Bethesda Softworks’ love affair with the Switch continues, and soon, Skyrim won’t be the only Elder Scrolls games on Nintendo’s nifty console.
And the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, too.
Today at its Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) press briefing, the publisher announced that the The Elder Scrolls: Legends digital card game is coming to the Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. This is now the third game that Bethesda has brought to Nintendo’s platform, joining Doom and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. This could in part explain why Bethesda announced last month that it’s switching developers from Dire Wolf Digital in Denver to Sparkypants — maybe it was looking for a studio with more experience dealing with consoles.
Community manager Christian van Hoose (a former Legends streamer) made the announcement, also noting that Legends would be rolling out its new look next year.
Card games are an important and growing market in video games worth $1.3 billion in 2017, research firm Superdata reports, and should hit $1.7 billion in 2019. Blizzard’s Hearthstone rules, making 3.3 times more than its closet competitor, and it’s going to get a serious competitor whenever Wizards of the Coast unleashes the open beta phase for Magic: The Gathering — Arena, the best adaptation of the genre-defining card game to date.
Touchscreens are ideal for card games, as it just takes a few swipes to play and move cards. I don’t image playing Legends with a Joy-Con or Pro controller, but it would be easy to sit on the couch, on the train, or in bed with the Switch in portable mode and play.
It’ll be interesting to see how Bethesda adapts the card-game mechanics to a controller for PS4 and Xbox One. None of the big card games — Hearthstone, Shadowverse, or even the upcoming Magic: The Gathering: Arena — are on consoles. And it also gives Bethesda a chance to grow the community, one that’s smaller than Hearthstone’s player base but still quite passionate about the game.
The Elder Scrolls may not rake in as much money as Hearthstone, but it stands out from Blizzard’s juggernaut in a variety of ways. It uses a color-based system for building decks, but unlike Magic: The Gathering and others, you can build decks now from among three colors, not two, as of the recent Houses of Morrowind expansion. You fight in two lanes on the board, not just one. Its puzzle sets offer a different sort of challenge, giving you a hand of cards and presenting you a “solve in one turn” situation. And its draft system has solo play, so you can build decks against a group of nine AI competitors, making it one way to increase your card collection and learn new cards without facing other players.