The Elder Scrolls VI is so secret Todd Howard won't even throw his kid a bone

Cal Jeffrey

TS Evangelist
Staff member

We have all been impatiently waiting for some word — any word — on the next Elder Scrolls installment. Don’t get me wrong, The Elder Scrolls Online was fun for a while, but I’m back to playing Skyrim again. As much as I love it, I am ready for a new single-player TES adventure. It seems that I am in good company because even Todd Howard’s own son is itching for a follow-up to The Elder Scrolls V.

Howard, who directed both Skyrim and Fallout 4, recently appeared on an Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) Game Maker’s Notebook podcast. Ted Price from Insomniac Games conducted the interview.

In it, Howard related how he turned his youngest son on to the Switch version of Skyrim and created a little monster.

“He was too young to play Skyrim when it came out,” he related. "Then when Skyrim came out on Switch, I said, ‘Well you’ve played a lot of Zelda, I think you might like Skyrim.’ The short story is: he got obsessed with it.”

The young man was so captivated with TESV that he was driving Howard up the wall with constant questions about it like, “Dad what’s with the Thalmor,” and “What are your favorite Daedra?”

His son eventually got the Xbox version so that he could play with mods. This new obsession made him even more persistent with his dad, insisting on showing him what all his favorite mods did.

Howard thought it was great at first. He enjoyed that his son was taking such an interest in a product that he helped create. However, after a while, the constant “Skyrim this, Skyrim that” got to him. “I get this enough at work,” he said. “Let’s talk about something else.”

Be careful what you wish for Todd. Seeing the perfect opening, his son asks, “Okay, when is Elder Scrolls VI coming?”

“And I’m like, ‘Uhh, I’m not gonna talk about that right now either,’” Howard replied, but it was too late.

Now instead of asking his dad his innermost thoughts on Skyrim philosophy, the boy switched gears to all things TESVI like, “Can I give you my ideas? Can I work on it? Come on, tell me a few things, I’m not gonna tell anybody.”

“Well, you might, so I’m not gonna say anything,” was Howard’s response.

Bethesda's level of secrecy would make the CIA blush.

Howard had plenty of interesting things to say about his life and the industry during his conversation with Price. If you want to listen to the entire interview, you can check it out on the AIAS podcast page.

Permalink to story.

 

Evernessince

地獄らしい人間動物園
"Yes son, it's a tale so ancient it may just actually be older than the gamebryo engine"
Don't call it that or the Skyrim fanboys will yell at you. They'd prefer you call it the creation engine, which is just gamebryo with more junk piled on. I tried to explain to one before the difference between an engine plugin and a complete re-write but I didn't get anywhere.

All said, this new game needs to be on a new engine. I'm tired of the horrid AI in their games, the terrible graphic glitches, and the engine's open world systems.
 
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Urgelt

TS Enthusiast
If he told his son or anyone else anything about the game he would be fired. Obviously he's not going to tell him.
Bethesda would fire Todd Howard for spilling the beans to his kid?

What world are you from, exactly? In this world, game producers at his level are as rare as hens' teeth, so I'm sure you're from somewhere else.

I think we just unmasked an alien from Planet 9!
 

yRaz

Nigerian Prince
Bethesda would fire Todd Howard for spilling the beans to his kid?

What world are you from, exactly? In this world, game producers at his level are as rare as hens' teeth, so I'm sure you're from somewhere else.

I think we just unmasked an alien from Planet 9!
you mean producers that progressively dumb down gameplay mechanics and add unrelatable stories to games to increase sales?

Skyrim's main story was crap and the voice acting was worse. Fallout 4's main story was horrible and there were many sidequests. Game play wise? I loved the game play but compared to morrowind and oblivion bethesda has been putting out crap games story wise. Fallout 3 marked the beginning of the end for their story telling. Fallout 4 was basically Fallout 3 in reverse (searching for your son instead of searching for your dad).

And instead of TES 3&4 where you're just some normal guy that gets stronger and gets stuck in the middle of an epic quest, in skyrim your basically a living god. Skyrim is if anime became a videogame story and hero wise.

