‘The Elder Scrolls: Blades,’ a free-to-play mobile RPG, arrives this fall

It turns out Bethesda is currently working on not one, but two Elder Scrolls games. Yes, The Elder Scrolls VI is in development, Bethesda announced at the end of its E3 2018 press conference. That is a long ways away, after Starfield, which is also a long ways away. Don’t be too sad, though. In the meantime, Bethesda is giving its fantasy franchise the mobile treatment in The Elder Scrolls: Blades, a free-to-play game launching this fall on iOS and Android.

Shown off on the iPhone X, The Elder Scrolls: Blades is a visual marvel, a pure Elder Scrolls experience that fans of the franchise will recognize instantly. It’s a first-person RPG. You can either tap the screen to move or use on-screen dual sticks to control your character like you would on a console.

In terms of dungeons, there are both procedurally generated and designed ones. The procedurally generated dungeons would seem to up the replay value of already-conquered lairs.

Blades will be split into three different modes. Town, where you can build up your little space in the world, is the main portion. This is where you grab story missions and quests. Outside of the main story, Blades has a player-versus-player mode called Arena, and a rogue-like set in an endless dungeon called Abyss.

While we imagine most will want to play Blades in landscape mode on smartphones, Bethesda has included the ability to play in Portrait mode. The controls are designed simplistically enough that you can play with one hand.

The Elder Scrolls: Blades is already available for pre-order on both the App Store and Google Play. Interestingly, although all signs point to it being designed primarily for mobile audiences, Bethesda promised to bring the game to consoles, PC, and virtual reality as well — with cross-play across all platforms.

Given the success of Fallout Shelter — more than 100 million people have played so far — it’s no surprise Bethesda is cranking out another mobile game. If nothing else, Blades will at least help scratch the Elder Scrolls itch while fans wait for The Elder Scrolls VI. Blades looked impressive from the demo shown on stage. Plus, it’s free, so why not try it out?