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What to Expect from Bethesda in 2021


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While it seemed to last forever, 2020 is now behind the world. With the new year, gamers have a lot of stuff to look forward to, especially fans of a big studio like Bethesda. While Bethesda has been tight-lipped about many of its recent projects, 2021 seems like the year that it starts to reveal details about the games it has been dangling in front of its fans.

With Starfield, The Elder Scrolls 6, and a lot more in the works from Bethesda, fans of just about any genre have something to look forward to from the developer. However, the coronavirus pandemic is still raging, and game development has been hit hard by it. That almost certainly means that Bethesda's 2021 plans have been affected in some regards, but there are some things that seem guaranteed to happen next year.

What Fans Know So Far

 

Of all the surprises the games industry had in 2020, Microsoft acquiring Bethesda was possibly the biggest. While the deal has been announced, it still hasn't been finalized, and it isn't expected to until the second half of Fiscal Year 2021. That puts the deal finishing, roughly, sometime between April and June 2021. The deal could fundamentally change the way that Bethesda operates, or at least change how it approaches multi-platform games.

There are a lot of question marks about the deal, specifically in regards to which games will be Xbox exclusives and which ones will be open to all. New Bethesda games will come to Xbox Game Pass on launch day, which presents a massive advantage for Microsoft's console family, and new Bethesda games will run better on the Xbox, though that was already the case in many instances in the past.

Bethesda Softworks has been publishing games for years now, and 2021 is no different. While release dates are always subject to change, especially with the coronavirus pandemic worsening, Bethesda has two major games planned to release this year. Fans of the studio can expect Deathloop and GhostWire Tokyo this year, assuming all goes to plan.

The two games are quite a bit different from what the company has done in the past, and while new franchises can be fairly hit or miss, both show a lot of promise. GhostWire Tokyo especially has raised a few eyebrows, as the game incorporates a lot of flashy and unique elements. If executed properly, it could mark the start of a major new franchise for Bethesda, and Xbox by extension.

What Seems Likely

 

This year will mark the tenth anniversary of Skyrim, Bethesda's most successful game ever in terms of sales. While jokes are often made about Skyrim being ported to every game console under the sun, the game's continued relevance certainly makes porting it to new systems a no-brainer for the company. It seems obvious that Bethesda will do something big for Skyrim's birthday, but it isn't immediately clear what that will be.

Skyrim is available through backward compatibility on both the PS5 and Xbox Series X, though a true port to the consoles doesn't seem impossible. Grand Theft Auto 5, another game originally released on the Xbox 360 and PS3, has already announced that it's making the next-gen leap, so Skyrim could also do it. That could mean a number of things, but a special anniversary edition of the game with interesting pack-ins could be a good way for Bethesda to attract fans to it one last time.

What Could Happen

 

In years long passed, Bethesda emphasized releasing games shortly after announcing them, typically within the same calendar year. However, Bethesda's 2018 E3 press conference revealed a number of major new titles, like its upcoming sci-fi RPG Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6. But there's been virtually no new information on those games in the years since, leaving fans in the dark.

2021 seems likely to be the year that changes, at least for some Bethesda titles. A release date announcement for The Elder Scrolls 6 – or even a vague window – isn't likely, given that the game still seemed to be in the pre-production phase when it was first announced. However, a release date for Starfield seems like a possibility. Bethesda may choose to announce a launch date for the game after revealing new information about it at E3, or whatever major digital show may happen around that time. It would fit in with what the company has done in the past, but that's just speculation.

What's Unlikely

 

It probably isn't safe to expect big news on Elder Scrolls 6, or any other main entries in the franchise. While fans can expect The Elder Scrolls Online to keep moving along, especially after its next expansion was announced, everything else is doubtful. Bethesda has been clear that it isn't going to reveal any major Elder Scrolls 6 news for some time, and it seems like that drought will continue into 2021.

There have also been fans hopeful that an Elder Scrolls remaster of some sort will be announced, but that seems even less likely. Recreating the older games in the franchise with new technology would be almost as much effort as creating a game from scratch. With fan-remake projects still going strong, Bethesda will likely focus on the future rather than the past.

Much like The Elder Scrolls, fans have been speculating about a possible new Fallout announcement, and while that would be great to see, this seems like one of the least likely rumors circulating right now. Fans shouldn't expect a new Fallout game for at least a few more years, especially with Bethesda investing in Fallout 76's redemption arc.

With 2021 looking bright for Bethesda, fans of the company have a lot to look forward to. There are probably still a few unannounced surprises on the way, but it's hard to say what exactly those will be.

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