Report: Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls Online Development Cost Is Insane


We know that The Elder Scrolls Online is one hell of an undertaking for Bethesda. ZeniMax Online Studios have been working on the title for quite some time, and apparently the development cost is in the multiple hundred million dollar neighborhood. Reports from a reliable industry source cite a $200M price tag for development thus far.


Many have questioned the monthly subscription model that The Elder Scrolls Online will employ, but when you consider that enormous development budget, things become a bit more clear. Hopefully the studio has planned ahead with tons of end game content to keep players coming back for years to come, or The Elder Scrolls Online may be headed for disaster.

We’ve reached out to Bethesda for clarification. But, they’ll likely return with “We don’t comment on rumors and speculation.”

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Dylan Zellmer

Dylan splits time between games journalism, designing video games, and playing them. Outside of his deep involvement in the games industry, he enjoys It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Shameless, A Song of Ice and Fire, fitness, and family.
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  • vashv17

    Man, I swear it bet not turn out like SWTOR did. Even though I still play SWTOR till this day the playerbase suffered a lot because they put all the money in all the wrong things.

    • Yes, and that’s a powerful IP as well. More notable than The Elder Scrolls even.

      • vashv17

        yea, I gave my friend my open beta voucher because by the time I finally got into the beta I forgot the game was even coming out. Needless to say he said it feels clunky, but this is the beta. I hope that they don’t mess up, but I can def see this going free to play in a few years. Or at the very least a buy to play.

      • Arglebargle

        Except for one important difference: Star Wars fans are not all gamers. TES fans are ALL 100% gamers. If we’re talking about the KOTOR audience? That’s like 1/10th of the TES audience.

    • Anders

      SWTOR was suppose to be a story driven MMO. So they did put all their money into the wrong place. There was just no endgame content. Right now though they are making a killing off of the cartel market. I think ESO will do a lot better than SWTOR due to them having actual end game content at launch with more to be released in the future.

  • Baz Cartman

    I hope they do not release this the same time as Destiny

    • They aren’t.

      ESO releases March 4, and Destiny releases September 9

  • T Dot M Dot

    200 mill? Not even worth investing

  • Overwhelmingryan

    Going to need more proof than this.

  • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

    why is this at all surprising? this is BETHESDA we’re talking about for Christ’s sake-this was inevitable from the start given the reputation they have in the industry. I won’t be surprised if Elders Scrolls Online forces them to cut their losses and delay some of their upcoming games. One of those eventualities being Fallout 4, if anyone gets my meaning.

  • Elikal Ialborcales

    Can’t say it looks like it. I wonder for what? Again Voiceovers??

  • Arglebargle

    250 devs over 6 years, plus voice actors and heavy server tech? Makes sense I guess. Just wish the game was more like Elder Scrolls in this case though.