Bethesda’s Todd Howard showed off some gameplay footage for the upcoming mobile game Elder Scrolls: Blades during Apple’s iPhone Xs event today.
The game, which is a first-person action-RPG designed for touchscreens, certainly looks gorgeous for a mobile title.
Here’s Howard giving the elevator pitch while the game is played in the background:
“It’s not just immersive, it transports you,” Howard told the assembled audience. “Scenes like this used to be only be possible in your living room, on a high-end console.” Or PC, as the case may be.
Blades certainly looks like a decent mobile game, but I have to admit that I’m not really chomping at the bit for Skyrim: Mobile Edition. It’s been 7 years since Skyrim launched and it’s since seen numerous re-releases on modern consoles including the PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch as well as PC re-release. We are all Skyrimed to death at this point, and while Blades is a new game it’s not exactly the new game Elder Scrolls fans have been clamoring for.
A new full-fledged Elder Scrolls game is nowhere in sight. It’s been hinted at. Its existence as a future project has been confirmed. But we have no name or setting or details. This is partly due to the fact that Bethesda has been focusing on other games while keeping the brand alive through the aforementioned re-releases as well as the MMO Elder Scrolls: Online produced by Zenimax.
Elder Scrolls: Blades on the iPhone XsCREDIT: BETHESDA
I understand why Bethesda wants to get this series onto mobile. Even Nintendo is courting mobile gamers at this point, and a successful mobile game could lead gamers from there to the series mainstays on PC and console.
But it’s still disheartening for fans of the series that after 7 long years the best we’re getting is a mobile title. If you’d told me in 2011 that Todd Howard would be onstage at an Apple Event showing off an Elder Scrolls game on the latest iPhone I would have said something along the lines of “Well touchscreen is going to be a terribly limiting and annoying way to play a game like this” but oh well. It’s not like Skyrim had particularly great combat to begin with, so maybe Blades won’t be that much of a letdown. (Speaking of which, can we please get Dishonored combat ported over, in some form, to the next Elder Scrolls game?)
In any case, Blades releases this Fall. Blades mixes fantasy action-RPG gameplay with city-building as you restore your hometown to its former glory. How the free-to-play game’s revenue model will work could make or break the game, so hopefully Bethesda doesn’t get too greedy with the horse armor.
There’s also cross-platform PvP so once this game is live on non-mobile devices like PC and consoles those players will be able to play against Android and iOS players a la Fortnite: Battle Royale.
“You may have fought dragons in Skyrim, but you’ve never experienced the Elder Scrolls like this and on your phone,” Howard concluded. The iPhone Xs launches on September 21st and it seems very likely this will launch alongside it or soon after.
What do you make of Elder Scrolls: Blades? Let me know on Twitter and Facebook.