Bethesda’s rollout of their mobile Elder Scrolls game continues to be a rollercoaster of emotion. Called Elder Scrolls: Blades, the game was initially unveiled at this year’s E3 back in June and then promptly put up on the App Store for pre-order with an expected release date of September 1st. We actually got our hands on the demo of Elder Scrolls: Blades at E3 and enjoyed what we saw, and were anxious for that September release date.
Everything seemed on track and that September 1st release date actually coincided with a big event Bethesda was throwing during PAX West 2018, which we attended. Expecting the game to be fully out and playable at the event, instead we were greeted with devices loaded with the exact same E3 demo we saw a few months prior. The demo was even called “E3 Demo" still. Something had to be up. Then later that week Bethesda updated the App Store pre-order page changing the September 1st release date (which had obviously come and gone) to December 1st. Ok, the game needed a few more months of time, that’s fair.
About a week later during Apple’s big keynote unveiling the new iPhone X models, Elder Scrolls: Blades was one of the games demoed during the presentation, which seemed fitting as it’s a really gorgeous game and its release was seemingly just on the horizon. Well, not so fast. At some point Bethesda updated the App Store pre-order page again with a note in the description that the game would now be launching in early access and you’d need an invite in order to play the game. Huh. Well just today they’ve updated that pre-order page AGAIN and now it doesn’t say anything about launching in early access, and the expected release date has been changed to March 31st, 2019.
Bethesda’s official Elder Scrolls Twitter account confirmed the new release window, although they sound a little more optimistic stating that Elder Scrolls: Blades will be coming in “early 2019." They also reiterate that you can still sign up for early access at the game’s official website meaning that perhaps the game really will launch around December 1st but not in an official capacity through the App Store and rather through a different beta testing program like Testflight. That would make a lot of sense, but we’ll see.
My gut tells me that they weren’t all too happy with how Elder Scrolls: Blades had been shaping up, and so perhaps decided on some major overhauls that have pushed the game’s release back. I wouldn’t be upset about that, as as gorgeous as the game was and as fun as it is to explore such a detailed open world in the palm of your hand, the combat in Blades left a lot to be desired in the time I’ve played with the demo. Whatever the case, you can scratch December 1st off your calendar if you were planning on the game releasing then, but definitely try signing up for the Early Access and perhaps you’ll end up getting in on the beta testing period anyway.