We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Elder Scrolls 6 and Fallout 5: why Bethesda’s slowness is a good thing

Elder Scrolls 6 and Fallout 5 are still in the ether, but as we wait on the Starfield release date, perhaps Bethesda’s RPG game slowness is a good thing

Elder Scrolls 6 and Fallout 5: why Bethesda’s slowness is a good thing: the Sole Survivor from the Fallout 4 character customisation screen

Elder Scrolls 6 and Fallout 5 are still distant dreams, but while we wait for further news on the next big Bethesda RPG game, courtesy of the Starfield release date, we can’t help agreeing with recent sentiments on the Fallout Reddit that perhaps the Oblivion and Skyrim developer taking its sweet time is actually a good thing.

“I see it all the time in the comments how Bethesda is slow with releasing new games and I’m here wishing they would take even longer,” says one Fallout fan. “They decided to push back the release of Starfield by one year and I was thrilled to hear it. If anything I wish they would take one more year just to assure that they can deliver a quality game.”

“Fallout 4 and Skyrim are both basically games with lifetime replay value,” writes another user. “They can take as long as they need, as long as they put out their formulaic, AAA GOTY games.” Other Fallout and Bethesda fans are less certain, however, arguing the Skyrim and Starfield studio owes its fans better “communication”.

“I think the issue is communication,” writes one fan. “We don’t even know if Elder Scrolls 6 is even being actively worked on. The consumer base for any property has no real idea when, where, and how development is going for the product outside of vague responses.”

“I want them to release a polished product that isn’t a buggy disaster at launch,” writes another, in reference to both the Fallout and Elder Scrolls series, “but I also don’t think it’s reasonable to have to wait 15 years.”

Fallout 3 released in 2008. Fallout 4 launched in 2015 – that’s seven years between full, single-player games. We’re now in 2022, an equal seven years since Fallout 4, and there’s barely word on a Fallout 5 release date. Similarly, Oblivion launched in 2007; Skyrim came out 2011. With a mere four-year gap, the lack of hard information regarding the Elder Scrolls 6 release date only compounds the potential frustration of the so-far ten-year wait for another trip to Tamriel.

And this is where it all comes down to a variety of perspectives. For some, Bethesda taking longer on franchise instalments is a benefit, since it means the quality of the games, if and when they do eventually arrive, will increase. For others, new Fallout and Elder Scrolls games taking longer to produce does not automatically equate to them being better when they release. Skyrim and Fallout 4 both have long tails thanks to updates and mods, but a seemingly total absence of information regarding the future of both series might make it seem like, regardless of the games’ quality, being made to wait and wonder for such a long time is unfair.

And of course, there’s always Starfield. With Bethesda set to launch a brand new RPG, which will then, in all likelihood, be followed with updates, DLC, and a range of ongoing developer support, it may feel as if Fallout and Elder Scrolls are getting left behind. Realistically, it’s going to be years until we have either Fallout 5 or Elder Scrolls 6 in front of us, and it might not be because Bethesda is taking longer to perfect either of them, but simply because it’s occupied with other concerns.

I might argue that longrunning, service-style games lose imagination and drive – after almost a decade, I’d sooner play a fresh Grand Theft Auto than yet more add-ons or updates for GTA Online. For that reason, a faster development cycle might be preferable: fantastic, and still vibrant thanks to their communities though they may be, after seven and 11 years respectively, Fallout 4 and Skyrim feel worn to the bone.

But I’d still rather wait. Let a studio like Bethesda plan, test, and experiment ideally new ideas and mechanics instead of receive more regular games that merely increment on a formula. I think about the eight-year gap between Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption 2, and how the sequel felt like just not an expansion but an almost reimagining of what that series and those games could be. If that drive for reinvention, not just reiteration, is what’s holding up Fallout 5 and Elder Scrolls 6, it’ll be worth the long, silent wait. If, when they arrive, they’re largely more of the same, that’s when I might feel frustrated.

But at least something from Bethesda is on its way, and you might want to get prepared with our guide to Starfield ship-building, or perhaps all the Starfield guns. There’s also our Starfield character customisation primer so you can start to build your intergalactic explorer right now.