The Elder Scrolls 6: everything we know so far

The Elder Scrolls 6 - reveal logo
(Image credit: Bethesda)
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The Elder Scrolls 6 is surely one of the most anticipated games that's set to come out. Understandably, fans have been waiting patiently for any information related to the Skyrim follow-up for years now, though Bethesda has been pretty quiet as of late. 

What we do know is that The Elder Scrolls 6 is in development, and that it will be the next release for Bethesda Game Studios after Starfield comes to Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. There's been a short teaser trailer as well, which might just hint to the game's setting. Of course, there's still plenty that we don't know about The Elder Scrolls 6. A release date has yet to be revealed. In fact, we don't even know which year Bethesda is aiming for. 

Even though there are a lot of questions we have yet to get answers for, there have been plenty of leaks and rumors related to The Elder Scrolls 6. Some point to possible settings, while others tease the tech that the developers could be using to build the next-gen RPG. It's likely to be a while before we hear more on The Elder Scrolls 6, but when we do, you'll find this page updated. For now, here's everything we know about the game so far.

The Elder Scrolls 6: cut to the chase

  • What is it? The long-awaited sequel to the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • When can I play it? TBC but likely 2025 at the earliest
  • What can I play it on? TBC but likely PC and Xbox Series X|S 

The Elder Scrolls 6 release date and platforms

Skyrim the Board Game

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Don't hold your breath for The Elder Scrolls 6 release date – you won't be exploring its dungeons any time soon.

Despite being announced at Bethesda's E3 2018 conference, little more than a logo was revealed and, more than four years later, we still have few solid details about the next Elder Scrolls game. We don't even have a subtitle or a release year. Todd Howard said that the game will be coming after Starfield, the company's next big IP, while Xbox Head Phil Spencer has said it won't release until after Fable 4. Given Starfield is set to release in the first half of 2023 and Fable doesn't have a release date yet, the wait for Elder Scrolls 6 is set to be long.

Bethesda Games Studios director Todd Howard supported this in a 2021 interview with The Telegraph (opens in new tab), stating: "It’s good to think of The Elder Scrolls 6 as still being in a design [phase]… but we’re checking the tech: 'Is this going to handle the things we want to do in that game?' Every game will have some new suites of technology so Elder Scrolls 6 will have some additions on to Creation Engine 2 that that game is going to require."

In a more recent update, Howard told IGN (opens in new tab) that The Elder Scrolls 6 is still in "pre-production". As such, tentatively expect The Elder Scrolls 6 to release in 2024 at the very earliest, after Bethesda has given Starfield at least a couple of years in the spotlight.

Similarly, platforms for The Elder Scrolls 6 haven't been confirmed yet but, given Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda's parent company ZeniMax Media, releases on PC, and Xbox Series S|X are almost a certainty. A PS5 release is much less certain, however, as Microsoft may opt to make the new Elder Scrolls game an Xbox exclusive. Similarly, releases on Xbox One and PS4 seem extremely unlikely, as Starfield shows Bethesda's moving on from last-gen hardware.

What we do know, however, is that The Elder Scrolls 6 will be available on Xbox Game Pass on day one.

The Elder Scrolls 6 trailer

Announcement trailer
The only footage we have of Elder Scrolls 6 is a very short clip of the game's logo. Other than that, you might be waiting a while to see more. 

Here's the announcement trailer:

Elder Scrolls 6: where will it be set?

The Elder Scrolls Online

(Image credit: Bethesda)

We’re willing to bet that like all the other games in the series, The Elder Scrolls 6 will take place on the continent of Tamriel.

Previous games have taken us to High Rock, Hammerfell, Morrowind, Cyrodil, and Skyrim. Valenwood, Elsweyr, and Black Marsh are the biggest places left to explore. However, even though these areas are prime spots for exploration, that's not to say that Bethesda won't return to areas from previous games. 

There were rumors that the Elder Scrolls 6 could be set in Valenwood, the home of the Bosmer. It’s an area of Tamriel that Bethesda hasn’t explored much and that's based on a reported internal Bethesda memo from all the way back in 2014. In this memo, Bethesda employees were reportedly warned against using the terms Fallout: Nuka World, Elder Scrolls VI or Project Greenheart.

Though it was initially believed to be a fake, Fallout: Nuka World ended up being a big DLC release for Fallout 4. It gave slightly more weight to rumor that Project Greenheart is in fact the codename for the next Elder Scrolls title. The fact that Greenheart is a city in the verdant region of Valenwood made this even more interesting. 

