The Elder Scrolls 6 was announced as being in development at E3 2018 which is was a bit out of character for Bethesda as it tends not to announce a game so far in advance. The company, however, wanted to assure fans the game was in the works.
Bethesda has always said Starfield would come before ES6, and zero details on the game have been provided. The studio did say ES6 it was being designed to be played for a decade or more, like Skyrim, and work wouldn’t fully start on it until Starfield is out the door - which means sometime after November 11, 2022.
Recently, Bethesda Games Studios director Todd Howard spoke with IGN and in the interview, he discussed the release gap between Skyrim and The Elder Scrolls 6.
A long gap it will be too, because the game is only in the initial stages of development, as the team at Bethesda is currently busy getting Starfield out the door.
While we wait, if we want an Elder Scrolls fix, there’s always Elder Scrolls Online which is a juggernaut estimated to have over 18 million players, and then there’s Skyrim which has an anniversary edition coming out.
And Skyrim, according to Howard is still immensely popular. That goes without saying because otherwise, Bethesda wouldn’t keep re-releasing it right? And with the franchise seen as viable, The Elder Scrolls as a whole appears to be doing well enough to weather a long wait between standard releases. In other words, a long time between releases isn’t much of a deal-breaker.
Still, Bethesda wishes it were possible to release The Elder Scrolls 6 earlier, and Howard would love to “wave a wand” and make the game the team wants to create release as soon as possible.
“When I look at franchises, [I ask] is it vibrant? Skyrim still is, so when I look at The Elder Scrolls as a franchise, I ask is it healthy? Is it doing well? Yes,” said Howard. “Would you plan to have the kind of gap we’re having between Skyrim and the follow-up? I can’t say that’s a good thing. I wish I could wave a wand and the game we want to make and just came out, well, absolutely. But there are other things we want to do.”
And this is where Starfield comes in, which Howard said was a now or never sort of deal considering development started in 2015 after Fallout 4 was released.
“We wanted to do something else for a long time, and play in a new universe. If not now, when? We felt like if we didn’t do it, the when could be never. So, we felt pretty good where The Elder Scrolls was as a franchise, particularly with The Elder Scrolls Online, so now was the time to do Starfield.”
Howard said everything tends to take longer than the studio would like, but the team wants to make sure everything is right, so while with The Elder Scrolls 6, the studio doesn’t want to say it’s worth such a long wait, but it wants you to know it's determined to make sure the game “stands up to the series as it has been” in a “really big impactful way.”
Since the games are released so far apart, one benefit, according to Howard, is it keeps the creative juices flowing instead of creating burnout. That said, with Starfield, things were created from scratch whereas, with The Elder Scrolls 6, you have a basis on what has come before and how people reacted to it. At the same time, you want to wipe the slate clean and figure out “what it means to be a fantasy role-playing game.” And the team behind it isn’t interested in making a sequel, instead, it wants to “start fresh” as it does with every Elder Scrolls title.
In short, it’s still going to be a long wait. Starfield hasn’t landed yet and it’s still a year out. When can we expect ES6? Howard didn’t say, but we’re hoping it will be out before the four horsemen come riding out of the clouds to cause havoc among the populace.
Until then, like stated above, there’s always Skyrim Anniversary Edition with its extra content to keep us sated. We could also always go back to Oblivion or Morrowind too. Those are great games as well. Especially Morrowind. Then again, I’m biased.