The version 1.9 patch released for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in March did something very important to Bethesda’s monstrously successful role-playing game: The updates makes the game last forever. At least in a manner of speaking – it alters how you level skills, making it so you can build and rebuild them indefinitely. Skyrim also generates quests endlessly, so in theory you could play the game forever. FOREVER. But as for original, new content, the sun is setting on the province of Skyrim. And so, after millions in sales and a series of successful expansions like Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and others, Bethesda Softworks is moving on from Skyrim to its next big project.
“For the last year and a half we’ve been working on new content for Skyrim; from updates, Creation Kit, Steam Workshop, Kinect support, to DLCs,” reads a message from the team on Bethesda’s official blog, “Parts of our team have also been in pre-production on our next major project, and that is at the point where it requires the studio’s full attention to make it our biggest and best work yet.”
“Even though we’re moving on, we’ll still have minor updates to Skyrim as needed. We’ve invested so much of ourselves into Skyrim and will never truly say goodbye to it.”
It was hard work making sure that the studio could walk away from all versions of Skyrim. It was only in February that the DLCs Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and the final big expansion Dragonborn made it to the PlayStation 3, a conversion that Bethesda wasn’t wholly sure was possible.
What is the next big project for the entire Bethesda team? The rumors throughout 2012 suggested that the game that Bethesda’s pre-production team was hard at work on was none other than Fallout 4. One source claiming to be an MIT employee said in August that Bethesda had sent a number of scouting groups to the campus to gather reference materials for the next post-apocalyptic RPG. According to that source, Fallout 4 will take place in and around the Boston area, the region known as The Commonwealth in the series’ fiction. Bethesda does own the URL Fallout4.com, but its held those rights for nine years, so it’s hardly confirmation of the title.
There may be some new Elder Scrolls other than the upcoming MMO to be had, as well. Game.On.Net noted on Monday that the Australian Classification Database just registered a brand new M for Mature rating for The Elder Scrolls: Arena, the very first game in the series from 1994. The PC version of the game is already available to everyone free of charge online, so this hints at a new version of the game, possibly an HD re-release for consoles or perhaps an iOS version. In the post-Skyrim landscape, it might be good for Bethesda fans to reconnect with their roots.