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Why I’m Not Worried About The Elder Scrolls VI

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I think it’s fair to say that Bethesda’s reputation has taken a bit of a self-inflicted wallop in recent months.

With seemingly controversy after controversy, and countless missteps in the wake of Fallout 76, fans have reasonable calls for concern about the company going forward. With projects like Starfield, or more importantly, The Elder Scrolls VI in the coming years from the developer, 76 was a shakeup none of us asked for.

With that still-ongoing trainwreck in mind, I’m personally not worried about the overall quality of The Elder Scrolls VI. The Elder Scrolls franchise is essentially the life-blood of Bethesda Softworks. From 1994’s flagship title Arena, to the eternally re-released entry of Skyrim, The Elder Scrolls is Bethesda.

With every entry, they’ve shown it great love and care during development and production. Meanwhile, Bethesda has a tendency of using the acquired Fallout franchise as a guinea pig to test new ideas, to varying degrees of success. The Elder Scrolls is the golden child to the company, while Fallout is the periodically neglected younger sibling.

I want you to think back to 2008. Do you remember how Fallout 3 was often described as “Oblivion with guns”? That’s essentially what it was, as Bethesda’s first dive into the post-apocalypse. Rather than the fantasy settings we were all used to, Bethesda used the mix of open wastelands and tattered urban sprawls as a well disguised testing ground for new animation styles for more complex enemy types, as well as gore following critical hits. It also allowed the studio to draw a new audience, siphoning in many players of the original Fallout titles as well as appealing to players who wanted something other than fantasy from an RPG.

Bethesda would carry over many new animations to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for use with both friend and foe, the most obvious similarities being seen in the giant spiders and werewolves which share striking similarity to the movements of Fallout 3‘s Radscorpions and Deathclaws. Gore would also be applied, though more sparingly than in Fallout 3, in the form of decapitations under certain circumstances.

With Fallout 4, Fallout Shelter, and Fallout 76 Bethesda has been making their guinea pig approach for more obvious, shoving many new systems in our face as well as streamlining many aspects of the game. They’ve experimented by making the dialogue tree be boiled down to four choices. They’ve experimented heavily with home and settlement building. They’ve egregiously experimented with how far they can poke and prod people for DLC investment. To call how they treat the Fallout series their own Bikini Atoll would be an apt comparison. Make no mistake, they’ve been watching user feedback on these titles to determine what will stick and what is better being scrapped going forward.

I think in The Elder Scrolls VI we are likely to see home and settlement building expanded upon further, but I think they will return to a more traditional dialogue system to allow creative-freedom to the player to build up a character as good or evil as they want (in Fallout 4, it seemed as though your options were to either be pure-good or sarcastic-neutral).

I also think that what we see of DLC is going to be greatly determined by how well the Atom Shop does in Fallout 76 as far as the nickle-and-diming type of content goes. I think we can still expect to see major pieces of content at reasonable prices, but at this rate I still won’t be surprised to see things like home decor sold at pin-prick pricing so that the total sneaks up on the unwary.

Yes, Fallout 76 left a bad taste in my mouth. But sitting back and watching it play out, the more I pondered, the more I considered that The Elder Scrolls VI has no release window even remotely in sight has lead me to speculate that this was another testing ground.

Perhaps they were considering at one point of implementing a co-op mechanic. I now find that unlikely. It may be an idea they return to later, but after 76 falling face first, I expect we will see them abandon the things that failed for now. It’s because of this that I’m not worried about the future of The Elder Scrolls or of Fallout.

Another major mistake is not something they can afford any time soon, especially not with their main franchise.

Thanks for reading, we hope you enjoyed the article! If you’d like to see some related content, and support Exclusively Games in the process, click on our Amazon Affiliate links listed below to find related products. – EG Staff

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  1. I’m also not worried because I don’t care about the series, but that’s besides the point.

    Bethesda are ultimately lazy and Fallout 76 was a test for how much they can get away with. While I’m sure they’ll put more effort in Elder Scrolls VI, this doesn’t mean the game won’t have some of the typical issues. The microtransactions store is a given in my view since most AAA games have them including the recently released Devil May Cry 5.

