Bethesda, ZeniMax Acquire MMO Engine

By John Walker on November 27th, 2007 at 12:11 pm.

More rumour-mumblings from within the home of Bethesda, ZeniMax Media, regarding a forthcoming MMO.

Not really a fair fight.

CVG reports (good luck Firefox users!) that ZeniMax Online have licensed Simutronics‘ MMO HeroEngine (the same one BioWare have picked up for their forthcoming super-secret (ohmygodit’ssoobviouslystarwars) MMO).

This is being linked to the story from earlier this month regarding Bethesda’s registering of the domain, elderscrollsonline.com, and thus speculation that an Elder Scrolls MMO is on its way.

However, it might not be that simple. In this month’s PC Gamer (print version), The Spy reports that there’s speculation it could be an attempt at preparing for the Fallout MMO rights landing in their laps. In a peculiar deal, Interplay only has a loose grip on the option to make an online version of the Fallout universe, and if investors aren’t convinced they can do it, the rights will leap over to Bethesda. Is Bethesda preparing a net for the post-apocalyptic world?

Which would you rather see? An Oblivion-style MMO, or have their attentions turned to bringing the Fallout universe online?

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33 Comments »

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  1. Feet says:

    Fallout fo’ sho’. Too many damned Elves as it is.

    • na says:

      Why not play something else? are you racist? Elder Scrolls Online sounds awesome.

  2. Nick says:

    I just don’t get the appeal of either licence as an MMO, frankly, it doesn’t make sense commercially.

    Both Fallout and Oblivion have strong fanbases of their own that will resist any attempt to change the direction of the series into MMO land, knowing that it will likely detract from future single-player efforts.

    Neither licence means much to a non-fan, either, so I think in both cases there is a strong risk of angering the existing fanbase, and not being strong enough to attract much interest outside of existing Fallout and Oblivion fanbases.

    If I had to pick, though, I’d pick an Elder scrolls MMO, purely because it would be a greater crime to bastardise Fallout.

  3. fluffy bunny says:

    But why would Bethesda want to make a Fallout-MMO when they could make an Elder Scrolls-MMO? I mean, Fallout is a bit like Manhunt – huge among games journalists but not as big among gamers.

    I’d prefer a Fallout-MMO, though, as I fear The Elder Scrolls might end up like Warcraft (where the single-player series is pretty much dead) if Zenimax created a successful Elder Scrolls-MMO.

  4. MisterBritish says:

    Yeah, another fantasy mmo, even with a TES slant? No thanks.

    That said, both properties will be ruined by people called ‘spoogemonkey67′ running round shouting impenetrable abbreviations about mining fish.

  5. Janek says:

    For a potential Fallout MMO I’m mentally picturing a cross between Planetside and Eve, in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Oh God yes.

    Of course, the license would be pretty superfluous in such a scenario, and you just know it’s going to use the WoW model anyway. Sad Panda.

  6. Babs says:

    Fish mine. *snerk*

  7. Babs says:

    And I don’t necessarily agree that Fallout won’t have the mass-market appeal after they have released Fallout 3. If Oblivion is anything to go by they will be marketing the hell out of it.

    And while it wouldn’t be anything like a Fallout game, in the same way WOW is nothing like Warcraft, it might be fun.

  8. Moose says:

    I choose neither! :)
    But, Bethseda will probably go for an Elder Scrolls MMO. Purely because it will give them an opportunity to open up their established world in either one big go or with plenty of expansions. They’d have a good opportunity to do something different that WoW with the very different bent of fantasy they use, it would be nice if they used it.

  9. Nick says:

    It’ll have lots of appeal, sure, but it’ll have lots of appeal in the way that Deus Ex has lots of appeal – lots of people have very strong opinions on what a Fallout or an Elder Scrolls game should involve, and that won’t involve an MMO.

    Not that it couldn’t work, it’s more that you’ll get a lot of fanbase resentment and resistance before you’ve even started, as if making a successful MMO isn’t hard enough.

  10. Pidesco says:

    Seeing as Oblivion already is an MMO without the people, it seems like Elder Scrolls Online is a no-brainer.

    I don’t really care one way or the other, though. Bethesda hasn’t done anything worth playing since Daggerfall.

  11. The_B says:

    I want to say Fallout, but it kinda contradricts itself in a few ways. Heck, they’ve already said they’re reducing the number of NPCs in F3 to ensure that the barren apocalyptic wasteland is actually barren, so it would seem rather ‘off’ to have a lot of people in that universe.

    But I could be wrong, and it could be something beatiful, in which case I would be all for it.

  12. Powers says:

    Sorry to be offtopic, but, Firefox doesn’t seem to crash if you only leave one tab open on CVG…I think it’s the video player, when are they going to fix this??

  13. Acosta says:

    Frankly, I don´t want a Fallout MMO with people jumping and shouting “noob” in a post-apocalyptic universe. If you take the core values of Fallout I don´t think an MMO could honor them in any way beyond the setting.

    Elder Scrolls is more flexible and I feel its mechanic would suit better for a MMO.

  14. Dave says:

    pssst… Simutronics doesn’t have a capital T. But at least you didn’t add an “L” to it anywhere like most people do. :)

    – Dave Dean, HeroEngine client-side developer

  15. Zeno, Internetographer says:

    Both options suck. Amazing single-player games that would suck in multiplayer. I mean, half the fun of TES is going on random killing-sprees, which wouldn’t really work in multiplayer. Take that out, and it’s just another fantasy RPG.

    Maybe, just maybe, it’s actually something new. Or some long-forgotten IP.

  16. Citizen Parker says:

    Not to be trollish, but am I the only person that thinks discussing the setting in an MMO these days is like debating whether the player should be left- or right-handed in a first person shooter?

