- Bethesda’s reputation has declined in recent years due to questions about repetitive game design, but the studio has the potential to bring something great with The Elder Scrolls 6.
- The announcement of The Elder Scrolls 6 preceded the release of Fallout 76, which received heavy criticism. The reveal may have been an effort to redeem Bethesda’s reputation.
- Bethesda faces a challenge in how it handles marketing for The Elder Scrolls 6. It can either stay silent for bigger hype later, or start building the game’s image early, but it must avoid making false promises.
Bethesda has seen a shift in its reputation over recent years, as it once ruled the role-playing roost but seems to have fallen from grace. It has been hit with a couple of questions about its repetitive game design, like in Starfield, which has stunted its impact in the AAA space today, even with The Elder Scrolls 6 looming on the horizon.
However, if there’s any studio with the ability to turn the tides and bring something great, it’s Bethesda, as it has two of gaming’s biggest properties under its belt, and each has endless potential to shape the RPG space. Little is known about The Elder Scrolls 6 since its reveal over half a decade ago, and now that Starfield has hit shelves, the way the developer handles marketing for the successor to Skyrim poses a challenge, as it could either stay silent for a while longer, or use the next few years to build the game’s image early.
With rumors of an Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion remaster in the works, it could show what The Elder Scrolls 6 will be like visually and mechanically.
Bethesda’s history with the RPG genre is storied, and some argue that the company truly peaked with The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim. It was a medium-defining experience that millions of players around the world have enjoyed for years on end thanks to plenty of remasters and rereleases. Bethesda returned to Fallout in 2015, serving as a reminder that it is not just a one-property studio, and while Fallout 4 was a success, it didn’t reach the heights of Skyrim.
There was little doubt that The Elder Scrolls 6 would release one day; it was more a question of when. The franchise will have to compete with other RPG juggernauts like The Witcher and upcoming projects from Obsidian and Larian Studios, as the genre is becoming more packed with worthwhile offerings. The way Bethesda handles the next few years in terms of promotion for The Elder Scrolls 6 will be instrumental in its ability to generate hype and anticipation, as the release of Starfield means TES6 is projected to be Bethesda’s next full release.
The Elder Scrolls 6’s Announcement Seemed Like a Distraction from the Big Problem
The Elder Scrolls 6‘s announcement preceded the release of Fallout 76, which received heavy criticism for its poor performance at launch. It almost felt as though it was a desperate effort to stay in the good graces of gamers, promising something very anticipated to counter the underwhelming release of Fallout 76. Six years is a long time to say nothing, and the time between its reveal and its release demands a substantial decision as to how it will be handled moving forward.
The way the developer handles marketing for the successor to Skyrim poses a challenge, as it could either stay silent for a while longer, or use the next few years to build the legacy early.
Bethesda’s Early TES6 Announcenent is a Blessing and a Curse
The Elder Scrolls 6 was announced with an all-too-brief trailer at E3 2018. It served only to confirm that Bethesda intends to release TES6 at some point, but nothing more. Now, it can either go all out with marketing as soon as possible to drum up interest early, or keep a tight-lipped approach like it has until now. The reveal almost six years ago has ensured it has an uncommon promotional cycle, and Bethesda has to now adapt in the way it handles marketing moving forward, finding the best way to keep fans excited, but not to the point where The Elder Scrolls 6 feels like a collection of false promises.
Fallout 4’s Announcement was Short, and So Sweet
Fallout 4‘s announcement was so memorable because it ended with the news that it would release later that year. Its existence was rumored, but the official reveal was not held back by this at all, with it being all people could talk about following an otherwise busy E3 2015. Fallout 4 showed that silence prior to launch can truly be golden, and that seven years of wait between the third and fourth games could be forgotten when the promise of a new open-world RPG in just a few short months presents itself.
The fork in the road for TES6 is obvious; the coming months, and years, are critical to how it will be remembered. To share news now would be instantly gratifying for fans and could give the developer the opportunity to control its own narrative, but Fallout 4 showed that there are benefits to being tight-lipped.
The Elder Scrolls 6
- Bethesda Game Studios
- Bethesda Softworks