The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is now more than 10 years old with everyone desperate to find out what the next game in the Elder Scrolls series will look like. As well as making us feel absolutely ancient, that surely means that The Elder Scrolls 6 must be well underway, right?
Well, yes and no. While the game was officially announced at E3 2018 courtesy of a half-minute teaser trailer, Bethesda has made it clear that we’re still several years away from release, with the ambitious space RPG Starfield drawing the lion’s share of development time and first set for release in 2023. As a result, The Elder Scrolls 6 just has to take its place in the queue.
That said, there's still plenty of news, rumours, leaks and speculation across the web to discuss before all of this – including the subject of this major series now being exclusive to Xbox. Here’s everything we know so far about The Elder Scrolls 6 and when it might possibly release.
The Elder Scrolls 6 – release date
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: despite being teased all the way back in 2018, The Elder Scrolls 6 is still years away from store shelves.
“It’s good to think of The Elder Scrolls 6 as still being in a design [phase],” Bethesda boss Todd Howard told The Telegraph (opens in new tab) back in July 2021. He then confirmed to IGN (opens in new tab) in June 2022 that the game is now in pre-production.
With Starfield set for release in the first half of 2023, it still suggests Starfield is a good number of years away. Bethesda began making Starfield in 2015 and with pre-production only just starting now, it could easily be another three to four years minimum before we see The Elder Scrolls 6. So, yes, it's going to be a bit of a wait, something Howard acknowledged:
"I wish they came out faster, I really do, we’re trying as hard as we can, but we want them to be as best as they can be for everybody," he told IGN (opens in new tab).
The Elder Scrolls 6 – Xbox exclusive?
Ever since Microsoft acquired Bethesda, the shadow of exclusivity has loomed over the company’s franchises. You simply don’t spend $7.5 billion on a developer, only to let rivals use their games. While Microsoft hasn’t explicitly ruled out the future of The Elder Scrolls on PlayStation or indeed a future Nintendo console somewhere down the line, it’s pretty much all but guaranteed that the game will launch on Xbox and PC only.
"It’s not about punishing any other platform, like I fundamentally believe all of the platforms can continue to grow," Xbox head Phil Spencer told GQ (opens in new tab). "But in order to be on Xbox, I want us to be able to bring the full complete package of what we have. And that would be true when I think about Elder Scrolls 6. That would be true when I think about any of our franchises."
Aside from this, Starfield, the next major release from Bethesda since the acquisition took place is confirmed to release on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Microsoft Windows only.
The Elder Scrolls 6 – trailer
So far, the only footage we’ve seen of The Elder Scrolls 6 has come in the form of a half-minute teaser trailer debuted at E3 2018 (opens in new tab). There’s still no gameplay footage, just a look at the logo and some scenery of where it might all be set.
Suffice it to say, there’s not a great deal to go on. But that familiar music is enough to get Elder Scrolls fans excited, all the same. Check out the teaser trailer below:
The Elder Scrolls 6 – location
You might think that leaves us with nothing to go on, but that’s not completely true. For one, the teaser trailer provided some clues that may point to where The Elder Scrolls 6 is based.
For starters, all Elder Scrolls games are set in the continent of Tamriel. We’ve already seen Morrowind, Cyrodill and Skyrim in the last three games, but the mountainous look of the trailer above has led to some speculating that The Elder Scrolls 6 could be set in Black Rock, where the Bretons hang out, or in Hammerfell, home to the warrior-like Redguard.
A lot more will be revealed if and when The Elder Scrolls 6 gets a subtitle. After all, Morrowind and Skyrim were actually in the title of The Elder Scrolls 3 and 5 respectively. A map also leaked (see below) online
The Elder Scrolls 6 – gameplay
While the teaser shows no gameplay whatsoever, it would be truly surprising if Bethesda deviated too far from the formula that makes The Elder Scrolls games so enduringly popular – open world exploration, combined with ranged and close-quarters combat, and some light RPG elements. The latter of these has been diluted as the series has progressed, so it will be interesting to see whether The Elder Scrolls 6 emphasises action over role-playing game staples.
The almost inevitable lack of a PlayStation 5 version does suggest that we won’t be seeing a virtual reality version of The Elder Scrolls 6, as we did with Skyrim on PSVR. That said, it could potentially arrive on SteamVR via Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) like its predecessor.
The Elder Scrolls 6 – News, Rumours and Leaks
Bethesda next 10 years
Bethesda Game Studios game director and executive producer Todd Howard revealed (via IGN (opens in new tab)) that while Starfield is scheduled to launch in 2023, pre-production is now underway, with The Elder Scrolls 6 and Fallout 5 then following.
As Starfield started development in 2015 and is set to launch in 2023, does this mean another eight years before The Elder Scrolls 6 is on store shelves? Does that also mean Fallout 4 is more than 15 years away? We're hoping not but Bethesda is hoping for not a repeat of the disastrous launch of Fallout 76, so will be taking their time for sure.
That's everything we know so far about The Elder Scrolls 6. Make sure to check back regularly and try to avoid getting an arrow in the knee in the meantime.