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Well, isn't that the 100-Septim question? Realistically speaking The Elder Scrolls VI is still a long, long way off.
The vast majority of alleged insiders have put The Elder Scrolls VI release date at around 2025 at the absolute earliest. Tyler McVicker, the former Valve News Network insider who correctly predicted the existence of a Half-Life prequel months before Half-Life: Alyx was announced, suggested earlier this year that the RPG won't be released until 2026.
Whichever way you slice it, The Elder Scrolls VI is years away from being ours. Not that we mind Bethesda taking its time at all. There's a lot riding on the first brand-new single-player Elder Scrolls RPG since 2011's Skyrim, after all.
Unfortunately, the only available trailer for The Elder Scrolls VI at present is the one below, which Bethesda showed off all the way back at E3 2018. It doesn't give us very much to go on, and only shows off a mysterious mountainous region before the game's title appears. It's all terribly flashy, though we can't help but think Bethesda announced this a little too early. Any in-depth gameplay reveals are likely a long way off.
Again, we aren't really sure at this point, although some of the more hardcore fans have already developed many, many theories based on what little we've seen so far.
Back in January, a brief teaser released by Bethesda celebrating The Elder Scrolls series as a whole seemed to offer up some clues that the upcoming game will take place in the Hammerfell region.
Hammerfell, for those who don't know, is a massive, mountainous region that borders Skyrim and Cyrodill. Home of the Redguards, Hammerfell contains vast stretches of desert, peppered with rich grasslands. There are also multiple major cities to be found, including the port town of Rihad, which sits on the coast of the Abecean Sea to the south. In other words, Hammerfell contains plenty for adventurers to dig into it.
Following the E3 2018 trailer, many fans were certainly left with the impression that the mountainous realm we glimpsed was Hammerfell. The plot thickened when Bethesda's 2021 New Year tweet showed off a map of Skyrim, along with the caption "transcribe the past and map the future". That might not seem like much to go on, but it wasn't long until fans noticed a series of strange lights on the map that all pointed to the neighbouring region of Hammerfell. Intriguing, no?
All I know for sure is that we can probably rule out Skyrim, Morrorwind, and Cyrodill. Bethesda explored these regions thoroughly in Skyrim, Morrowind, and Oblivion respectively.
Well, this is a tricky one. What we can say right now is that The Elder Scrolls VI will definitely release on Xbox, thanks to the fact that Microsoft now owns Bethesda and its vast library of IPs. What's less clear is whether or not The Elder Scrolls VI will be exclusive to Xbox. At the moment, it's looking like it won't be... technically speaking.
More recently, Spencer spoke at a roundtable event designed to answer questions about the merger, and strongly hinted that the majority of Bethesda games will be exclusive to platforms where Xbox Game Pass is available.
"If you're an Xbox customer," Spencer explained, "the thing I want you to know is this is about delivering great exclusive games for you that ship on platforms where Game Pass exists. And that's our goal, that's why we're doing this, that's the root of this partnership that we're building - and the creative capability we'll be able to bring to market for Xbox customers is going to be the best it's ever been for Xbox after we're done here."
The good news is that "platforms where Game Pass exists" is a category that just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Not only can you play Game Pass games on Xbox One and Xbox Series consoles, but also mobile devices and PC via streaming. In short, you probably won't need a brand-new Xbox console to play The Elder Scrolls VI, meaning it won't technically be an Xbox exclusive.
You've opened a can of worms there, my friend. While it's certainly true that Microsoft now owns Bethesda and holds the rights to all of its franchises - including The Elder Scrolls, DOOM, and Fallout - it remains frustratingly unclear what this means for The Elder Scrolls VI on PlayStation 5.
The assumption has certainly been that The Elder Scrolls VI will be an Xbox-exclusive release when it finally launches, or a timed exclusive, at the very least. It's important to note, however, that Bethesda and Microsoft seem to have gone back and forth on this very topic. Several times, at that.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer said soon after Microsoft acquired Bethesda last year that both companies would assess whether or not games should be exclusive on a "case-by-case" basis. He then said a few months later that The Elder Scrolls VI "didn't need" to release on PlayStation 5, which set alarm bells ringing.
Whichever way you look at it, his most recent comments about Bethesda games being exclusive to Game Pass platforms would suggest that the PlayStation 5 is probably out of the running. That's unless Sony and Microsoft suddenly team up to put Game Pass on PlayStation 5, but I wouldn't bet on that happening anytime soon. Still, with The Elder Scrolls VI likely not launching till 2026, we've plenty of time for miracles.
Bethesda is once again using the Creation Engine - the same engine the company has used for games such as Skyrim, Fallout 4, and Oblivion. If the idea of Bethesda coming back to an engine it used for games it released nearly a decade ago frightens you, don't worry: the Creation Engine is entirely malleable, and Bethesda frequently changes it up and adapts it to suit the needs of whatever game it's working on.
In the case of The Elder Scrolls VI, it certainly sounds as if the engine has been completely overhauled to take advantage of next-generation hardware.In a blog post at the time, Bethesda's Todd Howard teased that it's the largest overhaul for the engine since 2006's Oblivion.
In November last year, Howard explained during a chat with GamesIndustry.biz that the new engine requires "more work than it has in previous times," with "more people doing engine work now by a factor of five than we've ever had." The upshot of this, Howard said, was that it will allow Bethesda to utilise all new technologies to create much larger and more seamless worlds.
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