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Elder Scrolls VI Is Playable And Sounds Fun, According To An Update From Bethesda

Elder Scrolls Online artwork - Image: Bethesda
Elder Scrolls Online artwork - Image: Bethesda

The Elder Scrolls, Bethesda’s immensely popular open-world RPG franchise, turns 30 years old today. To celebrate, the company posted a short history of the series and its innovations on social media. However, it also briefly talked about the future of the series, confirming that folks at the studio were playing early builds of The Elder Scrolls VI and having a good time with the still-in-development RPG.

In 2016, Bethesda Game Studios’ long-time director Todd Howard explained that the next Elder Scrolls game was a “very long way off.” In 2018, Bethesda officially announced Elder Scrolls 6 via a very short and vague teaser that basically revealed nothing. Since then, Bethesda has been essentially radio silent on the big follow-up to 2011’s Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim as it has spent the last few years getting bought by Microsoft as well as developing and launching Starfield, its big space RPG for Xbox and PC. Howard has even admitted that announcing TES 6 in 2018 was probably not a great idea, wishing the studio had done it more “casually.” Now, with Starfield out, Bethesda seems a bit more willing to talk about the long-awaited fantasy RPG.

In a post detailing the last three decades of the Elder Scrolls franchise, which started with The Elder Scrolls: Arena in 1994, Bethesda thanked its millions of fans for helping the series grow and stick around all these years. And it also teased them all by confirming that members of the team are already playing the next game in the series.

“Last but not least, yes, we are in development on the next chapter -The Elder Scrolls 6,” Bethesda said in its post. “Even now, returning to Tamriel and playing early builds has us filled with the same joy, excitement, and promise of adventure.”

Can we glean anything about Elder Scrolls 6 from this short tease? Actually, yes.

Assuming Bethesda is being honest here, it seems the next Elder Scrolls is once again—like Skyrim, Oblivion, and Morrowind—set on the large continent of Tamriel and not in one of the more rarely seen locations in the franchise like Akavir or Pyandonea. This lines up perfectly with fan theories and previous speculation that the game would be set in Hammerfell (an area in Tamriel) based on the landscape seen in the teaser. Or maybe whoever wrote this just assumed the world of Elder Scrolls was Tamriel and didn’t realize the planet is actually known as Nirn? That’s possible, too.

Regardless, the development of the next Elder Scrolls is continuing and people are even playing early builds of it, which is good to hear. Now, the question is what platforms will this next entry arrive on, and when? Court documents and previous statements from Xbox boss Phil Spencer indicate that, unlike previous entries in the series, TES 6 is going to be Xbox and PC only, skipping PlayStation entirely.

As for when this next entry will arrive, those same court docs pointed to a 2026 or later launch date. Spencer seemed to indicate that 2028 or later was likely. If that’s the case, it will be 17 years after the release of Skyrim, meaning over half of the entire franchise’s history will have been spent waiting for the next game in the series.

According to 54-year-old Howard, Elder Scrolls 6 might be the last big game he directs. All this means Fallout 5 is probably not coming out until 2035 at this point.

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