UESP’s Interview about Elder Scrolls Legends (2018)

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This interview was conducted in 2018 by the Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages with questions collected by the community. Pete Hines, Bethesda’s VP of PR, with Brady Dommermuth, a designer at Bethesda, weighing in as well.

The non-lore related questions have been removed from this transcript. You can find the original here. This interview is rehosted with permission.

Ilaro: Do you first develop a card and then ask an artist to make a matching art or do you first commission a bundle of different arts and then when developing cards find a suitable art in the existing pool?

Pete Hines
We always want to know what the card is before we make art. Otherwise you get stuff that is “close” or “kinda what we need” instead of a good fit for what the card is about. So the card design drives the art.

Ilaro: What information/guidelines do you send to the card artists?

For the answer to this, I turned to Brady Dommermuth, who works here at Bethesda and oversees all the art that gets done for our cards. Brady has worked on strategy card games for quite a while now.

Brady Dommermuth
Dire Wolf Digital uses a template for their art descriptions very similar to the one I developed for Magic: The Gathering back in 2001/2: location, action, focus, mood, and notes (if any). I then take that art description and revise it, if necessary, for illustrators who may not be familiar with terms or lore from The Elder Scrolls, and for whom English may not be their first language. Then I pull reference from the games as necessary. Sometimes that reference material will span several pages. Giving illustrators a sense of the Brass Fortress and the space underneath it, for example, required overhead views, first-person views, closeups, maps, etc. – about 12 pages in all.

SarethArai and Thalmor Justiciar: What’s the relation between the Clockwork Dragon and ESO’s Clockwork Titan (Saint Olms)? Additionally, is the Cognitum Centralis/Throne-Aligned in Legends (and ESO) the same room as Sotha Sil’s Dome back from the Tribunal expansion for Morrowind?

Again, for this one I turned to Brady for thoughts and insights. He’s far more involved in the lore in and around the game than I am.

The origin of the clockwork dragon is unknown. The fact that it’s not in the Asylum Sanctorium suggests that the soul gem that powers it isn’t that of a Dunmer “saint.” No other connection to the Saints Olms, Felms, or Llothis constructs is known to exist other than some design elements shared across Sotha Sil’s creations.

Given Sotha Sil’s restless nature and the amount of time between the events of The Elder Scrolls Online and Tribunal (more than several centuries), it’s likely that he created and maintained more than one Clockwork City “control center” over time. That said, the resemblance between The Dome of Sotha Sil and The Throne Aligned is strong enough that it’s unlikely to be accidental.

FioFioFio, Legoless, and Pheonix Neko: Should Kellen be treated as an unreliable narrator from a lore perspective? Will we ever get to learn more about his character background? Including how he knows the stories he tells and the year that he is telling them.

18 years of The Elder Scrolls has taught me that anyone can be considered an unreliable narrator from a lore perspective. Much like the world today, who you chose to believe and how that stands up to something else or someone else’s version is sometimes up to you. As far as whether we will learn more, we will have to wait and see.

KriHavok and Phoenix Neko: We have recently had Clockwork City expansions for both ESO and Legends, so this begs the question, do the different studios under ZeniMax Media communicate with each other and exchange ideas for their respective games? If so, to what extent?

The idea to do the Clockwork City expansion for Legends was born out of the expansion being done by ESO. The designers talked to ZOS about the expansion and passed all sorts of story and design questions by them to make sure they were ok from a lore standpoint. Communication between studios typically boils down to those sorts of topics. Making sure we’re being consistent from a lore standpoint. Or like when we wanted to come up with a special title for folks that helped out in the beta, I went to Kurt Kuhlmann, a Senior Designer for BGS and my go-to guy for lore questions. He was the one who came up with the idea of doing something around the Ehlnofey, and thus the Earth Bone title was born.

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