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The Elder Scrolls 6: Release date, gameplay, story and more

The Elder Scrolls 6: Release date, gameplay, story and more
(Image credit: Bethesda)

The Elder Scrolls 6 is on the horizon. We’re still not entirely sure how far away that horizon is, but we do know that it’s coming. There’s so much potential for the next Elder Scrolls game that we’re teeming with excitement.

It’ll be interesting to see how The Elder Scrolls 6 stacks up against a game like Avowed, which is very reminiscent of the Elder Scrolls games so far. Hopefully, The Elder Scrolls 6 lives up to its predecessors and Bethesda can provide one of the best RPG experiences in the next generation of gaming.

Here’s everything we know so far about The Elder Scrolls 6.

The Elder Scrolls 6 release date

So, when is it coming out? 3023 if we’re lucky. In all seriousness, we have no idea when The Elder Scrolls 6 is going to launch, but we do know that it'll be released sometime after Bethesda’s sci-fi game, Starfield. So when is Starfield going to launch? 3016, I imagine. Once again, we have no idea.

Director and executive producer of Bethesda Game Studios, Todd Howard, actually told IGN at E3 2019 that “everyone should be very patient,” and just before nonexistent E3 2020, Peter Hines, SVP of global marketing at Bethesda, tweeted: "If you’re coming at me for details now and not years from now, I’m failing to properly manage your expectations.” 

Overall, we’re not expecting The Elder Scrolls 6 to show up for at least a few years. We imagine that the earliest we’ll see it is in 2024, considering Bethesda has to get through an entire sci-fi RPG first, and we all know how long that’s liable to take (hint: a very long time).

We don’t even know what consoles it’s going to land on. It’s likely to hit PC, but will it land on the Xbox Series X and PS5, or will it overshoot their life cycles entirely? Anything is possible given how little we know about this game.

Since the Summer has come and gone, it's more than likely we won't hear about The Elder Scrolls 6 until Bethesda's next event in 2021.

The Elder Scrolls 6 gameplay

While we haven’t seen any gameplay for The Elder Scrolls 6, we imagine it’s going to be reminiscent of the previous first/third-person action role-playing games. What The Elder Scrolls 6 could use is a complete and utter gameplay overhaul, making combat feel smoother than before, which is a lot to ask for, as most Bethesda-developed games are janky as all hell.

The Elder Scrolls 6: Release date, gameplay, story and more

(Image credit: Bethesda)

It would be interesting to see a separation between weapons and magic in the sense that you don’t necessarily need to equip one or the other. What if magical abilities worked the same way that your Dragon Shouts worked in Skyrim, so you can use magic without having to give up a weapon?

Bethesda needs to think big in terms of combat. The combat in a game as critically acclaimed as The Witcher 3 wasn’t very fun, but it’s way more imaginative than Skyrim’s. At this point, I just want to play something that doesn’t remind me of an Xbox 360 game.

One thing that did give me hope was when Howard said in an interview with IGN in 2019 that “I know people joke about it online, but [Skyrim is] 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.”

Some evidence also suggests that Bethesda is hiring a Gameplay Programmer for Elder Scrolls 6. According to a job posting on ZeniMax Jobs, the company is looking for “talented programmers to join our team that is pushing the bleeding-edge of RPG development for the PC and consoles.” While this could easily be for Starfield, the job posting specifically mentions “powers mechanics.” 

We don’t know much about Starfield as of yet, so it’s entirely possible the game will indeed have these types of abilities. If not, it could potentially mean that Elder Scrolls 6 is ramping up production and will begin to be the company's focus.

The Elder Scrolls 6 story 

There’s not much we can suss out about The Elder Scrolls 6’s story from the simple landscape shot that was the teaser trailer. However, given how the rest of the series has gone, we can get some idea of where, or rather when, the story is going to take place.

The time jump between Oblivion and Skyrim was 201 years, and while Oblivion took place only 34 years after the first Elder Scrolls game, it’s likely that The Elder Scrolls 6 will feature another time jump after the events of Skyrim. 

Skyrim took place at a time of civil war, but most importantly, it served as the homecoming for an ancient black dragon known as Alduin, who was prophesied to destroy and consume the world. Of course, as the player, you ensured that the schmuck couldn’t even make it out of Skyrim. However, it was hinted that Alduin may return one day to fulfill his destiny and destroy the world.

