Bethesda shows off Blades, the new Elder Scrolls game you can play on the go

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Jun 11, 2018, 12:57 PM EDT

With its announcement of an all-new mobile game set in Tamriel, one of gaming’s most iconic and canonical places, Bethesda Game Studios is giving fans a first glimpse of Blades, a portable experience that Bethesda guru Todd Howard is promising will live up to expectations as a “pure” Elder Scrolls experience.

Bethesda rolled out Blades Sunday at the E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, showing off a pretty complete-looking game that aims to adapt for mobile platforms the same role-playing and real-time combat elements that will be familiar to anyone who’s lost gobs and gobs of time dungeon crawling in Oblivion or Skyrim.

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Blades is "a massive first-person RPG with console quality graphics, but with a uniquely mobile experience,” Howard said, describing the campaign-centric title as, “at its heart...a pure Elder Scrolls game.” Free to play, Blades is set to hit both iOS and Android mobile platforms, although the studio also plans to offer a PC version in the future.

“Believe me when I say you have to see this running on an iPhone X,” Howard said from the E3 stage as the in-game footage rolled on the overhead. “This gigantic screen does not do it justice.” 

All the basics appear to be in place: sure, there’re skeletons and skeevers, but also the Scrolls series’ familiar, infinitely customizable character creation tools. On-screen magicka, health, and stamina bars, loot, treasure, and inventory and leveling menus all will feel right at home to anyone who’s recently played other Elders Scrolls games. 

In a neat trick often overlooked by many developers, Bethesda is also equipping Blades to run equally smoothly in both landscape and portrait modes. “That one was incredibly important to us — that you could play it however you wanted,” said Howard. 

Bethesda hasn’t revealed a firm release date, but says the game will be available for download later this year. In the meantime, you can stay up to date and sign up for early access by heading to the Blades landing page.