The Elder Scrolls Online Deep Dive Blog Offers Players Insight Into Designing Bosses

Hear about the process from the game’s lead encounter designer and senior content designer.

QuintLyn Bowers
By QuintLyn Bowers, News Editor March 24, 2022
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The Elder Scrolls Online Boss Development Deep Dive

Have you ever wondered what goes into designing a video game boss – or more specifically one of the bosses in The Elder Scrolls Online? Now you can have a little insight into that process thanks to a new developer deep dive post on Designing Tamriel’s Bosses. The post is the first in a series in which the developers – in this case, Lead Encounter Designer Mike Finnigan and Senior Content Designer Shane Slama – answer questions about their work and give players a peek behind the curtain.

Now, the questions being posed aren’t necessarily from the players. For the most part, the Q&A session seems to be something that helps break things up and possibly make the info dump a bit easier to digest. They begin by discussing the core philosophy behind designing dungeon and trial bosses – which is to continue to build on the “standout” elements of the game’s play. That includes things like paying attention to movement, story, and the game’s setting.

From there they discuss the different aspects addressed by individual designers while creating bosses. There’s obviously a lot to consider when designing these encounters. After all, it’s not just the big creature in the middle of the room you’re dealing with, there are also things like the environment, abilities, and more.

The next question asks for a bit of a rundown on the process involved in creating a boss. As you might expect, the whole thing begins with deciding what boss or character to use, generally based on a zone or dungeon design document that addresses the dungeon theme. From there they get to work on the design process, which can vary from designer to designer. From there, the boss's abilities are fleshed out and the work of creating the encounter design document begins. This also requires the boss designer to coordinate with the writer and the content designer to assure everything meshes at the end.

For those of you interested in game design, this deep dive is certainly worth the read. Granted, we’ve summarized it for you here, but there’s always more to learn in the official write-ups, so go have a look.

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About the Author

QuintLyn Bowers
QuintLyn Bowers, News Editor
QuintLyn is a long-time lover of all things video game related will happily talk about them to anyone that will listen. She began writing about games for various hobby sites a little over ten years ago and has taken on various roles in the games community.

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