When Microsoft bought Bethesda parent company Zenimax, it created a lot of questions about what major multiplatform franchises might end up as Xbox exclusives moving forward. One of the biggest of those is the already announced The Elder Scrolls VI, the long anticipated follow up to Skyrim. While far from conclusive evidence, the PlayStation Blog listed The Elder Scrolls VI in its Game of the Year 2020 awards nominations under most anticipated games, sparking speculation that the title is still headed to PlayStation platforms (most likely PS5) despite being a Microsoft property.
The Microsoft Zenimax acquisition isn’t affecting games already announced for release on PlayStation platforms, and some PlayStation exclusivity deals, like with Deathloop, are still being honored. At the time, Microsoft also indicated that Bethesda games would come to other platforms “on a case by case basis,” leaving many to wonder if we’d seen our last Fallout, Elder Scrolls, or Wolfenstein games on PlayStation. The biggest question marks on the schedule remain The Elder Scrolls VI and Starfield, both titles that were announced years ago and have received very little in the way of substantive updates since.
Many assume that Starfield, as a new IP, will be used as a Microsoft exclusive to bolster the Xbox library of exclusive games. However, fans have held out hope that the longtime multiplatform Elder Scrolls series would still see a PlayStation release for its next iteration, especially as The Elder Scrolls Online continues to receive updates and support on Sony’s console. It’s unclear if the addition of The Elder Scrolls VI as a most anticipated title on the PlayStation Blog is indicative of its exclusivity status (or lack thereof), or if it’s simply wishful thinking by everyone involved, the PS Blog included.
The deal doesn’t fully go through until next year, which means Xbox executives have been reluctant to talk about what it might entail once finalized. They’ve said at least that Bethesda games should be “first or best” on Xbox platforms, but even Bethesda’s Todd Howard thinks Microsoft restricting The Elder Scrolls VI is “hard to imagine.” Whatever Microsoft decides to do, however, the company has made it clear that they don’t need to make Bethesda games multiplatform to recoup the investment spent to buy Zenimax.