Todd Howard says Bethesda's trying to 'increase our output' with Elder Scrolls and Fallout 'because we don't want to wait that long either'

Todd Howard, director and executive producer at Bethesda, holds a copy of Fallout: 76.
(Image credit: WIRED on YouTube)

It's been a decade since Fallout 4, and 13 years since The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim. Since then Bethesda hasn't been sitting on its hands, with Fallout 76 releasing in 2018 and of course the studio's main focus for several years being Starfield. But fans could occasionally be forgiven for wondering just how long these things take, more from a stance of thinking about how much more time one has on this ball of dust than mere entitlement. I was young when Skyrim came out, for god's sake.

We know The Elder Scrolls 6 is in development, so while there's no details beyond a teaser image there's at least reason to be cheerful. But there's nothing on Fallout 5 whatsoever, beyond a confirmation it exists, with Bethesda's Emil Pagliarulo recently warning players "it takes time to make great stuff."

Todd Howard recently gave an interview to Kinda Funny Games discussing all sorts around Bethesda's games, with the focus understandably more on the Fallout side after the Amazon show, and offered players some succour in this regard: he thinks the studio needs to speed things up, too. 

"If I didn't make these games," said Howard, "I would just be playing them all the time. Even this weekend I was jumping between Starfield and Fallout 76 and Fallout 4; that's how I spent my weekend playing games.

"And they do take a long time, and so I think one of the things that we're focused on here is obviously making sure they're of the highest quality, but also finding ways to increase our output, because we don't want to wait that long either. That's never our plan, but we want to make sure we get it right."

Seriously though: even the most optimistic aren't expecting The Elder Scrolls 6 before 2026, and that's going to mark 15 years between entries. If that kind of form continued, I'm genuinely going to be near retirement before Elder Scrolls 7 is even a twinkle in Todd's eye, and six feet under before Elder Scrolls 8. It's one hell of an illustration of how complex and protracted development cycles for these huge games have become, even if Bethesda has its fingers in many pies.

This is one of many minor revelations from Howard's interview, where he also mentioned warning his dear old mum about the racier elements of the Fallout TV show, and wearily confirmed one more time that, no, Bethesda doesn't hate New Vegas at all. This is probably my biggest takeaway though: if I'm really, really lucky, I might get to play two more mainline Fallout games before I'm off to that great Vault in the sky.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."