The Elder Scrolls 6 is still several years away.
While The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim release almost 10 years ago and Elder Scrolls 6 was announced in 2018, one might optimistically think that Bethesda’s next fantasy RPG is almost here. But, unfortunately, following Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda and several RPG announcements, it’s clear that this is not the game.
For those still confused about when we should expect the Elder Scrolls 6, here’s the evidence pointing to why three major RPGs — Starfield, Avowed, and Fable — must come out first and how their release windows suggest that Elder Scrolls 6 could still be several years away.
Starfield — Even though Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6 were both announced during Bethesda’s E3 2018 press conference, Starfield will launch years ahead of Elder Scrolls 6. Starfield was finally shown off at the Microsoft & Bethesda Showcase in June 2021, and it had a firm release date: November 11, 2022.
At Bethesda, Pete Hines, SVP of Global Marketing, has previously stated on Twitter that Elder Scrolls 6 will release after Starfield. That rules out a 2022 launch for the game. Even then, you shouldn’t expect there to be a short turnaround between both titles.
This trailer revealed a release date of November 11, 2022 for Starfield.
Video game development for massive AAA RPGs takes several years. In an interview with The Telegraph, Todd Howard made it clear that Elder Scrolls 6 is still quite early in development and that it will build on the Creation Engine 2 tech Bethesda Game Studios is using to make Starfield.
“The [new Starfield] technology, Creation Engine 2, is sort of built for both. It’s like a new tech base,” he said. “The vast majority of our development work is on Starfield right now, but everybody works on everything, so the projects kind of intertwine. It’s good to think of The Elder Scrolls 6 as still being in a design [phase]… but we’re checking the tech: 'Is this going to handle the things we want to do in that game?'“
Todd Howard clarifies that Elder Scrolls 6 is still in a “design phase,” so it doesn’t appear to be nearing the end of development. If that wasn’t enough evidence for you, Microsoft has also confirmed that two of its own RPGs will come out before Elder Scrolls 6.
Avowed and Fable — Through a series of aggressive acquisitions, Microsoft has cemented itself as the king of western RPGs. It not only owns Bethesda Game Studios but RPG developers inXile and Obsidian Entertainment as well. On top of that, Forza Horizon 5 developer Playground Games is working on a new RPG in the Fable series.
It’s a pretty stacked RPG studio lineup, with the two most significant RPGs on the horizon (outside of Starfield) being Obsidian Entertainment’s Avowed and Playground Games’ Fable. However, in a June 2021 interview with IGN, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer clarified that we should expect both Avowed and Fable before Elder Scrolls 6.
He mentioned how Avowed and Fable differed from each other and Bethesda’s RPG lineup, and then said the following: “And Elder Scrolls 6 is further out, and when that comes out, I think it’s going to be incredible.”
Phil Spencer briefly mentions Elder Scrolls 6 in this interview.
If development goes smoothly, we may see the game in action by 2024, but there’s also a chance that we might have to wait half a decade before we can actually play it ourselves. So while this is disappointing, there will clearly be tons of awesome RPGs to play in the meantime.