The Hot Topic: Elder Scrolls co-op

Skyrim's missing link, or a bridge too far?

Every month, two OXM staffers puts aside friendship, professional respect and human decency in order to battle on the sands of the metaphysical arena known as the Hot Topic.

Issue 81's bone of contention is co-op in the Elder Scrolls series. Log wants it, Skyrim modders are well on their way to achieving it and Bethesda isn't ruling it out, but a significant body of ardent Skyrim fans aren't convinced, Ed included.

Where do you stand on the matter? And can you distil that (we've no doubt) insanely complex personal preference to the act of ticking a box? Read the arguments in full below, then have your say.

Look, I get that Skyrim is one of the last bastions of pure single-player entertainment. I was shrug-shouldered when BioShock 2 announced their multiplayer. I was entirely unconvinced by Dead Space 2, and I'm still paint-strippingly dubious about Mass Effect 3's online offering.

But there's one difference - in all those games, the multiplayer was an unnecessary bolt-on. In Skyrim, everything is already in place for an amazing co-op experience. But instead, you have to play alongside these horrible, passive-aggressive - or just plain annoying - AI companions.

It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again, Lydia.

Why would you want to summon a spectral assassin when he just bangs on every 20 seconds about the olden days? How can you genuinely care for someone as deeply stupid and passive-aggressive as Lydia? Why can't I have an intelligent friend fight silently alongside me? Surely this incredibly emergent world would only have more scope for amazing, unfolding stories if you could play alongside a friend?

It'd be optional, of course. And there'd be no areas that said "this cavern doth require adventurers two". The co-op I want from The Elder Scrolls would be woven invisibly through the whole game, you'd never feel like there were big bits of the game you were missing for playing alone.

So, give us co-op, Bethesda. Skyrim is a miserable spectator sport. Or at the very least, give us the option to shut your damn AI companions the hell up.

Turn the page for Ed's rebuttal.

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