Elder Scrolls Online

"The Elder Scrolls" franchise is taking a new direction with its next release. Straying from the single-player worlds of "Skyrim," "Oblivion," and other previous titles, Bethesda Softworks is now venturing into the MMORPG territory with "The Elder Scrolls Online."

This new release will take players across the continent of Tamriel, and the creators behind "The Elder Scrolls Online" have been relatively quiet about what's in store for players. But a new set of concept art images may provide some insight for fans of "The Elder Scrolls."

One of the pieces of art shows a desert landscape with a character approaching what appears to be a palace on horseback. The sky is a purplish hue, with very little between the human characters and the city-like structure. Although this hasn't been confirmed, and "Elder Scrolls Online" will take place in Tamriel, this concept art seems to depict the world of Hammerfall.

Another piece of artwork in the set depicts a scenic mountain view with a thin blanket of snow covering the ground. The character in the image is clad in armor, accompanied by a crew of four other armed warriors. This is the piece that seems most reminiscent of "Skyrim," and it will be interesting to see how Bethesda ties in the gameplay elements of previous "Elder Scrolls" games in the MMORPG.

The last image is a detailed illustration of what appears to be a village in the middle of a forest. The colorful artwork gives off a fantasy-based theme, with the environment acting as the primary focus in the image. In the bottom left-hand corner, a character is seen standing with a sword, ready to approach the village. This image looks similar to the "Elder Scrolls" tropical world of Elsewyr.

Earlier in the summer, more details about the upcoming MMORPG were announced at E3 2012. One of the positive features of creating a cohesive "Elder Scrolls" game that encompasses various releases in the franchise is that players are sure to encounter their favorite landscapes and maps.

"If you've ever played an 'Elder Scrolls' game before, you probably have a soft spot for some iconic swath of Tamriel geography," Alex Wawro of PCWorld wrote.

"Elder Scrolls Online" takes place hundreds of years before "Skyrim," where the mortal races in the game are split into three factions. These forces will have to battle for dominance as Daedric Prince Molag Bal attempts to take over the world.

The upcoming MMO will maintain the time-honored resources of health, magicka and stamina that has been consistent throughout the franchise thus far, as Matt Firor told Joystiq in June. Players will also be able to perform actions such as sneaking, blocking and sprinting despite character class, and the studio is striving to keep the action RPG feel present in the MMORPG.

No official release date has been set yet for "Elder Scrolls Online," but it is expected to launch sometime next year on both PCs and Macs.