E3 2016: Bethesda: Elder Scrolls 6 is 'A Very Long Ways Off'

Don't get your hopes up to visit Tamriel again anytime soon. 

17

Speaking today in an interview with YouTube gaming, Bethesda's Todd Howard shared sad news for Elder Scrolls fans. 

"I think that’s kind of the elephant in the room, always, when we talk about anything," he said. "I think it’s good in these moments to tell our fans, 'Yes, of course we are [working on Elder Scrolls 6].' It’s something we love. But I have to be careful what I say. It’s a very long ways off. I can sit here and explain the game to you and you’d say, ‘That sounds like you don’t even have the technology, how long is that going to take?’"

Howard attributed this to the fact that his studio is currently workig on two large projects, which he calls "bigger than anything [they've] done."

"We think very long-term," Howard explained. "We’re not a developer that’s going to rush something like this out, any of our games. When you think about what is the future for that kind of game, we have a pretty good idea of what it could be and it’s just going to take technology and time that we really don’t have right now." 

Bethesda's Pete Hines joked about Elder Scrolls 6 on Twitter, saying he often refers to the release date as being set for 22/22/22, a reference to Skyrim's initial release date of 11/11/2011.

During their conference, Bethesda also announced an upscaled version of The Elder Scrolls V. Called Skyrim: Special Edition, this version introduces new graphics and integrates mods into the console version on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.  

Contributing Editor

From The Chatty

  • reply
    June 13, 2016 12:33 PM

    Cassidee Moser posted a new article, E3 2016: Bethesda: Elder Scrolls 6 is 'A Very Long Ways Off'

    • reply
      June 13, 2016 12:38 PM

      i love TES, but i am glad to hear this. after Fallout 4 i really don't want Bethesda to make a new Elder Scrolls until they go back to the drawing board on their engine. and take a hard look at their writing staff while they're at it.

      • reply
        June 13, 2016 12:54 PM

        I expect the game engine will certainly get an overhaul. At the least, you know they're talking heavily if they'll support VR, or are going to support it, but are looking at how Neo and Scorpio will approach them. Then, what will it take to co-develop for both console VR systems AND then the PC. Assuming Xbox goes with Oculus, you'd think that Oculus support on the PC wouldn't be so hard.

        But, I think this is also what Steam was trying to head off. Trying to avoid the platform wars of the early 3D graphics card.

        As for the writing. Ya, right. Good luck on that one.

        What they need to do is take a look at their QA process.

        • reply
          June 13, 2016 12:57 PM

          I don't think a better QA process would help much. Their games are full of bugs, but a lot of the bugs are the same bugs that have been there since the first iteration of the engine, if they haven't been fixed by now they ain't ever getting fixed.

          I wish they would just scrap whatever custom engine they use (gamebryo?) and use something off the shelf like the Crysis engine. Use an engine that was made by people who are good at making engines and focus your own energy on what you are good at.

          • reply
            June 13, 2016 12:59 PM

            I'm thinking of all the Bethesda bugs I've encountered of the life of the publisher; going all the way back to like their Wayne Gretzky game.

            • reply
              June 13, 2016 1:04 PM

              You're going to be thinking for a long time, hahah

              I remember playing Daggerfall as a kid and being amazed at how buggy it was. I loved the shit out of it, but it was by far the buggiest game I have ever played in my life.

              • reply
                June 13, 2016 1:05 PM

                heh, yeah there were some pretty nasty ones along the way. I remember being so blown away at how big that game was. Not much actual detail, but MILES of it.. lol

          • reply
            June 13, 2016 6:43 PM

            Gamebryo is an off the shelf engine that Bethesda added a house of cards to and has re-written the renderer for a few times.

            Other games using Gamebryo: Civ 4, Civ Rev, Bully, Freedom Force, Defense Grid, Epic Mickey, Warhammer Online...

            I swear there were a few other prominent ones but I'm not positive and can't find a for sure confirmation.

