You're going up against some tough competition, and MMOs are difficult, and expensive, to develop. Do you think you can compete with World of Warcraft?
We want to make an incredible MMO that defines the genre. That's always been our goal. It's a big task, but we have a really great team of Elder Scrolls fans and experienced MMO developers. That's what a game like this takes: a lot of skilled people, and a long time.
You and the team must be pulling some pretty late hours. How do you find time to play other MMOs and keep on top of what the competition are up to?
You'd be surprised! When you love something, you can put a lot of hours in, and sleep gets sacrificed. But that's how it goes. We play every game that comes out, and not just MMOs. The Elder Scrolls Online isn't really just about making a great MMO; it's about making an incredible game. We want it to be a combination of what you'd expect from a single-player Elder Scrolls game and a multiplayer game in a large-scale environment. We play all the games out there. We want to see what expectations are, 'cause it's important that we deliver a modern game.
You've got a beta trial coming up. What are you looking forward to learning from that?
I'm looking forward to seeing what character builds people come up with. One of the things about our combat is that you can really choose your own style of play. You can use any weapon effectively regardless of what class you are. So a person who's playing as a traditional spellcaster will be able to wield a two-handed axe. He can teleport into battle and start mashing people and shooting out storms, and it's amazingly fun. We want players figuring out different combos of weapons and class abilities, giving the game a really open feel.
How will you support the game after release?
We've been making a game designed to be played for a long time, and that's reflected in the classes and the plans for endgame content and PVP. That's what people want from an MMO. They want something they can get invested in for a long period of time, so all of our game design philosophies are based around that.
There are three factions in the game that players can join to fight for the throne. Are you worried that one of them will become too powerful?
That's what's good about having three. Many members of our team worked on Dark Age of Camelot, and that happened there. When one becomes dominant, there will always be two more. Even if you have a numerical advantage, having two other factions attacking from different fronts will cause you some problems. It's really hard to dominate for a long period of time.