Good news, bad news, or ugly news, we’re getting another direct ripple from the Microsoft acquisition of Bethesda. In an interview with GQ magazine, Xbox head Phil Spencer confirmed that the long-awaited sequel to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the yet-to-be-subtitled Elder Scrolls 6, will be exclusive to Xbox consoles and PCs.
In some ways this is a return to form. While The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Skyrim were released on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 at launch, the Xbox was alone among the three major consoles of the sixth generation to have the processing power to run The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. In fact, you can still play that game on an Xbox Series X if you still have the disc and didn’t give it away to your friend’s kids like some kind of well-meaning goof before going to grad school.
Anyway, as Sam White explains in the GQ feature, Microsoft has had an unofficial partnership with Bethesda Games since 2002 with Xbox as the “lead console” for development, long preceding last year’s acquisition of the studio.
As Spencer puts it, exclusivity is “not about punishing any other platform. [...] But in order to be on Xbox, I want us to be able to bring the full complete package of what we have.”
The next Elder Scrolls game joins Bethesda’s much-anticipated space opera Starfield, which is set to launch Nov. 11, 2022, in the exclusive space. Bethesda Executive Producer and Director Todd Howard—also interviewed for the GQ story—says that the technology powering Starfield will also be used to provide “next gen features and tech” to The Elder Scrolls 6, which should come as no surprise to fans that have seen the symbiotic design relationship between The Elder Scrolls and Fallout games of the seventh console generation.
No word yet on whether Fallout: New Vegas will be remastered or given a sequel since Microsoft has Obsidian under Xbox Game Studios in addition to the Bethesda family under the ZeniMax/Bethesda Softworks umbrella. But we can confirm, the next Elder Scrolls will be for Xbox and PC only.