At the end of its E3 2018 press conference, Bethesda played not one but two tantalizing teaser trailers. The first was for Starfield, a science fiction epic that marks Bethesda’s first new franchise in 25 years. That teaser was vague, showing space, a planet, and an odd-looking object floating in space that could be a satellite, ship, or perhaps even a space station. The second teaser trailer was for the game everyone knew was eventually coming: The Elder Scrolls VI. The brief trailer merely showed a vast rocky terrain and the title (but no subtitle), managing to be vaguer than Starfield‘s trailer.
Seeing as Starfield is coming before The Elder Scrolls VI, it will be at least several years before the next mainline entry in the fantasy RPG series lands on consoles and PC. Which consoles it inevitably launches on are a mystery, but it’s a pretty safe bet that The Elder Scrolls VI is a next-generation game. And not necessarily an early next-generation game.
We have a long road ahead before it launches, but here’s everything you need to know about The Elder Scrolls VI, from concrete info to speculation.
When can you play it?
This is the question every fan wants answered. Unfortunately, you certainly won’t be able to play it anytime soon, which is sad since The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim launched way back in 2011. While no one at Bethesda has given a release window, we know that The Elder Scrolls VI isn’t too far along in development. At E3 2018, Bethesda Game Studios executive producer Todd Howard said that the game is currently in pre-production. That means it’s not playable yet.
The Elder Scrolls VI also has to wait its turn. “Starfield is a game we’ve spent years thinking about and working on, something we feel uniquely positioned to pull off, and we’re incredibly excited about,” Howard said on stage at E3 before showing the teaser for The Elder Scrolls VI.
Starfield is currently commanding the brunt of Bethesda’s development attention, and it doesn’t sound as if The Elder Scrolls VI will even enter production until Starfield launches. So, then, the question is: When does Starfield launch? It appears years away as well.
Howard recently said neither Starfield or The Elder Scrolls VI will be shown at E3 2019. Essentially, that means Starfield will likely not launch until 2020 at the earliest. That may be optimistic, too.
In an interview with GameSpot, Zenimax Online Studios game director Matt Firor said, “You can go back and count the years between Bethesda Game Studios releases, and you’ll get the idea that [The Elder Scrolls VI is] not coming anytime soon.” The smallest gap between Bethesda Game Studios major releases has been two years, between The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Fallout 3. It’s usually at least three years, though.
Given what we know about Starfield and Bethesda’s game release history, it would appear that The Elder Scrolls VI is at least four years away.
Call us crazy, but we can see a scenario where The Elder Scrolls VI launches in the back half of the next console generation, somewhere from 2023 to 2025.
Elder Scrolls VI map theories
After officially announcing The Elder Scrolls VI, Howard said the teaser had “hints at where it’s set” in an interview with Geoff Keighley. The teaser appears to show an elevated land mass 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. Not to mention the relative lack of vast mountain ranges that we see 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.
GamesRadar’s Leon Hurley offered an interesting theory of his own, mentioning the sunken island of Yokuda, which is said to have featured “rocky barren hills.” A setting of Yokuda would mean The Elder Scrolls VI is a prequel.
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.
Skyrim Grandma Shirley will be an NPC
While next to zero concrete details have been revealed by Bethesda, we do know that YouTuber Shirley Curry, commonly known as Skyrim Grandma, will be an NPC in The Elder Scrolls VI. Bethesda made the announcement during its 25th anniversary video. We even saw a glimpse of her character model, shown above.
The reveal of Curry in The Elder Scrolls was not just heartwarming, but slightly illuminating. Based on the language used in the video, it appears that the technology used to design The Elder Scrolls VI is forward thinking, reaffirming the near certainty that the game will not launch until the next console generation.
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