E3 2018: Dissecting the Elder Scrolls VI teaser that broke the internet

    
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Last night, Bethesda Director Todd Howard took the E3 stage and practically broke the internet. Of course, he talked about Fallout 76, which everyone expected. After all, Bethesda teased that days earlier, and if he didn’t give us more details, the internet would have rioted. However, the thing that really broke everyone — especially Reddit — only took 36 seconds. He announced what everyone wanted but no one expected: The Elder Scrolls VI.

It’s amazing how a small teaser will set people on fire. Massively OP’s chatroom lit up with speculation. Admittedly, it was mostly me and Bree going nuts over this particular game, but we were doing our best to try to determine where The Elder Scrolls VI would take place. All we had was a 36-second fly-by that featured a bunch of rocks, bigger rocks, and a little bit of grass. In other words, it told us practically nothing. But that didn’t stop me from attempting to pull apart each little detail — what was shown and what wasn’t.

Let’s break this down.

I think the first thing to look at when you see this teaser is that it’s not a traditional helicopter fly-by. It might appear that we actually in the air flying over the land, but in actuality, the camera sits about two meters above the ground at first. It’s a bit hard to tell because the whole thing is full of fog and mist. But there are a few clues. The biggest clue sits at the 4-second mark. It’s a pile of rocks that I thought was a city on first viewing, but no. If you look at the still I’ve included below, you’ll see that it’s clearly a pile of rocks and really couldn’t be anything else.

Thankfully, it wasn’t this pile of rocks that broke everything. The still that broke everything is the same one that I used for the header of this article. It suggests a mountainous land with an ocean off to the right, a castle in the middle, and some kind of crater to the left. But the best shot of everything actually appears well before the words appear in that iconic Elder Scrolls font.

If we rewind the video back to 16 seconds, we can see everything that we need to speculate where we are.

Four layers

Bethesda artists know how to tease, and they also know good cinematography. In any good landscape shot, you need something to help give the audience perspective. And this image has it. As you recall, the lower part of this image is only about two meters away from the camera. This is most evident on the left. Although the landscape appears to blend together, there is a clear dip in the land as the camera moves forward. Objects in the background will move slower than objects in the foreground. We can see that happening on the left if we look at the teaser frame by frame. I’ve also outlined the four different levels of perspective in the image above.

With that in mind, what does each layer tell us?

First, it tells us that we are pretty high up, and that’s a sharp curve downward to the lip of the crater. It also tells us that those green things in front aren’t trees as I originally supposed. They are tufts of grass in what appears to be sand.

The second layer seems to be the most telling because it houses the castle ruins and the crater, but in reality, it really tells us very little, unless we knew which castle and crater that is. But pay attention to the shadow in this layer because it will be important in a minute.

The third layer obviously tells us that this region of Nirn is mountainous. But it also gives us an indication that we might be in the most northern area of the planet because it appears that there is snow on the mountains and not just the tops but also at the base of the mountains.

The last layer is actually the most important in telling us where we are because it houses a giant body of water, mountains, and shows us the flow of the land.

The nitty and the gritty

The shadow gives us another very important clue: It’s not noon. It also tells us where the sun is. Why is this important? It tells us the relationship of the objects on the earth to the rest of the planet. Nirn’s sun is the same as Earth’s. It rises in the east and sets in the west. That means the camera is moving more or less north or south.

Let’s go with the assumption that we are headed north-ish. That means there is an ocean-side city and ruins before the land takes a turn to the east. (I circled the city and the ruins in the picture above.) If we take a look at an existing map of Tamriel, I really don’t see a city that fits this description. Northpoint in High Rock is literally on a peninsula and would not have more land to the north of it. The cities in Elsweyr have no mountains. And I can’t see Bethesda going to Summerset this soon after Elder Scrolls Online did.

This means that we are most likely headed south and the ocean is on the west. That also means that we are looking for a mountain range that is south and hooks west with the coastline. I see one likely candidate for that: Orsinium. But would they really do that again so soon after ESO? Possibly, but not likely.

Where does that leave us? I can only think of one possible conclusion, and I have yet to see anyone on Reddit say it yet:

We are not on Tamriel.

I believe that The Elder Scrolls VI crosses the Padomeic Ocean and drops us off on Akavir, the second large landmass on Nirn.

Of course, that’s just my opinion. Where does it align with yours? Do you stand with most of the internet and claim that it’s High Rock? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Massively Overpowered is on the ground in Los Angeles, California, for E3 2018, bringing you expert MMO coverage on Anthem, Fallout 76, Elder Scrolls Online, and everything else on display at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo!

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Michael

It could also just be a teaser for a game that is in the conceptional phase and won’t be out until the PS5 / Next Xbox are out…either way!

rahkeesh
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rahkeesh

In their own words, “pre-production”, “not yet playable”, “just started”, “next gen”…

so, yes.

cambruin
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cambruin

Can’t wait. As much as I love (used to love?) ESO, I would very much prefer to go back to the single player games.

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Adam Russell

In prep for 6 I’ve created an elder scrolls station on pandora.

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Michael

Hopefully Pandora still exists by the time ES 6 comes out

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Robert Mann

I think it is High Rock, but facing south. That works with modern maps.

On the other hand, the maps have changed before. Daggerfall used to be an inland city, a little north of the southern side of the bay.

https://postimg.cc/image/ujss7efaf/

*Link since image posting just wasn’t working out. One of these days I’ll make it work!*

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Roger Melly

Maybe we will find out what happened to the Dwarfs ?

Ocho
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Ocho

Oooooo… going off of Tamriel is an excellent guess, and a move that’d be both interesting and a blank slate for them. I like it.

My guess would be, without as much deep diving, the Illiac Bay region. Orsinium, High Rock, Hammerfell, etc, but that’s as far as I’ve been speculating.

Ocho
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Ocho

I mean, with gaming in the sorry state it is these days, I expect it to be an always online, game-as-service, loot boxes filled, PvP sandbox survival Battle Royale that’ll shut down someday when they shut the servers off for Elder Scrolls Next, or whatever service will come after, so in truth I’m not that excited, but who knows, maybe they’ll buck the trends and leave all that shill to Fallout.

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Bryan Correll

So clearly it takes place on Skaro.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

Fucking finally. Sick of ESO delaying TES6 release. Oblivion and Skyrim took only around 5 year release schedule. But it seems likely that TES6 will take have a release schedule of 10 years.

Fucking ESO.

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Roger Melly

My guess is 2022

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Michael

Uhh, what delayed (and is delaying) TES 6 is Fallout 4 and Starfield. ESO was made by a different studio entirely.

ihatevnecks
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ihatevnecks

Is this sarcasm, or? Because ESO had nothing to do with TES6, Bethesda doesn’t make ESO.

TES6 is still “delayed” and won’t be out for years yet; its “delay” was due to development on Fallout 76 and next Starfield. Like Roger Melly said, don’t expect TES6 until around 2022.

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Dean Greenhoe

A good game is a good game. Just give me a good game and I will dig in my wallet for you. I have learned over time that game teasers are usually better than the actual game. Just give me a good game.

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Alex Willis

just wanted to say I appreciate the analysis though

http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/001/229/977/6db.jpg