In July 2020, artist Relan Daevath drew a piece of Elder Scrolls Online fanart and posted it on their Tumblr account. Now, three years later, they’ve discovered that seemingly the exact piece has appeared in the game itself, only they had nothing to do with it.
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19 jule 2020 i posted this #tesonline fanart on Tumblr. Now in 2023 I see my art… in ESO crown skin called MERCYMOTHER’S BODY ART (why Almalexia? It’s Sotha Sil here) Do you see ANY difference? @TESOnline , hello. It’s my art but I’m not even mentioned??
Here’s the art as it was posted in 2020:
And here’s a screenshot of the game from April 2023, showing a character skin called Mercymother’s Body Art. If you look across the skin’s shoulders you can see the face and head from the left of Daevath’s art above, flipped and then mirrored across both sides:
There’s also a hand within a triangle, same as Daevath’s art as well, though in the skin’s case it’s not as similar in appearance as the shoulder, which appears to be literally pasted from the 2020 fan art.
Daevath’s tweet quickly gathered traction online, leading to a popular Reddit post, and as a result the developers of the game have been made aware and subsequently issued a statement which reads:
We are aware of the situation with the ESO Fan Artist. It was never our intention to include any community fan art without proper credit. We are in contact with the artist and will work with them to make sure that there is a proper resolution.
Hopefully that resolution includes at least an apology and a credit!
Proponents of modern AI tech—and this is our weekly reminder that it’s not actually artificial intelligence at all—have big plans for video games. Ubisoft is dabbling, Square Enix is dabbling, but those are just testbeds: for a more comprehensive look at what AI supporters want to see in their video games, you should check out this trailer for a ChatGPT mod for Skyrim.
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This video by a user called Art from the Machine shows “a Skyrim mod which allows for conversations with NPCs via ChatGPT, xVASynth (text-to-speech), and Whisper (speech-to-text). This update introduces Skyrim scripting, which allows for lip syncing of voices and NPC awareness of in-game events.”
That’s the aim, anyway. Here’s what all that looks and sounds like in practice:
It’s a horror show, I know. Particular highlights are the way the video has to be sped up to mask the amount of time it takes the game to respond to questions, the terrible synthesised voice acting and the bland, generic standard of all the “writing”. Oh, and the fact the people running Skyrim’s stores—in a world without watches—will now tell you their opening hours like they were getting a phone call in a mall. Sorry, sir, we close at five pum.
I spent ages writing earlier drafts of this blog where I took this opportunity to launch into a tirade against the idea that machine learning can or should replace human artists, but you know what? This is a Skyrim mod. If this is what a lot of people still playing this game want—and clearly it is, even though what they actually want is to play a tabletop RPG with friends—then have at it. If you’re happy with word soup dialogue written by a machine that was trained on stuff that was already pretty generic in the first place, no amount of me saying “we need to value human art as the only true human experience” will convince you that if this is the future of video games that you want, you’re going to get everything you deserve.
Todd Howard, longtime director of huge open-world RPGs like Fallout 4 and the upcoming space adventure Starfield, appears to regret how Bethesda announced The Elder Scrolls VI, suggesting it should have revealed the game more “casually.”
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Back during E3 2018—remember when we used to get actual E3 events?—Bethesda announced Starfield, its next enormous open-world RPG. But it also set aside a moment to reveal The Elder Scrolls VI, the long-awaited follow-up to its massively popular The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Five years later, Starfield is almost here, but the next Elder Scrolls game is nowhere to be found. In a new interview, Howard reveals that he’s been thinking a lot about how and when Bethesda announced the highly anticipated RPG. And looking back, he would have done things differently.
Talking to GQ ahead of Starfield’sSeptember release, Howard was asked about Bethesda’s future after spending eight years working on Starfield. Specifically, the famous video game director was asked if he regrets announcing the next Elder Scrolls games so early, as it could take another four years before the game is actually released.
“I have asked myself that a lot. I don’t know,” admitted Howard. “I probably would’ve announced it more casually.”
When pushed to reveal anything about the future game, Howard was tightlipped, a sign of just how far away The Elder Scrolls VI still remains from launch in 2023. (Howard wouldn’t even reveal the game’s codename.)
“It’s like… I don’t want to answer, but I want to be polite,” Howard said after being asked for any details about the upcoming RPG. “I will say that we want it to fill that role of the ultimate fantasy-world simulator. And there are different ways to accomplish that given the time that has passed.”
Interestingly, Howard kind-of sort-of already did casually announce The Elder Scrolls VI back in 2016, two years before the game’s official teaser and E3 announcement. In an interview with Geoff Keighley back then, Howard confirmed that Bethesda was indeed going to make an Elder Scrolls VI, but warned it was “a very long way off.” He wasn’t joking!
As for Fallout 5, that’s coming too. Howard confirmed as much in a 2022 interview with IGN. But it won’t be out until after The Elder Scrolls VI. And considering how many years away that game likely is at this point, I’d not expect the new Fallout until sometime after 2032. At least you can play Starfield soon, when it launches on September 6 on Xbox Series X/S and PC.
