Bethesda teases 'the future' of The Elder Scrolls with a map and a cryptic tweet

(Image credit: Bethesda)

On December 31, the cusp of the new year, Bethesda tweeted a cryptic message over the official Elder Scrolls Twitter account: "Transcribe the past and map the future. Here's to a Happy New Year!" On the surface it had the ring of a fairly standard year-end message, but the bit about transcription and mapping—and the presence of a map—has fans wondering if there's more to it than meets the eye.

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There are a few competing theories floating around about what it might mean. The broad consensus in this lively Reddit thread is that the third candle represents the "future" alluded to in the tweet, suggesting that The Elder Scrolls 6 will take place in Hammerfell, the home of the Redguards. But the first candle in the sequence is causing consternation: It's not on the map at all, but over the sea north of Skyrim—perhaps a reference to the arrival of the Atmorans? But it's also sitting atop a box, and who knows what that might mean.

On Twitter, however, followers seem more taken with the coins at the top of the image and the date of the map: 4E 182, which is actually several years prior to the events of The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim. That's led to some speculation that the next Elder Scrolls game will be fairly closely connected to the last one. It would also seemingly confirm (as much as any of this can be considered "confirmation") that the tweet is not about The Elder Scrolls Online, which is set midway through the Second Era, centuries before the singleplayer Elder Scrolls RPGs.

It's possible that all of this means nothing—that it was, in fact, just a nice "Happy New Year" tweet using some assets from Skyrim because that's what Bethesda had lying around. It's not surprising that fans are running with it, though: Bethesda has said virtually nothing about The Elder Scrolls 6 since its dramatic reveal in 2018, except that it won't be out until sometime after the sci-fi RPG Starfield, which itself doesn't have a release date at this point.

Thanks, GameInformer.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.