Bethesda at this point is just riding their previous success and name. Their new games are throwing us into a story where we are forced to care about something instead of allowing us to live in a world and finding our own reasons to care. Skyrim was an ElderScrolls game in name only. Between the two versions of skyrim I have around 600 hours of gameplay. I had around 3000 hours in morrowind and over 10,000 hours in oblivion.

Bethesda died 10 years ago. Now it's turning into a money making machine just like the rest of the developers. The only difference being is that they have EA and the like to make them look good by comparison. If they were pulling the stuff back in 2006 with oblivion that they are pulling now with skyrim and fallout we would hate them just as much as we hate EA now.
 
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poohbear

TS Evangelist
Bethesda would fire Todd Howard for spilling the beans to his kid?

What world are you from, exactly? In this world, game producers at his level are as rare as hens' teeth, so I'm sure you're from somewhere else.

I think we just unmasked an alien from Planet 9!
you mean producers that progressively dumb down gameplay mechanics and add unrelatable stories to games to increase sales?

Skyrim's main story was crap and the voice acting was worse. Fallout 4's main story was horrible and there were many sidequests. Game play wise? I loved the game play but compared to morrowind and oblivion bethesda has been putting out crap games story wise. Fallout 3 marked the beginning of the end for their story telling. Fallout 4 was basically Fallout 3 in reverse (searching for your son instead of searching for your dad).

And instead of TES 3&4 where you're just some normal guy that gets stronger and gets stuck in the middle of an epic quest, in skyrim your basically a living god. Skyrim is if anime became a videogame story and hero wise.

Bethesda at this point is just riding their previous success and name. Their new games are throwing us into a story where we are forced to care about something instead of allowing us to live in a world and finding our own reasons to care. Skyrim was an ElderScrolls game in name only. Between the two versions of skyrim I have around 600 hours of gameplay. I had around 3000 hours in morrowind and over 10,000 hours in oblivion.

Bethesda died 10 years ago. Now it's turning into a money making machine just like the rest of the developers. The only difference being is that they have EA and the like to make them look good by comparison. If they were pulling the stuff back in 2006 with oblivion that they are pulling now with skyrim and fallout we would hate them just as much as we hate EA now.
relax son. Alot of people disagree with u and thoroughly enjoyed Skyrim. By the looks of its sales numbers, it was a smashing success. if its not ur preference there's no reason to become so extremist about the whole thing. Just chill, and find another game.
 
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Brian Hoff

TS Rookie
Fallout 3 was better than fallout 1 and 2 in many way. I play both fallout 1 and 2. I play arena daggerfall morrowind and elder scroll 4. It easy to mitpick any computer game to death. I play computer games to pass the time. I than 68 year old and my brother is 71 he cannot watch many tv show because it treat homsexual as normal it doesnot matter to me as the world is changeing.
 

Urgelt

TS Enthusiast
relax son. Alot of people disagree with u and thoroughly enjoyed Skyrim. By the looks of its sales numbers, it was a smashing success. if its not ur preference there's no reason to become so extremist about the whole thing. Just chill, and find another game.
It's true, the story-telling in either title is second-rate. That's unfortunate. Bethesda could do better.

But these titles do a lot that's appealing, too - especially with respect to modding. They've shown growth in their animation chops. And nobody builds detailed 3-D open worlds like Bethesda does.

Howard's vision for the Elder Scrolls and FO series, and his ability to get a team to deliver on that vision, has made billions for Bethesda and its parent Zenimax. It's true that not every detail in Bethesda games is ideal and perfect, but that's true of any AAA game studio. But Bethesda sure hasn't had many commercial failures. Bethesda values Todd Howard and isn't about to cast him loose over a peccadillo - which he hasn't even committed.

It's not fear of termination that keeps Howard silent, which is what Catweazle implied. It's a corporate philosophy which he believes in. Bethesda *likes* keeping things under wraps until not long before release. They *like* those coming-out presentations at E3 or wherever which make jaws drop in surprise. They *like* the notion that the buzz created by disclosures will happen when it will drive sales, and not before. It's a marketing strategy, and it works great.

