Bethesda would have to leave out more than it wants to in order to fit multiplayer in.
Bethesda's marketing boss Pete Hines says that the studio has the technical skills to include a multiplayer mode in the Elder Scrolls games. The fact they it could do it doesn't mean that it actually will, however, as Hines doesn't think it would actually make the game better.
Hines said that he understood that people wanted to play games and share experiences with their friends, but said that when it came to the Elder Scrolls games, Bethesda would have to leave out a lot of features if it wanted to put in a multiplayer mode. "[I}t's all about trade-offs," he said. "One of our mantras here is that you can do anything - you just can't do everything."
"So certainly, we could do multiplayer," he continued. "Unquestionably. It's not a thing we're technically incapable of figuring out. But when we draw up the list of things we'd like to have cut or change in order to support that feature, what we end up with is unpalatable. It'd make a lesser version of the game. And there is no doubt on the dev side that that is the case."
Hines said that Bethesda never demanded that its studios include multiplayer components in the games. In fact, he said that he would tell developers to leave multiplayer out of a game if it didn't fit with the concept, or if the studio was just adding it to tick another box on a feature list. Hines comments echo those of Gearbox's Randy Pitchford, who said last week that too many developers were trying to ape the success of games like Call of Duty by sticking multiplayer modes in games where they didn't belong.
The next Elder Scrolls game, Skyrim, comes out for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 on November 11th.