At the end of its E3 2018 press conference, Bethesda played not one but two tantalizing teaser trailers. The first was for Starfield, a science fiction epic that marks Bethesda’s first new franchise in 25 years. The teaser was vague, showing space, a planet, and an odd-looking object floating around that could be a satellite, ship, or perhaps even a space station. The second teaser trailer was for the game everyone knew was eventually coming: The Elder Scrolls VI. The brief trailer merely showed a vast rocky terrain and the title (but no subtitle), managing to be even more ambiguous than Starfield‘s trailer.
Considering Starfield is slated to launch before The Elder Scrolls VI, it will be at least several years before the next mainline entry in the fantasy RPG series lands on consoles and PC. The Elder Scrolls VI hasn’t been confirmed for any specific platforms, but it will likely launch on the next generation of consoles, specifically the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.
We have a long road ahead before it launches, but here’s everything you need to know about The Elder Scrolls VI, from concrete info to speculation.
When can you play it?
This is the question every fan wants to be answered. Unfortunately, you certainly won’t be able to play it any time soon, which is unfortunate given it’s been nine years since the release of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. While no one at Bethesda has given a release window, we know that The Elder Scrolls VI isn’t too far along in development. At E3 2018, Bethesda Game Studios executive producer Todd Howard said that the game is currently in pre-production. That means it’s not playable yet.
A recent tweet from Bethesda’s senior vice president, Pete Hines, reiterated that we won’t be seeing The Elder Scrolls VI until after Starfield, which we already knew. Even two years after its announcement, it seems the company’s plan is the same. In response to a fan on Twitter, Hines explained “[The Elder Scrolls VI will launch] after Starfield, which you pretty much know nothing about. So if you’re coming at me for details now and not years from now, I’m failing to properly manage your expectations.”
The Elder Scrolls VI also has to wait its turn. “Starfield is a game we’ve spent years thinking about and working on, something we feel uniquely positioned to pull off, and we’re incredibly excited about,” Howard said on stage at E3 before showing the teaser for The Elder Scrolls VI.
Starfield is currently commanding the brunt of Bethesda’s development attention, and it doesn’t sound as if The Elder Scrolls VI will even enter production until Starfield launches. So, then, the question is: When does Starfield launch? It appears years away as well.
During an interview with GameSpot last year, Zenimax Online Studios game director Matt Firor said, “You can go back and count the years between Bethesda Game Studios releases, and you’ll get the idea that [The Elder Scrolls VI is] not coming anytime soon.” The smallest gap between Bethesda Game Studios major releases has been two years, between The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Fallout 3. It’s usually at least three years, though.
The struggle of switching between two massive franchises could also be to blame. During an interview with IGN, Howard said, “We had done so many things, we were going Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Fallout … 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 VI is going to have to wait a little bit. 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.”
Given what we know about Starfield and Bethesda’s game release history, it would appear that The Elder Scrolls VI is at least four years away. And considering Bethesda didn’t begin development until the latter half of 2017 at the earliest, we still have a long wait ahead of us.
Call us crazy, but we can see a scenario where The Elder Scrolls VI launches in the back half of the next console generation, somewhere between 2023 to 2025.
What will its full title be?
Like with all Elder Scrolls games, the upcoming installment will most likely have a subtitle. Currently, it’s unknown what it will be, but some Redditors believe it could be called Redfall. ZeniMax, the parent company of Bethesda, recently acquired the rights to the word “Redfall,” after a somewhat heated dispute over the trademark with a book publisher. The theories about its subtitle are speculation at this point, however, so we’ll have to wait to find out what the full title will be. This does tell us the game is still early enough in production that it doesn’t even have its full title yet — or at least a title that Bethesda is ready to share.
Where will Elder Scrolls VI be set?
After officially announcing The Elder Scrolls VI, Howard said the teaser had “hints at where it’s set” in an interview with Geoff Keighley. The teaser appears to show an elevated landmass filled with large rocks. Right out of the gate, we can pretty safely remove Morrowind, Skyrim, Cyrodiil, and the Summerset Isles from contention. Not because the topography isn’t similar in some cases, but because it seems unlikely Bethesda would revisit heavily covered lands in Tamriel from the recent mainline games.
That leaves us with High Rock, Hammerfell, Valenwood, Elsweyr, and Black Marsh as potential Elder Scrolls VI locations. Black Marsh, Elsweyr, and Valenwood would appear to have too low of a sea level to fit the trailer. There’s also a relative lack of vast mountain ranges in the teaser.
By process of elimination, it would appear that Hammerfell or High Rock are the most likely settings for The Elder Scrolls VI.
High Rock has only been mentioned by name in mainline Elder Scrolls games since Morrowind. It has, however, appeared in Elder Scrolls Online. Likewise for Hammerfell, which has been a location in the Elder Scrolls Online but only mentioned by name since Morrowind in the mainline series.
If it’s not set in High Rock or Hammerfell, perhaps Bethesda will move out of Tamriel altogether for the Elder Scrolls VI‘s location. The continent located to the east of Tamriel, Akavir, could prove to be great fodder. Very little is known about Akavir’s topography, though.
GamesRadar’s Leon Hurley offered an interesting theory of his own, mentioning the sunken island of Yokuda, which is said to have featured “rocky barren hills.” A setting of Yokuda would mean The Elder Scrolls VI is a prequel.
Still, based on the minimal information we have, we think that Hammerfell or High Rock are the most likely locations. But who knows really, as Howard has also said some aspects of the trailer aren’t in line with the region at large. Bethesda probably wants to keep fans guessing until the full reveal.
Skyrim Grandma Shirley will be an NPC
While next to zero concrete details have been revealed by Bethesda, we do know that YouTuber Shirley Curry, commonly known as Skyrim Grandma, will be an NPC in The Elder Scrolls VI. Bethesda made the announcement during its 25th-anniversary video. We even saw a glimpse of her character model, shown above.
The reveal of Curry in The Elder Scrolls was not just heartwarming, but slightly illuminating. Based on the language used in the video, it appears that the technology used to design The Elder Scrolls VI is forward-thinking, reaffirming the near certainty that the game will not launch until the next console generation.