Back in May, Bethesda said it wouldn’t have details to share about The Elder Scrolls 6 and Starfield for a couple more years yet. But in a recent interview during the Develop: Brighton online conference, Todd Howard, director and executive at Bethesda Game Studios, did have some information to share about the two upcoming open-world RPGs. And they’re particularly interesting tidbits if you’ve experienced the jank that can make Bethesda’s games so charming and infuriating at the same time.
According to Howard, Bethesda has been busy rebuilding the engine that will power its next-generation games. “The overhaul on our engine is probably the largest we’ve ever had, maybe even larger than Morrowind to Oblivion,” he told GamesIndustry.biz’s James Batchelor. Moreover, more people are working on the Creation Engine than ever before, with Howard noting the team's size has increased “by a factor of five.”
Certain fundamental aspects of Bethesda’s technology stack won’t change. Mod support, for instance, isn’t going anywhere. But when it comes to almost every other facet of the engine, you can expect changes. “From rendering to animation to pathing to procedural generation — I don’t want to say ‘everything — but it’s a significant overhaul. It’s taken us longer than we would have liked, but it’s going to power what we’re doing with Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6,” Howard said. “When people see the results, they'll hopefully be as happy as we are with what's on the screen and also how we can go about making our games."
As for when we can expect to get a chance to play the games, it’s safe to say fans are in for a long haul. “I honestly cannot answer that now,” Howard said when he was asked about when the studio would share more details about Starfield. You might wonder then why Bethesda announced both titles so early if it doesn’t plan to share any more information on them anytime soon. That’s something Howard touched on too. He said Bethesda announced The Elder Scrolls 6 and Starfield at the time that it did to reassure fans it was working on the type of experiences the studio is known for.