With the announcement of the PlayStation 4 and the confirmation that Bethesda will be working on PS4 titles in the future, we can now begin to think about The Elder Scrolls in the next generation of gaming. And for me, that means taking Tamriel with me wherever I go.
But first a quick recap.
Sony announced some pretty impressive hardware specs for their new console, and the demos showed some exciting possibilities for what the next generation of games could look like. As troubled as the PS3 version of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has been, the architecture going into the PS4 should make designing games that work as well as they do on the PC (and a new Xbox) easier.
The PlayStation 4 is using X86 CPU technology that Sony called “supercharged PC architecture.” It will include an ADR5 enhanced graphics processor with eight gigabytes of GDDR5 unified system memory. The technology should make the system competitive with gaming PCs, as well as reducing the risk of running into problems like PS3 players experienced in receiving downloadable content at the same time as PC.
So with the tech specs out of the way, let’s examine what this means for The Elder Scrolls.
It’s undeniable the PC version of Skyrim is capable of running more impressive visuals than the current generation of consoles, but with those lines apparently being blurred by next gen hardware, what will be possible in TES VI? Will we be able to see some sort of modding community incorporated? Will load times be reduced? As massive as Skyrim is, can we expect even more content in the next game? Or with Gaikai being incorporated into the PS4, will we be able to stream TES VI to a PS Vita to continue our games during our lunch hour at work, on road trips, or long weekends to the in-laws? To me, that is the most fascinating possibility.
Just think about it. You are deep into a major quest line in TES VI when you realize it’s two in the morning and you have to be up in four hours. So you hit the sack, wake up red-eyed and cranky (much like your Nord), head into work, and survive until the lunch hour. Then, instead of a PB&J sandwich, you pull out your PS Vita, with its gorgeous five inch display, and pick up your Nord from your last save earlier that morning. You plop back down at your desk to finish your day, head home, hop onto your console, and continue playing your character from where you saved at lunch.
Think about the possibilities! Now I’ll give you that the screen on the Vita won’t come near matching the visuals possible on your PS4 or PC, and while the graphics will likely be similar, they will obviously have to be scaled down. But if all you want is to stay invested in your character and Tamriel whenever you have some free time to kill, or if you happen to be away on business or vacation, is there a better solution? You could do some more exploring of a cave you’ve never noticed before, head into town to sell some of the junk you’ve been lugging around, or even (if Bethesda listens to Shank) hop into a game with your friend who is a slacker and stayed home from work to plow through a couple dungeons together.
Sure you could lug around a laptop that keeps you connected to Steam, but that’s cumbersome. And let’s face it, a laptop capable of running the game at the same framerate and resolution as your beloved gaming PC is going to cost way more than a Vita and PS4 combination will (likely) cost. And it will probably be a chunky beast as well.
Don’t get me wrong, I still believe playing on a PC will be the better, prettier, slicker option (for me), but if I’m going to drop the money for the PS4, you can bet I’ll be playing my games on the road as well – IF it works as well as advertised.
And that’s a big IF.
We’ve been hearing for a while now that Sony wanted to make streaming your games to Vita the norm, but up to this point we haven’t really seen it implemented well. But with Sony’s acquisition of Gaikai, that could change. If The Elder Scrolls VI makes its way onto the PS4 (let me stop and remind you that TES VI is not even a rumored game at this point, this is just me speculating), and the streaming works as advertised, there will be nothing stopping me from never being more than a few inches away from Tamriel at all times.
And that possibility fascinates me.
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://mymiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/avatars/2330/209800074bd5c82316e83f77e0d73de4-bpfull.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Brian covers news for The Elder Scrolls and PlayStation for The Quest Gaming Network and loves sweetrolls. You can see all his work for QGN @SilentFury007 and follow him on Twitter at silentfury007.[/author_info] [/author]
Thanks for the assist to joeyrabbit.com for the Vita shell image