The Elder Scrolls 6 is happening, but you can expect to have a long wait ahead before we actually see it arrive. First officially announced back in 2018 with a title teaser, the next Elder Scrolls game is among the exciting line-up of upcoming Bethesda games set to come our way in the future.
As of right now though, the studio is focused on its new space-faring RPG Starfield, which is set to land this September as one of the biggest new games for 2023. The studio will also be showcasing the anticipated adventure during the Starfield Direct, with will follow after the Xbox Games Showcase. While it's not entirely outside of the realms of possibility that Elder Scrolls 6 pops up - even if it's just mentioned - it's probably best to temper expectations about hearing more about the Skyrim sequel.
In fact, towards the end of last year, Todd Howard even said he wishes Elder Scrolls 6 would come sooner. But even if it's a while away, it's certainly a very exciting time for Bethesda fans. Alongside Starfield, Fallout 5 has been also confirmed - although it will be coming after Elder Scrolls 6, so the wait is even longer for our return to the Wasteland. While we wait it out for more, read on below to find out everything we know so far about Elder Scrolls 6.
Elder Scrolls 6 is still in pre-production
News came to light in January 2022 that Elder Scrolls 6 may still be in pre-production according to a Bethesda HR Linked-in profile, with Howard later confirming it in June 2022. The profile noted that the studio is still in the pre-production phase of the development process for the upcoming Elder Scrolls entry.
With the studio's next project Starfield set to come in 2023, it's not so surprising. Especially when Todd Howard hinted that we may not see Elder Scrolls 6 release until 2026 at the earliest.
Elder Scrolls 6 will build on Starfield's engine
Back in 2021, Todd Howard explained in an interview with The Telegraph how Elder Scrolls will Bethesda is using the same engine to build both Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6, with work on the next Elder Scrolls expected to lead to changes to the engine in order to suit what the upcoming adventure requires.
"The vast majority of our development work is on Starfield right now but everybody works on everything so the projects kind of intertwine," Howard said. "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."
Elder Scrolls 6 may be set in Hammerfell
Transcribe the past and map the future. 📖Here's to a Happy New Year!🕯 pic.twitter.com/bL44CzLDIEDecember 31, 2020
Fans believe this Tweet is a confirmation that the next Elder Scrolls will take place in Hammerfell. The official Elder Scrolls Twitter account posted a New Year's message featuring a map of Skyrim, with the words "transcribe the past and map the future." Eagle-eyed fans quickly pointed out that the location of the candles on the image may contain a clue. One is placed directly on Skyrim, one on a book holding the map down, and another beyond Skyrim's borders in the southwest - right by the label for Hammerfell. This is the home of the Redguards, and it's been on everyone's radar since the teaser trailer seemed to line up with some geographic details of Hammerfell.
Elder Scrolls 6 Xbox exclusivity
It's looking more and more likely that The Elder Scrolls 6 will be an Xbox exclusive title. Recent reports suggest it's planned to be an Xbox exclusive, and since Starfield was announced as an Xbox and PC exclusive at E3 2021, it seems likely Elder Scrolls 6 will follow the same path. Despite this, Todd Howard has said "it's hard to imagine" not bringing The Elder Scrolls 6 to multiple platforms.
Xbox made it clear during the Jefferies Interactive Entertainment conference that it will "absolutely" buy more studios, with games "first or best" on the platform. Xbox CFO Tim Stuart did clarify reports about Elder Scrolls 6 being an Xbox exclusive. "What we'll do in the long run is we don't have intentions of just pulling all of Bethesda content out of Sony or Nintendo or otherwise. But what we want is we want that content to be either first or better or best, or pick your differentiated experience, on our platforms. We will want Bethesda content to show up the best on our platforms," Spencer said.
"Just as they took the bold first steps to bring The Elder Scrolls franchise to the original Xbox, Bethesda were early supporters of Xbox Game Pass, bringing their games to new audiences across devices and have been actively investing in new gaming technology like cloud streaming of games," Phil Spencer wrote in the announcement.
Even if Elder Scrolls 6 is not a PC and Xbox Series X exclusive, the fact that it will likely be on Xbox Game Pass is a game-changer, as PS5 owners will have to buy the game at full price.
Elder Scrolls 6 teaser trailer is all we've got, for now
All we've got to go on is this 36-second trailer Bethesda that debuted at E3 2018. Hearing the low thrum of the drums as the title appears certainly got us all hyped back then, and it's got us ready for more, but we haven't got much else since then. You can check out the trailer for yourself in the tweet below.
We're excited to announce our next chapter, The Elder Scrolls VI. pic.twitter.com/3aF5evUsnYJune 11, 2018
Elder Scrolls 6 news is sparse, but theories sure aren't
We've got a glimpse of a few new details about Elder Scrolls 6, straight from Todd Howard himself. During an interview with IGN Howard fleshed out a tiny bit on what fans can expect from the game, saying that "I think when they eventually see the game and what we have in mind, they'll understand the gap more in terms of technology and what we want it to do... The one thing [the gap between Skyrim and Elder Scrolls 6's release] does is people are still playing Skyrim, it's still one of the best-selling games. I know people joke about it online, but it's one of the best-selling games on Switch. Anything we put it out on, it becomes a hit game. And they love it, they still play it, it's almost infinitely playable, all of the mods and everything like that. And we're 8 years post-Skyrim. It lets us know going into Elder Scrolls 6 that this is a game we need to design for people to play for a decade at least, at least".
So whatever Elder Scrolls 6 includes, gameplay-wise, it's going to be there for the long haul, just like Skyrim. There's likely going to be a bigger emphasis on replayability, which might mean that tiny choices at the beginning of the game end up massively changing big story beats. Judging from Howard's remark about the technology and "what [Bethesda] wants it to do", it sounds like the developers might be creating brand new gameplay mechanics to make Elder Scrolls 6 unlike anything we've seen before.
On September 10, 2018, Bethesda started the process to trademark the term 'Redfall', causing the internet to jump into a flurry of excitement about whether the enigmatic word could be the name of Elder Scrolls 6. Yeah, I was one of them. This is how Redfall could be related to Elder Scrolls 6: the good people of Reddit have theorised that it might be the name of a plague sweeping Tamriel, putting you slap-bang in the middle of it.
It all boils down to - well, boils, actually, as they’re part of a disease that followers of Peryite (the Daedric Prince of pestilence, natural order, and tasks) have been infected with. In the quest The Only Cure, the blotchy red-skinned, poison-puking devotees of Peryite mention a plague that started in High Rock, leading some to wonder whether the ‘Red’ part of the trademark might be linked to the illness. The ‘-fall’ part of the term might be linked to it beginning in Daggerfall, one of High Rock’s kingdoms. It’s all a theory at this point - but one definitely worth entertaining for a while at least.
Here are some other games like Skyrim if you're hankering for some sprawling open world adventuring.