Yesterday it was announced that Bethesda and ZeniMax were offering beta signups for The Elder Scrolls Online via the official website. The press release was accompanied by a six minute cinematic video that blends CGI with live action (and not any in-game footage). ESO is one of the last premium MMO titles in development and the franchise has a strong and established fan base. However for the game to be truly successful it will need to attract more that core fans, who may not be so familiar with the intellectual property. This means that the MMO will have to offer something new or refine existing game mechanics and present them in a innovative manner. In 2013 that is a big ask.
I fall into the latter category, knowing precious little about the world of Tamriel. However, I have a track record of purchasing and trying new premium MMOs, so I would assume a customer such as I would feature among the developers target demographics. Unfortunately, the six minute promotional video from yesterday left me cold, being totally derivative in aesthetics and presentation. However, as it doesn’t contain any in-game footage perhaps we should not put too much stock in it. It is a simple marketing tool. So after some digging around on You Tube I found a video that contains some more pertinent material.
Unfortunately, I still see precious little abot ESO that infers any sort of game that redefines the genre. You may argue that that is not the developers intent. If that is the case, then I see precious little that makes me think they are doing anything other than providing a generic MMO beneath the veneer of their IP. Simply put, same meat, different gravy. Is that sufficient for today gamers? It may be worthwhile to consider how well last years big titles are fairing at present. SWTOR, Guild Wars 2 and The Secret World. Now some people may accuse me of being excessively negative. Am I really? I think not. Unless you think desiring some creativity and tangible difference of my game titles is unreasonable.