Elder Scrolls VI won’t be coming to PS5 whenever it finally debuts. Though you might’ve already filed this news under “well, duh,” it’s now clear as day courtesy of official documentation from Microsoft.
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Originally announced at E3 2018 (which Bethesda’s own Todd Howard thinks was perhaps a tad too early), The Elder Scrolls VI will mark the first single-player entry in the fabled Elder Scrolls series of big-ass open-world RPG romps since the undying colossal success that was 2011’s Skyrim. News on the TES6 front has otherwise been very quiet, and Bethesda only just released its other epic, long-in-development RPG, the space-themed Starfield. New reporting from Axios’ Stephen Totilo, however, makes it clear that TES6 will be an Xbox and PC exclusive.
The Elder Scrolls VI targets a 2026 release
PlayStation-owning fans of Bethesda jams have been holding out hope that despite Microsoft’s purchase of Bethesda in 2020, Elder Scrolls VI might still come to a Sony machine. CEO of Microsoft gaming Phil Spencer has said as recently as September 6 that the company considers exclusives on a “case-by-case basis” and that it “wants to make sure that [its] games are available in so many different places.”
As per a post on X (formerly Twitter) from Stephen Totilo of Axios, Microsoft’s communications during the FTC case concerning its controversial Activision merger spelled out that The Elder Scrolls VI is coming to Xbox and PC only. In a Microsoft-confidential chart that saw release due to the legal proceedings, The Elder Scrolls VI clearly has a big ol’ red X in the “Released on PlayStation?” column.
The same chart indicates that The Elder Scrolls VI is aiming for a 2026 or later release date. Given the size and scope of Bethesda games, they do take a long time to make. After The Elder Scrolls VI, Bethesda is expected to release Fallout 5.
So, sorry PlayStation Skyrim fans. But, hey, at least you got a head start on Baldur’s Gate 3. And given TES6’s likely release window, at least you’ll have enough time to save up for an Xbox or gaming-worthy PC? Hey, don’t look at me. I’m just the messenger.
A lead Skyrim designer has explained why Bethesda exec Todd Howard peeled back the curtain on The Elder Scrolls 6 in 2018, despite the studio’s years-long focus on shipping Starfield: Angry gamers with their pitchforks and torches.
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In an October 23 interview with the gaming podcast MinnMax, Bruce Nesmith spoke about his history with Bethesda Softworks. Nesmith—who’s been with the company on and off since the ‘90s with credits on Fallout 3, Oblivion, and Skyrim—told host Ben Hanson that Bethesda was getting shit for remaining so tightlipped on TheElder Scrolls 6 for such a long time. It got to a point where, according to Nesmith, Howard had to do something to quell a supposed angry gamer mob. And that something, it turned out, was dropping a teaser of the next entry in The Elder Scrolls series during E3 in June 2018. Nesmith said:
“Well, you have to remember the company took years of hits for not talking about Elder Scrolls 6. I mean, years of hits. Because Todd’s opinion—one which I share, by the way—is that the video game industry has short memories. Those companies that start touting their games years ahead of time actually, you know, they screw themselves. The best time to start talking about it is six months before releases. […] So, only the fact that everybody was—you know, the pitchforks and torches were out. It got Todd to say, ‘Yes, we’re going to do Elder Scrolls 6. I promise you, it’s for real. It’ll happen.’ But I’m betting you won’t hear much in the way of details until about six months before release, which is the way it should be. I think that’s the best approach, and [Todd’s] proven that that works really well—at least for Bethesda.”
The Elder Scrolls 6 was revealed at E3 2018 with a teaser that pans over a mountainous landscape while drums crescendo into a horn section—and that’s it. Since the teaser, tiny bits of news like the game going into early development this year and the potential setting the game will take place in trickled out of Bethesda’s offices, but it’s essentially been radio silence for the past five years.
Kotaku reached out to Bethesda for comment.
Nesmith doesn’t work at Bethesda anymore. According to his LinkedIn page, he left his role as design director in September 2021 and self-published a Norse mythological fantasy epic called Mischief Maker. However, Nesmith told Hanson that some of his ideas might still appear in The Elder Scrolls 6.
“The whole magic system for Skyrim? I persuaded Todd to let me throw out the baby and the bathwater and restart [it] from scratch, and he trusted me enough to do that,” Nesmith said. “There will probably still be traces of that in [The Elder Scrolls 6]. The whole ‘you do it to get better at it’? While that was not my unique idea, I had a large hand in that. That’s absolutely gonna continue. A lot of the concepts dealing with how you level and things like that, you know, there will be a bunch of new ideas thrown in, but I’m betting some of the stuff that I worked on will still survive in the new one.”
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It’ll probably be a while before we find out, but whenever it drops, Todd Howard said it may be the last one he works on. No matter what The Elder Scrolls 6 entails, though, we know it’s not coming to PlayStation anytime soon.