The Elder Scrolls Online, ZeniMax Online Studios' upcoming massively multiplayer online role-playing game, will require a $14.99 monthly subscription fee, general manager Matt Firor told GameStar.
"We'll talk about further discounts, etc. later, but for now, we are very happy to finally announce our model," Firor said. "It's very simple — you pay once per month after the first 30 days and the entire game is available to you."
Though he declined to go into detail, Firor said that the developer will also offer discounts for purchasing multiple months at a time and will support game time cards.
Firor said that the decision to require a "flat fee for continued, unlimited access" will allow the studio to forgo "sacrifices" that other pricing models would force.
"Going with any other model meant that we would have to make sacrifices and changes we weren't willing to make."
"We're building a game with the freedom to play — alone or with your friends — as much as you want," he said. "A game with meaningful and consistent content — one packed with hundreds of hours of gameplay that can be experienced right away and one that will be supported with premium customer support. Charging a flat monthly (or subscription) fee means that we will offer players the game we set out to make, and the one that fans want to play. Going with any other model meant that we would have to make sacrifices and changes we weren't willing to make."
It's not that other pricing models are bad, Firor said, but rather that the subscription fee fits better with the open-world experience that Elder Scrolls games offer.
"The Elder Scrolls games are all about allowing the player to go where they want, be who they want, and do what they want," he said. "We feel that putting pay gates between the player and content at any point in-game ruins that feeling of freedom, and just having one small monthly fee for 100 percent access to the game fits the IP and the game much better than a system where you have to pay for features and access as you play."
The Elder Scrolls Online is headed to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Mac and Windows PC at an unannounced date. For more how it's evolving to be more like The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, be sure to read Polygon's hands-on impressions and interview with the developers.
We've reached out to the developers and will update this article with more information as we have it.
Update: A representative from Bethesda Softworks independently confirmed the subscription model and fee to Polygon.