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The Elder Scrolls Online's Blackwood chapter revives a city not seen since 1994's Arena

27 years later, Gideon returns.

The Elder Scrolls Online's upcoming chapter includes a city not seen in a game in the famous fantasy series since 1994's Arena.

Blackwood, the Oblivion-themed chapter due out for The Elder Scrolls Online in June, includes Gideon as a hub city.

Gideon is an Imperial-based city built on Ayleid ruins but run by the argonians. It's situated on the eastern portion of the new zone, and borders the Black Marsh area.

Gideon appeared in Arena as one of several possible locations the player could discover. But it was only mentioned in subsequent The Elder Scrolls games, such as Oblivion and Skyrim.

For the uninitiated, The Elder Scrolls: Arena is the first game in the Elder Scrolls series, and was developed by Bethesda for launch on PC in March 1994. Still, the Gideon in Arena is actually set later in the Elder Scrolls timeline than the Gideon that's set to appear in The Elder Scrolls Online. The Elder Scrolls Online's Blackwood chapter is set around 2E 582 (the 582nd year of the Second Era), or 800 years before the events of Oblivion. Arena takes place in 3E 389 (the 389th year of the Third Era). So the Gideon we get in Blackwood is set hundreds of years before the Gideon in Arena. By my calculations, it's roughly 750 years before.

In video game technology terms, The Elder Scrolls looked quite different 27 years ago. Check out Gideon from Arena in the video below:

"Technology has changed a lot since 1994," said Rich Lambert, creative director at Zenimax Online Studios, during a recent Blackwood preview event attended by Eurogamer. "So things are gonna look a little bit different."

Gideon as it appears on the Arena map. Image credit Fandom.

Lambert confirmed that the developers used Arena's Gideon as "inspiration" when creating The Elder Scrolls Online's version, and picked it because of its iconic status within the franchise.

"We certainly did go into Arena and look at it," Lambert said. "It was very difficult to use that as a resource. Things have changed a lot in terms of technology, in terms of just things we've learned. But we did use it as inspiration.

"And the reason we chose Gideon was because it was one of the major iconic locations in that area we were building. When we were choosing locations to put in there, we wanted to try to find iconic things that were going to get players excited, and Gideon was definitely one of those."

Gideon in Arena. Image credit Fandom.

This isn't the first time The Elder Scrolls Online has brought an area from Arena into the modern era.

In 2018, The Elder Scrolls Online got an expansion set in Summerset - it was the first time fans could explore the island since Arena.

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About the Author
Wesley Yin-Poole avatar

Wesley Yin-Poole

Deputy Editorial Director

Wesley is deputy editorial director of ReedPop. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.

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