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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?