    We’ve seen such a number of MMOs in recent years that I now find mechanics much more interesting than setting. Granted, it’s hard to build buzz before release about play mechanics, whereas a setting will easily generate excitement amongst a fanbase.

    I know I’m in the minority, but I’ll care when I can do something interesting in an MMO. While Fallout and Elder Scrolls games have different character-building systems, that alone won’t yield any truly new experiences in the genre.

  17. Symbolis says:

    Can see the HeroEngine entry on wikipedia here.

    The HeroEngine site may or not be useful.

    Only MMO I play, though, is CoH/CoV

    Though I’ve played both GemStone IV(well, III moreso) and DragonRealms extensively.

    To me, new MMOs are rarely something I’ll play, but more of a “I wonder if they’ll try anything new and exciting??”

    …the answer is usually “No”.

    Be interesting to see what HeroEngine can do, though. I’ve been hearing about it for years.(I’m now only slightly bitter about Shalnhh leaving the DragonRealms Warrior Mages for Hero’s Journey. Heh!)

  18. Alex Grose says:

    I would prefer an Elder Scrolls MMO.
    TES IV: Oblivion is awesome, and I have often wondered what an MMO version of the similar theme would be like.

  19. Zeno, Internetographer says:

    You know what I wanna see? An MMO in a Steampunk setting. Get to work, Beth.

  20. Pidesco says:

    “I would prefer an Elder Scrolls MMO.
    TES IV: Oblivion is awesome, and I have often wondered what an MMO version of the similar theme would be like.”

    About the same, except with way more actors around, who all insist in speaking in leet speak. The level of intelligence in the discussions should be about the same, though.

  21. etho says:

    Oh god, either one would make me just delriously happy. That said, I think I would be slightly happier with a Fallout MMO, just because I’m a sucker for anything post-apocalyptic, and the Fallout universe is one of the coolest things around.

    Elder Scrolls Online would be cool also. There’s the risk of it becoming just another fantasy MMO, which of course it would be, but Elder Scrolls is one of the very few fantasy series that I think seems even remotely unique and different from every other Tolkien knock off out there, so I’d go for that.

    My money is on Elder Scrolls for now, just because it seems unlikely that they would license the engine for a game they aren’t yet sure they have the rights to make.

  22. Richard says:

    I don’t really find the TES universe that exciting myself. I’d much rather see Fallout, even if I’d say it’s by far the less likely of the two possibilities.

  23. malkav11 says:

    I really don’t want to see either – they’re not games that cater well to the multiplayer experience and there’s a definite tendency to skip making any more singleplayer games if the MMO turns out to be successful. If Bethesda *must* make an MMO (and I don’t think any such thing is true), I’d prefer it be something original and new that can be its own product line. Or a Magic & Mayhem MMO.

  24. Seth Tipps says:

    In either case I look forward to Bethesda bringing to the MMO market that which we have all come to love and cherish in their games; well-paced, involving storytelling and remarkable voice acting.

  25. Ghiest says:

    I just can’t see myself playing another high fantasy MMO again, I’m to the point where I am s**t bored with them. Unless they can bring something excellent to the table then I wont be purchasing them. A decent SCI-FI based MMO is really needed at the moment, not some dumbed down wowified POS (like Tabula Rasa) some nice in depth mmo please.

  26. John Walker says:

    Dave, I think we can all agree that it should have a capital T : )

    Fixed.

  27. Chris R says:

    I would love to see an MMO where player skill plays a large part in how well I survive in the world. But something that doesn’t boil down to “hold block key until an opening presents itself.” (I’m looking at your Dark Messiah of Might and Magic).

    One should be able to dodge and/or counter an attack [in a similar fashion to Assassins Creed], leap / dive to the side to avoid an attack [see the last 30 seconds of the WoW intro movie with the Orc vs NE], use the environment [like in a stealth game, Crysis and Theif] to duck behind rocks, trees, to avoid detection or being hit, etc. Also, instead of just hitpoints, there should be a system to keep track of injuries to body parts, like in Deus Ex. If I swing my sword, or shoot an arrow, and it looks like it connects with the targets arm, well it should affect that arm in someway. Maybe they can’t swing their sword as effectively, or hold their shield as high for example.

    And for GOD’S SAKE, do NOT rely on a lame ass “To Hit” dice system. All hits that look like they connect with an enemy should do damage, just have the amount of damage done vary from just a scratch, to ZOMGBBQ one hit. Lets be done with the To Hit system. That’s fine for a pen and paper dice game, but in a graphically rendered MMO, if it looks like my sword goes through the enemy, then have it do some damage instead of a “Miss” showing up above the targets head.

    In the same vein, I feel that more games need to add the ability to one hit kill a monster (within limits). I am not talking about critical hits here, I’m talking about “uber” critical hits, where instead of 2x or 4x damage, you actually just flat out kill the target. Think of it like a backstab, but not just for theif or rogue types. A warrior with a two handed sword should be able to kill an enemy with one hit, a mage should be able to do the same with his spell of choice, and so should a ranged type character. This should not depend on some random chance to “trigger” [NOT like “.004% chance to one hit target regardless of HP”], rather it should depend on how the player first engaged the enemy. If the player was able to get close enough to the enemy without alerting the target [or what have you], then they should have a higher chance of killing the target in one hit / spell / arrow, etc.

    Err… way too long of a post, lol.

    One last thing: The skill system should be like whats discussed in the the World of EveCraft article by Jim.

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/?p=453

    I can dream, can’t I?

  28. Hump says:

    From what I hear Simultronic’s engine licenses are insanely expensive. I’m not sure if theres even any released games currently using it.