'The Elder Scrolls Online' news: Game sells 8.5 million copies; creative director talks about upcoming Morrowind expansion

A screenshot of a fully furnished Craglorn Cavern from "The Elder Scrolls Online" | YouTube/Bethesda Softworks

"The Elder Scrolls Online" now has 8.5 million players, according to game director Matt Firor.

According to a report from MMORPG.com, Firor clarified that the number he announced was based on the total of copies sold and not just the number of registered accounts. The publication notes that as of June 2016, 7 million players have purchased the game. Considering the current sales, it has added 1.5 million new players in less than one year. Additionally, Firor mentioned that player population is divided "fairly evenly" among PC and console platforms.

In other related news, Bethesda recently revealed the first gameplay trailer for the upcoming Morrowind expansion. Announced last month, the update takes gamers to Vvardenfell, an island where new monsters and items are introduced. The promotional video gives fans a glimpse of the additional environments, as well as the new Warden class.

Although "The Elder Scrolls Online" is set 700 years before "The Elder Scrolls 3," it didn't keep the developers from re-introducing popular environments in the franchise like the imperial city of Cyrodiil. Vivec City is a part of Morrowind, but it's still under construction in the game's current timeline.

Speaking with Gamespot, creative director Rich Lambert explained why they decided to bring back the Morrowind chapter instead of other "Elder Scrolls" locales. "There are two big reasons," he said. "One is it's a beloved place that started off a lot of people on Elder Scrolls and the other one is it's not traditional fantasy. It's aliens, it's giant mushrooms, and alien bugs," Lambert added.

While there was a consideration for setting the expansion in a different time, Lambert stressed that "it made more sense to have character continuity" with the original game. This allows characters to exist in the same timeline and make everything much easier. "We never seriously thought about that, but we actually did think about it a little bit," he added.

"The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind" will be available for PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One starting June 6.