Elder Scrolls MMORPG due in 2011?

Bethesda's ongoing legal spat with Interplay yields info on multimillion-dollar "World of Warcraft"-style online game that purportedly should have been announced last year.

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Source: Redacted court filings obtained by Fallout fansite Duck and Cover as well as industry hearsay from British gaming site VG247.

What we heard: In 2007, Bethesda Softworks parent company Zenimax Media formed Zenimax Online, a massively multiplayer online gaming arm headed by Mythic Entertainment cofounder Matt Frior. At the time, Zenimax was hush-hush on what the branch, which was given access to some $300 million in funding, was at work on. However, speculative eyes soon turned toward an MMORPG devoted to Bethesda's celebrated Elder Scrolls fantasy franchise, after Zenimax registered the URL elderscrollsonline.com.

Oblivion certainly was big enough to be a MMORPG.

Unfortunately, beyond that initial and altogether ambiguous sighting, no additional details about the game have surfaced. However, that changed this week, courtesy of court documents related to Bethesda's ongoing spat with Interplay over the Fallout license.

As reported by Duck and Cover, testimony from a preliminary injunction hearing held on December 29 between Bethesda and Fallout yielded information relating to Zenimax Online's project. Duck and Cover reports that the studio has "tens and tens of millions of dollars" as well as "close to a hundred people" wrapped up in crafting a "World of Warcraft"-style MMORPG. Bethesda reportedly has been trying to keep the project under wraps in an effort to stave off competition.

The testimony reportedly goes on to note that a team was assigned to the project in late 2006, with work entering full production since 2007. Duck and Cover's reading of the document had Bethesda's project on a four-year development cycle, indicating that the game could be released as soon as next year.

Unfortunately, Bethesda subsequently filed to have the pertinent information redacted from the court testimony, a motion that was approved this week. According to court documents, the revised document will be available once again to the public on March 29.

Still, the court transcript reportedly did not indicate the exact nature of Zenimax Online's project. However, it did reportedly note that the MMORPG in question is not related to Fallout, the rights for which Bethesda is currently disputing with Interplay.

However, British gaming news site VG247 claims to have been "very reliably informed" that the project is indeed an Elder Scrolls MMORPG. The site's source reportedly claimed that Bethesda had initially planned to announce the game in 2009 but that the reveal was canceled for an undisclosed reason.

The official story: Bethesda had not returned requests for comment as of press time.

Bogus or not bogus?: Looking not bogus. It seems unlikely that Bethesda and Zenimax would invest so heavily into a new intellectual property for a risky online effort--especially considering Elder Scrolls' strong following and suitable fantasy aesthetic.

Discussion

536 comments
jello_flouride
jello_flouride

Wow it's funny how rumors can run wild. There def is no Elder Scrolls MMORPG coming any time soon or at all. The next game probably wont even be out until Q4 2011 or later.

Lone_Warrior_66
Lone_Warrior_66

It's been almost a year since this information was revealed, too bad we still haven't heard anything from Bethesda.

rladngus
rladngus

I made this account just now to reply to the comment below made by TheBeeJ: There is such a game exclusively for the PS3. It is called Demon's Souls, and I as you can tell, both Gamespot and IGN are very highly favorable of it. Demon's Souls is primarily an offline dark fantasy RPG game with a selectable online option. Beware: it is a truly difficult game.

TheBeeJ
TheBeeJ

just make it like diablo, where you can have an "offline" rpg experience, or if you would like to have a mmo, select the "online" you would make everyone happy. especially me, who wouldnt want to stage a huge fight like 300 with thousands of knights fighting a huge battalion or orcs or such. tell me i am wrong.

vadagar1
vadagar1

guys I have a feeling that its going to be something new, something amazing and breath taking, I just feel it in my not so old bones :P. my bet is that they are making some kind of MMO that retains much of the spirit of the original single player ES, BUT I could be horribly wrong too. I can't wait for this secret to be revealed at last. because since dragon age I have yet to lay my hands on a good fantasy game that is worthy of my attention, and I have to tell you I NEED MY RPG FANTASY FIX, so mmo rpg action single I don't care I just want a good fantasy game plzzzzzzzzz.

