There’s been an inconsistent trickle of The Elder Scrolls VI news since the teaser was unveiled back in 2018. While no gameplay or new trailer has gotten released yet, Bethesda Game Studios has teased the future of the high-fantasy series a few times. For example, a new year's message seems to back up rumors that the game is set in Hammerfell.
In November 2020, Executive Producer Todd Howard was interviewed as part of the Develop: Brighton Conference 2020. While he chatted mostly about Starfield, an upcoming Bethesda space-faring adventure, he also offered an update about the eventual TES 6 launch.
Looking further back to September 2020, Microsoft announced their $7.5 billion acquisition of Bethesda, which will be completed this year. It has also 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?
There is no official release date yet. While Bethesda has not announced an exact release date or window for Elder Scrolls 6, 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."
Starfield has been in full development since Fallout 4 released and conceptualized for over a decade, but has still not received 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 if Bethesda began pre-production in 2018 when the game was announced.
Will Elder Scrolls 6 be Xbox exclusive?
The new console generation is now in full swing, so 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 would launch on Xbox Game Pass on day one. Around the 49 and 50 minute maker of his Develop: Brighton Conference interview, the Bethesda executive reveals how the accessibility Game Pass brings will be important for Bethesda over the next few years.
He didn't outrightly say TES 6 would be part of the service's lineup, but all fMicrosoft's main line of delivering games to gamers on various platforms (Xbox, PC, and eventually mobile with xCloud) is Game Pass. All first-party titles, which TES 6 will be when it launches, are typically available on Xbox Game Pass from day one.
"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?
Yes there is, but it didn't reveal much. Bethesda released a short announcement teaser to rile up fans at E3 2018. The video was mostly just a bird’s eye view of a sea-side city. As that is all we have at this point, fans are eagerly awaiting the next trailer.
Watch the teaser trailer below:
Will Elder Scrolls 6 be on PS4 and Xbox One?
Elder Scrolls VI won’t arrive until after Starfield is released. While it's possible for that game to launch cross-generation, it’s seems likely that Elder Scrolls 6 will be a solely next-gen title due to how far into the generation it will arrive. Following the Microsoft acquisition, the most likely platforms for Elder Scrolls 6 are Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and PC.
Where in Tamriel is Elder Scrolls 6 set?
The aforementioned leak also claimed that Elder Scrolls 6 will take place in both High Rock and Hammerfell, which are the two neighboring regions to the west of Skyrim. Even though this leak is believed to be faked, Hammerfell might actually be the location.
On New Year's Eve 2020, the official Elder Scrolls account posted a tweet saying "Transcribe the past and map the future." With one light on Skyrim, the other two lights in the image seem to be teasing games. Fans think the one not connected to the map could symbolize Starfield while the last image focuses on Hammerfell.
If this is actually an Elder Scrolls 6 teases, then we might already know its location.
Hammerfell is a large region and home to the Redguard. Its topography is pretty varied with tall mountains, deserts, and simple plains, so it would make for an interesting setting. It hasn't been featured in a mainline Elder Scrolls game since The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfell, so there's a lot of room for a drastically different interpretation of it on modern hardware.
“Most of these regions will be warring against each other,” wrote the aforementioned 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 would be a natural progression ofSkyrim, which had its own big battle scenes that could seriously be elevated with next-gen console hardware.
For now, the state of Hammerfell remains to be seen until Bethesda shows the game again.
The Elder Scrolls VI is in development.