The walls between consoles are coming down and more developers are embracing a cross-platform future. The lone holdout it seems is Sony and its walled-off PlayStation 4. According to Bethesda, this could be a deal breaker in regard to The Elder Scrolls: Legends card game.
Speaking with Eurogamer, Bethesda's senior vice president of marketing and communications Pete Hines explains that cross-platform is way more important for Legends than say the upcoming online RPG Fallout 76.
"Fallout 76, sure: it would be nice if I could play on my Xbox and my kid is playing on his PC and we can play together, but if we can't, ok," says Hines. "But for Legends it's absolutely critical. Both cross-play, which is how Legends works right now on every device – you're playing against omebody who could be on any device – and, more importantly, cross-platform progression, which means no matter what you do on any platform, you load up the game and so long as you're logged in, here is all your progression, here is everything you had, everything you were doing."
Hines says the ability to close Legends on one platform and pick up at the same place on another platform is "a must" for Bethesda. "If we have to start segmenting our audience to say, 'folks on this platform can only play folks on that platform', or 'any progress you make on that platform can't be there', then man, that's a bad situation."
Hines could be referencing a situation Epic had to deal with regarding Fortnite Battle Royale on PS4 versus other consoles. While playing on PC, Xbox One, Switch, or Mobile allowed you to share the same Epic account and keep your progression across platforms, Sony's PS4 version was locked and accounts, and more importantly, loot were not transferrable to other platforms.
Hines says that Bethesda is "always" talking to Sony about cross-platform, just like Psyonix of Rocket League renown. "I don't want anybody to think I'm trying to single Sony out because I'm not. These conversations we have, we have with everybody, including Apple and Google."
However, there's always the chance Sony maintains to keep cross-platform out of PlayStation consoles. When asked what Bethesda will do then Hines said, "I imagine the answer is fairly dire, but I don't want to jump to conclusions yet because there's a lot of space between 'yes' and 'no'."
The developers at Sparkypants is currently overhauling The Elder Scrolls Legends' client and code so that it can work on Xbox One, Switch, and PS4. The goal is to get the overhaul done by this year says Hines. That overhaul means that Legends can start becoming more competitive in the card game space with tournament modes, new content, and expansions like the Isle of Madness content announced at QuakeCon.