It says a lot about Bethesda and The Elder Scrolls more specifically that a 30-second panning shot of a mountainous landscape, accompanied by a bit of orchestral music, is enough to inflame the imagination of gamers the world over and set The Elder Scrolls VI hype train in motion.
Particularly when you consider we now have an interminably long wait ahead of us between now and the point at which the games actually arrives on the next generation of hardware.
Managing expectation is nothing new to the gaming community, of course, but in the meantime and to celebrate the news, we thought now would be the perfect time to think back on our time with Skyrim (which is now available on Alexa, for some reason) and list a few ways in which The Elder Scrolls VI can build upon the foundations laid down by its estimable forebear.
1 – Refined Combat
As life-engulfingly immersive as Skyrim is, the combat wasn’t exactly the best.
Defeating most enemies, whether they be low-level mobs or building-sized draconid bosses, requires little more than the liberal application of the R2 button, the occasional Thu’um, and an apothecary’s-worth of healing potions.
Now, I’m not saying I hope the series goes the way of Assassin’s Creed Origins/Odyssey and starts leaning heavily towards The Witcher 3-style combat going forward, but it would be nice if there was slightly more variety. A broader range of unlockable abilities perhaps, or a greater emphasis on spellcasting.
2 – Simplified Inventory Management
I honestly think I must have spent at least 10 hours sifting through what I can only suppose are my avatar’s obscenely vast pockets after each and every quest during my latest playthrough of Skyrim; first deciding which trinkets I actually want to sell before hopping around the continent visiting an army of merchants who, combined, have the means to buy my usually ill-gotten loot.
The only solution I can see, aside from substantially decreasing the overall amount of loot in the game, is to simply dispense with the financial limitations Bethesda places on its in-game vendors and just give them an endless supply of money instead.
Yes, it might break the immersion somewhat, but The Elder Scrolls is supposed to be about exploration and Tolkien-esque wish fulfilment, not inventory management.
3 – Superior Textures
As utterly breath-taking as the broad panoramas of The Elder Scrolls are when viewed from the top of a mountain or at the entrance to a sprawling green plain, the individual assets and textures have never been overly impressive when examined closely.
Even Skyrim Special Edition looks a bit ropey from this angle, if you can stop yourself from ogling the vistas of its Norse-inspired, high-fantasy landscape, that is.
To be honest, I’m not overly worried about this particular aspect of the game – The Elder Scrolls VI is supposed to be a PS5 title, after all. And, while it probably won’t look as comprehensively stunning as The Witcher 3 or the latest Assassin’s Creed titles, I’m sure it’ll be the best-looking Bethesda game ever created at the time of its release… in 3-5 years’ time.
4 – Greater Quest Variety
Much the same as the combat really, in that, there’s nothing inherently wrong with it in Skyrim.
Bringing down the corrupt leader of The Thieves Guild, Mercer Frey, and taking his place; catching the Windhelm serial killer; getting drunk as a skunk with Sam Guevenne and then piecing the preceding night’s events together like a fantasy version of The Hangover; escaping prison with the Forsworn – are all thoroughly engaging side-missions in their own right. It’s just, they’re surrounded by an abundance of dull fetch-quests and uninspiring busy work.
That being the case, rather than fundamentally changing how the game plays, I’m hoping Bethesda either spends a bit more time thinking of ways to diversify the game’s raft of side-quests ahead of the release of The Elder Scrolls VI, or simply reduce the overall quantity to create a smoother, more streamlined experience.
5 – No More Bugs
Compared to this, the other requests humbly submitted above pale into insignificance.
I’m not talking about the minor graphical errors and corrupted animations; the kind of stuff that appears in a habitual gif creator’s wet dreams. I’m talking about the quest-breaking bugs that, time and again, have prevented me from progressing through or caused me to fail a specific side-mission; and the infuriating glitches that result in my favourite companion – who just so happens to be carrying hundreds of Crown’s worth of loot at the time – disappearing without warning mid-dungeon.
Words can’t describe how frustrating this can be and, in fact, I’ve had to take relatively long breaks from the game on more than one occasion to cool my rising anger.
Fortunately, if Fallout 4’s anything to go by, Bethesda has got much better at preventing/fixing these types of issues in recent years (without omitting them altogether, it must be said). So hopefully, The Elder Scrolls VI won’t be anywhere near as temperamental.
What would you like to see in The Elder Scrolls VI?
Well, that’s our list. Now it’s your turn.