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Bethesda against adding multiplayer to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Judging by the early buzz, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim's massive world seems like a natural home for an online multiplayer mode. But while Bethesda admits adding such a feature to the upcoming open world fantasy game is entirely possible, the studio is dead set against doing so, believing it would ultimately weaken the core single player experience.

"Certainly we could do multiplayer. Unquestionably. It's not a thing we're technically incapable of figuring out,” said Bethesda's marketing boss Pete Hines in an interview with Edge magazine, continuing, “But when we draw up the list of things we'd like to have cut or change in order to support that feature, what we end up with is unpalatable. It'd make a lesser version of the game. And there is no doubt on the dev side that that is the case."

Hines said he's opposed to including multiplayer functionality simply so Bethesda can say it is keeping up with online trends. Nonetheless, he understands the desire amongst fans to see the franchise expand beyond its single player trappings, noting, “It's not wrong or unreasonable for people to want to experience a game with their friends, or want to do things with folks online. There's nothing wrong with that at all. What we've tried to do is help people understand that in game development, it's all about trade-offs. One of our mantras here is that you can do anything - you just can't do everything.”

Arguments against the so-called act of 'shoe-horning' multiplayer modes into predominantly single player games have popped up a lot recently. In his interview with Edge last week, Gearbox's Randy Pitchford took a dig at games like Dead Space 2 which, in his opinion, sacrificed the creative integrity of the product by implementing multiplayer modes simply to sell more units, explaining, “When you boil it down to that, you take the ability to make good decisions out of the picture. And the reason they do it is because they notice that the biggest blockbusters offer a little bit for every kind of consumer. You have people that want co-op and competitive, and players who want to immerse themselves in deep fiction. But the concept has to speak to that automatically; it can’t be forced. That’s the problem.”

Rocksteady has also said it will be sticking to single player for its highly anticipated sequel, Batman: Arkham City, as spending any amount of time on a multiplayer component would take away from the studio's main focus.

"It might not be the fashionable choice, it might not get us an extra tick on the box, but we are convinced, and we hope that gamers will agree when they get to play the finished game, that we have made the right decision," noted Rocksteady Game Director, Sefton Hill.

Bethesda's reluctance to hop on the multiplayer bandwagon is understandable, though adding the option to bring friends along for the adventure could be a natural evolution for the series rather than an 'extra tick on the box'. Or could it? Are you content to enjoy Skyrim alone, or would you like to see Bethesda branch out?

[Source: CVG]

April 13, 2011

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40 comments

  • jeremy-d-kuehnau - June 5, 2014 6:09 a.m.

    Here's the thing, while I loved Skyrim, I often found myself wanting to play with other people. My friend and I live states away and we often find games with co-op on them so we can play together. I don't feel Skyrim would be damaged as a brand if co-op was added on and since it's entirely an option to play with other people, people who don't WANT to play with others, don't have to, so I often find it ridiculous that so many people bitch and scream about multi-player co-op games; don't like it? That's fine, but let the rest of us have what we want. The ESO, so far, has been a major flop, I was basically expecting Skyrim online and so far, ZeniMax has done a terrible fucking job with the product and franchise and has done a terrible disservice to the loyal fans of the franchise. Bethesda just needs to stop being assholes and give the fans what they want. We've been good to them, so take some time and actually listen to us. All it is going to do is increase their sales for Christ's sake.
  • Darklotus113 - June 27, 2014 10:29 a.m.

    I got to say that I am with you Jeremy were they ones spending our money and playing this game shit I have all the elder scroll games and I don't think that it would take anything away from Sky rim. I think a co-op would be good not a basic co-op thought I say change it up why cant they add where you can have a friend play with you or play against you. The territory of sky rim is huge and would make it interesting to have a friend play and kill dragons with you or be an enemy because he is a different faction mix it up. I say add to where if you were a storm cloaks and if your friend was a imperial legion you and your friend can sell secrets to each other or some thing like that. I say expand the storyline a little maybe if your one faction and your buddy is another make to where you might have to fight against each other or be considered a traitor to your faction. I honestly believe that there could have been many more twist put into this game then there already is especially if it was co-op there is endless possibilities that could be added to sky rim especially with the downloadable content that would make the game more interesting then it is now shit I can honestly say I have spent over 1,000+ hours playing sky rim and will spend a 1,000 plus more just going around finding things and exploring with the different characters I think a co-op would expand this game to new highs that would surpass the fable series 10 fold. There are so many possibilities that I see that this game could grow into that would make it an unstoppable series especially with the add on that lets you build a home and own land and such ahhh the endless possibilities.
  • Mental3860 - January 26, 2014 3:08 p.m.

    I am in with Bethesda making multiplayer I have some friends who just got the game and have no clue what is good items and which are bad and need some help with some quests. I support multiplayer in any way shape or form
  • PipBowl420 - April 23, 2011 12:11 p.m.