triple_punse
triple_punse

@ Loadmaster, Bethesda are still working on New Vegas, the fallout spinoff. Hopefully we do see a sequel in development real soon though.

banananinja777
banananinja777

i like that idea however i still dont agree about WoW because more money doesnt always mean more quality. take the guitar company gibson for example. the cheapest gibsons are around 800 dollars but epiphones are just as good but several hundred dollars cheaper. plus just because lots of people do it doesnt make it cool or smart, like the theory that the world is flat, at galileos time everyone thought it was the truth but that didnt make it right. i understand where blizzard is coming from its just not my type of game

guilty_spork
guilty_spork

I don't have a problem paying a monthly subscription fee. When you consider the cost and logistics of maintaining a persistent world for millions of players, a few dollars a month is perfectly air. Alot of work by an army of people goes on behind the scenes of any MMO. That being said, Bliz is making unimaginable ammounts of money from WoW. But that's what they are in business for. To make money. As for not being old enough to get a job; I have two words: paper route. A kid can collect enough bottles and cans in a month to raise $15. So that is not a legitemate excuse. Quality costs money. Thats true for everything, not just games. A company in the MMO business requres constant revenue to maintain the level of quality that users expect from the experience. Also, there should be a distinction made between an MMO and an online RPG. Phantasy Star Online has been called an MMO, but in reality it's just an action/rpg that people can play online with a very limited roster of players. If Bethesda goes full MMO, I have no doubt that it will be an experience par-exelance. I would prefer something more along the lines of Elder Scrolls with a few friends. If they design it along those lines and maybe engineer theworld so that items are replaced by NPCs when they realize they are missing that plate you just HAD to steal, it would be a clever work aound in the event that you invite a clepto into your game.

banananinja777
banananinja777

mabye it could be partially mmo and partially not, like if there were online mini games like in the arena. or mabye it could just be an mmo and a offline rpg, giving you the choice, the main reason i dont want to see them make an mmo is the subscription price, ive got better things to spend my money on and the initial cost of the game itself is plenty. you can tell blizzard is just getting greedy when they charge that much every month for millions of people, not that it isnt a strategy, hell they probly have golden toilets considering all the money they get but i think from the buyers perspective an rpg is much more affordable and more fun especially for someone who isnt old enough to get a job

guilty_spork
guilty_spork

As much as I would love to see an Elder Scrolls MMO, I think it would miss some of the immersive magic that the offline experience offers in the way of interacting with the minutest of details and objects. It seems like such an insignifigant thing to pick up a fork or steal the shirt off a dead foe, but those little details are what initially captivated me while playing Morrowind. How long would an MMO be online before every fork, spoon, skull, candle, shirt and piece of paper were scooped up? I know that these things are silly to fuss over whn you consider the idea of a "World of Tamriel" game but I for one will miss the sense of immersion I get from filling a stolen house full of my stolen goods. As a believer in the philosophy that it's the little touches that make a game great, I sweat a little when I think that the series that redefined what we expect in terms of little touches, could expand into an arena that wouldn't allow the inclusion of the seemingly insignifigant bits of ordinary magic that made me fall in love with the series in the first place.

jrabbit99
jrabbit99

I can't wait for this to happen!!!

Loamdaster
Loamdaster

Bethesda's next big project is not Brink. Brink is being developed by Splash Damage and Hunted is being developed by InXile. Bethesda Softworks is publishing, not developing, those titles. There is no word on what Bethesda is developing itself but expect an ES sequel.

farrlinn
farrlinn

@leispore - Bethesda has multiple dev teams. They aren't just one big team.

lewispore
lewispore

Bethesda's "big project" is brink, a free-running FPS, I doubt they will start on another elder scrolls till brink is finnished and as for the MMORPG I hope not, because I hate PC games, a keyboard just doesn't feel like the natural way to play, and xboxes can hardly handle a game with 10 people in never mind the amount of people in an mmorpg.