It's fine if some gamers don't like Skyrim and FO4. No game will please everyone. But the commercial success of Skyrim and FO4 should tell us that not everyone shares poohbear's opinion.
 
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Evernessince

地獄らしい人間動物園
relax son. Alot of people disagree with u and thoroughly enjoyed Skyrim. By the looks of its sales numbers, it was a smashing success. if its not ur preference there's no reason to become so extremist about the whole thing. Just chill, and find another game.
Why do people always bring up sales numbers when their is such an easy counter argument in COD. Sales say nothing about the quality of a game. There are plenty of games that sold well there are POS.

Fallout 3 was better than fallout 1 and 2 in many way. I play both fallout 1 and 2. I play arena daggerfall morrowind and elder scroll 4. It easy to mitpick any computer game to death. I play computer games to pass the time. I than 68 year old and my brother is 71 he cannot watch many tv show because it treat homsexual as normal it doesnot matter to me as the world is changeing.
Fallout 3 had better graphics and more content, that's it. I've played a ton of fallout 3 and it's story is trash, it's AI is trash, it's world building isn't as good as fallout 1 or 2. Fallout 3 is far too easy as well. Thanks to the VATs system the game is a complete cakewalk and has the most boring combat of any game I've ever played. That's actually the reason why my aging father likes the game, because even old timers can play it. So yeah, the newer fallout games are good in the sense that they are so easy and simple minded that they appeal to the less mechanically inclined and the mobile gaming crowd.
 

yRaz

Nigerian Prince
relax son. Alot of people disagree with u and thoroughly enjoyed Skyrim. By the looks of its sales numbers, it was a smashing success. if its not ur preference there's no reason to become so extremist about the whole thing. Just chill, and find another game.
Well I said they dumbed it down to increase sales. I essentially dont game at all anymore because if the game isn't crap it's destroyed by micro transactions.
 

Evernessince

地獄らしい人間動物園
It's true, the story-telling in either title is second-rate. That's unfortunate. Bethesda could do better.

But these titles do a lot that's appealing, too - especially with respect to modding. They've shown growth in their animation chops. And nobody builds detailed 3-D open worlds like Bethesda does.

Howard's vision for the Elder Scrolls and FO series, and his ability to get a team to deliver on that vision, has made billions for Bethesda and its parent Zenimax. It's true that not every detail in Bethesda games is ideal and perfect, but that's true of any AAA game studio. But Bethesda sure hasn't had many commercial failures. Bethesda values Todd Howard and isn't about to cast him loose over a peccadillo - which he hasn't even committed.

It's not fear of termination that keeps Howard silent, which is what Catweazle implied. It's a corporate philosophy which he believes in. Bethesda *likes* keeping things under wraps until not long before release. They *like* those coming-out presentations at E3 or wherever which make jaws drop in surprise. They *like* the notion that the buzz created by disclosures will happen when it will drive sales, and not before. It's a marketing strategy, and it works great.

It's fine if some gamers don't like Skyrim and FO4. No game will please everyone. But the commercial success of Skyrim and FO4 should tell us that not everyone shares poohbear's opinion.
"And nobody builds detailed 3-D open worlds like Bethesda does."

The Witcher 3's word is most certainly better. I wouldn't even put Bethesda on the same level.

Just because someone points out the flaws in a game, doesn't mean they hate it. And once again, sales and game quality have nothing in common.
 
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Urgelt

TS Enthusiast
Why do people always bring up sales numbers when their is such an easy counter argument in COD. Sales say nothing about the quality of a game. There are plenty of games that sold well there are POS.



Fallout 3 had better graphics and more content, that's it. I've played a ton of fallout 3 and it's story is trash, it's AI is trash, it's world building isn't as good as fallout 1 or 2. Fallout 3 is far too easy as well. Thanks to the VATs system the game is a complete cakewalk and has the most boring combat of any game I've ever played. That's actually the reason why my aging father likes the game, because even old timers can play it. So yeah, the newer fallout games are good in the sense that they are so easy and simple minded that they appeal to the less mechanically inclined and the mobile gaming crowd.
You're complaining it's too easy?

