Starfield has easily been one of Bethesda’s most anticipated games in years, though the excitement for The Elder Scrolls 6 might just surpass it. During Starfield‘s post-trailer breakdown at 2021’s E3 Xbox Showcase, it was revealed that it will be running on Bethesda’s new game engine, the Creation Engine 2. While this change is long overdue, switching to a new engine isn’t easy for developers who suddenly have to learn the ins and outs of a game’s architecture all over again. While jumping right into something as highly anticipated as Starfield is risky, it ultimately provides Bethesda a chance to learn how to best use its new engine in order to apply it Elder Scrolls 6 once development goes into full swing.


Before Bethesda took a hit to their reputation with Fallout 76‘s poor review roundup and its various controversies, one of the main criticisms thrown at the studio was regarding their Creation Engine. The Creation Engine made its debut with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and while it was distinct in its style and impressive for its time, it was prone to an assortment of bugs and glitches. Most were seen as more quirky than frustrating, but that feeling changed over time.

Fallout 4 really put the limits of Bethesda’s proprietary engine on display, as it looked and felt as if it hadn’t been modified or updated since Skyrim. For comparison, someone remade Elder Scrolls‘ Oblivion Gate in Unreal 5, showing the potential a new engine has for the series. Unreal Engine itself has had a similar time-gap between big installments, with 4 releasing in 2014 and 5 releasing in 2022, but Epic Games also provides consistent updates in order to make sure their engine can keep up with industry advancements. When Fallout 76 showed that the Creation Engine struggles to support online services, it was clear that something had to change.

Starfield Will Let Bethesda Refine Their New Architecture For Elder Scrolls 6

Introducing the Creation Engine 2 through Starfield, while risky, will likely be one of the best decisions Bethesda could make for not just the company, but for the Elder Scrolls 6. There’s already a lot of hype surrounding Starfield, and with some still hesitant to give Fallout 76 a second chance, the knowledge that Starfield will be running on new architecture is exciting. For the first time in a long time, no one really knows what to expect from a new Bethesda game in both how it will look and how it will feel to play.

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More importantly, debuting this with Starfield is a safer bet than with the Elder Scrolls 6 because the latter will have the most impact on Bethesda. With any new franchise, there’s at least a little more acceptance around the fact that it may be a rough at first, and players could be more likely to stick with the game as Bethesda learns the strengths and weaknesses of its new architecture, something the studio may not want to do with an Elder Scrolls game. Since the franchise is such a heavy hitter, and given the ongoing recovery from Bethesda’s reputation suffering from anti-consumer trends with Fallout 76 and The Elder Scrolls: Blades, repeating any similar mistakes with a mainline Elder Scrolls title would likely lead to some serious repercussions.

With over 10 years of not only waiting for a new installment, but constantly rereleasing Skyrim, there’s a lot of pressure on Bethesda to provide a game that meets high player expectations and impresses with its technology. Starfield provides Bethesda the opportunity to remove part of that pressure by allowing it to solve problems before it moves on to full development focus on The Elder Scrolls 6. This way, more of its development can be focused on the story, features, and overall experience rather than just the mechanical difficulties that will undoubtedly still require considerable attention.

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