While it’s not been any great surprise to anyone, Bethesda has been working on a brand-new game engine to be the foundation of their upcoming major next-gen titles, those being the much-anticipated Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI. We didn’t know much about what this game engine means for the future of Bethesda, but now Todd Howard has given us an idea of just what these changes may bring to the table and how meaningful they could be for these upcoming games.
During a recent event, Todd Howard claimed that the overhaul to the engine is “probably the largest we’ve ever had, maybe even larger than Morrowind to Oblivion.” In order to facilitate this huge engine change, Bethesda has been putting a lot of money into the team behind its development. According to Howard, there are more people at Bethesda working on the engine than ever before. Supposedly, it’s by a factor of five.
The new Bethesda game engine is very likely to have many aspects from older games that fans love, since there’d hardly be a reason to remove things that people like. That will probably include support for mods and the overall way that they’ve approached open-ended worlds over the years. Howard himself said as much. But aside from these things, players can expect some pretty big changes.
“From rendering to animation to pathing to procedural generation… I don’t want to say everything, but it’s a significant overhaul,” Howard said. “It’s taken us longer than we would have liked, but it’s going to power everything we’re doing with Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6. When people see the results, they’ll hopefully be as happy as we are with what’s on the screen and also how we can go about making our games.”
Unfortunately, it seems that it will be some time before we can actually appreciate all of this work. Howard stressed that he personally enjoys being able to announce games and release them shortly thereafter, just like the scenario with Fallout 4, which was announced at E3 in June and released pretty soon after the fact in November. As of right now, there isn’t even a vague window of time in which we can expect The Elder Scrolls VI or Starfield to be announced. So, it’s possible that it may still be years before we actually get close to their release dates, much to the dismay of many fans.
“You just don’t want to string them along too long. You get kind of fatigued,” Howard said. “You have to balance that fatigue of wanting something versus that consumer excitement. Also, it takes time, to be frank. Preparing trailers, demos and assets take time away from development. I remember games we’ve done where you’re doing that for multiple years and it’s like you have to top yourself. You have to top your previous demo. I’d rather spend all that time focusing on the game and prepare one big demo.”
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