ELDER SCROLLS VI (Bethesda Game Studios – PS5/Xbox Scarlett/PC – ???) – Where to even begin with all The Elder Scroll VI talk? I feel like a grizzled soldier in a trench, bullets wizzing past, artillery exploding just beyond me, looking at my gaming comrades and grumbling, “How are we still here?” Well, it’s another year, and a fresh new round of guesswork about Bethesda Game Studios’ hallmark game title. I had to go re-read my article from last year about this very same game to make sure I didn’t sound like a broken record. To rehash it a bit, I’m sticking by one prediction (sort of), and breaking with another. However, we do know a little bit more this year than we did last year: we know that they’re definitely going to make it. As to the what, where, who, and why of it all, let’s throw out some theories.
As I said last year, I suspect this game won’t drop until 2022. I more or less am sticking to my guns on this one if only to see just how much of a prophet I am. If I’m being fair to BGS, I would give them until 2023. Why that long? Well, we have some hints that they’ve only just begun to work on the meat of the project. Just last month, we saw BGS hiring a small army of programmers, quest developers, writers, etc. It would be perfectly logical to assume that they’re ramping up the manpower for a big project. Whether or not that’s ES:6, only BGS can tell you, but my money says it is. So, what should we expect at E3? The realm. And, yes, I am saying this in spite of what Todd Howard himself has said on record. In my opinion, game developers love to pull this shit: “Yeah, we’re not going to talk about ___________, so stop asking.” Meanwhile, at E3, the lights go dark, dramatic music plays, BAM, a new trailer smacks you in the face. So, I’m calling his bluff right now.
A realm reveal seems like the next business step: one, when a company sets their army of game developers on a project, they typically have the overall vision of the game in place (whether the end product resembles that vision is another story); two, it’s going to send all the fans into a rabid frenzy (see “maintaining interest”). What could be a better move? BGS will reveal practically nothing about the game itself (because, let’s face it, they probably don’t have much to reveal), and they’ll still generate a cacophony of new speculation and excitement. I’m breaking with last year and going with the bold prediction on this: Akavir. After Elder Scrolls: Online –which I still hate by the way– The Empire has been pretty played out. Sure, they could easily pick one of the previously unexplored realms and shut me up, but I believe Akavir is the juiciest, most realm-reseting realm they could possibly pick. Not only does it give BGS the opportunity to add new races, geography, stories, and lore, the land provides them with an infinite new canvas of game mechanics that they could choose at their discretion.
Let us not forget one tactic that BGS likes to use though: they change the timeline a couple hundred years and present the gamer with a new world, untethered to the last game, regardless of the realm (except for Lucien Lachance—that dude is hilarious). One more piece of evidence that points to Akavir: if you look at the reveal landscape from last year, we see a coast line—the land across the sea—and an expanse of mountains leading inland. It doesn’t look like islands or swamps or deserts; it looks undiscovered. Yes, Mr. Howard says this is just a “technology reveal,” but I am, once again, calling him out. Just imagine me standing outside of BGS with a six-shooter on my hip yelling, “What’s the matter, Todd? Ya too yella to come outside!” And you can envision that ending any way you like.
However E3 shakes out, I just can’t imagine a scenario where BGS doesn’t want to talk about one of their hallmark games: it’s good for them and fun for us. So, don’t expect much, but I would expect ES:6 to get some stage time.