In a recent interview with IGN, Bethesda’s Pete Hines has confirmed that Elder Scrolls: Legends will be swapping development teams. The original dev team at Dire Wolf Digital will be transitioned off the project and replaced with Sparkypants Studios, the developers of Dropzone. According to the interview with Hines, Sparkypants has been “developing this new version of Legends for months under Bethesda’s guidance and direction.”
Now if that sounds like a crazy move, let it be known that Sparkypants will not be doing a complete or drastic overhaul of Legends, rather the game will be getting a new client with a shiny new UI and accompanying visuals.
While Hines says the transition won’t result in a complete and drastic overhaul of Legends, it will bring an entirely new client made by Sparkypants, a refresh of the UI, menus, and visuals, and the ability for the development team to iterate better to address balance issues and community requests faster. You can take a first peak at part of the redesigned board above.”
Hines says ‘Legends is a very strong game with a lot of untapped potential.’
A lot will change, but the game will still be the Legends people know at its core, as Hines says “I think the overall game design and mechanics are solid, and that’s not changing.” He also explained that “When players get their hands on the new version it will still play like the game they know and love. Their collections will be intact, the in-game store will offer the same items, the keywords and mechanics will all still be there.”
Hines says he sees the decision to switch teams as “an opportunity to alter the direction” of the game and what it could be in the future rather than a comment on its current quality, saying that “Legends is a very strong game with a lot of untapped potential.”
He also stated clearly that this was not because Bethesda was unhappy with the work of Dire Wolf Digital, saying “Dire Wolf made an excellent game in Legends.” He maintained that this decision was “more about the future and where we are headed.”
While the interview with Hines reads kind of like straight PR spin, it does mean we know a bit of what to expect from Bethesda’s E3 show. After all, that’s where they’ll be showing off the revamped version of Legends. How it will affect the game or its popularity remains to be seen, but it’s clear Bethesda is trying to push the game to be much more appealing to a broader audience than it has already.
However, card games are a dime a dozen, and the broader Elder Scrolls community aren’t the kind of folks who get really into TCGs. There are ways to change that, after all, The Witcher III proved that a card based mini-game can absolutely steal the show in a lengthy open world RPG. However, the success of Gwent was directly tied in to the source material and is much more of a strategy game. The Elder Scrolls Legends doesn’t have that tie in, nor that level of complex strategy. As Sparkypants’ development on the game has so far been relegated to a new game client, better UI, and better visuals, those problems won’t just be going away.