Although man fans see Avowed as a rival to The Elder Scrolls 6, Obsidian’s upcoming RPG could inadvertently set Bethesda up for future success.
When Avowed was revealed last year, fans of both Obsidian and Bethesda were quick to notice the similarities between the upcoming RPG and The Elder Scrolls games. Not only that, but Obsidian had already revealed more about its upcoming project than Bethesda has revealed about The Elder Scrolls 6 since its announcement in 2018. Many concluded that, as with The Outer Worlds and Fallout, Obsidian was developing another first-person RPG to attract Bethesda fans who felt dissatisfied with the studio’s recent releases, or lack thereof.
Despite appearances, Avowed could end up being a huge asset for The Elder Scrolls 6‘s development. Here’s why Bethesda’s apparent rival could actually be its greatest ally, and what all this could mean when the next Elder Scrolls game finally arrives.
Obsidian Entertainment And Bethesda
Although Obsidian returned to CRPGs with Pillars of Eternity, and has more recently branched out with games like Grounded, its first-person RPG credentials were established in collaboration with Bethesda during the development of Fallout: New Vegas. Although New Vegas remains the only Obsidian-developed first-person RPG based on a Bethesda IP, it is still beloved among many Fallout fans, and gave Obsidian developers direct experience working within Bethesda’s formula.
A controversial contractual clause ended Bethesda and Obsidian’s relationship on a sour note, but it also gave Obsidian a unique opportunity: Fallout: New Vegas solidified Obsidian’s strong reputation as a developer able to take the Bethesda RPG formula and create games with more traditional RPG elements, witty dialogue, and a narrative complexity that called back to the original Fallout CRPGs. Those games might not have the same mass appeal as a game like Skyrim, but for a cross-section of the market that found the stories in Bethesda’s Fallout and Elder Scrolls games lacking, Obsidian was the next big hope.
Although contentious in the past, the unique history between Obsidian and Bethesda now presents and opportunity for both studios. Obsidian has the chance to draw disaffected or increasingly impatient Bethesda fans to its smaller-budget first-person RPG projects like The Outer Worlds and Avowed. Bethesda, on the other hand, has the opportunity to look at Avowed when it releases for a clear example of the RPG formula Bethesda uses being executed on current-generation hardware. Without Avowed, the last major first-person fantasy RPG for Bethesda to look back on would be Skyrim itself, a game just months away from its ten-year anniversary.
Innovation With Avowed
If Avowed ends up having a particularly innovative combat system that rivals The Elder Scrolls‘ simple combat system, for example, there’s nothing to stop The Elder Scrolls 6 integrating similar mechanics. If an aspect of Avowed is met with criticism, The Elder Scrolls 6 can attempt to avoid similar criticism in advance. With most predictions placing Avowed‘s release at some point in the next couple of years, and The Elder Scrolls 6‘s release date potentially around 2025 or 2026, Bethesda could have several years to learn from Avowed‘s successes and mistakes.
The trailer for Avowed shows the first-person perspective of a character drawing a magical symbol in the air before summoning a spell into one of their hands. This could hint at some sort of rune drawing system connected to more complex magic mechanics than Skyrim‘s. Back in March leaker Tiffany Treadmore suggested that “Elder Scrolls 6 will include new ‘Rune Drawing’ functionality.” While she said this feature was yet to be confirmed, it is likely that both Bethesda and Obsidian are looking for ways to make their first-person magic and combat systems feel like a generational step forward from Skyrim‘s.
The fact that the main Elder Scrolls series has been dormant for nearly a decade puts the pressure on both Avowed and The Elder Scrolls 6 to solve some of the main criticisms of games like Skyrim. This doesn’t just include the game’s…
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