When I tuned into Bethesda’s E3 conference a few hours ago, I was not expecting to hear anything related to The Elder Scrolls. Todd Howard and Pete Hines have said over and over again that they won’t be working on it for a while, so I made my peace that I probably wouldn’t see it until retirement. When they showed a very sparse teaser trailer officially announcing Elder Scrolls VI, I nearly jumped out of my skin.
Before you get too excited, the trailer reveals almost nothing. At less than 25 seconds, it’s simply a shot of a gorgeous landscape with the words “The Elder Scrolls VI” superimposed on it in the series’ trademark font.
Since Bethesda is focusing on it’s original IP Starfield next, we can assume that the long-awaited Elder Scrolls VI will be their next big release after Starfield. And because Starfield was given an equally simple teaser, it’s likely that they will have to make that game and then Elder Scrolls VI, which means about two full production cycles. But the fact that Elder Scrolls VI has been announced officially is a good sign for fans of the series.
Where it takes place is anyone’s guess. Summerset Isle, Elsweyr, and Akavir have been the most desired and speculated locales. The one clue we can glean from the trailer is that it is a rocky, mountainous region. Even though that leaves plenty of options available, it makes certain places less likely such as Valenwood, Elsweyr, Hammerfell, and Black Marsh, unless they decide to pull an Oblivion on us and retcon what a region is supposed to look like.
Based on Skyrim’s story, Summerset Isle would be the most natural choice. Summerset Isle (or “Alinor” for our politically correct Thalmor readers) is the home of the Altmer, or High Elves, that has been ruled by the Thalmor, who are pretty much High Elf Nazis. In Skyrim, they were a secondary antagonist that were responsible for orchestrating Skyrim’s civil war, among other bad things hinted at in the lore. They are built up as the next great threat to Tamriel, so unless Bethesda decides to really surprise us (which I would admire), it’s a safe bet that they will play a role in Elder Scrolls VI.
Elsweyr seems unlikely as the landscape is nothing like how it is described. Elsweyr is a region of deserts and palm trees, a far cry from the rocky landscape seen in the trailer. However, it is also a client state of the Thalmor. One possibility is that Bethesda will go all-out and show us Summerset Isle, Elsweyr, and Valenwood, which together make up the entire Aldmeri Dominion, the Thalmor’s empire. But that’s pure speculation.
The last, and most unlikely possibility, is Akavir, the mysterious continent to the east of Tamriel. Very little is know about it, but it is strongly hinted at being the Asia of the Elder Scrolls world. The only physical evidence we have of Akaviri culture is through the Blades, the Emperor’s personal bodyguards with an origin as dragonslayers, who were founded during an Akaviri occupation of Tamriel. They wear Japanese-style armor and wield katanas.
Akavir has always lurked in the background of Elder Scrolls lore, with many speculations as to it’s nature and inhabitants. It would be a big risk for Bethesda to finally set the record straight, as many fans would have their vision of Akavir changed. No matter how amazing they made Akavir, a lot of people would be disappointed and complain that it wasn’t what they expected. From a business standpoint, it would make a lot more sense to continue setting the games in Tamriel. Nonetheless, I would seriously respect them if they took such a risk.
Even though we have almost no evidence of what Elder Scrolls VI will be, we can safely assume that it will take place somewhere with mountains. So, those mountains? Hopefully we can climb them.