The Wayward Realms wants to be The Elder Scrolls — but even more ambitious

the wayward realms
(Image credit: Once Lost Games)

If you follow The Elder Scrolls, you may already be familiar with The Wayward Realms — an upcoming fantasy RPG that shares a lot of DNA with Bethesda’s hit series. Two original Elder Scrolls creators have teamed up for this project, which aims to recreate all the best parts of the Elder Scrolls, but with even more focus on narrative decisions and role-playing.

Thanks to a recent teaser trailer and Steam listing, we have more info than ever about The Wayward Realms. If the game can pull off everything it advertises, it should be worth a look from Elder Scrolls fans, as well as anyone with an affinity for PC-style RPGs.

While The Wayward Realms has been in development for more than a year, we’ve learned an awful lot about the game in the last few days. First and foremost, there’s the teaser trailer, which you can view on YouTube and below:

As fantasy RPG trailers go, it’s about what you’d expect. There’s a spooky forest, an adventurer on horseback, a glowing light and a big reveal on a mountain vista, with a castle far off in the distance. The world of The Wayward Realms appears to have three moons, which is an interesting touch. It’s also a chance to hear some of the game’s music by Eric Heberling, who also wrote the music for The Elder Scrolls: Arena and The Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall.

In fact, if you liked Arena and Daggerfall, The Wayward Realms may well hold more appeal for you than Morrowind, Oblivion or Skyrim. That’s because Ted Peterson and Julian LeFay — the minds behind the first two Elder Scrolls games — have teamed up once again to work on The Wayward Realms. The “go anywhere; do anything” vibe from the early Elder Scrolls entries seems like it will be present in this new project as well:

“[Developer] Once Lost Games is creating a new open-world fantasy RPG where choice, consequence, scope and role-playing will be experienced like never before in a realistically-scaled open world in a new class of game: the Grand RPG,” the game’s Steam page explains. “The Wayward Realms is set on a group of over one hundred, realistically scaled, islands, known collectively as the Archipelago, where scores of factions vie for influence and power.”

What could set The Wayward Realms apart from The Elder Scrolls and similar games is its Game Master mechanic. The Wayward Realms will have a “virtual Game Master” that moderates the experience, much like a real Game Master does in a tabletop RPG. According to the Steam listing, this Game Master “keeps things interesting for you, making other characters and their factions react and plot their next move based on your actions.” The details are a bit vague at present, but whatever persona you craft for yourself — a thief, an aristocrat, a scholar and so forth — will affect how other characters perceive you, and how the story unfolds.

While The Wayward Realms does finally have a Steam page, there’s still no release date planned. The game does seem large and ambitious, particularly since Once Lost Games comprises a small development team. Still, Elder Scrolls fans should keep their eyes on this one — particularly since, all other things being equal, it could still come out before The Elder Scrolls VI.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.