drakoman8
drakoman8

man they beter have werewolves in this 1 unlike oblivion wtf cuz on morrowind u could be 1 thats sad

op1e2345
op1e2345

ya i prob would check it out, but i would be skeptical about an oblivion mmorpg. but then again im not really into mmorpgs anyway. bethesda's rpgs are kinda the only one's i have REALLY REALLY liked, and to some extent the fable franchise. however if anything could get me into mmorpgs, it would be oblivion.

banananinja777
banananinja777

playing with people that you dont know outside of a nerdy video game for hours is not a social life, and i didnt say that everyone that plays wow is like that because i know some people that play wow and arent complete losers, most of the reason i dont want an mmorpg is for the cost of it. most of the good mmos are atleast ten dollars a month plus the inicial cost of the game and expansions, i would rather pay for a game like MW2 one time and get months of gameplay without having to pay every month and still have a really good time. im fifteen years old and i dont have that kind of money considering the fact that its really hard to get money at my age and all of that i get is going to go towards paying for a new amp and other music related expenses. i like games but im not that big of a gamer that i would keep on paying for a game like that, especially since i dont have my own computer and i wouldnt get to play it all that much anyway, music is more important to me anyway, so i didnt mean to sound condescending on everyone who plays WoW its just not for me and i would rather play an rpg that doesnt require my own computer and that i can save and come back to later

Blazing_Scorch
Blazing_Scorch

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

banananinja777
banananinja777

that is so gay the reason i love the elder scrolls games is because they arent mmorpgs! that way i dont have to deal with hackers, douchebags, and payement. i dont want to pay 15 dollars a month for a game. especially one that will ruin my social life and turn me into some creepy WoW addict especially when the games not even very cool. i want a game that i only have to pay for once and one i can take back if its gay i hope they dont do this, although i know they probly will. theyve already made so much money, id hate to see them take this risky of a move just to end up as another WoW wannabe.

Joemama246
Joemama246

Dude, Zenimax owns Bethesda, so Zenimax online can use whatever the hell they want. I am 98% sure that it is Elder Scrolls online. They bought the URL, and why would they start from scratch when they have this excellent story, with an excellent world, with an excellent fan following. Expeect both a TES V and a TES Online ;)

edgiz99
edgiz99

@ mysticstryk Well you should do your research a bit better Zenimax owns bot bethesda and zenimax online and therefore those two are capable of working on eachothers IPs. Next when zenimax created zenimax online they gave them $300 million of funding and moved the zenimax online studios right beside the bethesda building. And that $300million came from zenimax media and bethesda so there is a very high chance that they r working on TES MMO but i could be wrong... And bethesda announced its ''big project'' and its called Brink. It has nothin to do with TES and thus making it more likely that they r working on a TES MMO

mysticstryk
mysticstryk

Wow guys, you all don't do your research do you? Zenimax Online Studios is working on an MMO. Bethesda is working on it's "next big project". Zenimax Online and Bethesda are two COMPLETELY different companies and are working on two DIFFERENT games. To put it simply for you all: Bethesda: currently working on (most likely) ESV Zenimax Online Studios: currently working on an MMO

TheGravy02
TheGravy02

elder scrolls co-op> elder scrolls mmo

reeree746
reeree746

Please, don't do this to us Bethesda.....

ceromaster
ceromaster

WTF!! BETHESDA! what are they doing!? I was looking soooo foward to ESV! I don't want to any of this MMO crap! it's okay for the other producers out there who actually specialize in MMO's but not Bethesda. I just hope that they don't pull through with this dumb idea. If Bethesda does this to TES then they might do it to Fallout some time in the future (warning)

analgrin
analgrin

Elder Scrolls gone Massively multiplayer!! Sounds like it could be good if done right. I still like playing Oblivion on pc and often think how cool it would be with real people running about around you getting on with their own thing. Just having a real life economy in the from of an auction house would make for a much more immersive and rewarding world. I'd like it to stay focused on single player gameplay but with just the added opportunity to call upon friends in the odd tricky spot.

brad12d3
brad12d3

First the KOTOR series and now Elder Scrolls! c'mone people, not everyone is obsessed with MMO's or have the computers to handle them. If you want to make an mmo then do it, but don't deny us ESV!!

