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As The Elder Scrolls turns 30, Bethesda comments on The Elder Scrolls 6, 'returning to Tamriel and playing early builds has filled us with the same joy'

 The Elder Scrolls 6 announcement image.
The Elder Scrolls 6 announcement image.

What you need to know

  • The Elder Scrolls Arena, the first game in the storied Elder Scrolls franchise, was released by Bethesda Softworks on March 25, 1994.

  • On the 30th anniversary of the game's launch, Bethesda Game Studios put out a post celebrating the history of the series.

  • Bethesda noted that the team is working on The Elder Scrolls 6, with the team "filled with the same joy, excitement, and promise of adventure" when playing early builds of the game.


As The Elder Scrolls franchise turns 30 years old, we've got a new comment from Bethesda Game Studios regarding what is to come.

In a post on Twitter overviewing the history of The Elder Scrolls, Bethesda Game Studios mentioned that "Last but not least, yes, we are in development on the next chapter - The Elder Scrolls VI. Even now, returning to Tamriel and playing early builds has us filled with the same joy, excitement, and promise of adventure."

First announced at E3 2018 alongside Starfield, The Elder Scrolls 6 is the long-awaited sequel to the 2011 entry, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Per game director Todd Howard, Skyrim has sold over 60 million copies as of June 2023, with the game available across Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Switch, and Alexa (no, seriously).

Outside of The Elder Scrolls 6, Bethesda Game Studios is also working on The Elder Scrolls Castles, a mobile game that has soft launched in a handful of countries already.

The Elder Scrolls has helped define fantasy for 30 years

Image of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
Image of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

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While Bethesda Softworks had worked on numerous games before 1994 — prior to the establishment of ZeniMax Media, the developer and publisher shared the "Softworks" name — it was undoubtedly the launch of The Elder Scrolls: Arena on March 25, 1994 that helped propel the company into the spotlight. Sales were slow to begin, but word of mouth garnered popularity for the game. Arena used procedurally generated systems that created an infinite world in Tamriel for players to explore in first-person.

The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall followed in 1996, with a more dense world that featured over 15,000 cities and towns, as well as introducing a magic creation system. Daggerfall was a success, selling over 700,000 copies.

Skyrim
Skyrim

Arguably the largest leap in the franchise came with 2002 title The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Set in the titular province, Morrowind would codify many different systems used in the franchise, and sold four million copies in the following couple of years. It was also developed using GameBryo, which would go on to form the basis of Bethesda's Creation Engine technology. In addition to launching on Windows PC, Morrowind was also ported to the original Xbox, and is playable on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles through backward compatibility.

The 2006 entry to the series, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, continued the rise in popularity, with over 3 million copies sold a couple of years later. The fifth and latest mainline entry in the series from Bethesda Game Studios, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, saw the franchise utterly skyrocket in popularity upon its release in 2011.

In addition to the main series from Bethesda Game Studios, the team's sister studio ZeniMax Online Studios introduced The Elder Scrolls Online in 2014, with dozens of expansions and DLC packs since, including the upcoming Gold Road expansion set to launch in June 2024.

Analysis: Here's to the future

One special thing to me about The Elder Scrolls franchise is just how many different entry points there have been over the years. Different people started playing these games at different points, from Arena all the way up to Skyrim. I fall on the latter end of that spectrum, jumping in with Skyrim and absolutely falling in love it as a result.

Like so many others, I'm absolutely looking forward to The Elder Scrolls 6, years away though it may be, and after Skyrim's success I'm curious to see what kind of big changes will arrive and what will stay. The biggest improvement needed in my opinion is on the first-person melee combat.

There's a running gag that every playthrough in Skyrim devolves into building a stealth archer, but that's because archery in Skyrim feels extremely good to use. Swinging a greatsword or casting magic should also feel satisfying, so that's got to be a focus for improvement.

Outside of combat, I wonder if we could see any kind of settlement construction introduced? While obviously present in Fallout 4 and expanded dramatically for Starfield, being able to construct your own fortress and staff it with guards would be awesome.