"Skyrim, but massively multiplayer."
That level of fidelity though can't be reached for an MMO, says Pete Hines. When it was "first conceived" they knew it would get mixed commentary, and likened it to Fallout 3's beginnings.
If they could get away with doing Skyrim for thousands then they would, but it's not technically feasible. They need an art style less intensive on hardware to cope with traffic.
"I certainly felt that some people were going to expect Skyrim, but massively multiplayer, which, if we could have done that, we would have just done that, right?" Bethesda PR and marketing head, Pete Hines . "We would have just done Skyrim that lets you play with a thousand other people."
"I've talked to a few journos coming out who were like, based on what everybody was saying, I was expecting X, and I like the real-time combat, or I like this, or, hey, I like the way it looks," he said. "I'm interested to see everybody's write-up."
The Bethesda team expected right from the start getting a mixed reaction to The Elder Scrolls Online, and the reason for that is 2008's Fallout 3. Its radical shift away from what everyone knew of the apocalyptic series caused a lot of divide, and now TESO is experiencing the same cynicism.
"From the very beginning when it was first conceived we knew the reaction would be mixed," he continued.
"It's not all that different than what we went through with Fallout 3, which is, you're taking this thing that everybody knew and loved like this. Now in that case it was same genre, different developer, different approach. This is an RPG, but MMO is a different in how things work." Bethesda knows a quick demo or even a day of hands-on won't satisfy curiosity.
"There's always that issue of meeting expectations or what people had in their mind's eye," he said. "It's really early. We've only shown the barest glimpse of it here. We've got an awful lot of stuff to talk about that's new for the genre and new for MMOs, things people haven't tried before, that are doing things in a different way."
"We're going to give it time and give ourselves a chance to explain all the other things we're doing, let people see it, let people play it. It's a marathon, especially with an MMO. You see an MMO demo, that doesn't mean anything to me. What means something to me is, what's it like when I sit down for three or four hours? Is that engaging? Is that unique? Is that compelling? Is there any reason for me to want to come back the next day?"
"We want to keep informing, but get it to the point where people play it, because it's just a wholly different thing experiencing when you play it versus when you watch somebody."