Bethesda is using the same game engine to build both Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6, but work on the latter will lead to changes to their shared base.
In a new interview with The Telegraph, Bethesda studio director Todd Howard reaffirmed that the studio's Creation Engine 2 is being "built for both" games – and it's worth emphasizing that it's being built, not that it was built.
Bethesda previously confirmed that it began investing more into engine work ahead of the start of the new console generation, and Starfield will be the first game to put the new engine to work. However, the engine's feature set will be modified to meet the unique needs of Starfield, The Elder Scrolls 6, and by extension any future Bethesda games using Creation Engine 2. These needs will naturally shift as development progresses, especially for The Elder Scrolls 6, which Howard describes as "still being in a design [phase]."
"It’s like a new tech base," Howard explains. "The vast majority of our development work is on Starfield right now but everybody works on everything so the projects kind of intertwine. It’s good to think of The Elder Scrolls 6 as still being in a design [phase]… but we’re checking the tech: 'Is this going to handle the things we want to do in that game?' Every game will have some new suites of technology so Elder Scrolls 6 will have some additions on to Creation Engine 2 that that game is going to require."
This is standard procedure for game engines, from widely used ones like Unreal and Unity to in-house engines like Guerrilla Games' Decima, which was able to power both Horizon: Zero Dawn as well Death Stranding thanks to some work under the hood. Still, it's interesting to hear more about the tech powering the next line of Bethesda games, especially with The Elder Scrolls 6 still so early in development. Who knows what Bethesda will think up and add to the Creation Engine 2 between Starfield's release and the eventual launch of the next Elder Scrolls?
In the same interview, Howard revealed that Bethesda's upcoming Indiana Jones game started as a pitch to George Lucas back in 2009.