Don't Hold Your Breath For A New Elder Scrolls, May Skip Current Gen Consoles Entirely

The Elder Scrolls series started out quite different from how it's known these days. The early Elder Scrolls games, Arena and Daggerfall, were technically-impressive and mechanically-complex games strictly for adults, with mature content and difficult systems everywhere. They released on a fairly-exclusive platform at the time, the IBM-compatible PC, and found success with a relatively minuscule audience of extremely hard-core gamers.

In contrast, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was far removed from its progenitors: a streamlined action-RPG experience made accessible to casual gamers. It came at a time when gaming had finally grown enough to challenge film and TV as the dominant form of entertainment, and the epic viking-inspired fantasy RPG was an enormous success for Bethesda upon its releases in 2011, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2021.

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We're not sure if the fact that Skyrim still looks good to us says more about us or the industry.

Jokes aside, it's been twelve years since Skyrim originally came out, so it's high time for a new game, right? Not quite. While testifying before the US Federal Trade Commission, Xbox's Phil Spencer remarked that the next main-series Elder Scrolls title is still "five plus years away." That means we're looking at a 2028 release date for a game that was revealed in 2018—if we're lucky.

In that context it's no surprise that when he was asked what platforms it would be released for, Spencer stated that it's "difficult for [Xbox] right now to nail down." If the release window for the game is five or more years from now, then it's almost assuredly going to miss the current-generation consoles that have already been out for three years—unless Zenimax ends up doing some sort of cross-generation thing like so many AAA titles have done between the Xbox One and Xbox Series consoles in the last three years.

According to IGN, Spencer stated in his deposition that he "made public statements that Elder Scrolls 6 will skip PlayStation," but in the hearing yesterday, he said that he doesn't recall those statements. Well, we do—back in 2021, Spencer said that he sees TES 6 as being "similar to Starfield," and that he believes exclusivity allows the developer to "bring the full complete package."

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Seriously, though, Final Fantasy XVI looks incredible.

That's not a totally baseless remark. If you look at recent console exclusives like the just-released Final Fantasy XVI, targeting a single platform can really allow you to push the hardware in ways that a multi-platform release will struggle with. With that in mind, we'd frankly be shocked if TES 6 came out on any console with a name that doesn't start with "Xbox."

Of course, just like Starfield (and eventually, Final Fantasy XVI), Elder Scrolls 6 is almost assuredly going to launch for the PC. Hopefully it looks at least as good as the fan-made Skyrim remakes.