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Bethesda is promising that its next-gen games Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI: Location Pending will run a lot better than the likes of Oblivion and Skyrim, as the developer will introduce a brand-new engine. Which means a lot less jankiness and a lot more, um, unjankiness. (What if we like the jankiness?)
This update comes courtesy of Bethesda's own Todd Howard, who posted a blog in the wake of Microsoft's acquisition of ZeniMax yesterday - a deal which also sees the Xbox makers become owners, sorta kinda, of Bethesda-published franchises like The Elder Scrolls, Dishonored, Fallout and DOOM.
"With each new console cycle, we (Bethesda and Xbox) evolved together. From bringing mods to consoles with Fallout 4, now over a billion downloads, to the latest technologies fuelling Xbox Series X/S. These new systems are optimised for the vast worlds we love to create, with generational leaps not just in graphics, but CPU and data streaming as well. It's led to our largest engine overhaul since Oblivion, with all new technologies powering our first new IP in 25 years, Starfield, as well as The Elder Scrolls VI."
There it is, in black and white: The Elder Scrolls VI and Starfield will run in a new engine, Bethesda's "largest engine overhaul" since the fourth Elder Scrolls game, Oblivion, which came out in 2006.
Bethesda's games - particularly those in the Fallout and Elder Scrolls series - do have something of a buggy reputation; but for the most part that bugginess is more endearing than not, with characters flying miles into the sky or clipping through something they shouldn't and it all being a laugh. They're also paradise for modders, so the hope must be that Bethesda's new engine doesn't stop that creative fun from flowing. I'm sure it won't.
The company's been pretty quiet on both Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI for a while now - both were announced at E3 2018, and we've seen and heard little of them since. But this new Microsoft activity may be the catalyst for Bethesda showing off more of these big games, both ambitious RPG affairs, as the Xbox Series X and S release and Game Pass becomes an even more attractive proposition for consumers.
Despite Microsoft's acquisition, it's highly unlikely that The Elder Scrolls VI will be an Xbox (and PC) exclusive - PlayStation 5 users should be able to play the game on their console, too. Starfield, though? Apparently (reports VGC) it was once in line to be a PS5 exclusive - so maybe Microsoft will keep Bethesda's new IP all for itself. Who knows. Not this guy, that's for sure, who can't even get himself a new Xbox pre-ordered yet.
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