Speculation on Bethesda: Where Should Sixth Installment of the Elder Scrolls Games Take Place?

Elder Scrolls Online, Release Date April 2014

Elder Scrolls VI has been announced to be quite a ways off. Can you guess where the game will take place next?

The Elder Scrolls franchise had humble beginnings in Arena, a cult classic with mixed reviews. Even back then, the game was noted for how hard it was on the system it played on. Elder Scrolls has always been massive, even overwhelming, but its successes are impossible to deny now.

Bethesda Softworks opened the territory for the return of sandbox gaming through this series, where the player has more control and exploring to do than quests to follow. Each game has its story, but the games are not defined by them.

Instead, they branch out from the plot. The setting, the player characterization, and the many different paths you can take are just a few things that have defined these games.

As stated before, Arena was the start of the series. Daggerfall continued to hash out the kinks (and there were legion) of the series. Morrowind was the first true hit of the series, winning multiple Game of the Year awards after its release in 2002, and Oblivion and Skyrim followed this success each in 2006 and 2011 respectively.

Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, 2006

It's clear that Bethesda knows what they're doing with open worlds, rich story, and weaving plots like a tapestry, and they've gotten better and better with each edition to the story. There isn't a lot of fear that the sixth addition of Elder Scrolls will be any different, even though it's a long, long ways away. However, we still have to ask: where is the next game going to be?

The remaining zones that the game can take place on – Summerset Isles, Black Marsh, Valenwood, and Elsweyr – are ones that can bring different challenges to the game, in creating the actual game as well as playing it. They can all drastically vary how the story continues and what struggles a player will face. Tension and conflict between races is something the world of Tamriel always addresses, and how this tension and conflict is resolved (or swept under the rug.)

Exploration is also crucial, since that is what this game series is known for most of all. With this in mind, the two most likely zones for Elder Scrolls VI will be discussed in length.

Elsweyr

The home of the catlike Khajiit, Elsweyr is a land that is best described by the word “duality.” With the twin moons Masser and Secunda, which are so deeply woven into their culture and even their sense of being, as well as the fact that north and south Elsweyr are very different environments despite being one place in Tamriel.

Even Elsweyr's people have double edges to them. Duality always brings tension, and it is everywhere in Elsweyr.

The moons Masser and Secunda determine a lot of things, but the most noteworthy is how the Khajiit are born. Depending on the position and lighting of the moons (waning, waxing, eclipse, etc), this will determine the form of the Khajiit that was born that night.

From a creature the size and shape of a domestic housecat to cat men who walk on two legs to huge felines the size of mammoths, there is a lot of variety to the Khajiit race, very different from the other races on Tamriel. Only the Khajiit that are a perfect blend of cat and human as well as the mostly human in appearance are commonly sighted outside of Elsweyr, which means having a game in Elsweyr would allow interactions between races that players haven't seen before.

Double sided, double edged. This kitty's got claws.

It also means getting a closer look into the Khajiit lifestyle: how a race that can vary so much in size and build live and work together.

More on the moons, there is a great mystery to them and the solution to that mystery could be delved into in the next game. For a two year period in the Fourth Era, Masser and Secunda disappeared, throwing the Khajiit into a panic and a large state of unrest. Considering the moons determined who they were, this is understandable.

The moons reappeared after two years, and the Thalmor, a faction of high elves, claimed they were responsible for putting the moons back using previously undiscovered magic. The Khajiit considered the Thalmor their saviors, meaning the two races are considerably intertwined. The Thalmor were revealed as a faction to be hated in Skyrim, which leads to a lot of interesting presumptions that could take place in Elsweyr.

Exploration is one of the most coveted concepts in Elder Scrolls, and there would be a lot to explore here. North Elsweyr consists of a rocky desert that is very open and hot, without a lot of cover. Before the two halves got along, North Elsweyr consisted of tribal warriors and survivalists. The treacherous landscape would be interesting and exciting to unravel, although it would take the hardiest of adventurers to do so.

Continuing the story... that's what could be found in Elsweyr.

On the other hand, South Elsweyr consists of jungles, with lots of tree cover and rivers. Its inhabitants had traders and merchants when the two halves were not one united force. All sorts of dangers could be hiding in the thick foliage cover. Putting the two together means a lot of adjustment for a player. This adjustment means more of a challenge.

Black Marsh (Argonia)

On the other hand, there isn't a place more shrouded in mystery and unwelcoming than Black Marsh. Consisting of all swamp land, Black Marsh is home to the Argonians, who match their homeland quite literally. Death is everywhere in Black Marsh, and only its native people are (mostly) immune to the dangers of their land.

The geography of Black Marsh is the most important, because it is undoubtedly why the fan base will want to play it. No one other than Argonians have been to the center of Black Marsh. Any other foolish adventurer who has tried has perished, never to be seen again.

A deadly setting... of course you want to cross it!

It's not that hard to think of reasons why: even further from the center of Black Marsh, poison and illness have killed many non-Argonians. A lethal strain of the flu once wiped out entire outposts on the edges of the land.

Even Tiber Septim, dragonborn and a renowned military strategist, did not dare venture to the center of Black Marsh. Instead, he planted more outposts on the edges and otherwise left Black Marsh alone.

The allure of having a game in Black Marsh is pretty easy to see. The mystery of the center of Black Marsh as well as its inhabitants is tempting. It's hard to imagine Bethesda surpassing the fatalities Black Marsh seems to bring, especially since the 9th Divine couldn't even touch it.

That being said, it might be necessary to try again, and maybe the native people hold the key to other races being able to travel the land. It's worth saying that Argonians, while reclusive and unwelcoming, are fiercely loyal to anyone they call “friend.” It would be interesting to see how far loyalty can take this fierce race, and how far it can take others.

It could take them to the heart of Black Marsh's swamps.

Unlike Elsweyr, the mythologies and culture of Black Marsh are seemingly non-existent, undoubtedly because not much is known about them. However, there is what's called the Hist. The Hist is as important to the Argonians as the two moons are to the Khajiit, or at least this is what has been rumored.

Mysteries in mass... Black Marsh has got it covered.

All that is really known about the Hist is that it is a network of trees in the swamp, that has a hive-like consciousness. Only Argonians can safely consume Hist sap; any other race suffers negative effects that cause the victim to see friends and foes identically as enemies.

It is said that Argonians can understand the Hist consciousness when ingesting this sap. It would be interesting to see these mysteries explored thoroughly, just like that of the two moons' disappearance.

Both of these places have questions awaiting answers, and two races that are rather complex. The Khajiit would be interesting because of all the variety as well as the duality of the land, as well as the effects of their moons.

On the other hand, the Argonians bring plenty to the table as well, being the only kind that can see all of their land and have no interest in sharing their finds. Bethesda has a lot to play with here, and their fans cannot wait to see the results.

What do you think? Where do you want to see Elder Scrolls VI take place?

Either way, there will be adventure.

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selfsearcher's picture

selfsearcher 4 years 1 month ago

Honestly, I would like to see more story, less quests. And a more persistent, interactive world. To be able to live my story, not only a scripted one.