In a recent panel with GamesIndustry (opens in new tab), several industry analysts shared their expectations for gaming in 2019. Serkan Toto of Kantan Games, for example, posited that PS5 (opens in new tab) and whatever Xbox Project Scarlett (opens in new tab) turns out to be won't release this year, and he's probably right. Less right is analyst Michael Pachter of investment firm Wedbush Securities, who predicted that Elder Scrolls 6 (opens in new tab), an undoubtedly massive game which was announced at E3 2018 with the thinnest teaser since Metroid Prime 4 (opens in new tab) (it had some trees and a title), will release this year. Why? Because "the flop of Fallout 76 (opens in new tab)makes a hit more essential for Bethesda," Pachter said, adding that he also incorrectly predicted the release of The Elder Scrolls 6 in 2016 and again in 2017.
Bethesda could use some goodwill after the numerous struggles of Fallout 76, there's no doubt about that - but the next Elder Scrolls in 2019? Not a chance, mate. First off, Bethesda is going to want to hit the next console generation with this thing, which likely means a new Elder Scrolls 6 engine (opens in new tab), and as Toto suggested and numerous sources have supported, that generation is probably a year and change away. More pertinently, several Bethesda and Zenimax bosses have repeatedly affirmed that The Elder Scrolls 6 is approximately 10,000 years out, and quite frankly rushing it out the door to hit 2019 in a desperate attempt to pacify some disgruntled Fallout fans probably wouldn't make for the comeback tour that Pachter's alluding to.
Let's start with Zenimax Online game director Matt Firor, who in October 2018 told GameSpot (opens in new tab): "The easiest thing is look at how it was announced; it was Starfield and then [The Elder Scrolls 6]. You can go back and count the years between Bethesda Game Studios releases, and you'll get the idea that [The Elder Scrolls 6 is] not coming anytime soon." It's worth noting that Firor cited the gaps between Bethesda releases, not Elder Scrolls releases. Five years separate Oblivion and Skyrim, with just four between Morrowind and Oblivion. Following that equation alone, Pachter should've been right about The Elder Scrolls 6 two years ago. Yet here we are.
This leads us to a 2017 quote from Bethesda boss Todd Howard who, speaking with PCGamesN (opens in new tab), confirmed that Bethesda has "at least two major titles that they are working on before we're gonna get to Elder Scrolls 6. TES 6 is not in dev while we work on [those.]" Bethesda VP Pete Hines said as much to GameSpot (opens in new tab) in 2017: "[The Elder Scrolls 6] is multiple big releases down the plan for those folks."
What are these big releases? Well, one of them was probably Fallout 76. With that out of the way, we can turn our attention to Starfield (opens in new tab), the other massive single-player game Bethesda announced last E3. As previously reported (opens in new tab), Howard said Starfield will be a next-gen game (which may also see a current-gen release) and that it will come out before The Elder Scrolls 6. "We're thinking very, very far in the future so we're building something that will handle next-generation hardware," Howard said of Starfield in June 2018. Given the timeline, the same can safely be assumed of the next Elder Scrolls. Then there's Rage 2 (opens in new tab), due out on May 14, 2019, and Doom Eternal (opens in new tab), which could very well slip into 2020. These two are only being published by Bethesda, but both of them will definitely come out long before the next Elder Scrolls.
Finally, we have this incredibly, intentionally vague 2016 statement from Howard (via TeamRock (opens in new tab), whose article has since been pulled): "I think it's good to tell our fans in these moments, yes, of course we are making Elder Scrolls 6. It's something we love. But it is - I have to be careful what I say - it's a very long way off. I could sit here and explain the game to you, and you would say, 'That sounds like you don't even have the technology - how long is that going to take?' And so it's something that's going to take a lot of time, what we have in mind for that game."
I would love to play The Elder Scrolls 6 this year, but I would also love a time machine, a pony, and to get another Teostra Gem in Monster Hunter: World for god's sake. But we can't always get what we want, so in this case I'm going to side with this prophetic tweet from Pete Hines:
Sorry @michaelpachter but you totally punted this one. You should listen to me (and Todd) more often. :-) https://t.co/PBodzub2svDecember 27, 2016