Paul Sage, creative director for TESO talks shop about immersion and exploration, and how you can become the emperor of all Tamriel.
Response to The Elder Scrolls Online has been mixed during the game's closed beta, which is going on now. However, it's hard not to be excited when you listen to what TESO Creative Director Paul Sage has to say about the game. In an interview with GameTrailers, Sage detailed some of the game's features along with some insight into the design of the game.
Sage explained that before writing a line of code, the team sat down and made two columns: "here's what we like as an Elder Scrolls game and here's what we like in MMOs." They decided the combat of typical Elder Scrolls games had to remain unchanged, with added MMO elements that fit the world, such as massive online battles.
However, this switch from a single player experience added significant concerns such as balancing and exploration. Sage explained the main issues the team faced while designing the world of TESO was allowing players free exploration without presenting an entirely flat world. That is, a game where you can go anywhere doesn't offer much incentive to level up. However, Sage remained confident that players will have more than enough room to explore and won't feel overly-limited by their level.
This all contributes to what Sage believes is most important to TESO - immersion. "When you play Elder Scrolls Online, probably one of the first things you're going to see is that we don't have a lot of UI (user interface) on the screen," Sage detailed. Sage continued that once you enter combat, there is only a small bar with hotkeys, in keeping with the minimalist UI.
Further, the quests are also designed to allow for immersion and exploration. "We didn't want to put people on rails," Sage explained. If you are heading to slay a beast for an NPC and see a sweet cave on the way, stopping in to look around will have no impact on the quest.
Explore the rich world of Tamriel with your friends in The Elder Scrolls Online. The elements that make TES a unique experience will be there, includes an emphasis on exploration, visceral real-time combat, and immersion into an ancient world. Set a millennium before Skyrim, TESO is a rich world where three factions vie for throne of an empire. It's an ancient time of heroes an legends. It's time to make your mark.
Sage also touched on the single player element of the game, or the main quest. "Your main quest is something you do solo," said Sage, "it's almost a single player experience." This approach "allows you to see the outcomes of different quests and different choices." Referred to in-house as "layering," this allows every players' experience to be unique depending on how they play the game.
Which leads to the coolest statement of the entire interview: "a player can actually be crowned emperor." Yup, you read that correctly. If you play your cards right in The Elder Scrolls Online you could find yourself atop the throne.
Sage reiterates at the end of the interview that, "one of the things I think will really make us stand out is the level of immersion and the level of exploration you get." Only time will tell if these two things are enough to make TESO an MMO worth getting into. For a better look at the game, check out these five new screens ZeniMax released yesterday. And make sure to check out The Escapist's own interview with Paul Sage below: