When it comes to Bethesda Game Studios, the time between major games is generally around 3-5 years. 2008’s “Fallout 3” was followed by 2011’s “Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim”, 2015’s “Fallout 4,” 2018’s “Fallout 76” and most recently 2023’s “Starfield”.

This would suggest their next title, “The Elder Scrolls VI,” won’t arrive until 2026 at the earliest and with the game still very much in early development according to Bethesda’s head of publishing Pete Hines back in August, it’s more likely going to be around late 2027 or 2028.

That would be essentially a decade after the game was first teased back at E3 2018. So why in the world did they tease the title then if it was so far away? Turns out there’s a reason.

Speaking to MinnMax, former Bethesda Game Studios designer Bruce Nesmith says the announcement was a response to the fans demanding an update on the title. So, director Todd Howard chose to reveal the project to acknowledge to fans the game is coming:

“[Bethesda] took years of hits for not talking about The Elder Scrolls 6. Todd [Howard’s] opinion – one which I share by the way – is that the video game industry has short memories. Those companies that start touting their games years ahead of time, they screw themselves. The best time to start talking about it is six months before release.

Only the fact that the pitchforks and torches were out got Todd to say, ‘Yes, we’re going to do The Elder Scrolls 6, it’s for real, it’ll happen. But I’m betting you won’t hear much in the way of details until six months before release, which is the way it should be. I think that’s the best approach and [Howard’s] proven that works really well, at least for Bethesda.”

This was reflected with “Starfield” which Bethesda didn’t really tease much about until last year and didn’t really show off much gameplay from until a few months before release. Thus any serious “The Elder Scrolls VI” updates are likely years off.

Nesmith also has an interesting assessment of AAA game development across the industry at large, going into the sustainability of the economics and why it’s taking longer these days:

“Just my personal thoughts, I think there is unsustainable pressure to make changes… the development cycle has pretty much locked itself into three to four years for the big AAA games like a Bethesda-style game.

In order to get more and to do more they have to hire more. You need to put more resources behind it, so ‘Starfield’ had hundreds of staff [whereas] ‘Skyrim’ was done with 120 I want to say.

That’s not sustainable. You can’t quadruple the cost of producing something and charge the same amount of money and do it in the same amount of time. The more staff you have the less efficient each staff member becomes, it’s just a law of mathematics it’s not something you can do much about.

So, something’s got to break. When it breaks or in what way it breaks, uh my crystal ball is way too cloudy to predict that. I don’t think it’s sustainable to have 1,000 people working for 3-4 years on a game and sell it for $70 and have that be profitable except for maybe three companies in the industry. It’s just not.”

To view the full and quite interesting interview, head over to MinnMax. Bethesda’s “Starfield” is now available on Xbox and PC.

The post Why “Elder Scrolls VI” Announced So Early appeared first on Dark Horizons.

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