Sitting down with Zenimax Online Studios’ Creative Director Rich Lambert, we discussed The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle
in detail, the continuation of the companion system introduced last year, adding a legit CCG to play in-game, and the shift away from narratives that deal with world-ending threats.
Head Here for the Full The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle Interview
High Isle as a new location for an Elder Scrolls game is something we haven’t seen before. Also there seems to be a shift away from world-ending threats, how does that contrast with the nostalgic stuff and big bad enemies?
It's a different kind of challenge. Going back, the nostalgic kind of thing, there are clear guide rails of what you can and can't do. Because those other games are out there. With High Isle we had to figure out all of that stuff. Also, with the last couple of years of stories we wanted to tell one that was different. We wanted it to be less, the world is gonna end and more focused on politics and more grounded in real-world things. Once we figured that out, we started digging into the story in detail. How do we make this different, what are the challenges for this particular kind of story.
Is it easier to have a ‘world-ending’ story, having a big bad villain, or is that a crutch. Creating a more politically driven story, how do you keep that engaging? Are there points of inspiration for High Isle in particular?
The trick is to try to make it feel as interesting and as compelling as “the world is gonna end if you don't do a thing”. I wouldn't say that world-ending plots are a crutch. They are one way to tell a story and instantly everybody understands the stakes. With the story that we're telling this year, it's more about how to get players interested in the story and feel like they're a part of it. There's a bigger focus on characters and character development, interesting characters that make you want to interact with them. And they pull you into the story.