The Elder Scrolls 6: Does It Have The Potential To Surpass The Witcher 3?

Can Bethesda reclaim the crown they lost to CD Projekt RED?

Posted By | On 10th, Apr. 2016 Under News | Follow This Author @Pramath1605


Bethesda have been outdone at their own game- for the longest time, they were the standard in open world RPGs, with The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion, Fallout 3, and The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim repeatedly raising the bar, and setting the standard by which all other games of their ilk would be judged. And there were a lot of similar games- in the wake of Skyrim‘s success, developers rushed to cash in on this new trend in the market.

But Bethesda remained top dog for the longest time until, finally, the release of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt by CD Projekt RED changed that last year.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a special game– it definitely lacks the almost sandbox nature of Bethesda’s games, but it never restricts the player’s freedom, giving them a vast open, gorgeously realized world, framed with incredible context to make the player actually care, and, using a clever combination of choice and consequence, as well emergent storytelling, immerses them in its world. A clever combination of great writing and deep and nuanced mechanics make it a very incredible game- it completely overshadowed every other game last year, including Bethesda’s own Fallout 4.

That’s right, Fallout 4 was the first Bethesda game that didn’t get universal accolades and acclaim in its year of release, owing largely to The Witcher 3 having raised the bar earlier in the year, and Fallout 4 comparing unfavorably to it. So Bethesda need to reclaim the crown, now- and while a lot of fans will probably argue that they can do just that with the upcoming Elder Scrolls 6, I do question the wisdom of those predictions.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Bethesda, and Skyrim is probably one of my favorite games of the previous generation. It’s just that they have shown their hand with Fallout 4, and their development path precludes them making a game that can be better than The Witcher 3.

Bethesda are, at this point, more interested in making a sandbox than they are in making any kind of a defined experience for the player. They emphasize player freedom and agency over structure, and this is also evident in how they design their game mechanics at this point. Fallout 4 dumbed down its conversation choices to basically make them quick, instead of the lengthy dialog selection that used to stall the pace of the game below, but in doing so, it significantly reduced the meaning or context attached to those dialog options. It also completely dumbs down its leveling system, making it entirely perks based, essentially allowing players to bypass the need for classing or specialization entirely, and letting them be a jack and master of all trades- removing any meaning from ‘building’ your character, that is so integral to the RPG experience, in the process.

Given the immense success of Fallout 4, and Bethesda’s relentless drive to dumb down their games further with each release, it seems unlikely that they will suddenly change their design philosophy with their next game- which makes it very unlikely, then, that The Elder Scrolls 6 will actually surpass The Witcher 3. It could be a great game in its own right, providing players with a neat unstructured experience, but as far as open world RPGs go, it seems like The Witcher 3 may remain king of the hill for the time being.

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.

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  • leanton31

    Nice article. Beth needed some competition. I would like them to take on the challenge, but i pessimistic just like you. TW3 is a blend of Skyrim and Mass Effect, offering an vivid open world AND a cinematic experience with lovable characters. Beth never walked that territory, and in fact Fallout 4 is a let down as you said in terms of interaction. Beth also needs a new graphics engine. I mean NEW. It’s about time.

    • One With Shadows

      Fallout 4 a let down. Hahahaha. Oh man I love the sarcasm. Hahaha. Awesome.

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    • BijoirQuan

      it really was ive been a die hard fan of fallout since 2 and when i was playing 4 it felt like something was missing it didn’t have the charm that 3 did im not sayin nv because that was obsidian but it did feel lacking of content

    • One With Shadows

      Well ive been a die hard since #2 as well and i say it wasnt. Lol And you say it’s lacking content? Fallout 4?!? Dude it’s a completionists nightmare! You so crazy.

    • Wow

      As a fan since the original it was a giant let down. They turned an incredibly immersive rpg into an extremely dumbed down fps. In my opinion they traded everything that made the games great for a more refined combat system and building + settlements which have no impact whatsoever on the actual game. 4/10 at best.

  • Tom Firth-Jones

    Couldn’t agree more with the article. Witcher 3 has upped the ante. Bethesda are on the back foot and need to do way more that just put out slightly updated versions of the same game next time. Elder Scrolls 6 needs to take some lessons from The Witcher 3 or it won’t match it.

