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July 27, 2018

The Elder Scrolls 6: Everything you need to know

by John_A

Get ready for another exciting trip to Tamriel.

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Ever since Skyrim’s launch in 2011, Elder Scrolls fans have been clamoring for a new game to sink their teeth into. It’s fair for them to do so, with us having yet to receive a mainline Elder Scrolls game on a next-generation console. (It’s especially fair when you consider Fallout is about to get its second!)

And no, The Elder Scrolls online — despite its wholesome charm and awesomeness — simply doesn’t count. But that’s OK, because at E3 Bethesda finally broke radio silence on The Elder Scrolls 6. Here’s everything you need to know.

What is The Elder Scrolls 6?

The Elder Scrolls 6 would be, you guessed it, the sixth mainline game in the Elder Scrolls universe. For the uninitiated, Elder Scrolls games tend to be open-world RPGs that have the classic Bethesda formula: critical decision making, rich and deep lore, massive breathtaking open worlds, memorable characters, and some of the most fun sidequests you’ll find in a video game.

Elder Scrolls followed this formula even in the earliest days when technology wasn’t fully supportive of such ambitions. It wasn’t until the third entry — Morrowind — that the games began to take on the form that we’ve become used to, with each game being progressively more impressive than the ones before it.

Bethesda’s biggest deviation came in 2014 when they released The Elder Scrolls Online, an MMORPG that would feature many of Tamriel’s iconic locales in one massive world.

What’s the story so far?

Despite The Elder Scrolls 6 being a long-running series, the games aren’t necessarily connected. With the exception of the first two titles, each Elder Scrolls game has its own storyline. They’re all set in the world of Tamriel and they all feed off the same lore, but the stories are intentionally self-contained so as to allow new players to jump in wherever they want and not feel lost.

For that reason, we can’t really draw any conclusions about what will happen in The Elder Scrolls 6 based on previous titles. Oblivion was all about fighting demons at the doorsteps of hell. Skyrim was about you finding a dragon within yourself and shouting at people very loudly and violently. The Elder Scrolls 6 could be about, well, anything. Time travel? Aliens? Sweet rolls? We don’t know. But you know we’ll be clawing for any details we can as the months move on.

Where will it take place?

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One of the favorite pastimes of many-a Elder Scrolls fan is trying to figure out where the next game in the series will be. To date, we’ve seen locales such as Morrowind, Skyrim, Cyrodiil, High Rock, and Hammerfell represented in one form or another, not including places like Elsweyr in Elder Scrolls Online.

If we assume Bethesda wants to take us to a new location, we can guess that Elder Scrolls might take place in either Elsweyr (Home of the Khajit race), Black Marsh (home of the Argonians), or Valenwood (home of the wood elves). These locations are heavily referenced throughout Elder Scrolls lore as some of the game’s most prominent races come from these lands.

There are theories which suggest some other lesser known locations could be featured, though. In the very short, uneventful, and seemingly random teaser trailer for the game, you can notice a strange collection of peninsulas on the coast of the ocean area. Interestingly enough, this terrain seems to match up with that of the lost islands of Yokuda, which was once home of the Redguards before a catastrophic event sunk much of the continent.

I know the smart money’s on The Elder Scrolls 6 being in High Rock, but I keep looking at these 3 peninsula in the trailer & thinking about the lost island of Yokuda. That landscape does look a bit like a tidal wave scoured it flat. pic.twitter.com/665lb6W4ij

— Leon Hurley (@LeonHurley) June 11, 2018

Other guesses point to High Rock. High Rock — which is where prominent cities like Daggerfall and Shornhelm exist — was heavily featured in the first two Elder Scrolls games and in Elder Scrolls Online. The theory comes from the presence of mountainous terrain in the trailer, however, it’s entirely possible that it’s coincidental.

The truth is that no one knows where the next Elder Scrolls game will take place yet. It could be somewhere entirely new, or it could be somewhere we’ve already been in one game or another. We also don’t know which time period it will be set in, an important detail for figuring out the geographical and political landscape of the world of Tamriel. You can be sure we’ll be spending the coming months thinking heavily about it.

How far along is development?

It’s safe to say that The Elder Scrolls 6 is still largely in its planning phases. Bethesda’s main studio is still putting much of its weight behind the launches of Fallout 76 and Starfield. The former will be out in a few short months, while Starfield — an entirely new IP — doesn’t even have a release date (and in fact might not even be a current generation title).

Ahead of the company’s E3 announcement, it was said that we might not even see work on The Elder Scrolls 6 begin until Starfield was close to finished, and even if we assume that game will be ready in 2019, that would likely place The Elder Scrolls 6 at some point in 2020. And that’s at the absolute earliest.

It’s likely that Bethesda is still in the planning phases, which typically involves figuring out details through the advent of storyboarding. For all we know, they haven’t even written a single line of code.

Long story short, we still have a long wait ahead. It’s an unusual move for Bethesda, who has historically preferred to announce games when they’re pretty deep into development. Chalk it up to the restlessness of Elder Scrolls fans who were worried that Bethesda might be done with the series thanks to Elder Scrolls Online’s existence, but they announced the game far sooner than we’re used to and we’ll just have to be patient.

Will it launch for PlayStation 4?

Your guess is as good as ours. We’d have a hard time believing Bethesda would skip an entire generation without a single mainline Elder Scrolls game, but considering Starfield is being touted as a next-generation title you have to consider the possibility that Elder Scrolls 6 falls under the same outlook.

Even if that were the case, however, that doesn’t mean the game’s engine couldn’t scale with hardware. Much like Grand Theft Auto 5 felt like a whole new game on the current generation platforms, Elder Scrolls 6 could very well take launch for PlayStation 4 ahead of an upgraded version available when the new consoles roll around.

The only thing we can say for certain right now is that the game is coming and that it’ll likely be on a PlayStation console. Which exact PlayStation console is up in the air.

When will we learn more?

It’s tough to say when we might be treated to the first details about Elder Scrolls 6. Bethesda head Todd Howard has acknowledged the importance of keeping fans engaged with new expectations (that was the whole point of this early announcement), but he also knows it’s sensible not to say too much, too fast. Whatever the timeline may be, you know we’ll be keeping you abreast of all the latest details every step of the way.

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