Recently, Bethesda held their conference at E3. There was plenty of content to get excited for and some of the best bits were covered right here at MMOexaminer. Whether you were impressed with what you saw or not, it seems that the internet almost unanimously was crying out for something very specific: the announcement of the Elder Scrolls VI.
A single glimpse at the Bethesda Twitch chat during the E3 live stream confirmed that fans of the Elder Scrolls series wanted more adventures on Nirn. Just look at this screenshot where four separate people are demanding another new Elder Scrolls game. There are also mentions of Fallout, Elder Scrolls Legends, and an Oblivion remaster, but it is pretty clear that many fans wanted a new Elder Scrolls title to be announced this year. As a fan myself, however, I have to say I disagree. Now before anyone gets crazy, let me just explain myself. To really hammer my point home, I have to throw some history at you, so let’s take a look at the timeline of Elder Scrolls release dates.
I am all for more content coming from the Elder Scrolls universe, in fact I welcome it, but I would rather see the release of the Elder Scrolls VI in a few more years. Elder Scrolls games have a history of being fairly spaced out in terms of release dates and when they’re not, things turn sour pretty fast. The first installment of the series was Arena back in 1994, and two years after that players were given Daggerfall. In the next two years, two more Elder Scrolls games were released in rapid succession. Their names were the Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire and the Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard. Fans don’t really talk about either of these two titles either purposefully or because they legitimately don’t know they exist. Neither can really be described as a “good” game.
Four years after Adventures: Redguard, Bethesda released the Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, my personal favorite in the series. This game was groundbreaking in its time and really set the tone for the Elder Scrolls series and the fantasy RPG genre as a whole. Sure, there was DLC for the title that came out in the following years, but Bethesda wasn’t trying to push out new games and instead honed in on one fantastic one. This made an already great game absolutely incredible, all because they took a step back and really spent some time of creating a living, breathing world. The game wasn’t without faults, though. The character models were ugly, the UI was clunky, the story was sometimes unclear, and the combat was absolutely infuriating. But fans loved it for all its quirks and continued their love affair with the planet Nirn and the continent of Tamriel.
Fast-forward another four years to 2006 and the release of the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. This was yet another genre-defining title that gained some incredible traction. I can’t begin to fathom a number of hours I logged into this game just going from town to town, exploring all there was to offer, and picking up quests along the way. Oblivion fixed many of Morrowind’s issues by fully voicing all the characters, making the UI a bit less awkward, and really focusing on the story. The character models were still ugly, though, and there were plenty of ways to break the game which made everything from combat to bartering too easy to really enjoy.
There was a considerable spike in the series’ popularity when the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim came out five years later. Suddenly the image of a nordic warrior wearing a horned helmet became inseparable with the name “Elder Scrolls”. There were dragons, a simplified magic system so there were fewer options to break the game, a bigger world to explore, and best of all, the characters were pretty! Skyrim can really speak for itself so I won’t blather on about it too much, but the point is that the most popular game in the series also took the longest break in between release dates. The Elder Scrolls VI deserves to have years and years devoted to its story, gameplay, and environments. Open world RPGs take ludicrous amounts of time to get right, to begin with. When developers are dealing with an IP as well-known and beloved as the Elder Scrolls, it takes even longer.
If a new title in the series to be released this year, it would likely be running on the same engine that Bethesda built Skyrim and Fallout 4 on. There would be little to no changes in gameplay, and would most likely only feature a change of scenery. For some of you, that might be enough, but I look at that as Skyrim DLC.
If I’m going to pay $60 USD (or whatever ungodly amount triple A publishers are asking for a few years from now) then the Elder Scrolls VI better be built on a new or at least dramatically improved engine with less bug and fewer random crashes. Not only that, but I have high hopes for the location of the next game. With the release of the Elder Scrolls Online in 2014, players have gotten the chance to see many places in Tamriel we haven’t seen in the “main games” of the franchise. We have already spent time in previously unexplored lands like Black Marsh, Elsweyr, and the Summerset Isles. I submit to you that the next game should take place on an entirely different continent: Akavir. This would not only mean a completely foreign landscape, but likely the addition of the monkey, tiger, and snake-like races of men. Of course, that means more work for the developers which, in turn, would mean more additional time.
Because I love the Elder Scrolls as much as I do, I expect more from Bethesda and from the series overall. It is imperative for them to get the next installment right as it will affect the future of the franchise. So, with that said, take all the time you need, Bethesda. Make sure you don’t screw it up.
Do you agree with my views? When the Elder Scrolls VI finally does release, where would you like for it to take place? What would you like the plot to be? Let us know!