Bethesda shot down a Skyrim sequel, instead we got Starfield

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There’s another world out there where Bethesda Softworks remained partnered with the makers of Fallout: New Vegas, leading to new The Elder Scrolls games between Skyrim and TES 6; this world got Starfield instead.

Obsidian Entertainment has had a rollercoaster of a journey in the games industry. Although beloved for games such as Fallout: New Vegas, Neverwinter Nights 2, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2, the responses to its newer games have been mixed. Games like The Outer Worlds still keep the company’s reputation strong.

The studio has always been ambitious, and that’s being seen once again. While Obsidian was under Bethesda Softworks’ wing, major figures in the company pitched projects. Among them was a potential line of The Elder Scrolls and Fallout games that could have filled the gap between Bethesda’s increasingly spread-out release schedule. Unfortunately, Bethesda was not open to Obsidian’s ideas and one of the developers involved is opening up about it on social media.

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There could have been The Elder Scrolls games between Skyrim and TES 6

Chris Avellone, the chief creative officer on Fallout: New Vegas and project director of its DLCs, stated on social media that he was one of the people at Obsidian who pitched new The Elder Scrolls game set to launch between Bethesda Game Studios’ releases. He states Bethesda rejected every single proposal made by Obsidian after the launch of Fallout: New Vegas.

“I thought it couldn’t hurt to try and push a similar system to what Treyarch and Activision had going with Call of Duty at the time…Bethesda could do a core release, then we’d release a The Elder Scrolls title in the same world or a divergent timeline or era before the next big Bethesda push,” Avellone said on Twitter.

Fallout: New Vegas panned out to be a point of contention between Bethesda and Obsidian, which reportedly played out on multiple fronts. The game garnered a mix of reactions at launch, with performance and stability issues dragging down an experience that was otherwise regarded by many as superior to Bethesda’s own Fallout 3.

That infamously panned out to an 84% review average on Metacritic, which fell short of Bethesda’s bonus incentives which required an 85% average. Obsidian laid off staff several months later when another project was canceled. There was also word that Bethesda staffers were internally frustrated over fans and critics saying they were outdone by Obsidian, something that Avellone seemingly hinted at being true.

Although Obsidian Entertainment and Bethesda have both been acquired by Microsoft, the two studios haven’t collaborated at all. Given the history between the two, it’s not hard to see why.

Obsidian is now working on The Elder Scrolls successor Avowed, The Outer Worlds 2

Obsidian Entertainment is currently working on a pair of major titles in Avowed and The Outer Worlds.

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Obsidian’s upcoming RPG Avowed

After splitting from Bethesda, Obsidian has remained fairly successful. Games such as The Outer Worlds, Grounded, and Pentiment were met with favorable reviews and sales. Although The Outer Worlds never lived up to the “Fallout: New Vegas 2” hype that fans had,  it was successful enough to warrant a sequel and a splashy re-release on Nintendo Switch.

As for Avowed, the game was pitched to be Obsidian’s answer to The Elder Scrolls series, albeit with a heavier focus on narrative and characters instead of massive open worlds. Avowed is currently scheduled for a 2024 release.

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Written by Gab Hernandez

Gab Hernandez has a particular love for video games that give players control over the narrative direction, such as Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Disco Elysium. Gab spends just as much time playing games as they do gushing about them online to anyone who will listen. Their work has also been seen on TheGamer, Gfinity, and Wargamer, and you can follow them on Twitter / X at @HardlyWorkinGab.

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