    • One With Shadows

      Hey buddy…I don’t want my Elder Scrolls being a match to the Witcher. That game was OK and all but puh-lease!! The level of depth in Bethesda’s epics dwarf the witcher.

    • Sr_Chalice

      Of course you don’t want YOUR Elder Scrolls being MATCHED to the Witcher. because you and all teh other FanBoys Will DickrYde Bethesda all day Long. Bethesda still thinks its 2002 and all their games are STUCK in 2002. They don’t make anytihng i personally enjoy, with exemption to DisHonored and that was by Arcane, so go figure. The only reason why people praise Skyrim is because Modders is what made that game what it is and that my friend screams terrible studio and publisher. Maybe i would be more incline to respect Bethesda/Zenimax if they didn’t have that god awful Parity rule, where every game must LOOK and Feel the same across all platforms. And in this case The games end up looking like PS 2.5 games. You Skyrim JerKOffs will put down anything that snot SKYRIM. Never played a game that was so aweful when it game to controls. C”mon man, stop the crap and just admit you only liked that garbage because of the story and you get to run around in Life Simulator. As a game that thing is terrible, as a Chop Wood Simulator its TERRIFIC. Haha… Pffffttt, Bethesda and their garbage.

    • One With Shadows

      He who writes the longest, cries the hardest. Lol

    • Sandy Wich

      Yea, the kids got issues.

      Bethesda games are amazing, some of the best games in the industry. Doesn’t matter what people think, they continue to smash records game after game, for good reason.

      LOVED FO4 btw.

    • One With Shadows

      Couldn’t agree more.

    • Nothing

      “LOVED FO4 btw.”

      Yeah, I loved it too, even after I played the vastly superior Witcher 3 .

    • One With Shadows

      A minute ago you said it was vastly inferior. Which is it?

    • Hessam Johnson

      Skyrim’s ” vanilla ” game is not much different than that of Witcher 3 when it comes to ” depth “. Actually it is the other way around, Witcher 3 has paid a lot more attention to details and side quests. What gives Skyrim the edge is the huge modding community that it has. But that does not justify what Bethesda does every time, and that is to just re-release slightly modified version of it’s games, and leaves it to modders to patch things up.

    • One With Shadows

      What gives Skyrim the edge is Fallout 3, Oblivion, Morrowind, etc. You see where I’m going here. A lonnng history of GOTYs acquires a fanbase of epic proportions. Maybe in time, CDPR will equal Bethesda’s levEl, but it’s not today.

    • Hessam Johnson

      Doesn’t matter. PoP, TR, MGS etc etc. A lot of game series have memorable and and even more cherished history with their huge fan base. But when they f up the latest games in their series, their fans don’t stick around and play a poorly made game, and for good reason. MGS 3 & 4 and peace walker were acclaimed universally, but even hardcore MGS fans were disappointed with Rising. same with PoP, TR and many other game franchises.
      The only reason people forget and forgive huge bugs and shortcomings in Bethesda games is because of a simple phrase.
      ” mods will fix it “.
      I sunk 200+ hours into Fallout 3. I probably played it more than 5 times from start to finish with almost all of the map explored. But i barely spent 30 hours playing Fallout 4 and uninstalled it right after i finished it. Because i expected a lot more from a game that created such a hype before it’s release. But instead i played a polished version of the same game i played 6 years before that with a few new tweaks and a base building option. I am not going to buy neither Fallout 5 nor TES 6 until i play it first and see if they have seriously put some effort into making it. Better graphics, better gameplay, and a lot less bugs.

    • One With Shadows

      You do realize Fallout 4 has won multiple GOTYS right?

    • leanton31

      TW3 also won multiple GOTYS. That’s not the point.

