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Elder Scrolling

11 June 2018 | Lloyd Hughes

It’s confession time on this week’s blog…

I’m a closet gamer.

Yeah, that’s right, I’m in my early 30’s and I still play computer games…despite my dad telling me years ago that I’d ‘grow out of them’ one day.

Admittedly, I play them nowhere near as much as I did in my teens/early 20’s because, you know, life. With different levels of responsibility these days, I sometimes manage to sneak in an hour or so of gaming when my wife is either in bed or at work when I’m not (Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings), but not much more than that.

Recognising my slightly addictive approach to new games, and indeed new books, (I simply feel like I have to finish the main quest/storyline to find out what goes on and am willing to put hours in until that’s done), I’ve steered clear of new releases in the past few years.

With my gaming time limited, I don’t want to run the risk of my wife throwing her wedding ring in my face and storming out after I hog the television too much and the household chores dry up (she’s very laid back usually, but there are limits), I’ve only really dipped into older games that I already own and have completed – so I can just enjoy bits here and there rather than obsessively finding out what happens.

Primarily, in recent years, that’s been a game called The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Skyrim, despite being released in 2011 is still very much playable, and still very much loved by millions around the world (taking an average of over 200 hours to complete also gives you decent longevity).

Part of the reason it’s still being played, apart from its sheer scale, is because it’s currently the most recent single player Elder Scrolls title released by Bethesda Game Studios, its developer. And The Elder Scrolls is a well-established gaming franchise that stretches back nearly 25 years so its picked up legions of inter-generational fans in that time.

It first came into being way back in 1994 when my age was still in single figures and video gaming was in its relative infancy (I didn’t own a console until I was about 12, which is unlikely for today’s kids). At that point, I’d never heard of The Elder Scrolls – unsurprisingly, given how young I was – however, I jumped on-board with Morrowind (the third Elder Scrolls) in 2002 where my interest was piqued and then the next instalment in the saga, Oblivion (the fourth Elder Scrolls) in 2006, where I became a full-blown fan.

Skyrim, coming out in 2011, was the 5th Elder Scrolls game – outside of the various expansion packs – and there’s been a long seven years since its release. If we ignore the Elder Scrolls Online (online gaming is something I don’t dabble in, plus ESO is by a different development arm), fans have been eagerly awaiting news of number 6 for what seems like an eternity. Todd Howard, the Executive Producer of Bethesda Game Studios, has been beset at all times by gamers demanding to know when the next instalment is likely to be announced/released.

For several years, the studio has denied it’s even on the radar, let alone in production. With other huge titles coming out in that time (namely, the Fallout franchise), its eyes and resources have been focused elsewhere.

Last night though, at E3 – the pinnacle of expos in the gaming world – a teaser trailer was unveiled…confirming that Elder Scrolls 6 was, not only merely on the radar, but actually in production.

Fans have been going mental online since.

The trailer from E3 told us next to nothing, yet speculation is rife as to where in the franchise’s extensive fantasy universe the game is to be set.

With two further titles set to come from Bethesda before its eventual release (another Fallout and a new franchise, Starfield), Elder Scrolls 6 is years away – 2020s for sure.

Now, we have a baby due in October of this year (my wife and I, not Pic PR) so that would mean, all being well, I’m looking at having a 2-year old, or possibly a 3/4-year-old taking up my attention (and probably any of my increasingly few gaming opportunities), by the time it’s available to play.

Compared to the release of Skyrim in 2011…it’s crazy to think of the differences in my personal circumstances. Seven years ago, I was a carefree 20 something with no real responsibilities other than trying not to lose my phone or wallet on a night out, but with Elder Scrolls 6…

Christ.

Video game PR, for the big boys at least, is dead easy. Within minutes, and more like seconds to be fair, of it being announced, the internet was awash with excitement. It’ll be a long couple of years to wait, but I suppose, that’s when having a young child will probably come in handy. I’ll no doubt be distracted to the point where I entirely forget about the forthcoming addition to the Elder Scrolls

For the next few months at least though, I can join with every other Elder Scrolls fan in hoovering up every titbit of information that Bethesda chooses to toss our way. With information having been so scarce for so many years, Bethesda will be making Elder Scrolls headlines in the gaming world for the foreseeable future.

Careful management of the available info surrounding its forthcoming releases is a staple of Bethesda’s approach, which helps to ensure it maximises the PR benefits. I await their next titbit with baited breath.