
Additionally, the source says Elder Scrolls Online will sport three playable factions. Details are thin concerning these roles, but the tipster said each will be represented by animals: a lion, a dragon, and an unspecified bird of prey.
On top of an official announcement in May, Elder Scrolls Online is "likely" to have "some sort of presence" at the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo. A showing at August's QuakeCon--put on by Bethesda--is also believed to be planned.
It's been no secret that Bethesda and parent publisher Zenimax are building an MMOG. There are presently 38 open positions at Zenimax Online Studios, all related to work on an "unannounced massively multiplayer online game."
No word has come through official channels regarding the project at Zenimax Online Studios. Last month, Bethesda reclaimed the Fallout MMOG rights from Interplay after years of litigation. Under the terms of the deal, Bethesda is able to develop an MMOG set in the Fallout universe.
The official story: A Bethesda representative told GameSpot, "We don't comment on rumors."
Bogus or not bogus: Not bogus that Zenimax Online Studios is creating an MMOG and the Elder Scrolls series seems a strong fit for such a game. The franchise is known for its expansive environments, deep role-playing options, and emphasis on player investment.
As for a May announcement for Elder Scrolls Online, revealing the game during that month would give Zenimax and Bethesda momentum heading into E3 2012, scheduled for June.