Bethesda’s Skyrim just celebrated its tenth birthday with a fancy new Anniversary Edition. As well as making us feel absolutely ancient, that surely means that The Elder Scrolls 6 must be well under way, right?
Yes, and no. While the game has been officially known of since E3 2018 when we were treated to a half-minute teaser trailer, Bethesda has made it clear that we’re still years away from release, with ambitious space RPG Starfield drawing the lion’s share of development time. The Elder Scrolls 6 just has to take its place in the queue.
But we can glean quite a bit from the half-minute trailer. Here’s everything we know so far about The Elder Scrolls 6.
The Elder Scrolls 6 release date: still some way off
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 back in July 2021.
That suggests that The Elder Scrolls 6 is still years off, with Bethesda likely prioritising 2022’s Starfield first. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, given Starfield is the first game set to use the Creation 2 engine that will ultimately power The Elder Scrolls 6.
Optimistically, a release date of 2024 seems just about plausible, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it took a whole lot longer.
The Elder Scrolls 6 formats: it doesn’t look good for PS5
Ever since Microsoft bought 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 PS5, or indeed a future Nintendo console, it’s come pretty close.
“It’s not about punishing any other platform, like I fundamentally believe all of the platforms can continue to grow,” Head of Xbox Phil Spencer told GQ. “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.”
That might make the cheaper Xbox Series S an appealing secondary console to PlayStation gamers.
The Elder Scrolls 6 trailer: one glorious half-minute
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. 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.
The Elder Scrolls 6 location: educated guesswork
You might think that leaves nothing to go on, but that’s not completely true. That trailer gives us 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.
The Elder Scrolls 6 gameplay: more of the same?
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 roleplaying 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. While it was released on PC too, the ready-made install base on PS4 must have made porting the title to virtual reality less of a risk, and as of yet there’s no talk of an Xbox virtual reality headset to rival PSVR.