Given the massive critical and commercial success of 2011's The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, a sequel seems like a sure thing. While a sixth game in the fantasy series is not yet in active development, Bethesda marketing executive Pete Hines has come forward to say the studio will make the game in due time.
"The Elder Scrolls VI isn't in development," Hines said on Twitter. "We simply said we would make it eventually."
Back in June, Bethesda confirmed that The Elder Scrolls VI was not in development, with Hines saying, "We aren't working on TES6 at the moment." That statement isn't totally clear, however. It could be that preproduction, but not full production, is already under way. Preproduction on projects often begins long before actual production gets started, so it's possible that some work toward the development of the unannounced game has been done. This is not confirmed, however.
A Guerrilla Games developer told us at E3 that preproduction on Horizon: Zero Dawn started six years ago, in 2010, but the studio has only been in full production for 2.5 years. From the sound of Hines' statement, however, it could be that even preproduction on the project has not started.
The Elder Scrolls VI also came up in an interview Hines recently gave to MMORPG.
"This studio [Bethesda Game Studios] is not a vending machine," he said. "They're not a two-button vending machine, where first we press Elder Scrolls and then we press Fallout, and then we press Elder Scrolls and then we press Fallout...They're an incredibly talented studio of creative people. They've now made four games in a row, all of which were named Game of the Year, and they have a right to decide what they're interested in working on next and which direction they want to go."
Hines went on to say that he doesn't question director Todd Howard when he talks about what game he wants to make next.
"He's got reasons why, and I think once we get down the road, those reasons will be more evident to folks once we get there, or maybe not," Hines said. "But at the end of the day, these folks have a right to not just have to make Elder Scrolls game after Elder Scrolls game, which is why they switched to Fallout, and they have a right to stretch their legs and try something else or do something different.
"I know what they're working on for the next decade, and I think all of them are things to get excited about, for different reasons, and once they come out, folks will enjoy them for what they are."
As for what Bethesda Game Studios is working on if it's not a new mainline Elder Scrolls game, the studio is cooking up "three big and crazy" projects, according to Todd Howard. He's since walked back that comment, however.
"I should have never said a number because we have so many things. You could add it up in different ways," he said in an interview. "You could say it's bigger or smaller. They're a long way off. I think the larger point was, no one should expect to hear about those [games] anytime soon. We always overlap projects. We just have more going on now than we had before."
Following the big success of mobile game Fallout Shelter, Bethesda also plans to make more mobile titles in the future. Additionally, a new Elder Scrolls spinoff game, The Elder Scrolls Legends, is coming out for mobile devices and PC later this year.
Looking further out, Howard said previously said he has "lots of ideas" for what might come next after Bethesda Game Studios' latest release, Fallout 4. Another area that Bethesda is looking at is virtual reality, though Howard made it clear that it is still very much early days and it remains to be seen how much attention Bethesda will give to it.
"We're exploring some things [in VR]. We'll see where that heads," he said. "We don't want to talk about it quite yet until we've figured some things out."
What would you like to see from an Elder Scrolls VI if it ever happens? Let us know in the comments below!