Until this year, Bethesda had a modus operandi- they would announce games just a few months away, and then release them after a short hype cycle. They’d done it with Skyrim, Fallout 4, they had done it with games like Wolfenstein 2, The Evil Within 2, and Prey. But this year, they mixed things up when they announced Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6– both “next generation games” by their own admission, and years away- way ahead of time.
So, uh- why do that? Why, exactly, did Bethesda break the trend and announce these games so early? Was it to finally shut up the people who have been hounding them about these two games (especially The Elder Scrolls 6)? According to Todd Howard, it was to reassure fans- Bethesda, announcing Fallout 76, an online game, and The Elder Scrolls Blades, a mobile game, wanted to reassure fans that the kinds of games they love- epic single player RPGs- are still coming.
“That was a debate, ‘Should we do this?'” said Howard, in an interview with Eurogamer. “There were two things in our heads about that. One, we’re going to E3 and showing a new Fallout game which is very different than we usually do, and then we’re going to show you an Elder Scrolls game that is very different than we would usually do, and if we leave it just at that, our fans are like, ‘… – Are you still going to do the things I love?’
“We had already said publicly, ‘We are eventually going to do Elder Scrolls 6 but we have these other projects…’ and we felt like we would be saying that same thing right after E3 at something like this [Gamelab], so let’s make sure our fans know this is coming, and in what order. They don’t know what years – we have some ideas but we’re not positive either – but ‘here are the things we’re going to be doing’.”
He pointed out that the development of both games, Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6, was already public knowledge, and people had been speculating on both games for a very long time- so it was better to just formalize the whole thing by officially announcing them.
“It’s better to say we’re making it. It makes life a little bit easier for us. [If we didn’t say anything] they would be disappointed and they’d still ask ‘What about Starfield?’ and ‘What about Elder Scrolls 6?’. But it’s also exciting! We’re excited; we want to share it with everybody.
“The negative is,” he added, “are we distracting from what we’re putting out now? But people get it. Let’s just be upfront – this is what we’re doing, when, and in what order.”
I really like shorter hype cycles, but I get why Bethesda felt they had to do what they did- and I empathize. And, maybe this is a bit hypocritical in this case, but I actually am glad they did. It may just be a logo, but The Elder Scrolls 6 is already one of my most anticipated upcoming games now.