Multiplayer support is typically a decision made by the team based on the current Elder Scrolls chapter.
There's no question that a multiplayer component for Bethesda's Elder Scrolls franchise would be an awesome addition. The enormous, immersive terrain in both Morrowind and Oblivion seemingly indicates that there's a potential for some kind of multiplayer gameplay whether its a four-player co-op party or a full-blown MMORPG.
In a recent issue of Edge Magazine, Bethesda's Pete Hines addresses the topic, indicating that it's technically possible to add a multiplayer component, but ultimately becomes a question of whether the current title needs the component or not.
"I've always said: 'You tell us whether or not your game needs it," he explained in the interview. "I'm not going to tell you it has to be in there, or it has to be on the back of the box. If that's the reason you're doing it then don't waste your time and don't waste ours."
He admitted that repeated requests for multiplayer support by Elder Scroll fans "does get old," but goes on to say that the addition could make the final product a "lesser game."
"It's not wrong or unreasonable for people to want to experience a game with their friends, or want to do things with folks online," he explained. "There's nothing wrong with that at all. What we've tried to do is help people understand that in game development, it's all about trade-offs. One of our mantras here is that you can do anything - you just can't do everything.
"So certainly we could do multiplayer," he added. "Unquestionably. It's not a thing we're technically incapable of figuring out. But when we draw up the list of things we'd like to have cut or change in order to support that feature, what we end up with is unpalatable. It'd make a lesser version of the game. And there is no doubt on the dev side that that is the case."
Recently BioWare admitted that it's looking into developing a MMOG based in the Dead Space universe. Ultimately Bethesda may want to investigate this avenue as well, as an Elder Scrolls MMORPG would pose as a viable threat to Blizzard's highly-popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft. A free-to-play model may also be possible, requiring gamers to pay for premium items and gain access to premium areas within Tamriel (or another continent on Nirn).