The comments come in an interview with GQ (as spotted by PCGamesN). Although chiefly focused on the 20th anniversary of Xbox – which acquired Bethesda in September 2020 – Howard spoke on the legacy of 2011’s The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim and how it impacts the studio’s approach to the sequel.
“I think that would drive me crazy to try to say, ‘Okay, this is the thing you have to top’,” Howard said of Skyrim’s impact. “Then you realise, like, The Elder Scrolls 6 has got to be a ‘decade game’. How do you make a game where you go into it, like, ‘people have to play it for a decade?'”
Such considerations may be part of the reason for the long absence of the still-untitled sixth core Elder Scrolls game. The game was announced at E3 2018 with the beautiful but essentially empty teaser trailer below. Since then, vanishingly little has been said of the game’s progress, other than the fact it’s expected after Bethesda’s next title, Starfield.
Starfield itself isn’t set for launch until November 11 2022 – somewhat controversially, if unsurprisingly, as an Xbox and PC exclusive – which means the absolute earliest players will return to the fantasy world of The Elder Scrolls is 2023. That would be a 12-year gap between entries.
However, players could be waiting much longer than that. As recently as June 2021, Howard said that The Elder Scrolls 6 was still in the early stages of development, while last week (November 9), he said that Skyrim didn’t “go deep enough”, which implies even greater efforts at immersion for the sequel.
Between those statements, even a 2023 release might be highly optimistic. Plans for a ten-year life cycle from whenever The Elder Scrolls 6 does arrive might be something to welcome, then – at this rate, an Elder Scrolls 7 might take until the 2030s.
Elsewhere, Microsoft has been celebrating the 20th anniversary of the original Xbox with the announcement of a new documentary series looking at the console family’s origins, a final batch of 70 games coming to its backwards compatibility program, and the sneak release of Halo Infinite’s multiplayer component, weeks ahead of the full game.