    • They wouldn’t be in games if people didn’t use them. It’s a vicious circle and it won’t end….if it did the industry would immediately crash.

  2. Baxterbeats on March 9, 2019 at 2:12 pm said

    Massive Elder Scrolls fan who ultimately no longer cares. Thought oblivion storytelling and systems were much better than Skyrim, far too long between titles, hated Fallout 4, never went anywhere near 76 and looking forward to the Outer Worlds. Just hoping that someone else comes along and makes an open world fantasy RPG. Bethesda can rot.

    • Amen brother. Someone needs to release something new, IMO with more depth to the combat, and in a newer Engine.

      • The reason they are using the same engine as Morrowind is because how easy it is to mod and they don’t want to lose that.

        Making a completely new engine that is as good for modding will be incredibly difficult and expensive which is why they haven’t done it. Believe me the team wants a new engine with proper tools and less bugs.

        • SizeablePunch on March 12, 2019 at 5:55 am said

          Well see if it was necessary to keep an old tired worn-out outdated clunky and overall crash-prone engine around as soon as Obsidian releases their title. Like fallout 4, the say they will add support for modding soon after the game is released. I hope Bethesda is paying attention.

    • HaloFromMetroid on March 10, 2019 at 8:02 pm said

      I agree, Oblivion still holds up better against Skyrim today IMO, the latter being pretty bland unfortunately because I loved it when it launched. Fallout 4 was decent but a devastatingly disappointing game compared to expectations.

      Someone definitely needs to take up the helm of a massive open world fantasy RPG ala The Elder Scrolls style; would definitely back it up, whereas Bethesda I can and no longer will support.

      • Baxterbeats on March 10, 2019 at 10:35 pm said

        Think I could probably forgive Bethesda if they fire Todd Howard, he seems like he totally misunderstands what made Bethesda great in the first place and is intent on dumbing everything down to zero. He still hasn’t figured out why Redguard was a flop.

        • Howard was forced by his bosses to do what’s been done. He really has nothing to do with Fallout 76 when you get down to it because him and the “real” team are likely working on elder scrolls 6.

          • Baxterbeats on March 11, 2019 at 1:54 pm said

            So what was the excuse for the dumbing down from morrowind to oblivion to Skyrim to fallout 4. Morrowind was his first project as head, I would imagine most ideas and systems came from other members of the team as he was not experienced at that time and you only have to listen to his many interviews where the horse’s mouth tells you he’s adamant these games should be dumbed down.

  3. The next game will be the real blow in Steam’s face when Bethesda announces it as exclusive of their store, just like Cyberpunk will be of GoG.
    The irony is that a lot of people, myself included, were forced to use Steam just to play Skyrim.

    • I’m pretty sure GOG/CDPR has already stated that Cyberpunk will not be exclusive, although it might have some exclusive extras (like artbooks or something.

      • CDPR actually got an offer from Epic, which they turned down. or at least, it’s what I’ve heard. Might be more rumor than fact, but it does sound like something CDPR would do.

  4. Damian Cunliffe on March 9, 2019 at 9:06 pm said

    I’m not worried either. TES (and Fallout) games are getting more and more dumbed down with each release. As far as I’m concerned the last good TES game was Oblivion and the last good Fallout game was NV. Everything since has been very poor. Skyrim and Fallout 4 may have sold a trillion copies throughout the universe but they were hollow. No substance to them… just lots of action with very little depth or roleplaying. So yeah, I’m not worried… because I’m not even planning on buying it.

  5. earthmanbrick on March 9, 2019 at 9:18 pm said

    I think the likes of Fallout & Elder Scrolls have gone too corporate in their engine structure; gone are the creative immersive dialogues, decisions & plots

    It’s ok though because we have the likes of The Outer Worlds, Cyberpunk & the new, Pillars of Eternity

    ElderScrolls & Fallout had their hayday & now it’s gone the way of Battlefield, CoD, C&C… time for the new players to take the field

  6. Please do not mess this up Bethesda

  7. Abrar Zaman on March 10, 2019 at 3:30 am said

    I know that CD Projekt Red and Gog Galaxy are related but have they formally come out and stated that it will only be available on Gog?

