Bethesda Games Development Time

Skyrim was 2011. Fallout 4 was 2015. Starfield was 2023. Development cycles are growing longer all across the industry, but for Bethesda in particular, it's felt like the company has really struggled to create a consistent pipeline — especially in the last decade or so. This is even more apparent when you factor in projects like The Elder Scrolls 6, which was barely a concept when it was first announced in 2018.

But now that Bethesda is under the Microsoft umbrella, you've got to imagine that the outfit is undergoing big changes behind the scenes. After all, the developer's games have historically sold incredibly well — especially in the case of Skyrim — and the suits will want to see the smash hits happen more and more often.

Apparently, these extensive development cycles are exactly the issue that Bethesda is trying to fix. Speaking to Kinda Funny Games (as reported by VGC), Bethesda boss Todd Howard said: "You know, [the games] do take a long time, and so I think one of the things we’re focused on here is obviously making sure they’re of the highest quality, but also finding ways to increase our output, because we don’t want to wait that long either."

He continues: "If I could snap my fingers and have them all be out and ready, I would, but the main thing is how do we deliver these at a high quality level – that’s always the most important." Of course, you're bound to see people jabbing at this comment given that the developer has a... reputation for releasing very buggy titles, but you get the point that Howard's trying to make.

We can't help but think that Bethesda's stuck in a shaky situation — and has been for the better part of a decade. Its games tend to adhere to a specific open world blueprint, but as evidenced by Starfield, that blueprint is really starting to show its age. The genre has moved on massively since the release of Fallout 4 in 2015, and it feels like Bethesda has spent a long time playing catch-up, only to still find itself behind the curve.

With that in mind, it's hard to picture an efficient solution to these problems. Does it finally have to move away from the fundamental engine that it's been using and modifying since Morrowind? Maybe enlisting third-party studios is the answer? It'll be interesting to see how Bethesda, and its IP, is managed over the next few years.

What do you think the future holds for Bethesda and its games? Don't spend too long waiting for The Elder Scrolls 6 in the comments section below.

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