13. Elder Scrolls Online
Exploring the incredible fantasy world of Tamriel has always been at the heart of Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls series, but the games had always been solo affairs prior to the launch of Elder Scrolls Online in 2014. While the MMO technically delivered on the promise of finally introducing a multiplayer component to the franchise, it did so in a less than ideal fashion, as the MMO design largely got in the way of the traditional Elder Scrolls experience and the game as a whole just felt too disorganized in its original form. Plus, launching a subscription-based MMORPG in 2014 was a foolish decision, especially in the wake of Bioware’s failure with Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Fortunately, Bethesda has made substantial improvements to Elder Scrolls Online in the years since launch – stripping away subscription fees, refocusing on fun, lore-based missions, and releasing two substantive expansions with Morrowind and Summerset. It’s still not an ideal experience if you’re simply looking for a proper Skyrim sequel, but the noticeable jump in quality makes Elder Scrolls Online a worthwhile investment while you wait for Elder Scrolls VI.
Believe it or not, when Fortnite was first released as a paid early access title in July 2017, “Battle Royale” was nowhere to be seen. On the contrary, Fortnite was conceived as a co-op sandbox survival game featuring base building and waves of A.I. enemies and while this mode was fun, it was hardly something that was destined to become a cultural phenomenon. Even when Epic Games released the standalone free-to-play Fortnite: Battle Royale a few months later, the game was seen as a ripoff of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and not an experience that would eventually surpass that game’s player count and concurrent online player numbers.
But even when Fortnite hit the big time and became the biggest game in the world, Epic wasn’t content to rest on its laurels and has continued to release frequent updates that not only fix technical issues, but add fun new things to the game, such as guided missile surfing. If you’d told me a year ago that Fortnite would become one of the most successful games of this generation, I would have thought you were nuts but as things stand, I have to hand it to the folks at Epic Games for turning a rather unspectacular wave shooter into something special in only a short period of time.