The Elder Scrolls Multiplayer Would Lead to a Lesser Game

Speaking candidly to Edge Magazine, Bethesda's Pete Hines tackles the oft-raised question of why the company doesn't introduce some sort of multiplayer component to their popular The Elder Scrolls series. As CVG reports, it would result in a lesser game because something else would have to give:
He explained: "I've always said: 'You tell us whether or not your game needs it. I'm not going to tell you it has to be in there, or it has to be on the back of the box. If that's the reason you're doing it then don't waste your time and don't waste ours."

Hines admitted that hearing repeated consumer requests for multiplayer in Elder Scrolls "does get old" and explained how the addition could result in a "lesser game".

He commented: 'It's not wrong or unreasonable for people to want to experience a game with their friends, or want to do things with folks online. There's nothing wrong with that at all. What we've tried to do is help people understand that in game development, it's all about trade-offs. One of our mantras here is that you can do anything - you just can't do everything.

"So certainly we could do multiplayer. Unquestionably. It's not a thing we're technically incapable of figuring out. But when we draw up the list of things we'd like to have cut or change in order to support that feature, what we end up with is unpalatable. It'd make a lesser version of the game. And there is no doubt on the dev side that that is the case."
What they could do is add a small amount of multiplayer code that wasn't even part of the game's primary bullet points, and then let the modding community run with it. They wouldn't need to do much - just adding basic multiplayer code would probably eventually lead to some great PvE- and PvP-centric multiplayer mods.