Fallout 76 is a technical embarrassment in 2018. Even Fallout 4 felt dated back when it released in 2015. And now Bethesda's Todd Howard has confirmed that the developer is using its same old creaky engine to power Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI. God help us all.
For those out of the loop, Bethesda's Creation Engine came into being with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, but the foundations of the engine have been in play for a lot longer than that, dating all the way back to The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Every Bethesda Game Studios title since then has been built using that same software on some level, although obviously, the developer has improved it over time.
The issue here is that the engine has never been very good, at least on a technical level. Last-gen titles such as Fallout 3 and the original version of Skyrim ran badly on the PlayStation 3, and Bethesda's now infamous for its buggy, glitch-ridden games. There was some hope that the studio would finally ditch its engine for its supposedly next-gen titles, but again, according to Howard, that ain't happening.
"Fallout 76 uses a new renderer, a new lighting system and a new system for the landscape generation. For Starfield even more of it changes. And for The Elder Scrolls 6, out there on the horizon even more," Howard tells Forbes, confirming that future games will indeed utilise the Creation Engine.
"We like our editor. It allows us to create worlds really fast and the modders know it really well. There are some elementary ways we create our games and that will continue because that lets us be efficient and we think it works best," Howard explains.
Now, let's not jump the gun. Maybe Bethesda will make drastic improvements to its engine with Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI -- maybe there's nothing to worry about. But given the developer's history, we struggle to find faith.
Put it this way: if we're sitting here in three, four, or five year's time, playing The Elder Scrolls VI, and the game's struggling to hit 30 frames per second, we're going to lose our minds.