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October 25th, 2012, 09:13
I think part of the problem in regards to a lack of competition is the uniqueness of the Elder Scrolls experience itself - i.e., a first-person exploration-driven experience set in a massive open-world, single-player RPG. Any attempt to compete with this would be subjected to immediate dismissal by many as an "Elder Scrolls clone" or knock-off. (I suppose this might partially explain why other open-world games are exclusively third-person). I certainly think there's more than enough room for a competitor, but that's how people are sometimes. Developers might simply be worried that after spending so much time creating a competing game to rival Bethesda's offerings, it would be unfairly dismissed without being given a fair chance to separate itself from the Elder Scrolls.

The other reason has already been stated - and that is the unwillingness of publishers to fund and properly support such an ambitious single-player game (After all, in spite of the success of a game like Skyrim, single-player gaming is "dead" - right EA?). This is frustrating, as publishers throw unholy pile after pile of money at failed, creatively uninspired mmo attempts, but that is the result of greed - sure, a great single-player game can make a very tidy profit, but chasing the dragon that is WoW's success is more alluring to non-enthusiast/non-gamer business types - regardless of the consistent failure of anyone trying to knock WoW off its throne.

For me, I would love to see an "Elder Scrolls competitor" because even though I deeply enjoy the experience offered by Bethesda, there are also some weaker areas that they frustratingly never address. This could be out of complacency (they are very good at making the stronger aspects of ES games, and so the "if it's not broken, why fix it?" mentality inevitably occurs) and the fact that their games are made the way that they want to make them (the latter is something I admire to a certain extent for staying true to their own ideals rather than bowing to what other people think is best for them.) Bethesda is very good at creating a specific type of exploration-driven experience, and I don't expect them to drastically change their approach. They seem to be comfortable with the refinement of a successful existing formula instead of going for innovation or ambitious attempts at something revolutionary. After all, their approach has worked very well throughout the entire series (and for Fallout 3) so far.

For me, I would love to see an Elder Scrolls game (or first-person open-world RPG equivalent/competitor) that maintains the excellent exploration and strong atmosphere that has always been the hallmark of Bethesda's games while adding truly memorable companions/characters/dialogues, more of a focus on a good, well-developed main story-line that isn't "save the world from the big scary evil thing," a more dynamic world that changes over time both independently from the player's influence and directly because of the player's influence, and meaningful choices and consequences based on factors such as factions.

The story, characters, and dialogues would be easy - Bethesda simply needs to finally hire some decent writers and truly focus more time and effort on these areas. The dynamic, evolving world and meaningful choices and consequences would be a tall order for an open-world RPG, however, even for a talented, well-funded and experienced developer like Bethesda. It's certainly possible though - it would just require a lot of ambition and strong dedication, along with some careful design work that wouldn't overwhelm the programmers (open-world games have enough trouble as it is with bugs ).
Last edited by Nerevarine; October 25th, 2012 at 10:19.
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