Despite fans clamoring for any news regarding the next Elder Scrolls game, Bethesda has refused to let any information leak. As a result, fans have nothing to do but speculate on everything from the plot to where The Elder Scrolls 6 will fall on the series’ long and lore-filled timeline.
One might assume that in a fantasy game like The Elder Scrolls, the writers have the freedom to place the game at any point on the timeline they choose. While that’s technically true, there are a few patterns based on the chronological placement of other Elder Scrolls titles that can clue players in to where and when the next game might be set. Based on these, fans can assume one of a few solid guesses.
The most likely guess is that the next Elder Scrolls game will take place sometime after Skyrim. Looking at IGN‘s timeline of the Elder Scrolls universe, it is evident that all mainline Elder Scrolls titles (i.e. numbered games) are placed in chronological order. How far ahead of Skyrim TES6 would be placed is another mystery entirely. After all, Skyrim takes place 200 years after Oblivion, which is only six short years after Morrowind.
Another solid guess for when TES6 will take place is somewhere around the events of The Elder Scrolls: Online. ESO takes place hundreds of years before the majority of other Elder Scrolls titles, so there’s plenty of room for growth when it comes to the lore. At the same time, that time period in Tamriel’s history is currently the freshest in the minds of Elder Scrolls writers. It’s possible that they have hundreds of ideas for that era which won’t be included in ESO anytime soon. They’d be put to good use in a new game of their own.
Finally, the writers at Bethesda could decide to fill in that 200 year gap between The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It’s clear from IGN’s timeline that the writers already have a good idea of the key events which happened during that period, but that doesn’t close off the opportunity for a new game set at the beginning of the Fourth Era. These events could simply act as a backdrop for TES6′s plot in the same way that Skyrim’s civil war did for its own story.
Regardless of where The Elder Scrolls 6 ends up on the timeline, the writers will have their work cut out for them. Thinking of good side quests, interesting characters, and engaging scenarios is an endeavor all on its own. Making all of those things feel like they belong in the same space and time is another layer of challenge. Bethesda has already accomplished this task five separate times, so it’s no wonder why fans are dying for the next chapter of The Elder Scrolls.