Starfield isn’t even out yet and Bethesda is already hyping up Fallout 5 and Elder Scrolls 6 as if they aren’t several years away. Todd Howard is likely just telling fans and interviewers what they want to hear when the other studio’s flagship franchises are brought up in conversation, but talking about them so casually gives into the worst kind of consumer hype and toxic industry practices. These games take years to make, and you’re talking about them as if they’re currently more than a design document locked away in a vault somewhere.
We’ve already seen Starfield delayed several times, and it will be almost eight years since the release of Fallout 4 when it’s finally in the hands of players. Taking that into account, here is a rough estimation of when its future games will launch compared to past ones.
- Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion – 2006
- Fallout 3 – 2008
- Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim – 2011
- Fallout 4 – 2015
- Starfield – 2023
- Elder Scrolls 6 – 2028
- Fallout 5 – 2032
That’s nine years until Fallout 5 if my incredibly scientific estimation proves correct so get your pre-orders in.
Making games isn’t getting any easier, especially when it comes to open world blockbusters like this. It requires bigger budgets, larger teams, increased resources, and likely hundreds of employees who will have no choice but to crunch their lives away to get them out the door. The Last of Us Part 2 was worked on by 2,000 different people, and Fallout 5 will be a massive game by comparison, and by 2032, likely as detailed too. We’ve talked about this several times at TheGamer previously, but our current model of game development is currently not sustainable. While some studios are throwing away crunch altogether and have results to show for this approach to well-being, the majority of big names are still having their teams work to the bone in order to get things out the door.
It’s unhealthy, and I wouldn’t be surprised if hundreds are currently working away on Starfield following its delay as Bethesda seeks to eliminate bugs and polish things before release. The studio is infamous for its bugs, with users happy to rectify design mistakes and shortcomings alongside visual flaws with mods immediately after release. Bethesda might be expecting this, or has even cut corners with the knowledge that its massive audience will forgive them for tripping up given the overall vastness of the game on offer. But Starfield is larger in scope and more mechanically ambitious than all that’s come before it, with the marketing reflecting that ambition and how it will dwarve the likes of Oblivion, Fallout 3, Skyrim, and Fallout 4.
This has been the case with every single new game from Bethesda Game Studios. It isn’t just an iterative improvement on its previous work, but a fundamental expansion that seeks to improve on every single quality regardless if it’s even necessary. Starfield sits in the same boat, and so will Elder Scrolls 6 and Fallout 5. Forget that last game, this next one is going to be absolutely wild. It lessens Starfield, a game we haven’t even had a chance to play yet, because Todd Howard is already out there shouting about what awaits us in the decades to come.
Settle down. While part of me understands the argument of, ‘Well, fans keep asking about it, so we might as well tell them it’s coming,’ perhaps you shouldn’t feed such impatience in the first place because it conjures up expectations that will never be met. I understand we’re all excited about these games, but can we just give it a rest for now? That goes for you too, Todd.
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