A 4Chan user by the enigmatic handle "Bethesda Leaks" claims that the studio will announce a brand-new IP titled "Starfield" at its E3 press conference (via UploadVR). He or she goes on to say that Bethesda is also working on a VR adaptation of Skyrim, but might save that announcement for a future date.
"They are working on Skyrim VR as well but they aren't sure if they are going to show it yet since they don't want to take the light away from Fallout 4 VR or Starfield," per the thread (lightly edited for grammar and clarity).
Starfield is poised to become the centerpiece of Bethesda's E3 showcase. "Bethesda Leaks" purports that the game entered a conceptual phase as far back as Fallout 3's release in 2008, and entered pre-production shortly after Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim launched in November 2011. Starfield is rumored to be an open-world RPG played via a first-person perspective, like Bethesda's Fallout and Elder Scrolls titles, but set in a science-fiction universe.
The hook is that Starfield will serve as the third link in a chain that connects all of Bethesda's IPs. According to the leak, Fallout sits at the beginning of the timeline, Starfield occupies the middle, and Elder Scrolls exists in the continuity's far future.
Bethesda's E3 showcase is scheduled for Sunday, 9pm PT.
Skyrim VR seems the logical follow-up to Fallout 4 VR, announced by Bethesda last fall. The projected originated out of executive producer and director Todd Howard's desire to create a full-featured VR experience. "We have an opportunity to make something really unique. We'd rather do that than make some other tiny experience. I don't think that's what people want from us," he said.
Craddock's Corner: I don't usually put much stock in rumors. That said, it's E3 season, which means anything could be true. Mario and Raving Rabbids? Yeah. That might be a thing. Let's talk a bit about Skyrim VR and Starfield. While Bethesda's RPGs aren't typically my cup of tea, the notion of exploring as vivid and detailed a fantasy world as Skyrim's in virtual reality is exciting even to me. Some might think E3 the time and place to make that announcement, but E3 is jam-packed every year, and fans have only so much attention span to devote to each huge announcement. It seems more prudent for Bethesda to devote its E3 news cycle to a new IP, and save Skyrim VR for a less-crowded venue.