    Also, thankfully they passed on epic’s offer.

  8. ProfessorSnip on March 10, 2019 at 7:21 am said

    I am worried.

    Every Elder Scrolls game has been increasingly dumbed down. This has been the case for Fallout games as well, with the exception of New Vegas. They have been transformed from complex, skill based RPGs into a generic hack’n’slash/shooter. Each game gets smaller, skills get lumped in together, options become narrower and narrower. The games have improved graphically since Daggerfall (and Fallout 2), but the now 20 year-old engine has lost its luster. These games are notorious for being disasters at launch, containing game-wrecking bugs, graphical glitches, and broken questlines, eventually requiring the mod community to fix the unresolved issues.

    That very same community (the modders that are clearly more creative, more devoted, more skilled) have been the crutch that has kept this sinking ship afloat. They have truly become the game developers that Bethesda relies on. When Todd Howard says Bethesda will keep using the same engine for future games because it is easy and efficient and the modders know how to work with it, it means he knows that modders will rescue whatever garbage they turn out.

    If Bethesda had included the mod assets the community made for free for Fallout 4, and released Fallout ’76 as a $20 multiplayer experiment, that might have been acceptable. As it stands, they should have printed out all the game code on reams of paper and forced Todd Howard to eat them. By the time TES6 and Starfield come out, likely on PS5 and NextBox, there will be an entirely new group of gamers that never played Morrowind or Oblivion. They may not have even played Skyrim or Fallout 4. Instead of fond memories, it will be the nightmare that is ’76 on their minds.

    I have played all of them, from Arena to Skyrim, the original Fallout to ’76. It has been a downhill journey. The only saving grace has been the true source of this sickness: the modding community itself. Its willingness and abilities have allowed Bethesda to be safe in the knowledge that whatever Bethesda makes, the modders will create for us a richer, deeper world. They will flesh out the skill trees and spells, weapons and armor. They will give us more compelling locations and quests, improved companions, and often better voice acting. They will do it because they care more for these properties than Bethesda themselves, and, in the end, their sickness is the cure.

    I started this by saying, “I am worried.” Reading this over, maybe I have allayed my own concerns a bit, but I wonder how long this balancing act can last.

    • Baxterbeats on March 10, 2019 at 10:40 pm said

      Personally I don’t blame the engine, I blame the development team. They seem glaringly unable to adapt, unwilling to hire and have a ‘that will do’ approach to pretty much everything they do. I mean look at Skyrim in 2019 on YouTube with 300 mods, the characters, environment and some of the animations look truly incredible. All at the hands of modders, done for free in their bedrooms with zero budget. Bethesda should be embarrassed.

  9. I expect the same level of quality as we got from fallout 76.

    I have no hope for the new the Elder Scrolls VI

  10. wow that was a nice perspective that changed my mind a little bit about i am viewing the things right now
    good job

  11. If they announce it as a 2019 release I’ll be VERY worried, if it’s 2020 or beyond I’ll be relieved, remember that famous Miyamoto quote about rushing games out the door.

  12. Dapperstache Theatres on March 10, 2019 at 10:09 pm said

    It’s not promising.

    I get their desire to keep using the same editor, but at what point does your saving grave become the boulder around your neck dragging you down. Modding is now seen as a way to monetize content that they didn’t create. Bethesda is unwilling or unable to innovate in the graphical fidelity departments as much as they are the RP genre, narrative, voice acting, etc. There is competition now, and not just CDPR. Warhorse made a pretty decent first attempt at the RP genre with KC:D, Guerrilla’s HZD, heck, even Nintendo has had to innovate with Zelda. The pastiche of duck tape, butchered code and eurojank animations aren’t cute anymore. The only way they could possibly redeem themselves is to move on to an entirely new engine and approach with TESVI.

