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Today Bethesda confirmed the development of Elder Scrolls Online, the rumored MMO based on Bethesda's open-world single-player RPGs. The first trailer and screenshot will arrive later his week.

The Elder Scrolls Online is currently in development at Zenimax Online Studios, Bethesda's sister company. TESO takes place a thousand years before the events of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The Daedric prince Molag Bal is trying to pull the world of Tamriel into his hellish realm, and it's up to players to stop him.

"It will be extremely rewarding finally to unveil what we have been developing the last several years," game director Matt Firor told Game Informer.. "The entire team is committed to creating the best MMO ever made – and one that is worthy of The Elder Scrolls franchise."

The PC and Mac MMO will feature solo quests, public dungeons, and large-scale PvP. There are three factions for players to choose from, and they'll be waging open-world war against each other. Each faction will vie for control of Cyrodiil and the Emperor's throne.

This feels like a pretty natural transition for Elder Scrolls. The single-player games in the series have always had huge worlds. The difference is, though, that the series will now be moving from a sub-genre that they pretty much owned into a really competitive market. Zenimax has to find a way to translate the appeal of Elder Scrolls into a compelling multiplayer experience that rivals World of Warcraft and other market leaders.

Elder Scrolls Online will be the featured story of Game Informer's June issue. The cover art from that issue is below, along with the official logo. Zenimax expects to launch the game in 2013.

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