However, after the brief announcement trailer for Elder Scrolls 6 was released during E3 2018, many fans began to move away from the idea of a Valenwood setting. The landscape shown in the trailer didn't reflect Valenwood all that much. 

Skyrim

(Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios)

It's hard to tell from the short E3 clip we have of the game. However, since it was shown, general opinion has moved towards the idea that the Elder Scrolls 6 will be set in either Hammerfell or High Rock.

Adding credence to the Hammerfell rumor is a post from the official Elder Scrolls Twitter account at the end of 2020. That says "transcribe the past and map the future" and shows an image with an unmapped Hammerfell region. There is, however, a chance that this teaser doesn't relate to Elder Scrolls 6 at all.

In an interview with Eurogamer (opens in new tab), Todd Howard confirmed the team has settled on the location - but he won't tell us where yet. Details are, of course, exceptionally sparse at the moment. All we have are rumors to go off of, which doesn't form the basis of, well, anything really.

Obviously, those of us who know the world of Tamriel thanks to Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim and yes, even Elder Scrolls Online, the entire world is a veritable expanse of different lands and settings where the game could be set. We do know one thing for certain; wherever it does end up being set, we can expect to be fulfilling a great many side quests.

The Elder Scrolls 6 news and rumors

An old study, lit by candlelight

(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

Fallout 5 is coming after The Elder Scrolls 6
In an interview with IGN (opens in new tab), Todd Howard confirmed that Fallout 5 will be Bethesda's next project after The Elder Scrolls 6.

"Yes, Elder Scrolls 6 is in pre-production and, you know, we’re going to be doing Fallout 5 after that, so our slate’s pretty full going forward for a while" Howard told the publication. "We have some other projects that we look at from time to time as well."

Bethesda wants to take its time to get it right
The Elder Scrolls 6 is probably still a few years away yet but that’s not because Bethesda is deliberately dragging its heels. In an interview with IGN (opens in new tab), when discussing the gap between Skyrim and its follow up, Howard said “Would you plan to have the kind of gap we're having between Skyrim and the follow-up? I can't say that's a good thing. Do I wish I could wave a wand and the game we wanted to make [...] just came out? Absolutely.”

According to Howard, however, the time felt right for Bethesda to try something new with Starfield and the Elder Scrolls Online meant that the Elder Scrolls franchise was in a relatively good place.

“That being said,” he added, “everything takes longer than we would like as well, but we want to make sure that we get it right. Hopefully Elder Scrolls 6, you don’t want to say hey, that it’s worth that kind of wait, but that it does stand up to the series as it has been in a really big, impactful way for when it comes out.”

Todd Howard wants The Elder Scrolls 6 to be a "decade game"
In the same interview with GQ, linked above, Bethesda game director Todd Howard spoke on following up the legacy of Skyrim, which has enjoyed a decade of re-releases, upgrades and no shortage of fan-created mods on both PC and consoles.

Seemingly thinking ahead about The Elder Scrolls 6's longevity, Howard said: "I think that would drive me crazy to try to say, 'Okay, this is the thing you have to top,'" in reference to Skyrim. "But 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?'"

The adage of "if you build it, they will come" has almost always applied to The Elder Scrolls franchise, at least since the series exploded in popularity with the release of the third entry, Morrowind. To this day, fans are still creating mods and total conversions for Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim, so we think Howard shouldn't be all that concerned with how to make the next entry a 'decade game,' as it will likely naturally become that through the modding scene, as well as with official support from Bethesda.

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Reportedly an Xbox exclusive like Starfield
Starfield has been confirmed as an Xbox exclusive but for many question marks still remain around The Elder Scrolls 6 as nothing has been explicitly confirmed by Bethesda or Microsoft just yet. Well, according to GamesBeat reporter Jeff Grubb, The Elder Scrolls 6 is also “planned” as an Xbox exclusive. Grubb tweeted this in response to a user who suggested that Starfield and other Bethesda games could still have a chance of a PS5 release:

You’ll play Fable 4 first
Speaking during a recent IGN podcast, Phil Spencer intimated that we’ll probably play the next Fable game before we play Elder Scrolls 6. Speaking about the tone of Fable, Spencer said, “Fable’s always been a little more light-hearted and a little more British, I think I could say, and I think Playground will keep it there,” adding, “Elder Scrolls 6 is further out, and when that comes out I think it's going to be incredible.”

