Our own Jasmine Hruschak attended the TESO live demo event and managed to snag a Bethesda employee for an impromptu interview. Check out the full text after the break, and don't forget to read Andrew's hands-on as well!
Massively: Will the console versions be released at the same time as the PC version?
Bethesda: The time window is the same, but they're not locked to the same date. We'll release the PC version when it's ready and the console versions when they're ready. The timeframe for all of them is spring 2014.
Will the game be cross-platform?
The people with individual consoles will play within their own platform. So PC players will play with PC, PS4 plays with PS4, and Xbox plays with Xbox. The distinction with that is PC and Mac players will be playing together.
"The better you are at crafting, the more you know in advance."
In previous Elder Scrolls games, skill customization was nearly endless. How do you balance being creative and giving players choices without the inevitable "one guy one-shotting everything" issue?
The answer to how you balance it is no more than a design and philosophy question, but it comes down to making sure that everything has counters and strengths and weaknesses.
In picking your class, you have three different skills as a starting point. These are unique to you because you picked that class. But you've also got access to all the different weapon types -- you can just pick up a weapon, start using it, and master it. You can pick up a sword and shield if you start as a sorcerer class and become a sword and shield user, and that's fine.
"You can become a werewolf, you can become a vampire."
As far as balancing goes, as long as we do a good job of making sure there's an answer and that all skills have value in certain situations (maybe not in every situation), then there's a shifting game that happens where people are like, "This is the build that people want to try," and then everyone's like, "Well, this is the build that beats that," and it all goes in a big circle. As long as it isn't just, "this thing beats this thing," it never gets boring. There are so many possible spells and abilities and builds in the game that we really haven't found an end to it.
"Once you get to level 50, you can take the character back through other alliances."
Can I go back to a level 35 zone and start in the middle? Or do I have to start again?
There are three different tracks of content that go with the three alliances. You don't have to abandon your track; you can go back to that level 35 zone if you miss something. You'll be level 50 and the content will still be level 35, but in your original track, all the people you've met along the way and any changes you've made to the world will persist.
If you go to a brand-new track, it's sort of like starting over with a brand-new character, except you don't have to start a new character. We let you continue to progress because the skill system is really open-ended. When you hit level 50, you've probably maxed 20% of the skills in the game. If you want to keep making your character stronger without PvP or dungeons, that's a really good way to do it.
Thank you so much for your time!
Massively's on the ground in Los Angeles during the week of June 10-13, bringing you all the best news from E3 2013. We're covering everything from WildStar and Elder Scrolls Online and ArcheAge to FFXIV's inbound revamp and TERA's latest update, so stay tuned!