See if you can grasp this sentence:

"The difficulty of Bethesda Games is controllable by the player."

Not only are there in-game controls for that, if you still feel unchallenged, you can add mods which take the difficulty level way past insane. You can make these games as easy or as hard as you like - and with mods, tweaks are customizable. It's entirely in your hands.

Your complaint doesn't hold up - unless you are incapable of tweaking the difficulty level to your liking. In which case, yeah. Play something else that doesn't make you think as hard.
 

Evernessince

地獄らしい人間動物園
You're complaining it's too easy?

See if you can grasp this sentence:

"The difficulty of Bethesda Games is controllable by the player."

Not only are there in-game controls for that, if you still feel unchallenged, you can add mods which take the difficulty level way past insane. You can make these games as easy or as hard as you like - and with mods, tweaks are customizable. It's entirely in your hands.

Your complaint doesn't hold up - unless you are incapable of tweaking the difficulty level to your liking. In which case, yeah. Play something else that doesn't make you think as hard.
lol, did you seriously think I hadn't changed the difficulty slider or are you just trolling?

The difficulty slider means nothing when I can sit on top of a rock and Fletch arrows into enemies and they just sit there. The only thing the difficulty slider controls is their health pool size. Ditto goes for stealth as well. Stack perk points into stealth and you can sit right in front of them and stab them in the face and they will do nothing. I beat Skyrim on legendary and it was far too easy. It's actually a worse game on higher difficulties, sitting there hacking at the same guy, it's game design circa 1990 and not the good kind either.

We are not talking about mods here. Those are not made by bethesda. Last I checked, games are not reviewed based on their user created content. If you have to mod a game to fix something, that is admitting there was something wrong in the first place. All that does is cover up for a lazy job by Bethesda.
 

yRaz

Nigerian Prince
lol, did you seriously think I hadn't changed the difficulty slider or are you just trolling?

The difficulty slider means nothing when I can sit on top of a rock and Fletch arrows into enemy and they just sit there. The only thing the difficulty slider controls is their health pool size. Ditto goes for stealth as well. Stack perk points into stealth and you can sit right in front of them and stab them in the face and they will do nothing. I beat Skyrim and legendary and it was far too easy. It's actually a worse game on higher difficulties, sitting there hacking at the same guy, it's game design circa 1990 and not the good kind either.

We are not talking about mods here. Those are not made by bethesda. Last I checked, games are not reviewed based on their user created content. If you have to mod a game to fix something, that is admitting there was something wrong in the first place. All that does is cover up for a lazy job by Bethesda.
Not worth arguing with him, this is the type of person Bethesda is dumbing games down for.
 
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dirtyferret

TS Evangelist
Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim all had dull main quests...you don't play those games for the main quest but rather their open worlds. It either appeals to you or it doesn't and I did personally enjoy each one.
 
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Urgelt

TS Enthusiast
If you have to mod a game to fix something, that is admitting there was something wrong in the first place. All that does is cover up for a lazy job by Bethesda.
Not at all. Modding is a feature delivered by Bethesda for the express purpose of empowering players to play the game the way they *want* to play it. With mods, it's not just a matter of sliders. You choose what you want, and the menu of choices is vast.

It's not laziness on Bethesda's part. It takes quite a large hunk of resources to support modding in their games.

If you haven't explored mods to tailor a game, perhaps it's because you are accustomed to playing games that lack mod support. Or perhaps you are too lazy to bother - if a game isn't exactly what you want right out of the box, you'd rather ***** and moan than to take advantage of the tailoring options Bethesda and the modding community have enabled.
 

Evernessince

地獄らしい人間動物園
Not at all. Modding is a feature delivered by Bethesda for the express purpose of empowering players to play the game the way they *want* to play it. With mods, it's not just a matter of sliders. You choose what you want, and the menu of choices is vast.

