At this point, any twitch of Todd Howard's eyebrows will be desperately scrutinized as a clue about The Elder Scrolls 6. Anticipation for another entry in the legendary RPG series keeps on building, but four years after The Elder Scrolls Online and seven years after Skyrim, we still know almost nothing. When will The Elder Scrolls 6 be announced? What's its likely release date? Where in Tamriel will it take place?
For now, Bethesda isn't ready to share details, but here's everything we know about The Elder Scrolls 6 so far, based on rumors and interviews about release date, location, and more. Keep track of this hub for updates as we learn more.
Is Bethesda actually working on The Elder Scrolls 6?
Yes and no. It's complicated. At E3 2016, Howard affirmed that "of course we are [making Elder Scrolls 6]" but dated its appearance to an oh-so-specific "long way off" in the face of tech catching up with the acclaimed designer's planned vision. Nevertheless, a new Elder Scrolls game was thought to make up one part of a trio of major developments equal in size with Skyrim or Fallout. (Another possible part is Starfield, Bethesda's under-wraps science-fiction RPG.)
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Shortly after Howard's comments, Bethesda frontman Pete Hines hit the brakes hard, flatly tweeting, "We aren't working on TES6 at the moment." As press headlines subsequently caught on fire, Hines then clarified that Howard's message entailed a mere intention of developing TES6 and not a declaration the studio was currently working on it.
That's more or less been the official company line as the years march on. In 2017, Hines reiterated his "not yet" response when asked about TES6's progress after the release of Skyrim: Special Edition rekindled the hunger for updates. "There's still two major, multiplatform releases that the team has to work on first, and so TES6 isn't happening until those games happen," Hines said in a PCGamesN interview. "Big, multiplatform, triple-A stuff that they do takes multiple years, so you can do the math. It ain't anytime soon."
Another factor prolonging TES6's debut is that Howard's crew doesn't want to be known as just the Elder Fallout Guys. "I think Todd and his team have earned the right, given the quality of this stuff, to be able to say, 'We know everybody really wants [TES6], but we as creative people want to be able to do stuff that we're really passionate about,'" Hines explained to GameSpot last year. "They wanted to be able to self-determine things they worked on next, whether it was existing stuff or whether it was new IP." That, and a recent tweet from Hines in February, establishes breathing room for the sizable scope of Bethesda's unannounced productions to stand firm alongside its titanic roleplaying attractions.
So, in essence: The Elder Scrolls 6 will be made. (Yay.) It's seemingly not being made right now. (Boo.)
What is The Elder Scrolls 6's release date?
It's unlikely we'll get a locked-in date until TES6 is good and ready. Oblivion, Fallout 4, and Skyrim were unveiled in near-finished states with relatively small waits leading up to their launches (Oblivion was scheduled for a November 2005 release; it was delayed to March 2006), and Bethesda is probably priming TES6 for a similar sequence. Hines told us in 2016 that the next Elder Scrolls won't be teased along both as a mark of quality and as a balm for the development team to craft the game proper instead of diverting resources for vertical slice demos. Until a public reveal, we're stuck with an impenetrable shroud of secrecy—one not even Howard's son can pierce.
Where does The Elder Scrolls 6 take place?
Our best guess at The Elder Scrolls 6's location is as good as poking a finger onto a map of Tamriel blindfolded. Still, we can somewhat narrow down the possibilities through simple process of elimination. With High Rock, Hammerfell, Morrowind, Cyrodiil, and Skyrim already covered, that leaves the regions of Summerset Isle, Valenwood, Elsweyr, and Black Marsh, home of the High Elves, Wood Elves, Khajiit, and Argonians, respectively. A significant swath of these southern Tamrielic lands makes up a good chunk of the nationalistic Aldmeri Dominion, a union of elvenkind bent on ruling over everyone else just because their ears aren't pointy enough. Should TES6 take place after Skyrim's Nord uprising and civil unrest, its setting is sure to be a political hotbed as the Dominion extends its reach across old kingdoms and ancient borders. Timeline jumps are fair game, too—Skyrim's events occurred a whopping 200 years after Oblivion's demonic invasion, for one.
A possible wildcard is the presence of parent company ZeniMax's Elder Scrolls Online which has quietly added to its far-reaching playable zones since launching in 2014. The recent inclusion of the High Elven realm of Summerset Isle has ballooned ESO's geographical coverage far beyond its singleplayer counterparts. If TES6 follows tradition in staging a piece of Tamriel not yet seen by any Elder Scrolls game, the Khajiiti deserts of Elsweyr would be the sole choice. Then again, the shrinking range of uncharted territory in Tamriel could prompt TES6 to boldly cast its direction overseas to the mysterious continent of Akavir, an exotic land hosting friendly-sounding races such as the Snow Demons of Kamal and the vampiric, snake-like Tsaesci. There's also the possibility that The Elder Scrolls 6 could return to a previous province, like Daggerfall's High Rock, and recreate it in far greater detail.
Will The Elder Scrolls 6 support mods?
Modding Bethesda RPGs is kind of a crucial cornerstone of PC gaming. (There's just something about a player community given the freedom to create some truly spectacular works that makes everything feel right in the world.) Any answer other than an emphatic "yes" would be crazy talk for an Elder Scrolls game, but that assertion could be asterisked in terms of implementation. The ripples of Bethesda's rocky Creation Club rollout still haven't fully subsided, and it's reasonable to expect TES6 will ship with a built-in mod shop framework from day one.
Luckily, Bethesda seems more aware than ever of open modding's touchy nature, and there's hardly any evidence threatening the studio's longstanding embracement of a wild mod frontier. "People can continue to do whatever the hell they want, have fun, it's modding, play with what you want, create what you want, go nuts," Hines said in an interview with Tek Syndicate at last year's PAX West. With that, it's safe to look forward to the continued legacy of Thomas the Tank Engine, Destroyer of Worlds.