The Elder Scrolls VI will not be coming out on the PlayStation 5 or the Switch – it’ll only be available on the PC and Xbox Series platforms. This development only happened after Microsoft acquired Bethesda Game Studios’ parent company ZeniMax. Xbox boss Phil Spencer insists that the exclusivity isn’t about “punishing” other platforms.
Starfield, Bethesda’s upcoming game, will also be exclusive to the Xbox and PC platforms. Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg was recently forced to clarify that it won’t be coming out on the PlayStation after fans speculated on the possibility of a PlayStation 5 release.
In a new interview with GQ, the head of Xbox at Microsoft said that making it exclusive to the PC and Xbox was important for it to take advantage of the “full package” of what Microsoft offers.
“It’s not about punishing any other platform, like I fundamentally believe all of the platforms can continue to grow,” he said. “But in order to be on Xbox, I want us to be able to bring the full complete package of what we have. And that would be true when I think about Elder Scrolls VI. That would be true when I think about any of our franchises.”
Spencer is apparently referring to everything Microsoft offers its platform-exclusive games, including Xbox Live, Game Pass, Cloud Gaming, and other features that might otherwise be cut off if The Elder Scrolls VI released on the Switch and PlayStation 5.
Spencer was joined by Bethesda Game Studios director Todd Howard, who explained that The Elder Scrolls VI will be built on the technology the studio is currently developing for Starfield.
“We’ve been designing,” Howard says offhandedly. Starfield’s technology base has been providing the next-gen features and tech to The Elder Scrolls VI, which, if you do the maths, will arrive some fifteen to seventeen years after Skyrim. Several lifetimes in game dev. Yet the “ultimate goal” for Howard is still the same. “I do this weird exercise that I like,” he explains. “You go back and you read a review of the first Elder Scrolls. And then you read The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion’s, then you read The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’s. You black out a couple things. And they read the same. ‘You’ve stepped out and oh my gosh, it feels so real.’ People change. Technology changes. But the ultimate goal is still to make it so that, when you boot the game up, you feel like you’ve been transported.”
Ironically, this month also sees another important Xbox birthday: the tenth anniversary of Skyrim. The game, re-released so many times in the last decade that it’s literally playable via Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, has an almost undying legacy. It’s this game specifically that amps up the pressure for the sequel. “I think that would drive me crazy to try to say, ‘Okay, this is the thing you have to top,’” Howard says as he considers the game’s long life. “But then you realise, like, The Elder Scrolls VI has got to be a ‘decade game’. How do you make a game where you go into it, like, ‘people have to play it for a decade?’”
Starfield will be out in November 2022. There’s no release date for The Elder Scrolls VI.