Bethesda Talks A Stronger Line On Cross-Play

Bethesda Talks A Stronger Line On Cross-Play

While most of the more irate grumbling on cross-play has come from players, developers and publishers have been more diplomatic in their views. Over the weekend at QuakeCon, however, Bethesda’s Pete Hines took a stronger stance with regards to Elder Scrolls: Legends.

In an interview with Game Informer, Hines said that Legends supported cross-play and cross-platform progress. It was the developer’s intention that every version of the game had both of those things – and while he didn’t name Sony directly or intimate a specific platform holder, he added that was “our message” to all platform holders.

“It is our intention in order for the game to come out, it has to be those things on any system,” Hines reportedly said. “We cannot have a game that works one way across everywhere else except for on this one thing.”

“But those are essentially non-negotiable. We can’t be talking about one version of Legends, where you take your progress with you, and another version where you stay within that ecosystem or its walled off from everything else. That is counter to what the game has been about.”

Again, Hines doesn’t specifically name Sony or any platform holders in the interview.

But it’s pretty cut and dry: given that Xbox and Nintendo have been more than happy to come to the table on cross-play before – Fortnite and Rocket League for instance – it’s clear that Sony is the intended target. As Hines puts it, Bethesda are giving the same message to all publishers: some are just more receptive than others.

It’s worth remembering that Bethesda’s Todd Howard has called Sony out before, too. When asked earlier this year about cross-play for Fallout 76, Howard said Sony was “not as helpful as everyone would like”.

The change of language is interesting, though. It’s understandable why Bethesda might not want to ship Legends on PS4 if cross-play wasn’t enabled: having to create and maintain a second ecosystem to operate just within Sony’s walls would be immensely frustrating and an unnecessary duplication of work.

Of course, biting the bullet and forgoing the largest console platform of the current generation is another matter entirely. But Bethesda’s language is some of the strongest we’ve seen publicly from a publisher, which is welcome news for gamers frustrated by the status quo.


    • Question is, will they do it with a game that’s actually large enough to make a bigger difference. Legends isn’t Fallout 76, for instance (but it is something, and that’s not insignificant).

      • But don’t the devs make their money by selling on platforms? Hate to say it, but I think withholding a title from (say) PS4 would hurt Bethesda more than Sony. Seems like a (justified) attempt to draw out public opinion on Sony’s stance.

        I think Zenimax is publicly owned – taking a profit-hurting stance on principle typically doesn’t go down too well with shareholders …

        • These days when many gamers own multiple consoles it’s hard to say just how much it’d actually hurt the publisher to without it from one console. If the players like the game they’ll just pick it up on Xbox instead of PS4 (or vice versa).

          Unless there’s some really significant technical issue why cross platform isn’t possible there’s no good reason to not allow it. It’s simply greed from the console creators. That or fear that a game will run better on a different console and people will migrate.

      • Fallout 76 will support modding, something they clashed with Sony on previously. I get the feeling that if the momentum is enough in their favour by the time F76 releases, they’ll draw a line there too.

      • With the users decidibg which system they own and PS4 being the market leader… the question is how willing Microsoft and Nintendo willing to make exclusive deals.

  • One thing I do wonder about is what sort of overarching contracts or licenses are in place between a publisher and a platform (console) creator? If for example Bethesda refuse to publish Fallout on the PS4 could Sony then blacklist Bethesda and refuse to let them make PS4 games in future?

    • Both parties just lose money on that scenario. (Skyrim VR, for instance, is one of the most compelling reasons to pick up a PSVR.) Platform holders make bank on the cut they get from all games and all transactions, and blacklisting of the largest publishers is just a bad PR move and financially nonsensical.

      • *shrugs* I’ve seen companies make spiteful, bone-headed decisions before. They start stonewalling to force concessions from another company and it escalates to a point where they just can’t back down. And while Sony may not try to block one of the biggest publishers because that really does cause money problems, I can certainly imagine them doing it to smaller ones.

        And that doesn’t answer the question either. Can Sony (for example) block a company making a PS4 game? In the past (ie: PS1/2) days I suspect they couldn’t because it relied on discs, but with the online realities now I would expect blocking a game to be possible.

  • Oh no their card game barely anyone cares about will be with held, they wouldnt do it with something as big as fallout 76. Bethesda has been in Microsofts pocket for years any way, it’s not surprising they would try and stir the pot for them

  • I need this to happen. I sometimes want to use my Xbox/PS4 and other times my PC but i want to use the same account. Mainly for my Overwatch and Diablo 3. Maybe even Destiny 2. I hate having multiple versions of the same game. While im happy to purchase a game multiple times due to what friends on each console/pc i want to use my same game file/save so im always making meaningfull progression to stay competitive. Not just play the game

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