The Elder Scrolls 6 is aiming to be an even bigger game than Skyrim, according to Bethesda game director Todd Howard, who stated in a recent interview that he envisions the upcoming sequel as something that could be played for over a decade. The Elder Scrolls series has been well-known for its lengthy campaigns, which feature an incredible array of side quests and hidden areas to explore that can occupy gamers for hundreds of hours.
That game length, coupled with the fact that Skyrim has been ported everywhere it possibly could be within reason and continues to sell well despite being ancient by video game standards, has made the most recent Elder Scrolls game something of a cultural phenomenon. It's still getting mod support from a robust and talented community looking to extend the game's lifespan even further, and it's a testament to the quality of the base game itself that many feel they can load it up for a fourth or fifth playthrough and still find something they might have missed previously. As the gold standard of video game depth and design, Skyrim has endured well past when many expected it to, which lends some weight to Howard's assertion about the sequel.
During an interview with IGN, Howard was asked about the decade-long gap between The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim and Elder Scrolls 6. Howard first mentioned that Elder Scrolls Online has been released in the interim and that he feels Zenimax Online Studios has been churning out strong, high-quality content. He did then admit that people were salivating over the prospect of another true Elder Scrolls sequel, however, and discussed what to expect from Elder Scrolls 6 after the long wait:
"Anything we put it [Skyrim] out on, it becomes a hit game. And they love it, they still play it, it's almost infinitely playable, all of the mods and everything like that. And we're 8 years post-Skyrim. It lets us know going into Elder Scrolls 6 that this is a game we need to design for people to play for a decade at least, at least."
Howard also suggested that when people finally do see Elder Scrolls 6, they'll understand why it took so long for the game to follow Skyrim. That, combined with the frankly astounding assertion that Elder Scrolls 6 could be played for a decade at least, should be enough to send fans into a frenzy once more as they eagerly anticipate anything resembling gameplay footage or Elder Scrolls 6 details about Bethesda's heavily-awaited sequel to one of the best franchises of all time.
Will Elder Scrolls 6 actually be able to occupy people for a decade? Howard's comment acknowledges that modding communities play a huge role in that, so it seems Bethesda's got a strong grasp of what made Skyrim so enduring. With that being the case, it's definitely a possibility, and it's absurd to discount the insight of the man behind some of the most successful games in the past ten years. While the gaming industry moves faster than ever, perhaps Bethesda's found the winning formula: slowing the pace down and giving fans enough quality content that they don't feel the need to upgrade immediately.