×

‘Elder Scrolls: Blades’ Reaffirms Bethesda’s Commitment to the Mobile Space

The sprawling vistas and the go-anywhere, do-anything ethos of the latter-day Elder Scrolls games make it a seemingly-questionable candidate for a mobile game. However, when developer Bethesda released “The Elder Scrolls: Blades” on phones in late March, while the reviews were less-than-stellar, the game managed to attract a significant number of players, with more than one million downloads in a week. Now that the free-to-play dungeon crawler is coming to the Nintendo Switch, project lead Craig Lafferty and art director Matt Carofano both say that they’re happy to see the fruit of their labor come to a console that suits it, even from the design stage.

“Honestly, when we were coming up with the early prototypes, we had the Switch in mind from the very beginning,” says Lafferty. “You might say that it’s almost the ideal version of the mobile platform.”

“Blades” dials back on the open-world vagabonding of “Skyrim” and “Oblivion” and focuses in on what Lafferty calls “a reimagining of the classic dungeon crawl.” The game represents Bethesda Game Studio’s second major foray into the world of mobile games, after the surprise release and stunning success of “Fallout Shelter” back in 2015 first revealed the demand for mobile versions of the much-heralded developer’s big-name franchises. But while Blades took four years to materialize, Lafferty says that at a conceptual level, it was designed right there with Fallout Shelter. “Todd [Howard] said that he had two major ideas for mobile games, and it was ‘Blades’ right there on the board,” he says. “We knew it was a good idea almost immediately.”

Like a lot of mobile games, “Blades” hooks players with simple, bite-sized gameplay in the form of mostly-straightforward dungeons and quests, and then dangles the carrot of microtransactions that accelerate the many timers that can impede the players progress, or unlock valuable chests to shower them with loot. While its constant sword-swinging and corridor-crunching can come off as rather linear, Carofano says that the franchise’s choice component comes in with how players choose to build their characters, the secret sauce of many a hit RPG.

“Blades” remains in Early Access for the time being following a number of tweaks that came due to a flood of player feedback in the game’s closed beta period. According to Lafferty, Bethesda plans to unveil a major update in autumn, which will include new content across the board, along with a glut of much-requested social features, including player vs. player combat. “People keep asking us for a way to battle their friends, for a way to compare their loot,” he says. We’re working really hard to make that happen.”

While Lafferty says it’s not at all clear when “Blades” will emerge from the mists of “Early Access,” he says that he knows one thing for sure: Bethesda will continue to support the game for years to come. “I think it’s pretty clear now that the mobile market is one that we would do well to compete in,” he says. “There’s a lot of opportunity there, and the Switch is a big part of it, too. You can definitely expect to see us invest more in it, that’s for sure. ‘Blades’ is a great example of that, and I’m proud of it.”

More Gaming

  • Joyride

    With Joyride, Everyone Can Host Their Own HQ Trivia

    When mobile game developer Kiwi first released Joyride, the app looked familiar: Similar to wildly popular HQ Trivia, Joyride offered players the ability to win quiz shows in live broadcasts. The key difference: Joyride’s app wasn’t home to just one trivia show, but multiple shows around topics like music, dating, fandom, and yes, trivia, all [...]

  • Etika-Desmond-Amofah

    Gaming YouTuber Desmond 'Etika' Amofah Found Dead, NYPD Says

    Desmond Amofah, a YouTube gaming vlogger known online as “Etika,” was found dead by New York police on Tuesday after he was reported missing last week. He was 29. Amofah posted YouTube videos and live-streams focused on Nintendo games and other titles. A body later confirmed to be Amofah’s was found in the East River on [...]

  • harry potter wizards unite

    'Harry Potter: Wizards Unite' Off to Slower Start Than 'Pokemon Go'

    Niantic’s new location-based augmented reality game “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” is off to a solid start — but it doesn’t seem to have quite the same momentum as “Pokemon Go” did when it launched 3 years ago. That’s according to initial estimates from app analytics specialist Sensor Tower. “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” first became available [...]

  • survios at the linq

    Not Just Gambling: Las Vegas Is Becoming a Virtual Reality Hub

    Walk into the Linq on the Las Vegas strip these days, and you might not immediately realize you just stepped into a casino. Instead, you’ll stumble across a series of living-room-like lounge setups, complete with leather couches, big-screen TVs, Xbox Ones and Oculus Go VR headsets. There’s also a bar with a massive wrap-around touch [...]

  • Netflix HQ LA

    Netflix Engineers Developed a Rumble Pack Feature During Latest Hack Day

    A duo of Netflix employees had a unique idea for making the service’s shows even more stirring: They added a rumble pack option to the Netflix app as part of the company’s latest hack day. When watching shows like “Voltron,” the feature makes phones vibrate in sync with the action on the screen, similar to [...]

  • Niantic's Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Game

    ‘Harry Potter: Wizards Unite’ to Launch This Week

    “Pokemon Go” maker Niantic is getting ready to launch its next big game: “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” is set to launch in June 21, the company revealed in a tweet this week. The worldwide launch of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite begins this Friday, June 21! Keep your eyes peeled and wand ready for more information [...]

  • Sarah Iooss - Twitch

    Twitch Hires Sarah Iooss, Former Mic and Viacom Exec, as Head of North America Sales

    Twitch has tapped Sarah Iooss, most recently EVP of revenue at millennial-news startup Mic, to lead the advertising sales team in North America for the Amazon-owned live-streaming video platform focused on video gaming. Iooss will be based in New York, reporting to chief revenue officer Walker Jacobs, who joined Twitch last fall after serving as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content