Skyrim

Skyrim (Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios)

The Elder Scrolls 6 may not come to PS5
Xbox boss Phil Spencer has confirmed that future Bethesda games will be exclusive to "platforms where Game Pass exists", meaning PS5 players will miss out.

During the "Bethesda Joins Xbox" roundtable (opens in new tab) on March 11, Spencer addressed speculation around whether the acquisition will see future Bethesda titles, such as Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6, becoming Xbox exclusives following Microsoft's acquisition of ZeniMax Media.

"If you’re an Xbox customer, the thing I want you to know is that this is about delivering great exclusive games for you that ship on platforms where Game Pass exists," Spencer explained. "That’s our goal, that’s why we’re doing this, that’s the root of this partnership that we’re building.

However, games under contractual obligations from before the acquisition, such as Deathloop, will still land on PS5 – while games that currently exist on other platforms will continue to be supported.

"Obviously I can’t sit here and say every Bethesda game is exclusive, because we know that’s not true," Spencer said. "There are contractual obligations that we’re going to see through, as we always do in every one of these instances. We have games that exist on other platforms, and we’re gonna go support those games on the platforms they’re on. There are communities of players and we love those communities and we’ll continue to invest in them. And even in the future, there might be things that have contractual things or legacy on different platforms that we’ll go do."

Though it's worth noting that The Elder Scrolls 6 may not fall under this Xbox Game Pass exclusivity umbrella if Sony has already secured the games on its platform, it is entirely possible that a big hitter like this will only be available on Xbox and PC – for a time, at least – especially given platforms haven't been confirmed for either yet. That's certainly the case with Starfield, now a confirmed Xbox-only exclusive.

New Indiana Jones game won't delay Elder Scrolls 6 development
Bethesda has recently announced that it’s working with MachineGames on a new Indiana Jones game, with Bethesda Game Studios director Todd Howard taking on an executive producer role for the game. 

Those worried, however, that this additional work might have an impact on The Elder Scrolls 6, on which he’s also working, need not fret. 

Responding to a tweet about Todd Howard’s involvement in multiple projects, Bethesda’s Pete Hines said “Todd is currently EP on many BGS and other projects, such as the Fallout TV show. His main focus remains directing the upcoming Starfield and TES6 games, which aren’t affected by today’s news.”

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Is it Hammerfell?
2021 looks set to be a better year for Elder Scrolls 6 news than 2020 after the official Elder Scrolls account tweeted something that may or may not be a tease for The Elder Scrolls 6. The tweet, which reads “Transcribe the past and map the future. Here’s to a Happy New Year!”, includes a picture of a map with three lights on it. The lights are placed on different areas of Tamriel, with one on a box above the map, another on Skyrim and another, interestingly, on an unmapped area below Skyrim: Hammerfell. It’s long been rumored that The Elder Scrolls 6 will be set in Hammerfell, home of the Redguard, but nothing has actually been confirmed yet. Naturally, many fans are taking this image as a hint that the rumors about the setting are true. 

Another point of interest, picked up on by PCGamer, is the date on the map: 4E 182. This is actually only a few years before the events of Skyrim in around 4E 201 and hints that the 5th and 6th games in the series could be closely connected. 

We can’t know for sure that any of this is accurate or even related to Elder Scrolls 6 (and not Elder Scrolls Online) until official word comes from Bethesda but given the phrase “map the future” and the fact that Hammerfell on the map in the photo is yet to be mapped and explored, this is certainly a very leading Tweet. 

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The Elder Scrolls 6 will use a brand new engine
Bethesda has confirmed it is overhauling its current engine specifically for Elder Scrolls 6. Imagine if Elder Scrolls 6 looked and ran like Skyrim. This is a thought which belongs somewhere firmly shut behind the Gates of Oblivion.

According to GamesRadar (opens in new tab), the engine reportedly has the same name, but it will bring new renders, lighting, animations (hallelujah), landscape system and photogrammetry.

Todd Howard spoke about the engine after the announcement of the Microsoft merger, saying "it's led to our largest engine overhaul since Oblivion, with all new technologies powering our first new IP in 25 years, Starfield, as well as The Elder Scrolls 6."