It's not laziness on Bethesda's part. It takes quite a large hunk of resources to support modding in their games.

If you haven't explored mods to tailor a game, perhaps it's because you are accustomed to playing games that lack mod support. Or perhaps you are too lazy to bother - if a game isn't exactly what you want right out of the box, you'd rather ***** and moan than to take advantage of the tailoring options Bethesda and the modding community have enabled.
I was a modder for a majority of Bethesda TES and FO games, I'm well aware of what modding is. When Bethesda lifts features directly from previous game's mods, they are lazy. When you need to mod a game to make it ideal they are lazy. The community is doing the work, not them.

You line of logic, FYI, can be used to justify any crummy product. Don't like the iPhone 6? You're holding it wrong. Don't like that the switch dock scratches the screen? Buy an aftermarket dock or mod your existing one. All excuses to justify poor design decisions. Like I said earlier, the fact that you need to mod the game to cover up for design fails is an admission of failure in and of itself.
 

Urgelt

TS Enthusiast
I was a modder for a majority of Bethesda TES and FO games, I'm well aware of what modding is. When Bethesda lifts features directly from previous game's mods, they are lazy. When you need to mod a game to make it ideal they are lazy. The community is doing the work, not them.

You line of logic, FYI, can be used to justify any crummy product. Don't like the iPhone 6? You're holding it wrong. Don't like that the switch dock scratches the screen? Buy an aftermarket dock or mod your existing one. All excuses to justify poor design decisions. Like I said earlier, the fact that you need to mod the game to cover up for design fails is an admission of failure in and of itself.
But your criticism, 'it's too easy,' isn't a design fail for all customers; witness the high volume of sales for these titles. It's only a design fail *for you.* You want something the base game doesn't have.

Modding is a feature that enables you to get what you want. The only lazy one here is you.

Modding is a legitimate design decision for a company to make; it extends the appeal of the product. But it does raise a question: is a product okay if you have to mod it in order to get what you need from it? Another way to ask this question is, are accessories a bad thing?

The market doesn't think so. I don't think so.

Not everyone who buys a Kindle uses it in a way that puts it at risk, but I sure do - I broke my first one. Subsequently I bought an accessory: a folding cover for it. Is Kindle deficient because it's breakable without a cover? The argument turns on the relationship between cost and features. The price is lower without the accessory, and there are people who will be contented with it without a cover. If you want more features, you pay a little more.

The irony here is the features you want are readily available for Bethesda games, *for free.* It turns out that there *are* players who want a tougher challenge, just like you. But they aren't too lazy to mod their games to get it.

I didn't complain about my next Kindle's vulnerability to hard use; I modded it and I'm happy with it. I mod the hell out of Bethesda's games, and I'm happy with them, too. Now if a product doesn't satisfy you, and there are no accessories or mods or optional features to rectify the problem, then that product isn't for you. It might or might not be for anyone; the market will determine the answer to that question.

In the case of Bethesda's games, the market has spoken loud and clear.
 

bohemond1099

TS Member
Bethesda would fire Todd Howard for spilling the beans to his kid?

What world are you from, exactly? In this world, game producers at his level are as rare as hens' teeth, so I'm sure you're from somewhere else.

I think we just unmasked an alien from Planet 9!
you mean producers that progressively dumb down gameplay mechanics and add unrelatable stories to games to increase sales?

Skyrim's main story was crap and the voice acting was worse. Fallout 4's main story was horrible and there were many sidequests. Game play wise? I loved the game play but compared to morrowind and oblivion bethesda has been putting out crap games story wise. Fallout 3 marked the beginning of the end for their story telling. Fallout 4 was basically Fallout 3 in reverse (searching for your son instead of searching for your dad).

And instead of TES 3&4 where you're just some normal guy that gets stronger and gets stuck in the middle of an epic quest, in skyrim your basically a living god. Skyrim is if anime became a videogame story and hero wise.

Bethesda at this point is just riding their previous success and name. Their new games are throwing us into a story where we are forced to care about something instead of allowing us to live in a world and finding our own reasons to care. Skyrim was an ElderScrolls game in name only. Between the two versions of skyrim I have around 600 hours of gameplay. I had around 3000 hours in morrowind and over 10,000 hours in oblivion.

