In a recent interview with Game Industry International, Matt Firor of ZeniMax Online said that even though the franchise is going MMO, the single-player game is still a separate entity.
The single-player games are still the single-player games, he said. We're taking the license and the franchise online and doing something with it that hasn't been done before, much like the 'Elder Scrolls' novels.
He added that fans may not understand the transition until they actually play The Elder Scrolls Online.
But all of those concerns are valid by the community until they actually see it and play it, he said. We've taken a lot of effort to make the lore consistent and make sure that it's the experience that they expect. The places they can go, the characters they can play and the enemies are all based very much on the world that they know, and that's where it works.
We just want to make a good game and let people who want to play it, play it, Firor said. It is an online game. MMO is a tired expression. It is an online RPG and we designed it to be a great game.
As with any major PC game, there is always the question of whether or not a console version will be developed. The same rumors erupted when the Diablo 3 release date was getting close, and of course the same thought is inevitable for The Elder Scrolls Online.
We haven't thought about it heavily right now, Firor said. The worst thing you can do is worry about new platforms while in development. We want to do what we're doing right now and then look around for further opportunities. Certainly we're open to new opportunities, and we're going to be looking into new territories beyond North America and Europe.
Firor also addressed the future of the massive multiplayer genre and why consoles have yet to see a truly successful title there.
It's the classic desk vs. couch argument, but it is blurring over time, he said. The current-gen and previous-gen MMOs were all about using the keyboard and mouse, and sure, everyone used things like Ventrilo and other voice chat services, but that only works in a small group.
Even though consoles comprise a large part of the gaming community, there is a key aspect that makes the PC world unique.
It mostly comes down to PCs being wide open, he said. Online game development is all about doing whatever you want, pushing limitations, and it's just easier to do on an open platform. Someday, it may all change.