Bethesda Reveals Free-to-Play RPG 'The Elder Scrolls: Blades' Will Launch This Fall on iOS

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During its E3 conference last night, Bethesda Game Studios revealed that a new game in the Elder Scrolls series is coming to iOS and Android devices this fall, called The Elder Scrolls: Blades [Direct Link] (via TouchArcade). Bethesda describes Blades as a free-to-play title, but the developer didn't give any further details about potential in-app purchases.


In terms of story, players will take on the role of a member of the ancient order of the Blades, tasked with rebuilding and restoring their ramshackle hometown to its former glory after being exiled from the order. Bethesda says the mobile game "contains the many hallmarks" of the series that fans know of:

...beautifully rendered, console-quality environments, powerful magic, tons of gear to collect, upgradeable skills and of course, real-time fantasy battles!

Like other Elder Scrolls games, Blades is first person and fights are controlled by using the touchscreen to slash your sword, deflect, cast spells, and more. A fighting Arena features one-on-one combat with other players in real time, and an infinite, roguelike Abyss mode hides treasures in a never-ending dungeon.

The single-player campaign takes players through the town rebuilding process, where they will be able to customize the city to their liking as it expands and even visit their friends' towns. In every mode, Blades supports both two-handed landscape and a one-handed portrait setup, and to switch between each all you have to do is rotate the iPhone or iPad.

During the company's press conference, Bethesda Games Studios director Todd Howard showed a video of the game running on an iPhone X.


Those interested have until June 15 to pre-register for a chance to be part of the game's early access program. Otherwise, Bethesda says that The Elder Scrolls: Blades will launch to the public sometime later this year. Although it's launching first on smartphones and tablets, Howard says that Blades will eventually be available on PC and console.

On the iOS App Store, Apple has featured The Elder Scrolls: Blades today in a sneak peek article, where users can also pre-order the game [Direct Link] with an expected release date of September 1, 2018. A few other iOS gaming announcements have been made at E3 this year, one including a mash-up of the Gears of War franchise and Funko Pop toys called Gears Pop.

Top Rated Comments

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30 months ago

Free to play, the words of doom for serious gaming.

It’s so exciting to see Civilization V (full retail price) and PUBG (even though it is also free to play, the genre of battle royals leaves no room to monetise in progress, only on cosmetic items to make your character “cooler”), only to have you’re hope of iOS as a serious gaming platform shattered by news like that.

How can iOS ever be a 'serious gaming' platform? Yeah, iPhones and iPads are really capable devices, but they just can't cut it compared to consoles and especially pc's when we look at graphics performances. Ignoring this fact, for 'serious gaming', you want to play on a tv or a big monitor and want to control the game with a controller, preferably with a mouse and keyboard, depending on the game type.

What Apple is offering with the AppleTV is just a bad attempt at what Nintendo was doing with the Wii: games for kids which is not the 'serious gaming' I think we are talking about.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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30 months ago

From what I’ve seen so far this is by far the most graphics intensive game to ever release on iOS. I haven’t seen something look this good since Infinity Blade 1 back in 2010. Hopefully gameplay isn’t ruined with excessive micro-transactions. If done right the game is not pay-to-win and those who love paying for skins and special weapons will be able to do so.

Try Shadowgun Legends, that looks up there too.

I wish for something like that with an actual AAA story, no microtransactions, and MFI game controller support. I'd love a Switch-Lite experience like that.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
30 months ago

How can iOS ever be a 'serious gaming' platform? Yeah, iPhones and iPads are really capable devices, but they just can't cut it compared to consoles and especially pc's when we look at graphics performances. Ignoring this fact, for 'serious gaming', you want to play on a tv or a big monitor and want to control the game with a controller, preferably with a mouse and keyboard, depending on the game type.

What Apple is offering with the AppleTV is just a bad attempt at what Nintendo was doing with the Wii: games for kids which is not the 'serious gaming' I think we are talking about.

MFi controllers have been a thing for a while now.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
30 months ago

That would be awesome. Especially considering Apple has moved away from focusing on creative professionals in favor of becoming a lifestyle company. They don't even need to use to the sort of hardware that the Xbox One X is using. The Switch has already demonstrated what can be done and even the PS Vita before that which utilized a quad core (SGX543MP4+) implementation of the SGX543MP2 in the iPhone 4s. The iPad 3 used the MP4 but since it was driving twice the amount of pixels, I found that gaming performance on the 4s and iPad 2 was actually superior albeit at lower resolutions.

Yeah, and the A10X especially with active cooling in the ATV is easily head and shoulders above the Switch.

If they keep updating that to the new *X part every year, it would even sneak up on the base XBO scarily fast (though probably right in time for the generation after).
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
30 months ago
Free to play, the words of doom for serious gaming.

It’s so exciting to see Civilization V (full retail price) and PUBG (even though it is also free to play, the genre of battle royals leaves no room to monetise in progress, only on cosmetic items to make your character “cooler”), only to have your hope of iOS as a serious gaming platform shattered by news like that.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
30 months ago

So do I. It pains me to see the potential of these ARM SoC’s going to waste with the freemium model. Devices with the A10 and newer are strong enough to rival console graphics. Right now the best games on iOS are paid platformers like Oddmar, Super MARIO Run and old classics like Rockstar’s PS2 titles: Max Payne, all the GTAs and the excellent KOTOR port. The sports games are ok but they never require as much horsepower similar to fighting games.

It would be amazing to see what developers like Naughty Dog could do if they set out to make a AAA iOS title. People are willing to pay for quality. We might see things get better once the Mac App Store has iOS stuff. Since games will have to be made with Metal we might see something special if people are willing to pay for these superior experiences.

Well Naughty Dog is fully funded by Sony so that would be amazing but unlikely. But I think Apple should start funding their own game developments, get a few indie studios at least to really push the hardware.

The Apple TV in particular could be a nifty microconsole with an actively cooled A10X and controller support, and they dropped the wand controller requirement a while ago.

They just need to fund those games, maybe even have an in-house project. Or more partnerships with Nintendo, but for high end exclusives (or shared with Switch) this time, if Nintendo is willing to do that.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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