Any fan of the Elder Scrolls series knows that each game is quite a commitment. Players have said Skyrim can reach up to 200 hours of gameplay when exploring each area after the main story. With a slew of games, the first being released in 1994, there is a ton of content, characters, and plot to keep track of.

So how does Bethesda plan to tackle the massive backstory when crafting The Elder Scrolls Online? Game Informer's Ben Reeves sat down with lead content designer Rich Lambert and creative director Paul Sage to talk about the upcoming MMO's plot and how it relates to Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim.

Elder Scrolls Online takes place one thousand years before Skyrim, a time period hand-picked by Bethesda Studios.

There's a point in history where there's actually not a lot of written history, Sage said to Game Informer. That seems like a good place for us to hit.

The section of the timeline where Elder Scrolls Online occurs contains interesting conflict that can shape the events of later games, according to Lambert.

[The time period] is home to tons and tons of false pretenders to the throne, he explains in the video interview. Anything we do here changes the world a little bit but doesn't have a long lasting effect.

Pinpointing specific facts throughout the entire Elder Scrolls span can prove to be a difficult task, and Sage said that the development team communicates frequently to ensure that everyone is on track. There is a basic timeline of events and characters within the Elder Scrolls lore, and lead writer Lawrence Schick has written lengthy on the franchise's backstory.

What it does is it provides us a believable setting for the game so that all of our MPCs have the correct motivations, Sage said.

Fans will be able to catch a glimpse of the Elder Scroll's first necromancer, King of Worms Mannimarco, before his appearance in the following games.

It's fantastic in the fact that you actually get to see Mannimarco earlier than you have ever before, even though it's a thousand years in the past he plays this large role, said Sage.

Players also get to experience wars that are historically significant in the Elder Scrolls timeline that they have only read about up until now. One such battle occurred 50 years in the Daggerfall Convenant.

The player actually gets to experience the effects of the war through a means that will probably remain unnamed at this point, Sage said. They actually get to experience a little bit of the war themselves, getting that richer and deeper lore...It just keeps the player grounded.

Earlier in May gaming industry veteran Matt Firor sat down with Game Informer to talk about where the inspiration for Elder Scrolls Online came from. He alluded to the fact that Oblivion has set the stage for the upcoming MMO.

Everyone has called 'Oblivion' the single player MMO, and so it seemed like a reasonably logical thing to do, he said to Game Informer.

Elder Scrolls Online was announced on May 3rd, marking the first time that the franchise ventures outside of the single player realm. Fans can expect to see the game sometime in 2013.