Matt Firor discusses TESO game engine

GameInformer.com’s latest on The Elder Scrolls Online features an interview with game director Matt Firor clearing up misconceptions about the game’s engine. The article also gives a first look at the Black Marsh.

Here’s an excerpt from Firor’s interview…

You licensed HeroEngine a long time ago. What role did the Hero Engine play in the development of ESO?

We started ZeniMax Online from scratch, with no employees and no technology. We had to build everything ourselves. It takes a long time to write game engines, especially MMO engines, which are inherently more complicated than typical single-player ones. So, we decided to license the HeroEngine to give us a headstart. It was a useful tool for us to use to prototype areas and game design concepts, and it provided us the ability to get art into the game that was visible, so we could work on the game’s art style. Our plan is for ESO to be a world class MMO, with the most advanced social features found in any MMO to date – so while we were prototyping the game on HeroEngine, we were simultaneously developing our own client, server, and messaging layer that were specifically designed with ESO in mind. Think of HeroEngine as a whiteboard for us – a great tool to get some ideas in the game and start looking at them while the production engine was in development.

Catch up on all of Game Informer’s coverage at gameinformer.com/elderscrollsonline

Reader Comments

  1. Everything Matt says is definitely true, but it doesn’t stop the fact that the game does look a certain way.

    What’s frustrating for us is that Bethesda Game Studios makes games that quite frankly, are unlike anything else on the market, while Zenimax Online, is making a game that looks like any other MMO. We believe The Elder Scrolls deserves better.

    We know there’s reasons for choosing HeroEngine, and they’re good reasons, but that doesn’t mean we have to like them.

    • Wait. That article’s kind of hard to follow, so I may have made a goof there. First it says they’re using HeroEngine but then it says they’re not?

      • In the article they said they were using the Hero Engine as an early whiteboard piece to work on some ideas, but they’re not using the Hero Engine for the actual game. The final game is on a custom-built Zenimax Online engine that will supposedly support PC gaming rigs built in the last five years.

        To summarize, Elder Scrolls Online is NOT using the Hero Engine, but it was used in early development phases for conceptual purposes.

        • I think most people just wanna know whether or not first person will be an option? oh, and of course, the crosshair. The game will be f*cking ruined if they remove the crosshair!

          Happy to see TES online has different mage robes (judging by the pics). I really hope skyrim plans to follow suit. There’s only like 5 mages robes in skyrim, and most are very bad.

          • The object of the matter is will it remain it’s own game… or just another MMO of limited expansion. I don’t know about you… but I loved the feel of open world, you are your character feel. And I’d like for it to keep it’s first person touch to it.

            But, I’d rather not see this game turn into the millions of other MMOs out there that are just about the same as the next. Example being Everquest, WOW (Cataclysm definitely proved this by having the SAME missions with only a variation in the description.)

    • Argonia as in Blackmarsh or is 3rd -> current era Blackmarsh just the former core province of a bigger Argonia?

  2. My first MMO?
    Is possible, the project shows an great potential.

    TES single player or mmo = extremely hard work. Patience and optimism are good postures waiting for news, about both.

  3. Add an offline sp campaign with ai companions and I’ll buy.

    No fun in for me in being dragged through Tamriel by my friends during tedeious kill and loot runs or getting my 300+ hours character build killed by a pvp munchkin intruder who does 10k damage per second.
    Staring at ‘no server connnection available’ screens is highly overrated ;)

    • Who the hell would develop an MMO with an option for OFFLINE campaign? TES5 and the next, TES6, are the single player! it has no sense your idea.

      • remember Bioware’s nwn? sp, mp, lan, community-made mmo – all that even with dev support – at least until clueless investors bought and destroyed their former publisher…

      • anyway, not intersted in mmo for the reason’s I’ve mentioned and for Diablo II / Sacred style players who envy the sp the butter on their bread if not the bread itself ;) just interested in having all of Tamriel as world space in a sp game.

        • An MMO does not work in the same way as a normal multiplayer, for a small network, understand small 4 to 32 players today, with or not cooperative and deathmatch.

          The MMO was born to be online, and support a huge amount of users, leading to loss of some visual detail close to the games designed for single player, with some multiplayer.

          Try the game Diablo 3, the necessity of always online, their characters are well lowpoly, very simple, the enviroment is good, but very simple too. Now imagine this limitations in a first person view, and Diablo 3 is not a MMO, but is always online, need some limitations in the end, with or not the option to stay without open connections for others players, the game looks a little simple in the visuals.

          MMO is not my favorite style, i think cooperative game for 2 players is a perfect balance, do you remember Hexen? 2 players, portals, lots of worlds, for me, a perfect balance.

          • Diablo 3 is always online, to hinder piracy, I don’t know about if this is effective, but it works the same way as WoW, with password and digipass to connect.

            The game is a little low poly, maybe to support more enemies on screen. Overall it is quite beautiful.