Bethesda died 10 years ago. Now it's turning into a money making machine just like the rest of the developers. The only difference being is that they have EA and the like to make them look good by comparison. If they were pulling the stuff back in 2006 with oblivion that they are pulling now with skyrim and fallout we would hate them just as much as we hate EA now.
Voice acting was some of the best in any game with big names stars like Christopher Plummer, Max von Sydow, and Michael Hogan voicing characters to fantastic effect. Like to see you top them on voice acting.
 

Evernessince

地獄らしい人間動物園
But your criticism, 'it's too easy,' isn't a design fail for all customers; witness the high volume of sales for these titles. It's only a design fail *for you.* You want something the base game doesn't have.

Modding is a feature that enables you to get what you want. The only lazy one here is you.

Modding is a legitimate design decision for a company to make; it extends the appeal of the product. But it does raise a question: is a product okay if you have to mod it in order to get what you need from it? Another way to ask this question is, are accessories a bad thing?

The market doesn't think so. I don't think so.

Not everyone who buys a Kindle uses it in a way that puts it at risk, but I sure do - I broke my first one. Subsequently I bought an accessory: a folding cover for it. Is Kindle deficient because it's breakable without a cover? The argument turns on the relationship between cost and features. The price is lower without the accessory, and there are people who will be contented with it without a cover. If you want more features, you pay a little more.

The irony here is the features you want are readily available for Bethesda games, *for free.* It turns out that there *are* players who want a tougher challenge, just like you. But they aren't too lazy to mod their games to get it.

I didn't complain about my next Kindle's vulnerability to hard use; I modded it and I'm happy with it. I mod the hell out of Bethesda's games, and I'm happy with them, too. Now if a product doesn't satisfy you, and there are no accessories or mods or optional features to rectify the problem, then that product isn't for you. It might or might not be for anyone; the market will determine the answer to that question.

In the case of Bethesda's games, the market has spoken loud and clear.
Once again, sales has nothing to do with the quality of a product. Pet rock sold very well, according to you that makes them the way of the future. It's terrible logic.

"The irony here is the features you want are readily available for Bethesda games, *for free.* It turns out that there *are* players who want a tougher challenge, just like you. But they aren't too lazy to mod their games to get it."

"Too lazy"? Nope, I'm just not enough of a fanboy where I can't point out the obvious flaws in a game. Irregardless of mods you seem unwilling to admit any Bethesda game is anything but pristine. God forbid anyone say anything against the company of whom boots you lick.

I don't buy products to get told "Your holding it wrong" by Mr. steve jobs impersonator. I buy good products and then mod them to be better.

If you need to buy a case for your kindle that's because you specifically need it. A majority of people do not need a case because the device is designed well enough out of the box. In Skyrim's situation, it metaphorically needs a case, new screen, bigger battery, more powerful processor, and a whole bunch more. By the time you finish modding there's less Skyrim than there are mods, all just to get the game to the same standard as every other game on the market. Even through all that you still can't completely fix the AI, stutting, and poor CPU utilization (among other major issues) through mods alone.

So yeah, excuse while I don't buy a "kindle" that needs every part replaced out of the box just to make it good.
 

Nocturne

TS Maniac
I bet its Valenwood.
Summerset isle.....so far if I remember correctly it's the only place we haven't been. Then again Valenwood could be a starting point with the game ending in Summerset. Next will be another war with the aldmeri empire, or, a powers trying to evoke another war.
 

jester376

TS Booster
If you have to mod a game to fix something, that is admitting there was something wrong in the first place. All that does is cover up for a lazy job by Bethesda.
Bro, modding was put in to help make a game compatible with the player's idea of what the game should play like. In other words, it wasnt to fix the game, it's for something that particular player mightve of thought the game needed or to perform redundant tasks that the player didnt want to do for hours/minutes on end. Some games need tweaking by the company, its true. But that was never why modding was created.