Speaking at the Develop: Brighton conference (opens in new tab), Howard gave more information on the overhauled Creation Engine, saying that it’s been “a significant overhaul,” adding that “It’s taken us longer than we would have liked, but it’s going to power everything we’re doing with Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6. When people see the results, they’ll hopefully be as happy as we are with what’s on the screen and also how we can go about making our games.”

The Elder Scrolls 6: what we want to see

Soldiers ride horses in front of a brick building

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Homebuilding
A feature that we’re fairly certain will be included in the game to some degree is house building or town creation. Skyrim introduced the idea of designing and maintaining a homestead with its Hearthfire DLC, which Fallout 4 expanded upon with the introduction of its settlement mechanic and the Elder Scrolls online built upon again with its Homestead DLC. This leads neatly into a further expansion of such features in the next Elder Scrolls title as it felt not-quite-finished in Fallout. 

It would be a feature that would actually fit in particularly well with the rumored Valenwood setting, if it involved the player adapting to the wilderness in the way the resident Bosmer have with their treetop cities. In a similar way the player used debris and junk to craft their settlement in Fallout, they could use their natural environment to do so in Elder Scrolls in a nice contrast. 

A whole new story
In an interview with Gamespot (opens in new tab), Todd Howard said that Bethesda is looking into how exactly it tells stories in its games. Howard noted that Skyrim and Fallout 4 take slightly different approaches to stories, with Skyrim leaving things more open to the player’s vision and Fallout guiding them more firmly through a story

Now he says the studio is looking at how to “tell a better story in an open world.”  He said “each of our games we've had successes and failures and if you ask us internally, we have new ideas that we want to explore in the future because we feel like we haven't really cracked it yet the way we think it could be.”

Being aware of the differences between Skyrim and Fallout’s approaches to storytelling and the fact that both have positives and negatives suggests that the next Elder Scrolls title could strike some kind of balance between giving the player completely free reign and telling a story around their character. 

It’s hard to deny that The Witcher 3 has had a massive impact on what players expect in terms of including an engaging story in an open-world game. Though we don’t in any way want Bethesda to just churn out a Witcher copy (we’re not sure it’d be possible anyway) it does put a certain amount of pressure on Bethesda when it comes to achieving high-quality environmental and quest-based storytelling. 

No multiplayer
Something we don’t expect to see, though, is multiplayer. Skyrim certainly doesn’t suffer from a lack of multiplayer and it wouldn’t really make all that much sense to incorporate any online multiplayer gameplay with the Elder Scrolls Online still rolling along. 

A soldier faces off against two enemies. They all stand on the deck of a ship

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Virtual reality
It's not a certainty by any means but the fact that Bethesda released a full VR experience for Skyrim means it's not out of the question down the line if not immediately.

Improved graphics and reduced bugginess
The remastered version of Skyrim showed just how far things have come visually since the game’s first release so we fully expect any title following on from it to be of that standard if not much higher, depending on how far away the game is. We know that the new engine will be used, thankfully, giving Bethesda's games a much-needed boost in its delivery.

More fluid combat - taking advantage of new consoles
Everyone knows and loves the animations delivered from Oblivion, Skyrim and Fallout, but seeing them on an Xbox Series X or PS5 or high-end PCs would be nothing short of embarrassing. To this end, we expect to see a far more fluid combat experience and, considering how powerful the new consoles are purporting to be, a richly detailed open world to explore.

Replayability
During an interview with IGN (opens in new tab) Howard gave a small update on what people can expect from the game. 

He said: "I think when they eventually see the game and what we have in mind, they'll understand the gap more in terms of technology and what we want it to do... We're eight years post-Skyrim. It lets us know going into Elder Scrolls 6 that this is a game we need to design for people to play for a decade at least."

From this, we know that Elder Scrolls 6 is being developed with longevity in mind. Of course, games like Skyrim and Oblivion are kept alive to this day purely by fans who make mods or those who simply can't get enough of it.

If this means there's more emphasis on replayability with branching and far-reaching consequences from certain decisions remains to be seen, but this could be one of the ways to keep the game interesting overtime.

Vic Hood
Associate Editor, TechRadar Gaming

Vic is TechRadar Gaming's Associate Editor. An award-winning games journalist, Vic brings experience from IGN, Eurogamer and more to the TechRadar table. You may have even heard her on the radio or speaking on a panel. Not only is Vic passionate about games, but she's also an avid mental health advocate who has appeared on both panels and podcasts to discuss mental health awareness. Make sure to follow her on Twitter for more.