Like many fans of the Elder Scrolls series of video games, I’ve been puzzled and frustrated by Bethesda’s recent statements about the upcoming sixth installment. To wit, the company insists a new game isn’t coming soon.
There’s been quite a bit of speculation about when The Elder Scrolls VI might rear its horn-tipped, helmeted head, but VP of Marketing Pete Hines uses every opportunity to tell fans that the game isn’t even in active development.
I strongly suspect he’s lying.
Bethesda Game Studios is a gifted musician playing a two-note piano. It develops just two IP’s: Fallout and The Elder Scrolls. Last August, Pete Hines hilariously declared that the studio “is not a two-button vending machine,” but history says otherwise. In the 16 years that Bethesda Game Studios has existed, it has developed 26 games, including expansion packs and the Skyrim remaster. All but one have been Fallout or TES titles, with 2004’s IHRA Professional Drag Racing standing as the sole exception. If Hines says there are new IP’s in the pipeline, I won’t contradict him, but it’s absurd to think Bethesda would push aside its lucrative bread-and-butter franchise to make room for something new and untested.
Skyrim has sold 30 million copies, putting it in the top 10 best-selling video games of all time. Six years have passed since its release, tied with the gap between Daggerfall and Morrowind as the longest-ever wait between Elder Scrolls titles. (TES: Online wasn’t developed by Bethesda, so it doesn’t factor in.) If the studio has not even touched a new Elder Scrolls title in all that time, director Todd Howard is a fool.
There’s also this leaked letter from 2014, which forbade ZeniMax employees from discussing “Project Greenheart,” “Nuka World,” or the “Boston Project” at that year’s E3. Most assumed the leak was fake, but the Boston Project (Fallout 4) and the Nuka World expansion were unveiled shortly afterward. Bethesda didn’t confirm the development of those games, either, at least not until right before release. One might safely assume that Project Greenheart, doubtless referring to the city in Valenwood, would refer to TES VI–and that it’s also in active development.
Like a lot of you, I eagerly await the next chapter in the Elder Scrolls universe, which I’ll happily play whether it’s six months or six years away. But my gut says we won’t have to wait too much longer.