The Elder Scrolls 6 was first revealed five years ago with a 36-second announcement trailer. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a lot of concrete news on the title since.
Now that Bethesda has launched Starfield — the developer’s first brand-new IP in 25 years — with great success despite plenty of criticism on the game’s advertised scale versus its gameplay, it goes without saying that the studio will be shifting to the next installment in the Elder Scrolls series. The new title will be building off the wild success of its predecessor Skyrim (which made the cut for Digital Trends’ top 50 video games of all time) and MMO The Elder Scrolls Online.
The hype for The Elder Scrolls 6 is immense, to say the least. Not many other IPs can kickstart a years-long rumor cycle with a quick trailer of some rocky terrain and a title. And the anticipation has only grown over time, especially this year with the massive success of fantasy titles like Diablo 4 and Baldur’s Gate 3.
We’ve got our fingers crossed with hopes of a new trailer soon, but it sounds like we’re still several years away from getting our hands on The Elder Scrolls 6. Here’s everything we know about the game so far. We’ll update this article regularly whenever news hits or rumors are circulating.
Every fan is looking for a concrete release date for The Elder Scrolls 6, but there’s been no official update on the project since the announcement trailer and any significant update on its timeline is likely still years away.
Since the announcement trailer launched in 2018, Bethesda executives have been adamant that The Elder Scrolls 6 would not remotely be a priority for the studio until the launch of Starfield. And even that timeline has shifted — Starfield was originally slated for November 2022 before it was pushed back to early 2023 and then finally launched in September 2023.
In an interview with Spanish gaming news site Vandal (and translated by a ResetEra gaming forum user) in August 2023 about Starfield, Bethesda head of publishing Pete Hines confirmed that The Elder Scrolls 6 has moved out of pre-production and is now in early development. “And yes, there are people working on The Elder Scrolls 6, but [Starfield] is what the studio has focused on. So no, you are not going to hear soon about The Elder Scrolls 6. Starfield is our focus for now, and it’s going to remain our priority for a while before we talk about anything else.”
Given what we know about Bethesda’s development timeline for Starfield — development began in the latter half of 2017 at the earliest and the game launched in late 2023 — it is safe to say that The Elder Scrolls 6 won’t be nearing launch for another four or five years, at the earliest.
Following Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda via its parent company ZeniMax Media in March 2021, there’s a strong possibility that The Elder Scrolls 6 could be exclusive to Xbox consoles and PC, leaving PS5 users to either switch platforms or miss out on the new RPG.
Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has been asked about exclusivity regarding several gaming IPs since Microsoft acquired Bethesda and Activision Blizzard and has said that exclusivity with new titles will be looked at on a case-by-case basis. Call of Duty was a big focus of early exclusivity talks and eventually Microsoft made the public call that the popular FPS would remain on Sony platforms, at least for the immediate future.
The Elder Scrolls 6 will be a close call. Technically it’s an existing IP and there are plenty of Sony gamers who are still Bethesda fans. But it will also be the first new Elder Scrolls title in over 10 years and has significant hype around it — exclusivity could make some PlayStation owners make the jump to Xbox or PC.
Of course, who knows when the game will come out and what platforms will be active at that time. Spencer himself has noted that the studio isn’t entirely sure what generation of consoles the game is being developed for.
The only trailer — and that’s using the term as loosely as possible — we have is the barely 30-second announcement teaser shown way back at E3 2018. More of a glorified title drop, this teaser simply shows us a landscape and the title backed by a thumping orchestral soundtrack somewhat reminiscent of the one used to promote Skyrim. Even with such a brief glimpse at the land, the most hardcore Elder Scrolls fans have already picked it apart and theorized where this future game will be set in the world of Tamriel.
The teaser appears to show an elevated landmass filled with large rocks. Right out of the gate, we can pretty safely remove Morrowind, Skyrim, Cyrodiil, and the Summerset Isles from contention. Not because the topography isn’t similar in some cases, but because it seems unlikely Bethesda would revisit heavily covered lands in Tamriel from the recent mainline games.
That leaves us with High Rock, Hammerfell, Valenwood, Elsweyr, and Black Marsh as potential Elder Scrolls VI locations. Black Marsh, Elsweyr, and Valenwood would appear to have too low of a sea level to fit the trailer. There’s also a relative lack of vast mountain ranges in the teaser.
By process of elimination, it would appear that Hammerfell or High Rock are the most likely settings for The Elder Scrolls VI.
High Rock has only been mentioned by name in mainline Elder Scrolls games since Morrowind. It has, however, appeared in Elder Scrolls Online. Likewise for Hammerfell, which has been a location in the Elder Scrolls Online but only mentioned by name since Morrowind in the mainline series.
If it’s not set in High Rock or Hammerfell, perhaps Bethesda will move out of Tamriel altogether for the Elder Scrolls VI‘s location. The continent located to the east of Tamriel, Akavir, could prove to be great fodder. Very little is known about Akavir’s topography, though.
Still, based on the minimal information we have, we think that Hammerfell or High Rock are the most likely locations. But who knows, really, as Howard has also said some aspects of the trailer aren’t in line with the region at large. Bethesda probably wants to keep fans guessing until the full reveal.
Gameplay has remained largely the same for the past few iterations of The Elder Scrolls games, and if that trend remains true, then we can probably guess the basics of how it will play. Odds are we will make our new character and control them from either a first- or third-person perspective with the ability to change between them and build ourselves to use a large range of weapons and skills, from fists and blades to bows and magic. Hopefully, Bethesda has some new ideas for how to spice up the variety of combat, but the core they are starting with is at least solid.
There will no doubt be a new version of the skills and leveling system to dive into as well. Again, we expect some new additions we can’t predict just yet, but things like lock-picking, speech, and smithing will likely make a return. As far as any completely new gameplay systems are concerned, and this is pure speculation, we would love to see a more robust relationship system between your character and companions and other NPCs for more realistic and evolving interactions. Skyrim did have a marriage system in place, but it was extremely barebones and limited.
The only Elder Scrolls game to have any kind of multiplayer is the MMO Elder Scrolls Online. With that game going strong, we expect Bethesda to keep the mainline, numbered entries in the series as dedicated single-player RPG experiences. Considering Bethesda is one of the few companies still willing to give us these large, solo experiences, we hope that stays true for VI.
You can bet this game will have plenty of DLC to keep you adventuring for hundreds of hours if you so choose. Ever since Fallout 3, Bethesda has supported their single-player RPGs with larger and more numerous DLC packs that add new areas, skills, classes, enemies, stories, side quests, and basically everything else you could want if you liked the base game. Again, without even knowing much concrete info about the game itself, it is impossible to speculate on what to expect from any DLC except for the fact that it will exist.
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