Will Fallout 4's settlement system carry into The Elder Scrolls VI?
Being the closest thing to a consistent column for me here on GameSkinny, to the delight of Fallout fans everywhere I've decided that it's high time to resume complaining about the settlement system in Fallout 4. However, I couldn't write an article based on Fallout 4 all on its own lest I be accused - again - of writing the same article twice!
So, in today's ramble, we'll be talking about the possibility of the settlement system rolling over into The Elder Scrolls VI.
If you haven't been keeping up with the "series" check out these articles:
- Games like Fallout 4 take crafting too far for the average player
- Fallout 4 Settlement Crafting: a step-by-step guide for beginners
- Why I restarted Fallout 4 and began completely ignoring settlements
- Fallout 4's Home Plate: the perfect, hassle-free one-man settlement
Essentially, what we've established so far is that I'm the antichrist because I don't believe the settlement system in the newest edition of Fallout is up to par. It seems to me like a tacked on addition that could've been skipped in favor of a more dungeon sprawling, dynamic game. Now the question at hand: what about The Elder Scrolls VI?
Let the Speculation Begin!
It is high time speculation began on the next Elder Scrolls game by Bethesda. The Fallout 4 crazy train is slowly coming to a halt after a few months of utter chaos and The Elder Scrolls Online is still slowly chugging along. Not to mention it has been five whole years since the last epic release of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
We're possibly on the eve of a major game announcement from the developer and there will certainly be some differences this time around.
How will The Elder Scrolls Online Impact TES6?
The Elder Scrolls Online was great, but it wasn't the game fans were looking for when "an Elder Scrolls project" was announced way back before its release. However, there is a core element from that game that will likely carry over.
The Elder Scrolls Online, like many MMOs, focus all of the players' time on their own character. Their image, build, class, choices, and more are all focused around them. Hundreds and thousands of other players around them, but the Sun revolves around the player. Just because KhajiitGuy43 chose to kill that servant doesn't mean you will never be able to accept the servants quest again, he'll just respawn eventually. There's no worrying about the trifling lives of NPCs, other players, or anyone else, it's all about you.
So, how will that impact The Elder Scrolls VI? The ridiculous success of having a player-driven online game is now a forerunner in Bethesda's mind. The next Elder Scrolls single player game will be entirely player based. More so than previous titles, players will seriously be focused on the development of their character.
Learning things through crafting, reading, or magika to increase a knowledge level, or battling enemies to increase fitness, strength, and combative capabilities, players will train their characters. Perks will play an essential role in development as will general skill levels. The original race, gender, class, and image of your character will likely impact the entirety of the game as it has in previous titles.
So, let's get back on track here. How will all of that blah blah blah affect the settlement system in the next Elder Scrolls game?
If you haven't discerned it by now, I'm thinking that settlements will be completely forgotten in TES6. Let's go through some other examples before you freak out at me.
The Elder Scrolls - Settling
The Elder Scrolls have never really been games where the player cares about NPCs. Comparative to Fallout where we've been taking care of settlers and whatnot, the most "settling" we've done in Skyrim is building a house in the Hearthfire expansion.
Unfortunately - for those of you that enjoy the settlement system in Fallout 4 - this is one of the reasons the settlement system won't rise again in TES6.
However, I should mention the other side of the story. Fallout 3 and Skyrim were close enough to the same page in their version of "settling." In both games the player could buy a house and then see an NPC to buy "furniture" which would completely decorate an entire portion or room of the house.
Skyrim leaped forward with Hearthfire where we could build our own house, and now Fallout 4 has us building whole communities.
Perhaps, using this example doesn't provide a compelling argument. Moving on...
The Creation Engine
When Fallout 4 was announced to be running a "new and improved" Creation Engine everyone cried out in glee! Then the community got a hold of it and collectively went, "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!" The engine was essentially the same one ran in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which was simply a reboot of the Gamebryo engine ran in every game since The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.
So, what does the game's engine have to do with the settlement system carrying over? Everything. The ideal thing for Bethesda to do before another major release like TES6 is to revamp their engine and start fresh. With an entirely new engine, we don't know if the settlements will stay, go, or change drastically. My money is on go, but I'm sure a lot of you would like to see it improve and stay in the game. This leads me to my last point.
The Elder Scrolls - Crafting
What does the player craft in Fallout games? Guns, melee weapons, armor, chems, food. Most of these things are made up of salvage. Rusty pieces of metal found in old tin cans or toy cars, adhesive grown from farming or found in sticky leftover glue bottles, lower tier drugs, and random scavenged vegetables.
What does the player craft in The Elder Scrolls games? Swords, bows, armor, runes, potions, food. Fairly similar to Fallout but the ingredients are much more different. Purified metals worked into ingots from metal ores make up the majority of supplies, but wood, leather, rune stones, and some plant life makes up the remainder.
A lot of the response I received whilst criticizing the settlement system in Fallout 4 was negative. A lot of players thought that settling was a major source of resources that could not be replaced. Simply having a settlement provided spare salvage, water, food, and adhesives.
If the system were to carry into The Elder Scrolls there would be quite a difference. Crafting in The Elder Scrolls takes leather, purified metals, and training in the art of the smith to accomplish. In Fallout, any old metal will work in the do-it-yourself apocalypse.
Immediately, the need for settlement supplies would diminish in an Elder Scrolls game. Unless settlements all included a mine and a cattle ranch, there's nothing they could provide. Sure they could send you plants, but the majority of the community only crafts potions as a hobby, not as a defining character trade.
I feel as though I've rambled enough. There are a lot of reasons I can't see the settlement system remaining a defining feature of Bethesda's next game - presumably The Elder Scrolls VI. The system fits in with the post-apocalyptic world of Fallout 4, but would struggle to find a place in Tamriel.
The Elder Scrolls is much more character-driven with so many more traits, perks, abilities, classes, races, and more to choose from, making it harder to take the players' focus off of their own improvement. The Elder Scrolls has yet to dabble in settling NPCs and settlements would provide less of an advantage in that universe. Furthermore, the community is hoping for a new engine, which could seriously offset everything we know about Bethesda games as a whole.
With all of this in mind, this article is speculation and only time will tell what The Elder Scrolls VI will have to offer. Expect to see some sort of leak or announcement in the next year or two regarding TES6. It has been five years since Skyrim's release and it's high time that the current console generation gets into Tamriel.