Starfield might not even be out yet, but head of publishing Pete Hines has confirmed that The Elder Scrolls 6 is now in early development at Bethesda Game Studios. This news comes five years after the game was announced at E3 2018.
Speaking to Spanish site Vandal (and as translated by ResetEra user Shoot), Hines confirmed that the Skyrim successor had moved beyond the nascent pre-production phase that all major games go through and now has a formal team within the studio working on it.
“We have put all of our studio’s focus on making [Starfield] the best it can be,” he said, “And yes, there are people working on The Elder Scrolls 6, but this is what the studio has focused on. So no, you are not going to hear soon about The Elder Scrolls 6. Starfield is our focus for now, and it’s going to remain our priority for a while before we talk about anything else.”
When asked for clarification on whether he meant it was in pre-production, Hines said, “No. It’s in development, but it’s in early development.”
This is standard practice at pretty much all game developers, with an overlap period between game projects. Simplistically, as production on a game gets closer to release and polishing and bug fixing becomes the main focus, there’s less work for artists and creative leads to do, and game developers don’t want to leave too many idle hands within the studio. During this time there can be creative leads splintering off to do concept work on projects to try and get them greenlit, or they can go into pre-production to flesh out those concepts and ideas, or as is also pretty common, they can cook up ideas for DLC that will also help to ease the transition from one major project to the next.
Starfield will still be what the majority of Bethesda Game Studios is working on for a good while to come, with post-launch patches to stamp out bugs, and the announced Shattered Space story expansion DLC also in the works. However, they will also look to start ramping up production on Elder Scrolls 6 over the next year or so.
Oh, and if you thought five years was early for a game’s announcement, then let’s not forget that Bethesda is also planning to make Fallout 5 after Elder Scrolls 6. I wonder what phase of development that is in right now?