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The jaws of Oblivion: Saving the Elder Scrolls MMO

How do you take one of the biggest franchises in games and move it to an entirely different genre without losing what makes it special?

That was the question posed by the team at ZeniMax Media when it formed ZeniMax Online Studios in 2007. Its answer was The Elder Scrolls Online, an ambitious project to take the world of Tamriel — made famous by single-player games like The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion — and reshape it into a massively-multiplayer online game.

ZeniMax invited me to visit with them for an unprecedented look at how they made The Elder Scrolls Online. It was an intimate look inside one of gaming's most beloved franchises, with all its blemishes revealed.

 

©2020 by Charlie Hall. Cover photo by Robin Baumgarten.