In an age where emergent gameplay is the new norm, maybe The Elder Scrolls needs to be among the frontrunners.
This current generation of gaming will always be remembered as the one that truly defined what video games can do with the concept of emergent gameplay. While the terms has been thrown around in the past, with a few games every now and again managing to show hints of its potential, it was only with games such as The Witcher 3, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild that we understood just how emergent emergent can be.
As such, in the past few years, more and more games have been going for that kind of a game design approach. One series that has always been more about player-made moments rather than scripted ones, though, is Bethesda’s massive RPG franchise, The Elder Scrolls. And while that is true, it’s fair to share that recent efforts made by the aforementioned games (among others) have outdone what Bethesda have been doing for so many years.
Whenever The Elder Scrolls 6 comes out – and we know that it may be a while yet – maybe Bethesda should take cues from recent games that have arguably borrowed so many elements from themselves, and deliver a truly emergent experience. How exactly can that be made possible?
By combining The Elder Scrolls’ expansive, completely unscripted sandbox gameplay with the more systemic based approach of games such as The Phantom Pain and Breath of the Wild. The quest structure of The Elder Scrolls games is one that already provides a lot of emergent gameplay moments, allowing players to create stories of their own, but having systems that are always interacting with each other in a living and breath world can make that experience so much more enriched.
This article is part of our series on Bethesda’s next big entry into the world of The Elder Scrolls. Through this series we take a look at the possible new features that Bethesda can add into the next The Elder Scrolls game, based on what they implemented in the previous entries and player feedback.