A promotional screenshot of Elder Scrolls 6 showing mountains in the distance.
Image via Bethesda

Todd Howard is doing us a favor by withholding the Elder Scrolls 6 release date

No date, no problem.

How often have we geared up for a game release, only to find there’s a delay in the weeks or months leading up to it? It’s become a common occurrence in gaming, and while it’s disappointing, most gamers appreciate it’s better to have a polished, delayed game than a bugged one that launches on time. The Cyberpunk 2077 debacle taught us exactly that. 

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But for others, the idea of developers moving the goalposts is enough to fuel a vitriol that spreads to social media and can even result in distrust of the development studio. 

It seems Bethesda learned a valuable lesson with Starfield: Sometimes, it’s better to say nothing about release dates. In a recent interview with IGN, Bethesda’s creative director, Todd Howard, was asked about whether the success of the Fallout TV show would affect the studio’s plan to release The Elder Scrolls 6 before Fallout 5.

“I’m going to avoid putting dates on anything,” Howard responded. “I’ve learned that the hard way. So obviously, our focus as far as new development right now is Elder Scrolls 6, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not making plans for other things.”

Howard is likely referring to the delay of Starfield, which was initially set to release in November 2022, then delayed again to the first half of 2023 before finally releasing in September 2023. Given Starfield was one of the most highly-anticipated games of the century, never mind the year, it’s unsurprising (but disappointing) that many Bethesda fans didn’t take the delays well.
The Elder Scrolls 6 is arguably even more coveted than Starfield was, and this time, Bethesda is staying (rightfully) tight-lipped.

Patience is a virtue

We already know The Elder Scrolls 6 likely isn’t coming anytime soon; we’re probably looking at a wait of at least a year or two (if we’re lucky). While fans may be clamoring for details on the next entry in the RPG series, I’d rather Bethesda has its ducks in a row before sharing information on potential dates.

Arguably, the studio prematurely gave a release window for Starfield only for fans to be left disappointed with the delays. While there were likely other factors at play in the announcement and subsequent release dates given for Starfield, it would have been better for Bethesda to hold back its release date announcement until the game was almost finished—and for prospective players to respect that.

Bethesda’s tight-lipped approach is the right one.

My hope for The Elder Scrolls 6 is that we’ll get a teaser in the next year or two, but the release date confirmation will come in the months leading up to launch when it’s clearer the finished product will be polished and ready for the promised date. Imagine the excitement of finding out there’s only a few months to wait for the next Elder Scrolls rather than a year? And to actually have it launch in a relatively bug-free state? Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, factors like shareholders, marketing, and so on all need to be considered behind the scenes. 

Bethesda’s tight-lipped approach is the right one. When The Elder Scrolls 6 is ready for airtime, we’ll know about it. For now, we have to be patient and play through Skyrim for the 100th time.

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Vic Hood
Vic is Gaming Editor at Dot Esports. An award-winning games journalist, Vic brings experience from IGN, Eurogamer, TechRadar, and more to the Dot Esports table. You may have even heard her on the radio or speaking on a panel. Not only is Vic passionate about games, but she's also an avid mental health advocate who has appeared on both panels and podcasts to discuss mental health awareness. Make sure to follow her on Twitter (@hood_vic) for more.