  13. IF they add micro transactions.. Im not paying for skyrim.. simple as that..

  14. BrigandBoy on March 11, 2019 at 5:05 pm said

    I disagree. With every entry to the Elder Scrolls series since Daggerfall, the graphics have gotten better, but the content has become dumbed down. The bugs have increased as the engine has remained mostly the same with a bunch of additional bulk added to it (textures, triggers, etc).

    The story has gone from a completely open and free thing to a themepark on rails with some sidequests thrown in. Sometimes the sidequests are fun. Sometimes they are not.

    Your impact on the world also is questionable. In Skyrim, for instance, in the city of Markarth you fight an elder Dramora lord, investigate grisly murders, delve into a crazy Dwomer dungeon, and overthrow to a lesser or greater extent the people ruling the city.

    And when it’s all done, no one cares. There are no banners up for you. No new greetings. No offers of employment, or bounty hunters running after you for revenge…. you complete the quests, the trigger events conclude, and it’s like none of it ever happened.

    Bethesda do not care about making their world feel as if it were alive. They care about selling a product and making money. I do not doubt for a single instant that ES6 will feature microtransactions, be always online, and be only available through the Bethesda store (so refunds will not be possible.)

  15. Considering the amounts of negligence and shortcuts made with Skyrim, and clear tendency for oversimplification, growing tide of not giving a damn about lore of both series, and increasing disconnect with the audience, I wouldn’t be so vonfident in any following Bethesda product.

  16. Anthony Founder on March 14, 2019 at 5:40 am said

    Im terrified. They strayed so far away from morrowinds no hand holding massive full blown rpg. Without a new engine or upgraded engine im giving es 6 without mods a 4/10, with mods after a year 7/10. I love the elder scrolls series but im terrified of their future/present business models

  17. Mr_Faorry on March 17, 2019 at 1:13 am said

    Bethesda has a history of settling for ‘good enough’, with FO76 getting the backlash it did they’ve learnt from that. It shows by them delaying the release of Elder Scrolls Blades by several months which means that they settled for ‘good enough’ in that but have revised that decision and decided to improve on what they’ve done and make it better. Hopefully this follows through with Starfield and ES6 when they come around.

  18. floppypop on May 8, 2019 at 1:56 am said

    Skyrim opened me up to the best aspects of the open-world formula that many games have tried to replicate, mostly with middling results. Honestly because of that I will probably still buy this game or get it on discount if day one reviews spark a massive outrage.

  19. I am still pretty nervous for TESVI, I love this series so much that I’ll probably over hype the game and never end up satisfied (similar to how Half-Life 3 might be received, very hypothetically).

    One thing I took away from this article was the settlement building aspect. My prediction is that TESVI will take place in High Rock AND Hammerfell, and probably shortly after the events of Skyrim to conclude the war between the Thalmor, the Empire, and any independent nations. This plot and game mechanic would fit perfectly with lore of warring Breton clans in High Rock. You could build up your preferred clan and expand your territory to either unite or conquer the others. Then I imagine a three way power struggle between the Thalmor, the Empire and whatever allies you acquire (Redguards, Nords and Dunmer seem to hate them both if I’m remembering my lore correctly). Choose to side with either power against the other or tell them both to sod off so every race can enjoy autonomy.

    This would be the plot of the main quest, but I see no reason why this mechanic couldn’t be implemented into the various guilds. Expand the Fighter’s Guild across the desert of Hammerfell, securing outposts and key roads to allow for safer, free trade within the nation. Create a smuggler’s conglomerate around the Iliac Bay and the coasts with the Thieve’s Guild. Build a network of excavation sights for the Mage’s Guild, searching for old magics and technology of the ancient Aldmer.

    And of course, all this speculation is just me getting worked up over the next installment in the Elder Scrolls series, leaving the door wide open for Bethesda to drop a load on my doormat and letting the wind waft the stench into my house. Todd Howard please don’t let us down.

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