In June of 2012 ZeniMax Studios along with Game Informer announced the much anticipated development of Elder Scrolls Online. ESO, which has been in one level of development or another since 2007, is slated for a “2013 release.”
Despite the vague “2013 target,” many fans want to know when Elder Scrolls Online will be released. Better question yet, how would anyone outside ZeniMax and Bethesda Software know when the hell the game will be released?
There’s a lot of tricks I’ve used in the past to accurately predict release dates, usually down to the week or at least the month. One thing we can do is to watch sites with pre-order optioins like Amazon and GameStop.
Amazon is already listing a December 31st, 2013 release date; which is another way of saying: “we have no fu*cking idea when it will be released.” While GameStop is echoing the same date, coincidence? Either way, both sites are sporting a $59.99 price tag and, apparently and unsurprisingly, neither of them have any insider information.
To predict the release date of such a popular title in advance, we might need to look at other companies and their plans for 2013. Blizzard typically does not release expansions in back to back years, but earlier this fall they announced that they are already working on their next expansion. Their leaked product release slate suggests a mid 2013 release of Diablo 3′s first expansion. A wise man would ignore that optimistic goal considering their first patch, the PvP patch, is barely in the rumor state at the end of 2012.
The same leaked product slate says they are planning to release WoW’s fifth expansion, yet announced, in the fourth quarter of 2013. Ding ding ding. While Blizzard was 1 quarter behind for their release of MoP they have competitively shot to match competitor’s release dates in the past. Will we see a release battle for Blizzard’s 5th expansion and ZeniMax’s first game?
But what about an early or mid 2013 release? Just based on the track record of other successful MMO release schedules; they are never on time. ZeniMax is a noble effort, a ad hoc team of professional developers who don’t screw around; but that doesn’t mean they know how to work together to hit a release date on the most important game, and only game, they’ve ever developed together.
The earliest we’ll see either of these games will be November of 2013, but I think there’s a better chances we’ll see them in the spring of 2014.