Bethesda and Sparkypants Studios announced that their collectible-card game The Elder Scrolls: Legends would be coming to PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch later this year at E3. During QuakeCon 2018, Eurogamer probed Bethesda’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communication Pete Hines about cross-play for the title. He called it an “absolutely critical” feature for the game, but also discussed the issues that will arise with the PS4 version of the game.
He starts off by talking about Fallout 76, and how cross-play would be a nice feature for that game, but isn’t required. He then moves onto The Elder Scrolls: Legends and describes how it is pivotal to the experience. The game is supposed to carry over progression from platform to platform and even allows players to switch between them mid-game. Pete Hines believes that only a “bad situation” will arise if Bethesda decided to segment the game’s player base:
“Fallout 76, sure: it would be nice if I could play on my Xbox and my kid is playing on his PC and we can play together, but if we can’t, OK. There’s lots of games – I play Overwatch on Xbox and he plays on PC separately and has a whole separate account. It’s not critical. But for Legends it’s absolutely critical.
Both cross-play, which is how Legends works right now on every device – you’re playing against somebody who could be on any device – and, more importantly, cross-platform progression, which means no matter what you do on any platform, you load up the game and so long as you’re logged in, here is all your progression, here is everything you had, everything you were doing.
If you were in the middle of a match on PC and I flipped that [he gestures at my laptop] closed while you’re in the middle of a match and you load it up on your phone, you would be right back in the match where you were. That is a must for us on any platform. If we have to start segmenting our audience to say ‘folks on this platform can only play folks on that platform’, or ‘any progress you make on that platform can’t be there’, then man, that’s a bad situation.”
The problem comes to a head with the PS4 version of the game though. It’s no secret that Sony is very stingy about cross-play, not even allowing it in Fortnite, which is currently the biggest game in the world. While Pete Hines says the solution to this problem is “to be determined,” Bethesda isn’t really willing to budge on it, and have to make this clear to every platform holder:
“We continue to make our case for ‘this is how it needs to work’ and ‘this is how it needs to function’. But we are moving ahead with the assumption that any platform we release it on must support cross-progression and cross-play. I am aware of the conflict that arises given that statement but we are continuing to work on it.
But in fairness not just with Sony – with everybody. We need everybody to be on board and understand – Nintendo, Microsoft – this is how we’re proceeding. I don’t want anybody to think I’m trying to single Sony out because I’m not.These conversations we have, we have with everybody, including Apple and Google.”
Eurogamer then asked if Bethesda would cancel the PS4 version of The Elder Scrolls: Legends is Sony did not allow cross-play, and Pete Hines did not have a concrete answer. That being said, he still reaffirms that Bethesda is actively working to find a solution:
“This is a really good question. I imagine the answer is fairly dire but I don’t want to jump to conclusions yet because there’s a lot of space between ‘yes’ and ‘no’. What if they so ‘no’ to this but ‘yes’ to this?” It could present an unforeseen and workable solution. It remains to be seen.
Whatever they say, we will continue to have a conversation with any platform directly. I don’t want to play this out in the court of public opinion. We respect Sony, we respect Microsoft, we respect Nintendo. If I or my company has an issue, we will bring it up with them directly; we know who to call, we know who to email – we’ll talk to them and see if we can figure it out.”
DualShockers will be sure to keep you updated on the status of the PS4 version of The Elder Scrolls: Legends. The game is currently available on iOS, Android, and PC, and is coming to (hopefully) PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch later in 2018.