        • reply
          June 13, 2016 1:12 PM

          i kinda get the feeling the Updated Skyrim is a test run for the new Elder Scrolls engine... :\

          • reply
            June 13, 2016 1:16 PM

            I suppose that's possible, and it might even be the first stab to support 4k. But, I still think they're working towards VR support. It would just make so much sense for a game like ES to be in VR. I mean, the game world is pretty immerse as it stands. Putting yourself into the world would be the next step. Especially since the game isn't forced into a set 3rd or 1st person view.

          • reply
            June 13, 2016 1:32 PM

            Nah, it's probably just a polished up version of their port to the Fallout 4 engine they did when developing it.

      • reply
        June 13, 2016 1:07 PM

        The last time I loaded up skyrim with mods I checked out the Civil War mod. An entire facet of the game, complete with voice acting and script, just scrapped because they rushed it to release.

        Ive always liked the writing, and the random quests. The option to just go off on a tangent and forget the main quest for awhile. I think cutting out the civil war threw out any sense of conflict in the game other than dragons swooping in every so often.

        I guess what im saying is I wish they had shipped a complete game, but overall ill admit it did feel like 10 different people writing one story.

      • reply
        June 13, 2016 1:15 PM

        Yeah, I was kind of hoping Skyrim was the swansong for the current design era of ES/FO games, like 'this is our best work for this design paradigm and now we are going to move on to the next thing' and was disappointed when FO4 wasn't that

        Hoping ES6 is

      • reply
        June 13, 2016 3:03 PM

        Agreed. I really would like a break from general sword and spell fantasy too. Like yea we just got Fallout 4 but like you said, it would do them some good to take some time and rework some things.

    • reply
      June 13, 2016 12:39 PM

      Damn :(

      I wonder if a "very long ways" means 2 years or 5+ years?

      • reply
        June 13, 2016 12:59 PM

        Given the time between their "big" titles in the past, I'm not expecting it to come until 2019.

    • reply
      June 13, 2016 1:31 PM

      I hope by "don't have the technology yet" means that any description would involve him saying they're starting from near scratch and that would imply a move to id tech (given that it's now Bethesda's internal engine). One can hope, anyway.

      • reply
        June 13, 2016 2:48 PM

        Id tech doesn't seem like an open world engine. They would have to do a lot of work on it, but I am glad to hear that gamebryo is probably out for good.

        • reply
          June 13, 2016 6:16 PM

          I don't think it's far off of being an open world engine. Rage had some good sized environments and some of Doom's maps are huge. Snapmap shows that it can load "chunks" for the environment, I don't think it's a huge stretch to support streaming those in and out. I'm curious to see the environments in Dishonored 2, they showed some pretty wide vistas.

          • reply
            June 13, 2016 7:29 PM

            That's not really what SnapMap does. Not in the same way. It's still loading in the entire level, the level just happens to make up of various modules.

            An open world engine needs to be able to subdivide the world (or use a pre-subdivided world) and stream in geometry and entities constantly as the player moves, while also unloading already loaded geometry and entities that are no longer needed. That's bad enough in something like Grand Theft Auto, where the entities are almost entirely generated and spawned on the fly, and are not expected to have any meaningful persistence. It's so much worse in an Elder Scrolls game where every damn thing that isn't bolted down (and some of the ones that are) has state that has to be persistently tracked, including location and orientation, plus you have AI that in some cases has to continue to be tracked even if the player isn't anywhere near.

            Adapting an engine to work for TES/Fallout is not a trivial undertaking.

          • reply
            June 13, 2016 7:50 PM

            Depending on how far along the line virtualized geometry has been developed (MegaMesh?), idTech could eventually have a novel way of streaming in the majority of its data.

            Assuming, of course, they didn't just abandon that with the loss of Carmack.

    • reply
      June 13, 2016 1:56 PM

      Should still get here before HL3 though.

    • reply
      June 13, 2016 6:32 PM

      I hope they hire new writers!!!

    • reply
      June 13, 2016 6:53 PM

      I hope they hire an entire new set of animators and get a new rigging system.

    • DM7
      reply
      June 13, 2016 7:47 PM

      I hope they hire CD PROJEKT to make their game.

      • reply
        June 13, 2016 10:56 PM

        No. I want Cyberpunk now. Fuck Bethesda.