Since the announcements of Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6 at E3 earlier this year, Bethesda have spoken extensively about why they chose to announce those games years ahead of their release. They did it not only to minimize questions about the two games, which had been the subject of countless rumours and speculations even prior to being announced, but also to reassure fans that the developer is still very much invested in making single player RPGs.
Recently, while speaking with with Stevivor, Bethesda’s SVP of marketing Pete Hines was asked about those announcements once again, with him re-iterating those points in response. He mentioned that Starfield, following Bethesda’s registration of that trademark, had been the subject of much speculation, while The Elder Scrolls 6 was also being something fans had been demanding for a long time. That, coupled with Fallout 76’s unusual online-centric nature, made the publisher decide that they would announce both games to get ahead of any questions about what direction they were headed in in light of Fallout 76.
“Some of it is the elephant in the room,” Hines said. “Starfield was a trademark we filed forever ago, and people were constantly asking about it. For TES 6 people were constantly asking about that too. If you combine those two things with Fallout 76 where what we’re doing is a very different game for that studio, and a departure for what they have done and are known for.
“I think it was in a large part due to the fact that we wanted to be transparent and say, ‘Look this is not only ever what the studio is going to do, this is something different and scary for us and it’s probably going to be a little scary for you, but it is something that we really want to try. And the next thing that we are doing is a new IP and a single player game.'”
“We didn’t want people to spin this as, ‘Oh, Bethesda Game Studios is now only doing online stuff,'” he continued. “So to sort of set the expectations for, ‘Look the next thing that we’re doing is this, then after that we are doing TES 6′, it defuses a lot of the hysteria around what we are working on. It gets in front of a lot of the questions that we knew people were going to ask, and that allowed us to set a road map for where that studio is headed.”
As it turns out, it’s a good thing Bethesda ended up announcing those games early. Given how Fallout 76 has been performing both critically and commercially, fans will probably be pleased with the fact that this doesn’t spell the future of Bethesda and the kind of games they will make.