    • Hessam Johnson

      You can find numerous articles on the net from fans and critics alike about how disappointed they were with Fallout 4. GOTY 2015 was without a doubt Witcher 3 Wild Hunt. Even after that, the runner up would be either Bloodborne or MGS V, Not Fallout 4. I never understood what all the ” blind fan ” thing is about. Fallout 4 was an improved version of Fallout 3, and even failed to be that, because many flaws in Fallout 3 were simply carried on to 4 without being fixed. Sure, modders will patch it up just like they did with Skyrim, but that does not justify what Bethesda did. Mods are supposed to enrich the gaming experience and add new and exciting prospects, not to fix what the developers should have done in the first place.
      They need to get TES 6 ( probably their next RPG since Fallout 5 is years away ) exactly right, otherwise they are going to lose a lot of their fans.

    • Nothing

      Do you realize Witcher 3 won more GOTYs than an other game ever made?

    • Nothing

      “A lonnng history of GOTYs acquires a fanbase of epic proportions. Maybe in time, CDPR will equal Bethesda’s levEl, but it’s not today.”

      HAW HAW HAW!

      CDPR is vastly inferior to bethesda.

    • One With Shadows

      Agreed. Vastly inferior is well put.

    • leanton31

      I agree with you. The fact that Bethesda Game Studios’ Todd Howard praised The Witcher 3 so much gives a glimpse of hope. PS. Don’t mind the fanboys.

  • One With Shadows

    Bethesda lost a crown? When? This is news to me. I thought just a week ago they won GOTY…again.

  • Ainar

    So you do agree that Oblivion was dumbed down in comparison to Morrowind? 🙂

    Seriously though, it never ceases to amaze me how people keep forgetting that Bethesda have been in the game for a long time before Skyrim or Oblivion. You know, there’s a reason for those ‘IV’ and ‘V’ in the names of those games, try looking it up…

    They’ve been doing their own thing for decades and will continue to do so because it appeals to the fans of their games. It just so happened that there wasn’t really any competition in the fantasy RPG space when those few of theirs came out.

    • yup. Bethesda are the pack leader. they set the trend, and continue to do things that no other studios have done before. witcher, however impressive, is only following the path that bethesda cleared years ago.

    • Galvao18

      >”set the trend”
      >”do things that no other studios have done before”

      jesus christ…

    • leanton31

      But TW3 improved on many things. It doesn’t matter if you were first in the pole position, what matters is to remain first in the finishing line.

  • you’re…… comparing fallout with witcher.. comparing two wildly different games imo. thats not very smart. for the record, witcher was nice for the three days that I played it… fallout seems to be nice as well for the next three years that Ill be playing it. Bethesda has a basic core recipe that just works, and I believe they will remain king of Rpg gamesbas long as they follow it. nice try ptojekt Red, but no cigar.

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    • One With Shadows

      Yeah man. Or maybe I’m thinking of Deathclaw Steak. Lol.

    • hah! cool. can’t wait for the weekend now, so I can try that out 😉

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  • Kyle Hardee

    Listen… W3 was good but I still play Skyrim. I would love it if they announced ES6 or Skyrim 2. ESOL is ok but im not much for online games.

    • BijoirQuan

      skyrim 2 really

    • Kyle Hardee

      I know there won’t be a Skyrim 2. It will be The Elder Scrolls 6. I was just saying…

    • Yeah I agree. Skyrim and Fallout are still may main RPGs… I really can’t wait for ES6, it will be awesome.. of that I have no doubt

    • Hessam Johnson

      Bethesda needs to completely rewrite and significantly improve it’s engine. Just compare Witcher 3 Graphics and gameplay with Fallout 4, and keep in mind that Witcher was actually released prior to Fallout.

      Their engine is badly outdated. I loved Skyrim, but the game’s performance was simply poor and buggy as s*** even for 2011 standards.

      I am not really a big fan of narrative driven games. The whole point of an open world game is to play and be the character you want to be, not the one that the story pushes you to be. Witcher 3 and Skyrim might be similar in their open world mechanics, but when it comes down to the story and how you can actually play the game, they are way apart. Plus the mods for Bethesda games are a major advantage over other games. If only Witcher 3 had the same kind of flexibility and modding community, i am sure it would have been the absolute best game in the history of RPG games, surpassing even the Skyrim franchise.

  • davidintel

    Difficult to say what Bethesda will do, given the wildly successful Skyrim. It has sold over 23 million copies! So I’m not sure if they are feeling any pressure to up the ante, except to make the next one better than Skyrim.


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