Elder Scrolls 6 And Starfield To Mark Bethesda's "Largest Engine Overhaul Since Oblivion"
Todd Howard says its next two big games will show a big improvement over its current tech.
Microsoft recently announced a big acquisition of Bethesda, the company behind storied franchises like Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and Doom. That means Bethesda's library of games, including upcoming Bethesda Game Studios projects like Starfield, will be available on Xbox Game Pass. One that note, Bethesda's Todd Howard promises that BGS' upcoming projects will be getting a big upgrade with a revamped engine.
In Howard's statement on the acquisition, he walks through how working hand-in-hand with Microsoft has led the company to make technical leaps for its new games.
"With each new console cycle, we evolved together. From bringing mods to consoles with Fallout 4, now over a billion downloads, to the latest technologies fueling Xbox Series X/S," Howard said. "These new systems are optimized for the vast worlds we love to create, with generational leaps not just in graphics, but CPU and data streaming as well. It's led to our largest engine overhaul since Oblivion, with all new technologies powering our first new IP in 25 years, Starfield, as well as The Elder Scrolls VI."
Oblivion released in 2006 and represented a huge shift from previous games in the series. Since then, though, Bethesda has often been criticized for its engine showing its age, especially with regard to strange bugs in its open worlds. Howard didn't mention the focus of these overhauls, but his comment suggests we'll be able to tell the difference when Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6 debut. Though Skyrim has seen releases on modern consoles that improve the visuals, the differences aren't all that huge.
Given the comments from Howard, the engine overhaul would appear to be aimed at those two games that he's producing. The Bethesda acquisition actually encompasses a lot more games besides those, including several that don't use the Elder Scrolls and Fallout engine at all. Id Software, for instance, uses its own technology. MachineGames makes use of this, and it's unlikely the games would unify under one engine going forward. EA has experienced issues attempting to do this, using Frostbite for shooters as well as racing games and sports games.
The acquisition also comes as Bethesda has plans to release some PS5 exclusives, Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo. Xbox head Phil Spencer told Bloomberg that those games will still see their arrangements honored. It remains to be seen if other games will come to multiple platforms. Microsoft is going to approach them on a case-by-case basis.
The acquisition was announced just one day before preorders went live for Xbox Series X and Series S. For more details, check out our Xbox Series X and Series S preorder guide. Right now, the system isn't particularly easy to find. However, there is a chance you'll be able to get one on launch day if you can't snag a preorder.