Fantasy fans and role-playing game aficionados have been eagerly awaiting more information about Bethesda's Elder Scrolls VI since the game was announced at E3 2018, but new comments from company executive Pete Hines on Sunday make it clear that the long-awaited sequel to Skyrim won’t be released until after the new space-faring sci-fi RPG Starfield is released.
This news probably comes as a disappointment to Skyrim diehards that have been itching for another adventure in Tamriel, but it does suggest that Bethesda is on the cusp of releasing new information about Starfield, a game that’s been in the works for well over a decade.
“[The Elder Scrolls VI is] after Starfield, which you pretty much know nothing about,” Hines tweeted Sunday. “So if you’re coming at me for details now and not years from now, I’m failing to properly manage your expectations.” In other words, we can't expect much concrete information about the next Elder Scrolls game for at least another couple years (in the plural). Ask about it again in 2022?
This tweet eliminated any hope that fans could get a new Elders Scrolls VI trailer or even a release date announcement anytime this year. While unfortunate, it leaves the runway open for a major Starfield announcement sometime in the summer to take its place. Bethesda would have attended E3 2020 before it was cancelled due to the global coronavirus pandemic, and while the studio has a number of ongoing projects like Elder Scrolls Online and Fallout 76 that'll receive ongoing support, Starfield seems like the company's next big thing.
Will some sort of digital presentation happen in the coming months to replace the E3 presentation? And what'll be included?
Could the Starfield release date be announced soon? While there haven’t been any leaks or rumors suggesting that Bethesda is preparing a Starfield unveiling in the coming months, it's reasonable to expect at least some kind of update on the game in the near future. After all, it’s holding up one of the company’s most beloved IPs, and Bethesda has provided an annual check-in for the title each year for the past several years.
The announcement trailer was revealed during E3 2018 and Bethesda’s executive producer Todd Howard made various media appearances in 2019 to tease the game, but doubt about how far along the game was also emerged. He cautioned gamers to be "very patient" in an interview with IGN ahead of E3 2019, and then teased during E3 that the game would offer a realistic simulation of spaceflight in the 1940s. In other words, we're due for some kind of update.
So what are the odds gamers get some Starfield news soon?
The Inverse Analysis — Since E3 2020 was canceled, it’s up to Bethesda to host its own digital event to announce its future plans. That will almost certainly include an update on Starfield’s production at the very least and a full-fledged release date announcement at the most. The official website for Geoff Keighley's Summer Game Fest as a "participating publisher," so it's clear that when any kind of event is scheduled, it'll fall under the SGF umbrella.
Bethesda EP Todd Howard teased back in 2018 that Starfield could be released on both current-generation and next-generation consoles, but that seems very unlikely now. This year could be when the company reveals that it will only be a next-gen title and provide some expectations as to when gamers could expect to play it on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
However, that does mean that the Elder Scrolls 6 will arrive many years into the lifecycle of the PS5 and Series X, and it's looking increasingly less likely that we'll see it released on current-gen consoles.