As we continue to wait The Elder Scrolls 6 and – long before that – Star fieldveteran us Older scrolls fans continue to wonder about where Bethesda could take the long-awaited sixth major in their big fantasy streak.
Of course, at this point we’re pretty sure it’s literally going to either High Rock or Hammerfell, or maybe even both. But what about everything else? More importantly, what about the inevitable redesign of its gameplay and RPG modes? And beyond these elements, how big can it reasonably be?
As I discussed in my previous The Elder Scrolls 6 piece of speculation most people consider Skyrim and Elder Scrolls online fantasize about the next game. And that’s no mistake, especially considering the ridiculous number of Skyrim re-releases we’ve gotten in just over a decade; this game is very important to Bethesda Game Studios. Despite that Oblivion catapulting the franchise into the mainstream thanks to its pivotal role as one of the Xbox 360’s early must-haves, Skyrim’s shadow is almost inescapable, and it shaped the entire open-world genre, RPG or not.
However, the main criticism of Skyrim has always been how “reticent” it was when it came to the deeper RPG systems. I still think it’s the most alive and well-rounded Elder Scrolls, but it’s hard to deny that a good amount of Morrowind and Oblivion’s more unconventional ideas and systems have either been toned down or thrown out the window. In fact, this streamlining process, which ultimately benefited the series, has been going on since Daggerfall. And maybe it’s time to recover the lost pieces of really cool game design and quirky lore.
An easy win for The Elder Scrolls 6 would be to bring back spells – specifically missing from Skyrim for dumb balance reasons – to make magic-based builds much more appealing. Vanilla Oblivion already made pure mages not the coolest class… but the glorious, broken-as-shit magic made them worth playing. And if we go back to Morrowind or even Daggerfall, we’ll still find iterations of the neat add-on system that gave those games their special flavor. In the search for greater “realism” and coherence in the universe, Bethesda abandoned unique features that could have been easily improved. This is just an example.
In fact, the studio immediately reverted to a DIY philosophy with Fallout 4 – only four years after Skyrim – making the base-building and weapon-crafting systems key parts of the experience. Granted, the balance around them was tighter, but that meant an important realization that the freedom of choice for players was what actually made their modern games so timeless. Since then (Fallout 76 and Starfield) the customization side of their games has been sold left and right, and I fully expect The Elder Scrolls 6 to offer more on that front than just building houses and upgrading weapons.
It is also worth returning to the question of doubling stupid knowledge and strange imagination. If you like to read the in-game books in Skyrim or The Elder Scrolls Online, you’ll know that Bethesda hasn’t completely buried its quirky past – Tamriel is still a very strange fantasy place beneath the surface – but not many of those strange elements are gone. appear in games. Where did the boars of Daggerfall go? What the hell is with WHAT?
Even at their weirdest, Skyrim and Oblivion were designed to be mostly familiar, to ease new players into a more obscure fantasy universe. Now that everyone’s on the Todd Howard hype train, what’s stopping The Elder Scrolls from getting at least some awesome Fallout levels? In an increasingly crowded open-world fantasy game market, this series needs to bring out what makes it special in the first place.
It might sound like I’m disappointed with the direction the franchise has taken since Morrowind, but it’s quite the opposite: I think it’s become accessible and thoroughly enjoyable by ditching a lot of its half-baked systems in favor of simpler combat and skill mechanics. But I have to admit that this process has also lost the unbearable charm of The Elder Scrolls. As more and more new IPs try to replicate its formula and put their own spin on it, mining its well-crafted universe for the truly distinctive may be the key to its survival.
Yes, The Elder Scrolls isn’t ending anytime soon, but dreaming big is part of the franchise’s history and what pushed Bethesda to explore previously uncharted territory with barely 3D games at a time when most developers were still trying to figure out linear games from the ground up. persons.
That’s why Starfield fills me with hope – it’s the courage to blend the studio’s greatest strengths and areas of expertise with procedural technology that can facilitate unprecedented scale. No one should expect it to be perfect or as crowd-pleasing as Skyrim, but it will certainly be a serious experiment that will improve whatever comes after. If anyone can crack the balance of handmade and procedural for open world design, I believe it’s Bethesda. They’ve been there before, and success isn’t far off if they just stay true to their core principles.
In a way, The Elder Scrolls Online should also serve as a (semi) blueprint for The Elder Scrolls 6, at least in terms of how die-hard fans want their Elder Scrolls to be played. The DNA of Skyrim is there, but ZeniMax Online has wisely restored the old bits to make it shine as a true RPG. Moreover, it’s a lot like a single player RPG which happens to be populated by thousands of players on top of all the NPCs.
It has evolved into a compelling blend of Tamriel’s past adventures and forward-looking game design. Coupled with its vast yet artisanal world, I feel there’s a lot to learn from what others might dismiss as “just another MMO doing its thing.”
In a year, Bethesda Game Studios should be busy (actually, for real this time) preparing for the production of TES6. When we look at what’s next for them, where they’re coming from, and what everyone else is doing, it’s not unreasonable to expect a new kind of Daggerfall. That is, an ambitious fantasy role-playing game, full of ideas and knowledge of the past, but not afraid to explore unfamiliar paths and make new mistakes.