Skyrim’s magic system is “absolutely going to continue” into The Elder Scrolls 6, according to former Bethesda designer

Elder Scrolls 6
(Image credit: Bethesda)

The Elder Scrolls 6, as nebulous as it might feel, is eventually coming, and Bethesda’s former design director has shared some tidbits on what could be carried over from previous games, including Skyrim’s progression and magic systems.

That comes from MinnMax’s podcast interview with Bruce Nesmith, who was once the lead designer on Skyrim, the senior systems designer on Starfield, and the design director for the entirety of Bethesda Games Studios. The chat about the upcoming RPG begins at the 1-hour 10-minute mark, where Nesmith is perhaps less vague than you might expect. 

“Todd [Howard] knew what he wanted, what he wants, but that’s this set [of ideas] over here, there’s the whole rest of the game that is not defined,” Nesmith explained. “And that’s going to be worked on and decided by the people who are there now. What will probably come through are things that were developed in Oblivion and Skyrim [that] will be further developed in Elder Scrolls 6.” Nesmith admits that he doesn’t know what will make the transition exactly, but his “fingerprints” will be etched into whatever comes next.

Though Nesmith was certain that Skyrim’s magic system, specifically the way in which you upgrade magic, will expand into the next entry. “The whole magic system for Skyrim, I persuaded Todd to let me throw the baby and the bathwater out for Skyrim and start again from scratch,” Nesmith said. “There will probably be traces of that in [ES6]. The whole ‘you do it to get better at it’... that’s absolutely going to continue.”

Nesmith continued: “A lot of the concepts dealing with how you level and stuff like that, there’ll be a bunch of new ideas thrown in, but I’m betting some of the stuff I worked on will still survive to the new one.” Starfield played with that idea to a certain extent with tiered progress-through-doing challenges, so that’s somewhat unsurprising. But progression was never the main problem with Skyrim’s somewhat dull spells anyway.

We won’t know what makes the transition for certain until The Elder Scrolls 6 is finally out in the wild. Legal documents claimed that the game wouldn’t release until at least 2026, but with Starfield out of the way, Elder Scrolls 6 has thankfully moved into pre-production

You can occupy that wait with our best RPGs list.

Freelance contributor

Kaan freelances for various websites including Rock Paper Shotgun, Eurogamer, and this one, Gamesradar. He particularly enjoys writing about spooky indies, throwback RPGs, and anything that's vaguely silly. Also has an English Literature and Film Studies degree that he'll soon forget.