badiie05
badiie05

o cmon! i was looking so forward for ES:V i absolutely loved oblivion...cmon bethesda do your magic..:(

platniumaura
platniumaura

this is the most dissipointing thing ive read all day :( I am really truly devistated to hear this. I have been waiting for 4 years for elder scrolls 5 then I heard about skyrim being trademarked and i got real excited. then this, wow bethesda.

tspiderx
tspiderx

Well, My PC isn't strong enough to bear this game. It's really a pain in the butt, yo!, I'm staying behind with this series.

alert0
alert0

Death to single-player RPGs eh? *Heaves huge sigh of disappointment* I don't think this is a void that can be filled...

alert0
alert0

@TheBeeJ This....is not.... Borderlands.

Alpha_Spirit
Alpha_Spirit

Warcraft ---> World of Warcraft KOTOR ---> The Old Republic Mass Effect ----> Mass Efect Online TES ----> ??? Please no! I dont want an MMO! There is nothing better to run Oblivion whenever and play as many hours that you want. If you are tired of Oblivion then go and find a mod to download and test it. And cmon Bethesda. You are the best in RPGs. Oblivion, Morrowind, and other RPGs were awesome. But when they tried something else like Rogue Warrior, then its bad....

Anti-Skub
Anti-Skub

@jukjkl1 Bioware are already heavily hinting at Mass Effect Online.

Oo_NI_CHAOS_oO
Oo_NI_CHAOS_oO

it would be fun if elder scrolls had a fable style orb thing and we could trade with each other

jukjkl1
jukjkl1

WTF 1st Kotor now elder scrolls ,whats next mass effect or dragon age origins? if that happens looks like ill be a DS player. Damn you F****** MMO's

GRIMxULQUIORRA
GRIMxULQUIORRA

it got to be on 360..i'm so hyped up..man this is what hardcore ES fans been waitin for not some generic(TWO WORLD"S )respectfully..this is the time to showcase what the 360 can do ..i mean imagine using a teamate or teammates to battle creatures of gargantuan size or even small measely goblins..jus straight out smash and slash..the best part will be showing off your spells and armor types..WOOOWW..the villians like the necromancers and dremoras will be a good challenge if the up their difficulty alittle giving them some new features like aggression mode or something..while playing i find them kind of passe during fights ..THIS GAME WILL KNOCK YOUR BLOCK OFF IF THIS PULLS THROUGH

Kou-Nurasaka
Kou-Nurasaka

An MMO would be fun, but I also like the single player experiance too. An MMO is governed by the populace, and sometimes that can create problems. Morrowind and Oblivion were fun because you can dictate what happens. I would like an MMO, but I also want a single player experiance too.

itsme7791
itsme7791

Next game in Elder Scrolls series with some online elements may be good. Next game in Elder Scrolls as a MMORPG may not be so good.

TheBeeJ
TheBeeJ

it was a great game to solo, and it was a great game to conquer. i also still play this game regularly. but, it would make this game even more epic if i could play with my friends online, think about it... 5 guys charging down a giant mudcrab.... sounds cool to me.

ganges40
ganges40

that's the end, the same thing that happened to Warcraft, i thought bethesda was going to do a fifth chapter in the series

Barighm
Barighm

I sure hope they aren't speaking literally when they say "WoW styled". I like Oblivion because it is NOT WoW-style, or similar to any game that relies on level ups and all that. I don't mind leveling and all that, but Elder Scrolls' character progression is truly unique. Lose that, and you're just another clone. Maybe more multi-player friendly would have been a better next step than MMO. An ES game that allows you to team up with a few friends and adventure as you wish a la Borderlands would have been a perfectly acceptable idea.

Shmoe82
Shmoe82

If they do the online version right, I think this could be awesome. But, if done wrong this could suck. I personally don't want to see people all over the map; mostly just inside towns.

jay_rock_
jay_rock_

Lets see WOW,SWTOR,FALLOUT MMO and now this one,man people dont have money like that but I do play wow ALOT once SWTOR comes out i be good..

Habast
Habast

that's just sick. if this is true, i've lost my respect for bethesda and the elder scrolls... a tragic death to a great series.