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Bethesda’s Starfield trailer may contain a clue about The Elder Scrolls 6

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An image of a map of Tamriel from A Pocket Guide To The Empire, published with TES 4: Oblivion’s Collector’s Edition. Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Bethesda Softworks formally unveiled Starfield, its highly anticipated new role-playing game, on Sunday during the Xbox showcase. And in a surprise twist, eagle-eyed fans on Reddit have found what they think could be a teaser for Bethesda Game Studios’ next new game: The Elder Scrolls 6. We’ve seen the evidence, and ... yeah. There could definitely be a big, fat Easter egg hidden in plain sight.

[Warning: This story could contain spoilers for the next game in The Elder Scrolls series of single-player RPGs.]

The last single-player game in The Elder Scrolls series, The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, was released nearly a decade ago. Since 2011, the game has been ported to nearly every digital platform, including the Nintendo Switch and virtual reality. What fans have really been craving is a new game, and we know that The Elder Scrolls 6 has been in development for some time. But first comes Starfield, which won’t be out until November 2022.

So where will The Elder Scrolls go next? Fans are looking very closely at a weird little scratch seen on the dashboard inside the Constellation starship Frontier.


At the 1-minute 17-second mark in the Starfield teaser trailer, an astronaut starts up his starship in the customary manner — by flipping three switches on the dashboard. If you look to the right-hand side of the screen you’ll notice a conspicuous bit of weathering there on the dash’s chrome housing.

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A fuzzy image that could be anything, really.
A screen capture of a close-up section of the Starfield trailer.
Image: Bethesda Softworks/YouTube

Golly, that looks an awful lot like a map, doesn’t it? Time to dig up some primary sources, by which I mean The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion Collector’s Edition and its included sourcebook, A Pocket Guide To The Empire.

An image of a map of Tamriel from A Pocket Guide To The Empire, published with TES 4: Oblivion’s Collector’s Edition. Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon

Let’s do a little overlay magic while we’re here.

That looks an awful lot like Tamriel’s West coast, including all of High Rock and a portion of Hammerfell. Yes, that could just be a random scratch on the dash, but the prominence of its placement in the trailer, its isolation within the frame, and just the conspicuous shape of the thing looks like Bethesda might be tipping its hand.

So, what could be waiting for players in that region of Tamriel? According to A Pocket Guide, High Rock is a land of rolling hills split by a massive mountain range. In the time of TES 4, it’s home to the Bretons but, depending on when this next game is set, it could also have a sizable contingent of High Elves and Orks. Hammerfell, on the other hand, is traditionally a land ruled by the Redguard. Its arid, desert environs have been home to these warriors for generations.

If you’d like a taste of what might be in store with The Elder Scrolls 6 you don’t have too far to go. The Elder Scrolls Online already includes both of these regions, which comprise the Daggerfall Covenant. Just bear in mind that the events of that MMO take place about 1,000 years before the events of Skyrim. Additionally, The Elder Scrolls 2: Daggerfall is free to download right now.

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