Todd Howard explains why Starfield is coming out before Elder Scrolls 6

An image illustration of Bethesda's Todd Howard before the Starfield.

For the first time in many years, Bethesda Game Studios' next project is not a sequel, expansion, or spin-off. We don't even know if Starfield will be the usual kind of open-world RPG that Bethesda is known for creating. Why pick now to focus on Starfield, when we've already been waiting so long for Elder Scrolls 6 to arrive? Studio director Todd Howard gave the answer in a recent interview.

"We had done so many things, we were going Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Fallout," Howard told IGN. "You have this Starfield game in your head, you sort of say, well, when? It can be never, you could say never. But look, we're creatives, and it's like we have to make this game, and this is the time. So Elder Scrolls 6 is going to have to wait a little bit (and by the sounds of it, see some improvements to the Elder Scrolls 6 engine in the meantime). And plus, again, Elder Scrolls Online is doing so well, it's so vibrant, that this is the time, both for us creatively and our audience."

There was never going to be a perfect time to break the Elder Scrolls/Fallout cycle, but with Elder Scrolls Online filling some of that need, it was the best opportunity Bethesda saw. Howard added that if he could wave a magic wand and make all of its projects happen faster, so it never had to choose one of the other, "of course we would, but we're not gonna sacrifice that.".

That applies even with a growing list of locations under the Bethesda Game Studios banner. As games grow, so do the number of people and resources it takes to make them. That will be even more true for the massive project that is the next Elder Scrolls.

"The kind of things that we're talking about are gonna take a lot of people, every BGS studio will probably be involved in [Elder Scrolls 6]. Even Starfield right now, it's not really in Austin but in Dallas and in Montreal there's staff on Starfield as well."

See what Bethesda Game Studios and its parent company may get up to next with our Bethesda E3 2019 predictions, or watch our latest Release Radar video for the latest in games and entertainment.

Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.