There’s been an inconsistent trickle of The Elder Scrolls VI news since the teaser was unveiled back in 2018. Now, Bethesda Softworks has given fans of the high-fantasy series a glimpse at how the launch of its next installment will play out in the future.
Chief Software Engineer Todd Howard was interviewed as part of the Develop: Brighton Conference 2020 in early November. While he chatted mostly about Starfield, an upcoming Bethesda space-faring adventure, he also offered an update about the eventual TES 6 launch.
Howard’s comments come weeks after Microsoft's $7.5 billion acquisition of Bethesda, which has now bound the future of the beloved franchise to Xbox consoles. There hasn’t official confirmation that TES 6 would be an Xbox exclusive (yet), but past comments from Xbox chief Phil Spencer and Howard’s latest interview have hinted that The Elder Scrolls 6’s new home will be on Xbox and its Game Pass subscription service.
While the game itself might be a few years away, we can piece together hints from Bethesda and online chatter to estimate when fans will be able to once again roam the craggy mountains of Tamriel, the main continent where all of the Elder Scrolls games take place.
Here’s everything we know.
When is the Elder Scrolls 6 release date?
Bethesda has not announced an exact release date or even a release window for Elder Scrolls 6 yet. But Howard has stated that its development and release is completely reliant on the company getting another one of its projects out the door first: Starfield.
"We had done so many things, we were going Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and you have this Starfield game in your head and you sorta say, well, when?" he told IGN in July 2019. "We are creatives, and we have to make this game and this is the time, and so Elder Scrolls VI is gonna have to wait a little bit."
The science fiction title has been stuck in a development rut for over a decade at this point, and it has yet to receive its own release date. Howard teased that Starfield could be released on both current-generation and next-generation consoles back in 2018, but that seems very unlikely now.
We probably won't hear much more about the next Elder Scrolls until after Starfield's release date is announced. But it’s looking like the follow-up to Skyrim won’t launch until a few years into the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X’s lifespan.
An April 2020 batch of allegedly leaked information that was later said to be false claimed that Bethesda was aiming for “Q4 2024,” which means no earlier than October 2024. While that info dump is now widely considered to have been faked, a release date four to five years from now doesn’t seem so far fetched especially since Bethesda began pre-production in 2018.
Will Elder Scrolls 6 be Xbox exclusive?
With the console wars in full swing as the next-generation is right about to begin, the big question is what exactly Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda means for Elder Scrolls VI. Will the game be Xbox exclusive? Skyrim has been ported to essentially every console released in the last decade, but could the Elder Scrolls VI exist on just one?
Howard teased that TES 6 could launch on Xbox Game Pass on day one. Around the 49 and 50 minute maker of his Develop:Briton Conference interview, the Bethesda executive reveals how much of a pillar accessibility will be for the company over the next few years.
He didn't outrightly say TES 6 would be part of the service's lineup, but Microsoft's main line of delivering games to gamers on various platforms (Xbox, PC, and eventually mobile with xCloud) is Game Pass.
"When I think about the next-generation for me it's about accessibility," said Howard. "I think that friction between 'I'm playing and I want to pick it up and have it go with me and have it be frictionless.' I think ultimately over the next five...even ten years it's going to be about making that seamless...Bringing everything we're doing to everybody."
Xbox's Spencer also teased that Elder Scrolls 6 might not be released on the PS5.
"We have xCloud and PC and Game Pass and our console base," said Spencer speaking to Kotaku. "I don’t have to go ship those games on any other platform other than the platforms that we support in order to kind of make the [$7.5 billion] deal work for us."
Spencer reassured gamers that Microsoft wasn't trying to intentionally restrict the platforms that future Elder Scrolls titles will be available on, but the company needs a way to recover the significant investment it made in Bethesda. That doesn't mean that Elder Scrolls 6 will be off PS5 forever.
Microsoft could release Elder Scrolls 6 on its supported platforms for a limited time and then eventually expand to PS5. This way they can get an initial influx of gamers that want to play Elder Scrolls 6 day-one to buy Xboxes or pay for Game Pass and then still profit from PS5 sales later on.
Is there an Elder Scrolls 6 trailer?
Not really. Bethesda did release a short announcement teaster to rile up fans at E3 2018. The video was mostly just a bird’s eye view of a sea-side city with. But fans might receive another teaser this year.
What the teaser trailer below:
Will Elder Scrolls 6 be on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, or the PC?
Since Elder Scrolls VI won’t arrive until after Starfield is released. While that game may launch cross-generation on current- and next-gen consoles, it’s looking likely that Elder Scrolls 6 will be a next-gen title. What's more is that with Microsoft acquiring Bethesda in September 2020, it may be the case that Elder Scrolls 6 is a Microsoft exclusive for Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and PC.
Where in Tamriel is Elder Scrolls 6 set?
Players will allegedly be thrown into a period of regional unrest and take part in large-scale battles involving some of the biggest power-players in Tamriel. So think Skyrim, but instead of factions within a single region, players will be dealing with continental politics on a much wider scale.
The leaker states that Bethesda is waiting until the PS5 and Series X are a few years into their life cycle. The publisher wants to make the most use out of the consoles’ next-generation hardware to render sprawling environments and battles with potentially hundreds of warriors, archers, and mages on screen at once.
“Most of these regions will be warring against each other,” wrote the anonymous leaker. “This is because Bethesda wants to use this generation’s hardware to create some huge, epic battle scenes with dozens, if not hundreds of characters battling on-screen in real-time.”
Again, all of this was allegedly proven as false by Redditors but it does seem like a natural progression of Skyrim, which had its own big battle scenes that could seriously be elevated with next-gen console hardware.
Elder Scrolls VI is in development.