    I'm SOO glad they don't wanna do multiplayer in Skyrim! Oblivion is badass, could you imagine it with only half of what it has just for the sake of a multiplayer mode, that would probably suck anyways? The fact is.. most of these multiplayer modes do suck. The only good one is Call Of Duty. As Call of Duty is played probably 80% online or zombies atleast
  • starhaw - April 16, 2011 4:55 p.m.

    while I def see what Pete Hines is saying, all you have to do is allow it to just be a two player co-op experience, you know allow someone to join in on your game through INVITE only, that way they can't just pop in and steal all your loot or ruin the game for you, just make it to were one other person can explore the beautiful lands that bethesda has created...I mean just adding that wouldn't take away from any of the single player, all you'd have to do really is allow for another player to join in on someone else's game, and make the loot even as in if I kill a bowmen not only can I get the arrows and add them to my inventory but my buddy as well can take them too so that way there is no bickering between who gets what....I don't see how that would overall take away from the single player aspect, and I also know that yes developers are on a time scale, but it would be if time allowed couldn't they go through AFTER they have everything they'd like for single player and just add a co-op experience? I'm just saying playing a game like skyrim or fallout would be soo much fun with a friend.
  • sakumosaiyan - April 14, 2011 1:12 p.m.

    i love when single player games stick to single player but i'd like to see an online co-op with a buddy. I don't think that would take too much away from the single player
  • jackthemenace - April 14, 2011 10:48 a.m.

    It's a shame, because, Like Fable, I think if they managed to do it right, they could create an awesome, like, MMO style game. But, I totally understand where they're coming from, and I think I agree- Multiplayer in an RPG like TES would feel horribly tacked on. I think that Skyrim should just stick to having an absolutely amazing Single player, but That Bethesda SHOULD release some kind of Console MMO in the vain of FF XII (I think that was the online one), set in the same world, but with awesome team work and stuff.
  • ElGuybrush - April 14, 2011 1:13 a.m.

    Oh thank god... Good job Bethesda!
  • huntreilly25 - April 14, 2011 12:41 a.m.

    ye, I don't think I'm ready for multiplayer in Elder Scrolls...I feel like it would ruin the game at this point. like some have said before, the Elder Scrolls games are about how you as a player affect the world around you. It really makes no sense to me to add multiplayer to an Elder Scrolls game and I'm glad that the devs see it this way. I can't wait for 11/11/11!!!!
  • freddyqaqualung - April 14, 2011 12:22 a.m.

    It depends on what they would have to sacrifice, but playing co-op Skyrim sounds kinda badass. Of course, I'm glad that they're being realists about it.
  • yonderTheGreat - April 14, 2011 12:13 a.m.

    While I'm fine with hate for "MUST HAVE MULTIPLAYER" zombies who don't even bother playing MP when MP is actually added pretty decently (NO ONE plays MP when it's shoehorned in) I will have to play devil's advocate here. First and foremost... keep MP away from my TES, obviously. BUT... I still yearn for a good MP RPG. I don't mean RPG lite. I don't mean MMO. I mean a *REAL* RPG where it's written for a team, not a hero and a possible drop-in sidekick who could be a bot for all the game cares about. Bethesda has the ability to do it, but if I have to choose between that and a perfectly-done TES5, it's no choice.
  • Manguy17 - April 13, 2011 11:45 p.m.

    @db1331 do you mean you havnt tried any RDR multiplayer? the co-op is pretty good, dont like the competetive though, also doesnt borderlands come into the bracket on single and mutiplayer?
  • Robusken - April 13, 2011 10:36 p.m.

    Glad theyre sticking with the goal of the game.
  • scsmith1 - April 13, 2011 10:28 p.m.

    Good for Bethesda, I have zero interest in multiplayer in any game.
  • fibo444 - April 13, 2011 10:14 p.m.

    perhaps a DLC that contain's a separate world (ie: shivering isles) and in that world multiplayer could be accessed
  • ZigzMagoo - April 13, 2011 9:45 p.m.

    I have been playing TES since Morrowind, and I think that bethesda has the capability to have multiplayer but Im not sure if it needs it. Singleplayer games can have great multiplayer (Red Dead Redemption, GTA4) I think that if Elder Scrolls were to ever get multiplayer, it would have to be like Fable 3, where u have to invite people in and u can only have like one other person. Cus it would be cool to do a crazy hard dungeon with a friend, but I am sure that even without multiplayer, I will still put hundreds of hours into Skyrim
  • Pytor - April 13, 2011 9:41 p.m.

    Elder Scrolls, above all else, is about getting lost in the world set before you. Immersion kinda takes a dive when you are gabbin on your headset with your bro about chicks and cars while crawling through a dungeon or riding your faithful steed across the open country. Good for you Bethesda!
  • Siion - April 13, 2011 9 p.m.

    I personally love that this game is single player. I enjoy co op allot and spend more time with a friend playing then alone but its nice to have that one franchise where you can just play it alone. Plus i find it harder to get into the experience when i am with a friend, its fun but not the same kind of fun as experiencing a story and a game on your own and really getting into it, its more of a mindless fun with laughter kinda thing.
  • TriforcePlayer - April 13, 2011 8:57 p.m.

    Bethesda is doing the right thing.
  • Shamanix - April 13, 2011 8:47 p.m.

    GOOD, would hate multiplayer in skyrim, elder scrolls is a single player experience one of those you talk about to your mates, not play it with your mates. so glad bethesda arent jumping on the multi-plater band wangon would def ruin the game for me. they can now spend more time making it the game we,ve all been waiting for (well i have lol)!! go on bethesda show it how its done.... again!

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