GamesBeat

Elder Scrolls Online’s game director on lore, combat, giant demon anchors, and dragons (interview)

One of the fun things about a fantasy setting is diving deep into a vast, complex world rich with tiny details nobody else could possibly keep straight.

Matt Firor built one with the Dark Age of Camelot series while at Mythic Entertainment. Now, as president of ZeniMax Online and game director of Elder Scrolls Online, he’s responsible for one of the biggest fantasy IPs in gaming. And yes, he keeps all the details from all five massive Elder Scrolls games straight. In his head.

GamesBeat: I know people who are still digging through The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim — they just can’t find an end to it. So why move on to Elder Scrolls Online?

Matt Firor: It’s the first Elder Scrolls game you can play with other people. That’s the biggest difference compared to Skyrim and Oblivion. And you’ll see stuff that isn’t just in the province of Skyrim or Morrowind or Cyrodiil. It’s across all of Tamriel, so you’ll see things that haven’t been in other Elder Scrolls games since 1994. You’ll get to see the southwest corner of the continent that no one’s seen in forever.

It’s set in that same [Elder Scrolls] world — it has similar controls and similar visuals – but it has the added factor of other people.

GamesBeat: You’ll party up, go raiding dungeons, all that fun stuff?

Firor: Yeah. We’ll also have in-game Player-vs.-Player. There’s a giant PvP system. We’ll also have in-game Player-vs.-Environment that we’re not talking about so much yet, except to say that we have it.

The Elder Scrolls Online

GamesBeat: I was going to ask a little bit about PvP. My understanding is that it’s in Cyrodiil, the main setting for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. If you want PvP, you just walk into Cyrodiil?

Firor: Yes. The entire province of Cyrodiil is our PvP area.

GamesBeat: So what’s the overarching plot when you’re not in Cyrodiil?

Firor: That involves your soul getting stolen by a daedric prince, Molag Bal. You want to get it back. That happens in the tutorial, basically, the very early stage of the game. The main part of the game is your story – investigating why Molag Bal stole your soul, learning what implications that has for Tamriel, and getting it back. Of course, to do that, you need to save the world.

GamesBeat: When does this take place in the Elder Scrolls continuity?

Firor: Arena, Daggerfall, Morrowind, and Oblivion took place about 20 years apart, and then Skyrim is about 200 years after Oblivion. We’re a thousand years before Skyrim.

The Elder Scrolls Online

GamesBeat: In what we’ve played so far, I went up against some assassins. I saw a lot of imps. I killed some spriggans. That’s at level 6. What am I going to deal with at level 20 or 30?

Firor: One of the great things about working with this IP is that we have all those creatures that you fought in the other Elder Scrolls games. All of them.

GamesBeat: Including dragons?

Firor: Except for dragons. They’re literally outside Tamriel at this time. Except for just one, but we don’t have any plans for him right now.

You’ll see things like Ogrim, who you’d remember from Morrowind, or Clannfear from Oblivion. We have all the Daedra from all the other games. Kwama, also from Morrowind, and Netch. We have all these great creatures that populate the world. We didn’t really make up any new ones. We have a few, but most of them are from the existing lore.

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