The ongoing saga surrounding cross platform play – or the lack thereof – on Sony’s devices has seen more shots fired, again from Bethesda, concerning PlayStation’s inability to play well with others.
Speaking with Game Informer at Quakecon, Bethesda exec Pete Hines was asked about the Elder Scrolls: Legends, how it manages progress, and how that translates to playing on other devices. In short: the game is meant to maintain progress on anything you play it on, so you’re always able to keep playing your game.
But what about on the PS4, with Sony being so anti-cross-platform? "It is our intention in order for the game to come out, it has to be those things on any system,” Hines said, “We cannot have a game that works one way across everywhere else except for on this one thing.
“It doesn't matter what platform you play on, you play against everyone else who is playing at that moment. There's no 'Oh, it's easier to control, or it has a better framerate on this system.' It's a strategy card game. It doesn't matter.”
Asked if this was a direct statement that Legends would not make it to PS4 without Sony agreeing to this cross-platform element, Hines continued to not name names before saying: “Those [terms] are essentially non-negotiable. We can't be talking about one version of Legends, where you take your progress with you, and another version where you stay within that ecosystem or it’s walled off from everything else. That is counter to what the game has been about.”
While continuing to avoid saying ‘Sony’ or ‘PlayStation’ specifically, and saying this was a blanket statement applying to the situation in general rather than a specific company, it’s easy to read between the lines and hear what Hines was getting at. If Sony doesn’t open up its borders, it won’t be getting certain Bethesda games on the system at all.
This isn’t the first time Bethesda has commented on Sony’s reticence to allow cross-device play, with the studio’s chief Todd Howard saying the platform holder was “not as helpful as everyone would like” with regards to Fallout 76.
For Sony’s part, PlayStation executive Shawn Layden did give a hint the company was looking at softening its hardline stance on allowing the different platforms to mix in the online playground – and he wasn’t talking specifically about Fortnite.
With an emboldened Bethesda throwing shade at Sony and bypassing Steam to sell Fallout 76 on PC, while Epic is doing the same sidestep of Google with Fortnite on Android, we’re certainly in a period of history where the platform holders and traditional gatekeepers are losing their iron grip somewhat.