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Bethesda is currently running a bit of damage control on the expectations that some people have acquired for the next Elder Scrolls game. After game director Todd Howard acknowledged plans for Elder Scrolls 6, some people took it and ran with it. However, VP of marketing Pete Hines has calmed the masses by clarifying and responding to the rumors surrounding the game.
GameZone did a brief write-up on the fallout that Pete Hines is now trying to clean up like a bunch of escaped Super Mutants being rounded up in Diamond City and funneled back into the wasteland in Fallout 4. Hines took to Twitter to respond to some fan questions, one of which asked if any of the big AAA titles Bethesda is currently working on will take focus away from the Elder Scrolls 6's development. Hines responded by saying that a new Elder Scrolls isn't in development at the moment.
Hines further clarified to PC Gamer that Todd Howard made forward looking statements during E3 that they were "going" to make Elder Scrolls 6 and not that the game was actually actively in development.
GameZone reprinted Howard's statements where he mentioned that of course Bethesda were going to make an Elder Scrolls 6 but that it's a "very long ways off".
I think it's easy for some people to have misinterpreted the "very long ways off" as in Bethesda already working on the game and having the technology for it, when in reality they mean it's a "very long ways off" because they aren't currently working on it and it won't be coming anytime soon.
One of the things that Howard explicitly says in the quote is that one of the reasons the game is so far off is that they don't even actually have the technology for the kind of Elder Scrolls game that they want to make. He originally stated...
I could sit here and explain the game to you, and you would say, 'That sounds like you don't even have the technology - how long is that going to take?' And so it's something that's going to take a lot of time, what we have in mind for that game.
So there you have it. What Bethesda actually has in mind for the Elder Scrolls 6 isn't even possible right now because the technology isn't there.
Now the statement about technology could mean one or both of two things: first, they need to build brand new middleware to handle what they want to do. This could range from produceral AI behavior and dialogue trees to physics-based world interactions or deformable displacement mapping. Second, (and the more likely of the two) is that the console hardware just isn't capable of running what they have planned for the new Elder Scrolls.
It's entirely possible that if Bethesda wants to pursue a VR route for the new game, it just wouldn't be possible on the current generation of hardware. The question then becomes: would it be possible on the Xbox Scorpio or PS4 Neo? Well, it's a toss-up because there's still a lot about the specs that we don't know about. The Xbox Scorpio -- even with far higher specs than the PlayStation Neo -- still only contains a fraction of the power of something like a GTX 1080, which is the top of the line GPU on the market at the moment.
Of course, all we have right now is speculation and Bethesda's Pete Hines has been making the rounds to clear up Howard's statements and make sure that people know that the Elder Scrolls 6 is currently not in development at the moment.