I had never known that in 2006 or so Todd Howard had the crazy idea to bring The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion to Sony’s PSP. Bethesda proper wasn’t working on the game, but Climax Group London was tapped to bring a new story set in the world of the main game to mobile gamers everywhere. Well eleven years later Howard made his dreams come true by bringing Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim to the Nintendo Switch. I’m actually more interested about the failed attempt to bring an Oblivion tie in to the fledgling PSP. I wonder if the PSP version would have been as epic in scope as its Xbox 360 counterpart, or just another forgotten PSP game. Unfortunately the world will never know if The Elder Scrolls Travels: Oblivion was any good or if it was just the first Fallout 76.
Climax Group London took the lead on the development of this cancelled title, while Climax Group Los Angeles did help the London team. Since the PSP’s hardware was so limited, the developer decided to create a much more linear game than its predecessor. A big chunk of the game was to take place in a hub world that had venders, NPC’s that gave our quests and the like. The player would have a teleportation crystal that would allow them access to the areas of the game they could explore. Their decisions in the explorable areas would affect the Hub world, if you saved a certain NPC they may appear in the actual hub world with some sort of affect on your game; whether that be a new quest or a new shop for you to barter with. Personally, this sounds great to me, my favorite Souls game was Demon’s Souls and they had this type of mechanic in the game, and that is what made it my favorite. In Demon’s Souls if you rescued a certain NPC he would come into your hub world and murder the other NPCs there; I thought that was so unique!
Combat would have changed a bit seeing as the PSP only has one stick. With one stick the combat would have been nearly impossible, so Climax decided to implement a mechanic that would focus on certain limbs, kind of like the V.A.T.S. system. This wasn’t the only mechanic developed, they also had the menus ready, inventory, the class system and the dialogue system ready to go. Sadly after all this time and effort put into the title it was cancelled in 2007 much to the chagrin of Elder Scrolls fan who wanted to take the journey with them.
High Rock was going to be the main area that was explored in this PSP game, the developers wanted to show that the Oblivion scourge was taking place in the entire realm of Tamriel, not just Cyrodiil. All of the explorable areas would have branching paths, an Oblivion world that mirrored the area and it’s own Mage to help the player close the Oblivion gates. Each area, of course, would have it own boss as well, unique to the area; just to keep players on their toes. Climax London really wanted to make this game large, their rough plans were to have about 180 quests for the player to conquer. They also wanted to have some backstory for certain characters in the main Oblivion game. Lucien Lachance was to be an integral part of the Dark Brotherhood storyline, which would have fleshed out his character before he met his end in Oblivion. I wonder what other tales they had ready for us to enjoy in this world thrust into chaos by the Oblivion gates. When the deal between Bethesda and Climax was signed there was just too little time and too little money to get the project done properly and timely. Climax had planned to develop the game with their own 3D engine built for the PSP, sadly this proved to be too arduous a task and instead they opted for using Renderware. Had this been done sooner in the development cycle the game may have been saved, but it was too little late and we had to wait quite some time to play any Elder Scrolls game on the go.
What do you this about this title going the way of the Dodo? Personally I would have loved to have played this on my PSP as I played it’s sister title on the Xbox 360. The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion was the game that got me use to first person shooters and showed me what was possible in an RPG. Yes I had loved Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, but Oblivion was the game that showed me what I was missing in all of these massive RPG’s that were hitting the video game market. Playing this on the comfort of my couch while I watched whatever TV show was on in 2007 with my parents would have been a nice dream come true. Sadly I’ll need to invest in a Switch soon to make this dream happen.