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Todd Howard kinda wishes he hadn't announced The Elder Scrolls 6 the way he did

 A vista of plains and mountains with the worlds "The Elder Scrolls VI" over the top.
A vista of plains and mountains with the worlds "The Elder Scrolls VI" over the top.

We've been talking an awful lot about Starfield over the past few weeks, but hey, what about Bethesda's other upcoming mega-RPG, The Elder Scrolls 6? It's been a full five years since the next great adventure in Tamriel was announced, and we still know absolutely nothing about it. That's unlikely to change anytime soon, judging from a new interview with GQ, in which game director Todd Howard admitted that if he had to do that reveal all over again, he might handle it a little differently.

The announcement of The Elder Scrolls 6 at the tail end of Bethesda's E3 2018 conference was incredibly brief—so brief that there were really only two things we could say about it: It's a very long way off, and there will be mountains. Nonetheless, the reaction to the long-awaited confirmation that something was coming at some point was uproarious. In fact it far outstripped the response to Starfield, which Bethesda had revealed immediately prior to the TES6 news.

Now here we are, five years later, and while Starfield is just a week away from becoming a playable reality, Elder Scrolls 6 is still only a title and some snowy peaks. Bethesda has been clear all along that Starfield is the priority and TES6 will come after, but five years with nothing to sustain us but the occasional acknowledgement that it will arrive one day… Well, that's an awfully long haul with no end in sight.

Here's Howard acknowledging that the dramatic 2018 reveal may not have been the best idea: "I have asked myself that a lot,” he replied when asked if he regrets announcing the game so early. "I don’t know. I probably would’ve announced it more casually."

Howard confirmed that The Elder Scrolls 6 does have an internal codename at Bethesda, and of course he declined to share what it is. He also mused a bit on his goals for the next Elder Scrolls game, in expectedly cryptic, high-level fashion.

"I will say that we want it to fill that role of the ultimate fantasy-world simulator," he said. "And there are different ways to accomplish that given the time that has passed."

For those not keeping count with a calendar, it's been 12 years since the previous Elder Scrolls game, Skyrim. That's the same amount of time it took Bethesda to release literally all the pre-Skyrim games in the series:

And don't forget, there are expansions in there too: Tribunal and Bloodmoon for Morrowind, and Knights of the Nine and Shivering Isles for Oblivion. (Shivering Isles actually launched in March 2007, but I'm going to call that close enough for me.)

Things were definitely different back in the day—Daggerfall, for instance, was made with a total of 65 people according to Mobygames (yes, including a young Todd Howard), the bulk of whom were testers, but even so, that's four mainline Elder Scrolls games, two full-size spinoffs, and four major expansions just in the amount of time that's passed since the release of Skyrim in 2011.

Hell, in five years we'll be able to add Skyrim to that list—17 years from Arena to Skyrim, 17 years from Skyrim to where the hell is TES6?—and honestly at the pace we're going I don't think it's going to be a problem hitting that particular milestone.

Before that, though, we have Starfield, Bethesda's first all-new game series in more than 25 years, a hell of a wait in its own right. It comes out on September 1 for players who have purchased the Starfield Premium Edition, Premium Edition Upgrade, or the Constellation Edition, and September 6 for everyone else.