Follow TV Tropes


Trivia / The Elder Scrolls

Go To

  • Attention Deficit Creator Disorder: The main series has seemingly fallen victim to Bethesda's ADD. Since Skyrim (not counting Skyrim's numerous re-releases), Bethesda has developed, produced, and/or published three Elder Scrolls spin-off titles (Online, Legends, and Blades), Fallout 4, the Dishonored series, a new Wolfenstein series, The Evil Within series, DOOM (2016), Prey (2017), and Fallout 76, with their next upcoming game slated to be Starfield. At E3 2018, The Elder Scrolls VI was announced... vaguely. It is stated to be in pre-production and will not be released until after Starfield.
  • Approval of God: Bethesda is extremely supportive of The Elder Scrolls modding community, publishing a modding kit with every game they release that is essentially the tools they used to make them. Skyrim would then serve as the launch title for Steam Workshop.
  • Breakthrough Hit: The series, specifically with Morrowind, is the mainstream claim to fame for Bethesda.
  • Cash-Cow Franchise: One of two for Bethesda, along with its Fallout sister series. It boasts five main series games, three Gaiden Game spin-offs, and two official novels. Each main series game since Morrowind has received at least two major expansion packs/DLCs, as well as an Updated Re-release (with Skyrim now up to four such re-releases).
  • Deliberate Flaw Retcon: "It's not a bug, it's a feature" could practically be Bethesda's motto when it comes to the series. Contributing is Bethesda's attitude that bugs which are fun but do not break the game too much are allowed to remain.
  • Dueling Games:
    • Following the series' jump to 3D, Morrowind and Oblivion competed head to head with Fable and Fable II, respectively. The Elder Scrolls came out on top handily in both cases. (Bethesda even slipped in a Take That! at the Fable series in M'aiq the Liar's dialogue.)
    • Skyrim brought the series into competition with The Legend of Zelda franchise, specifically going head-to-head with Skyward Sword. Skyrim won a close victory in terms of reviews while easily outselling Skyward Sword (though had a Multi-Platform built-in advantage). Skyrim's later Nintendo Switch port brought it into competition with Breath of the Wild, itself drawing many elements from The Elder Scrolls franchise.
  • Dummied Out: Exploration of the Construction Set files for the games shows that quite a bit of content is developed but never finished or implemented in the final product. Famous examples include the ability to join the Sixth House in Morrowind and the more complex Civil War questlines (with additional city battles) in Skyrim. In many of the cases, enough of the code still exists for modders to complete it and implement it themselves.
  • Executive Veto: The disappearance of the Dwemer is the franchise's longest running Riddle for the Ages. To date, only hints and theories have been presented as to why they vanished. When the development team of Online wanted to explore the disappearance of the Dwemer, the idea was "nixed" by Executive Director Todd Howard, who stated "this [is] something we will never do, we will never come out and spoil the mystery and the secrets of the Dwemer".
  • Genre Popularizer: The series for Wide-Open Sandbox Western RPGs. Starting with Arena way back in 1994, TES was one of the few series to survive the genre crash in the late 90s. A massive Newbie Boom came along with Morrowind in 2002, being both a critical hit and the first game in the series to receive a Multi-Platform release on console as well as PC, getting it into the hands of a wider audience. The series' popularity would only increase with the the subsequent releases of Oblivion and Skyrim, cementing its genre as a bastion of western gaming.
  • Lying Creator: Series Director Todd Howard has a habit of saying that they are absolutely, positively, unambiguously NOT working on another Elder Scrolls title... usually, it isn't long after that the next Elder Scrolls title is announced.
  • Killer App: The series is one for the Western RPG genre, as well as the Wide-Open Sandbox style and for Xbox Game Studios consoles in general.
  • Milestone Celebration: Bethesda released Arena and Daggerfall as Freeware Games in 2004 and 2009, respectively, marking the 10th and 15th anniversaries of the series.
  • Multi-Platform: The series first went multi-platform starting with Morrowind (XBox and PC). Every game since has followed suit, expanding to every console of its current generation in addition to being a PC mainstay.
  • Newbie Boom: The series in general got one starting with Morrowind. In the mid-to-late 90s, the series was another drop in the staggering bucket of Western RPG games available for the PC. Then Morrowind was released on both PC and Xbox. In addition to being a critical hit, this Multi-Platform release allowed it to get into the hands of a wider audience, making it the Breakthrough Hit for Bethesda. After the runaway successes of Oblivion and Skyrim, the series' status as one of the pillars of western gaming was cemented.
