When Your Broom Isn’t A Broom, The Game Isn’t The Game?

Gaming has been around long enough for some well established franchises to emerge and for some well-known brands to have taken root. It was while on YouTube I came across a video arguing that Fallout under Bethesda is nothing like the original games and concept under the original publisher.

It brought to mind a question: “if you take a broom, you replace the handle, and then later you replace the brush. And you do that, over and over again. Is it still the same broom?” So following this it got me thinking at what point is a game released that is so different from the original it has no real tie to the original other than its name?

All gaming franchises evolve over time, new features are added, graphics and gaming engines are updated and changed. Games change to keep gamers interested over the years and ensure we are ready to buy the next game in the series.

The Elder Scrolls is the main long-lasting gaming series that I play. With five games under the title and many years of experience and evolution the Elder Scrolls has changed considerably overtime:

  1. Map Generation, map generation is one of the first major changes, in the beginning Tamriel was a randomly generated map with the dungeons in every play through being different. Where as from Morrowind onwards handcrafted and standardised maps were added to the game.
  2. Changes to game mechanics, from the removal of skills and spells like teleportation to the addition of the skill tree and the removal of magical schools like Mysticism have also changed the game.
  3. Changing the Lore, Elder Scrolls is well-known for its long complex and well established lore. However, over time elements of the lore have been ignored and changed to fit the storylines of the newest Elder Scrolls game.

The changes to Elder Scrolls over the years are just part of the natural evolution of gaming. However, the ignoring of elements of Lore (The biggest example being the events of Elder Scrolls online) is possibly the biggest point at which Elder Scrolls has deviated from the original game.

Now obviously the Elder Scrolls is still the Elder Scrolls. The world of Tamriel is still the same aside from some lore changes over the years. To those who have played through the different Elder Scrolls series you can see the gradual evolution of  the franchise over time. It’s like that broom in the question, if you’ve seen the broom evolve over time it is still your broom even if the parts have changes. But Elder Scrolls isn’t the only franchise to have changed sometimes dramatically over the years.

If you think about it, if you had shown someone who had never played an Elder Scrolls game before the oldest and newest game of the series, Arena and Elder Scrolls Online could they tell they are from the same franchise and set in the same world? And is that a bad thing?

 

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5 thoughts

  1. First time I ever was introduced to the world of Tamriel was in Morrowind, so it has as you pointed out been mostly the same ever since. Though the way that the design in quests, ai and the mechanics has changed with each new game installed in the Tamriel universe.

    I like your idea of looking at the game series with theory of a broom. Makes it easier to get a picture what you’re trying to point out to the reader.

    What I’m trying to say is, while the game may not be the same game anymore, the spirit has never left from the very first.
    This was a very good read, I enjoyed it and would love to have a deeper talk about something like this with you some time.

    Stay Cozy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I think you’re dead right, games often change dramatically over time but the spirit and core of the game usually remains the same no matter what! It would be interesting to have a deeper conversation about this 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not up on my Elder Scrolls lore, but how has it changed? Has it been added to, or retconned? I think of Dragon Age… Inquisition added a lot of lore that sort of conflicted with some assumptions/lore from Origins, but fell enough within the realm of possibilities that it was okay (and the inconsistencies could actually be considered canon, due to details I’m not going to babble about here haha).

    In regards to recognizing the franchise… I think almost any “first game” looks different from its most recent release. I guess that means I reflected the question back to you, didn’t I? haha But no, I think as long as whatever the “essence” of the game has remained the same, or there is something grounding for the game to build on, variations are a great way to explore more parts of the game world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good point, comparing Arena to ESO is a bit extreme but there are pleanty of changes even between ESO and Skyrim/Oblivion. I agree with you though that as long as the core essence of the game remains between the different series then the games remain linked together.

      Liked by 1 person

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