In a recent interview, the head of Zenimax Online Studios argues the massively multiplayer online game Elder Scrolls Online is not actually an MMO.
Despite Elder Scrolls Online containing many of the trappings of a massively multiplayer online title, the head of Zenimax Online Studios, Matt Firor, hesitates to give the game that MMO label. The title, developed by Zenimax Online Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks, both of which now fall under the Microsoft umbrella, first debuted back in 2014. The game is set in Tamriel, which has been depicted throughout the Elder Scrolls franchise, and play is entirely online with no single-player component.
Though fans of the series seemed initially unsure of the game’s all-online premise, Elder Scrolls Online has fostered an ever-growing fanbase. Through the years, the title has introduced several expansions. Some of these brought fresh pieces of content to the game, like new classes or modes, while others wove in complicated and unique storylines. The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood, the game’s most recent expansion, lets players explore Oblivion. It just dropped for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One players along with a new gameplay trailer.
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In an interview with the TheGamer, ZeniMax Online Studios director Matt Firor examined the game’s journey since launch and, surprisingly, took a moment to clarify that he does not believe the popular, online-only title is really a massively multiplayer online game. “I don’t really consider ESO to be an MMO,” Firor states after having been asked which MMO, outside of Elder Scrolls Online, he most enjoyed. The studio head followed up the unexpected answer by contending that the term has changed so drastically over the years and is “freighted with a lot of definitions.” Elder Scrolls Online, Firor argues, does not include the more intense mechanics that are typically found in games of the category. It lacks the “tab targeting” and “mouse movement” that might be found in other, traditional MMOs and the game is also not “PC-only” or “super hardcore,” which sets it apart in Firor’s mind.
The game’s accessibility and availability on a wide array of platforms may have contributed to its popularity, and many players will be looking for more Elder Scrolls Online announcements as the summer announcement season looms. However, it will not be the only Elder Scrolls title fans will be looking for in the weeks to come. Bethesda’s shared conference with its new parent company, Microsoft, is scheduled to take place on Sunday, June 13. Many fans of the Elder Scrolls franchise are hungry to hear more about the next installment of the series which was announced at E3 2018. The past three years have been quiet ones and there is still almost no official information about Elder Scrolls 6.
It is fascinating to get into the mind of a game’s creator, especially if, like in the case of Elder Scrolls Online’s Matt Firor, that creator contradicts something that seemed like an established fact about the game. Certainly, online games have boomed in the past year as players sought creative ways to socialize. It is interesting to think about how the online gaming landscape is continuously evolving, and how that evolution might change definitions that fans have been taking for granted for years.
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