  • No Adaptations Allowed: Despite having two Hollywood producers on their board, Bethesda have turned down numerous offers to adapt the games into a movie. Given the track record of movies based on video games, it is not surprising that Bethesda is so hesitant.
  • Orphaned Reference: Naturally, with games so dense with content, references to places, items, people, and quests which have been Dummied Out still slip through into the final product. Specific examples can be found on the trope page listed by game.
  • The Pete Best: Julian LeFay played in instrumental role as a game designer and programmer for Bethesda in the company's early days, playing a pivitol role in creating the series as the lead programmer for Arena, Daggerfall, and Battlespire. However, when it came time for development to begin on Morrowind, LeFay was not picked for the development team. Around the same time, he started having increasing concerns over Bethesda's changing corporate culture in the latter half of the 90's, so he eventually tendered his resignation from the company in 1998, citing Creative Differences, but still made some small contributions to Morrowind at the behest of his good friend and Bethesda founder Christopher Weaver. It would be LeFay's unfortunate luck that Morrowind would turn out to be the Breakthrough Hit for both the TES series and for Bethesda, leading to a massive Newbie Boom that propelled both into the mainstream gaming conciousness. LeFay would then be supplanted as the creator of Elder Scrolls in eyes of fans who experienced the series from Morrowind onwards by series' writer Michael Kirkbride and director/designer Todd Howard.
  • Rereleased for Free: Bethesda released Arena and Daggerfall as Freeware Games in 2004 and 2009, respectively, marking the 10th and 15th anniversaries of the series.
  • Schedule Slip: The series is quite well known among the fandom for this. If Bethesda gives a date for something relating to the series, don't get your hopes up that it will be met. Perhaps most notable was a letter packed with Battlespire promising that Morrowind would be released around late 1998. It would actually be released in 2002.
  • Sequel Gap: The series has had three gaps of at least five years to date: Daggerfall (1996) to Morrowind (2002), Oblivion (2006) to Skyrim (2011), and now from Skyrim to whenever TES:VI will be.
  • Urban Legend of Zelda: The highly detailed nature of the series' Worldbuilding gives plenty of opportunities for these to take root. Specific examples are listed by game on the trope page.
  • What Could Have Been: Despite the sheer amount of content in each game, even more ends up failing to be implemented due to either time or technical limitations. The series even has its own sub-page.
  • Talking to Himself: Happens frequently in Morrowind (though voiced dialogue is still in the vast minority of the game's dialogue) and especially Oblivion, where two characters of the same race and gender will have the exact same voice. This can lead to something literally sounding like someone talking to himself. Steps were taken to improve upon this for Skyrim, where it is much less common though still pops up.
  • Updated Re-release: The series is somewhat famous for churning these out for each game wherever possible. Morrowind and Oblivion both received "Game of the Year" editions bundled with their major expansions. Skyrim has reached the point of infamy for this, receiving four special edition re-releases to date.
  • The Wiki Rule: The Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages and the Elder Scrolls Wiki are the two largest and most popular. Countless others exist, including The Imperial Library, which focuses on the series' many in-game books and offers a place for in-depth discussion of the series' lore.
  • Word of Gay: Overt references to Pelinal Whitestrake's homosexuality were apparently removed from the Song of Pelinal, but Huna (who Pelinal "loved well") has been confirmed as male by the author.
  • Word of God: Or Word of Dante/Word of Saint Paul, depending on how "canon" you consider the works to be. Some of the series' developers and former developers have posted "obscure texts" on the official forums regarding a number of in-game topics and characters. They are generally regarded by the fandom as at least Loose Canon, with the lore community in particular considering them even more canon than the Unreliable Canon generally presented in the games themselves. Michael Kirkbride wrote a number of them which fill in gaps around the Tribunal, Vivec, the Dwemer, the Daedric Princes, and many other topics. (Kirkbride is also the author of many of the in-game books, including most-famously the 36 Lessons of Vivec series.)