Remembering 'Elder Scrolls: Redguard', The Little-Known Flop That Led To 'Skyrim'

Remembering 'Elder Scrolls: Redguard', The Little-Known Flop That Led To 'Skyrim'

We love to give Bethesda crap for their more recent games, a little act of cruelty nobody can blame us for because even the people who paid full price for Fallout '76 like to laugh at it - that's all the enjoyment they can get out of it. Bethesda has fallen off quite a lot in the eyes of gamers in recent years, but maybe they'd like to learn that this isn't the first Bethesda flop era and that the first one was responsible for kickstarting the golden era of the company.

We previously talked about Arena and Daggerfall, the games that propelled Bethesda to mainstream success. Those rocked because they introduced the rogue-like elements that so many people love in modern gaming, as well as intricate customization mechanics that made every playthrough unique. Bethesda didn't, however, just keep on growing and growing from Daggerfall to Morrowind. The company made the mistake of forgetting what brought the appeal to their games and tried to copy popular games of the time like Tomb Raider instead. The result was "Elder Scrolls Adventures", an attempt at kickstarting a pure action-adventure series in the TES world. It ended up much like Universal's Dark Universe. The first and last game was Redguard, a swashbuckling tale that forced all players to play as the same guy. That's not a problem per se, it's the reality of most games even, but any Bethesda fan is likely feeling revolted just by reading that.

On top of doing away with that fans liked, what Redguard brought to the table to make up for it wasn't very memorable gameplay-wise. The combat was simplistic and the campaign didn't make good use of its linearity to come up with riveting set pieces. 


Think Monkey Island sword fighting mechanics but the only person being insulted is the player

Redguard sold very poorly and brought a lot of trouble to the company. It did some cool things though, like featuring a non-white protagonist, something that sadly may have also contributed to its poor sales (but this was the ‘90s, so at least it didn’t kickstart an Internet hate campaign).


It also introduced some of the art we'd later see in Morrowind.


Heck, it did look really cool at times. So cool, in fact, that we kinda understand why many people thought the devs make these games while on shrooms.

Here's hoping Bethesda rises again with Starfield.. or after that.

Top Image: Bethesda

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