Having Alduin return for The Elder Scrolls 6 would be an incredibly predictable move from a narrative standpoint. However, what if The Elder Scrolls 6 took place after Alduin’s return, and years after he ravaged the world of Tamriel? It would be interesting to see a world and society pick up the pieces of what’s left after such a tragedy. 

This would open a new realm of possibilities, as most of Tamriel is built on heavily woven pre-established lore, but an event like this would tear down most preconceptions, thus introducing new players to the franchise with a more accessible story.

At the very least, we do know that Shirley Curry, the famous Skyrim Grandma, will be featured as an NPC in The Elder Scrolls 6, which is pretty badass.

The Elder Scrolls 6 setting

We’ve been to High Rock and Hammerfell in Daggerfall as well as Morrowind, Cyrodiil and Skyrim thus far. There are actually several locations in the Elder Scrolls universe that we could visit next.

The Elder Scrolls 6: Release date, gameplay, story and more

(Image credit: The Elder Scrolls Anthology)

The trailer does give us some indication, as the landmass is located on the coast, although all of the provinces in Tamriel happen to have some part of them located on the coast. It’s possible that the next game could take place in Valenwood, which is the home of the Wood Elves, or even Black Marsh, home to the Argonians — both of which we haven’t been to yet.

There’s some speculation, given by the mountain range in the trailer, that the game could take place in Black Rock or Hammerfell; the former being home to Bretons and the latter is the land of the Redguards.

While the idea of The Elder Scrolls 6 spanning across multiple provinces sounds nice, I’d prefer a more focused sandbox to play in. As we’ve seen with The Elder Scrolls Online, adding more space to the world doesn’t necessarily add volume or depth.

The Elder Scrolls 6 trailer 

The one piece of official footage we have for The Elder Scrolls 6 is the trailer revealed at Bethesda’s E3 conference in 2018. There’s not much to see here apart from the camera floating above a mysterious province before we are greeted with the title card.

However, this hasn’t stopped fans from wildly speculating about that 30 seconds of footage. YouTuber Imperial Knowledge thoroughly goes over everything we can discern from the trailer, including how there are small specks of snow on the mountain range in the far distance, seagulls are flying away from the body of water indicating that it must be a sea, and that the large castle is most certainly of human architecture. And because the logo is presented in a more gritty font, the game might take place in a desert setting.

Imperial Knowledge suggests that all this evidence points to the province possibly being Hammerfall. He believes that the mountains within the trailer could be spanning from Taneth to Rihad, which are both areas within this province. Additionally, Hammerfall is known for being a mountainous savanna, and because the area has not seen much representation within the series, it’s seemingly a solid location for expanding the storyline.

The Elder Scrolls 6 engine

I feel the need to include a section about The Elder Scrolls 6’s Creation Engine, as I was one of the gamers who was angry about Bethesda using “the same engine” as the previous games when the reveal happened.

However, my eyes have since been opened. My fellow gamers, think of a gaming engine like a PC. There are a bunch of components inside of a PC that get replaced because they’re out of date. You can even replace the entire motherboard and tower but keep the components and it would still be the same PC, just upgraded. A game engine works in the exact same way.

In an interview with Game Star TV, Todd Howard explained, “I think most people who aren't making games confuse the word 'engine'. They think of an engine as one thing. We view it as technology. There are lots of pieces, and with every game, parts of that change. Whether it's the render, the animation system, the scripting, the AI, the controls [and] some of its middleware, [like] Havok Animation.” (Middleware is third-party software used by developers for certain jobs.)

He also explains the reasons for this decision, "we like our editor, we’re used to it. It lets us build really really fast, our modders know it really well. Also, there are some base ways that we build games that we will continue to do that way because it lets us be efficient and we think it works best."

Yes, let me put out some PC requirements for a game that won’t launch for another four years at least. Well, to be honest, with the way Bethesda games are optimized, The Elder Scrolls 6 will likely be able to run on older hardware.

Even Fallout 4 could run on a potato, as the minimum requirements were an Intel Core i5-2300 or AMD Phenom II X4 945 CPU, 8GB of RAM and an Nvidia GTX 550 Ti or AMD Radeon HD 7870 GPU. The recommended requirements were still only an Intel Core i7 4790 or AMD FX-9590 CPU, 8GB of RAM and an Nvidia GTX 780 or AMD Radeon R9 290X GPU.

It all really depends on how much Bethesda overhauls its Creation Engine, but we don’t imagine it’ll be too graphically intensive. Although, we kind of hope we’re wrong (glares in next-gen).