Those of you who have been wandering around the epic wilderness of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for the past few months, prepare to be blown away. Developer Bethesda has just announced that they're actively working on The Elder Scrolls Online, a massively multiplayer interpretation of the wildly successful Elder Scrolls series. The game itself will be developed by Bethesda's sister company Zenimax Online Studios, and set a thousand years before the events of Skyrim.
The Elder Scrolls Online will be the first game in the series to feature active multiplayer of any kind - every Elder Scrolls title since the original almost twenty years ago has been a single-player RPG inspired by tabletop role playing games. While The Elder Scrolls Online will still have a heavy single player element, the main conflict will come from three separate player factions involved in group quests and player-versus-player fighting. The setting will be the empirical province of Cyrodiil, the same place that The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion took place.
Currently the game is set for a vague 2013 release on both PC and Mac. According to lead director Matt Firor, whose previous experience includes Dark Age of Camelot, the game has been in development for several years already. There's no word on versions for the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, though it's certainly possible. The mechanics and play style of The Elder Scrolls Online will probably borrow heavily from Skyrim, as it's a polished experience that combines the best of its forbears. Bethesda isn't done with Skyrim, either: they've already planned a DLC package for later this year called Dawnguard, and have updated the Xbox 360 version with Kinect controls.
[via Game Informer]