Huge engine overhaul to blame for Elder Scrolls 6, Starfield delay

Bethesda is performing its largest engine overhaul in the history of the company for next-gen hardware to power Starfield, TESVI.

2 minutes & 53 seconds read time

Bethesda's Todd Howard confirms the massive engine overhaul is the main reason Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6 are taking so long to develop.

Huge engine overhaul to blame for Elder Scrolls 6, Starfield delay 24

Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6 are still a long ways from release. Both games are currently in development for next-generation hardware, including the Xbox Series X, and will both be powered by Bethesda's new revamped proprietary games engine. Right now Bethesda Game Studios is performing the biggest engine re-do in its entire history to ensure its internal first-party titles are fully optimized on the more powerful hardware.

"The overhaul on our engine is probably the largest we've ever had, maybe even larger than Morrowind to Oblivion," Howard told

As far as timing, Starfield will come first, and then The Elder Scrolls VI. Not a whole lot is known about each project--especially TESVI--but a new interview with Todd Howard reveals a few new snippets:

  • New games engines powering Starfield and Elder Scrolls will use procedural generation
  • The overhaul is responsible for the games taking so long
  • Starfield is 100% singleplayer, no multiplayer
  • The Elder Scrolls VI is likewise fully singleplayer
  • Engine is being rebuilt with mod support in mind
Huge engine overhaul to blame for Elder Scrolls 6, Starfield delay 34Huge engine overhaul to blame for Elder Scrolls 6, Starfield delay 35

The new engine overhaul is similarly mysterious. We do know the engine will now use photogrammetry for its visuals and provide direct scans of high-res images baked right into the tech itself. This will lead to massively improved textures that look ultra-realistic while in-game.

We also know Bethesda has been working closely with Microsoft for a while now and helping shape the next-gen Xbox Series X and Series S hardware. Even before Microsoft bought Bethesda for $7.5 billion, the two were bedfellows as far back as the original Xbox days in the early 2000s. The new acquisition means Bethesda will have direct first-party access to Microsoft's powerful DirectX 12 APIs that enable bleeding-edge console performance like 4K 120FPS, ultra-fast loading via the new Velocity Architecture, massively improved data streaming, and much more.

As for when we'll actually get to see Starfield or TESVI in action...well...that'll take some time. Bethesda's Pete Hines says it'll "be a while till we get there."

Here's everything we know about Starfield:

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Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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