After much anticipation, The Elder Scrolls Online launches this week for PC, and aims to bring back the days when players paid a monthly subscription to join massive multiplayer role-playing games, rather than playing for free and paying extra for loot and power-ups. That's been the route taken by many of the other big entrants in the genre in the last few years - Star Wars: The Old Republic, Age of Conan - but Bethesda is convinced that The Elder Scrolls has what it takes to justify the subscription model.
"I worry about it, but I worry about everything," Marketing and PR boss Pete Hines told GamesOnNet. "That's my job, to worry. But I think it's the right decision for the right reasons."
He continued: "What's going to determine whether or not it succeeds or fails is not really tied to what anyone else has done, it's tied to 'do we make a strong enough argument for the value that you get for your [money]?'. If we're providing the kind of content people want to see where they're like 'This is awesome, I'm having a blast, this new stuff is totally worth it and I'm having fun', then the subscription totally works."
He also explained that for those who just want to play the game like Skyrim, without paying a subscription can get their 100s of hours of play in the first free month and leave it at that. "You get the game, you get your first month without having to pay for a subscription to see 'is this thing a thing I like'?" Hines said. "If your approach that you want to take is that, for example, you love Skyrim, you played it for 125 hours, but after three or four weeks you were done, then you can do the exact same thing in Elder Scrolls Online."
The Elder Scrolls Online is released on April 4th for PC. The game is also coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in June.