We’ve been to Cyrodiil. We’ve been to Skyrim. We’ve been to Hammerfell, High Rock, Morrowind, Solstheim, the Shivering Isles, and — thanks to the 2014 debut of The Elder Scrolls Online — just about everywhere else there is to go on the sprawling continent of Tamriel.
But as the hype separating Bethesda’s E3 announcement of the sixth big installment in the Elder Scrolls franchise from its way-off release date ramps up, people are already going above and beyond to detect any clues the studio may be leaving as to where, exactly, the successor to 2011’s landmark Skyrim will take place.
Social media, as well as gaming media outlets, have dissected Bethesda’s tantalizingly short, one-shot panoramic trailer above, and come away largely in agreement that, judging from the one image we’ve so far seen, we may be heading back to the High Rock-Hammerfell region — the two territories that form Skyrim’s western border.
High Rock, which borders the ocean on its north coast, is populated by the Bretons, one of the series’ playable character classes who possess a natural affinity for magicka and the arcane arts. Hammerfell, just to its south, is a vast desert land surrounded by water on its western side and is home to the Redguards, a martial race that generally favors brawn over magicka and, like the Bretons, make up another playable character class.
Social media speculation is predictably running wild, but even the pros can see how High Rock in particular might make sense.
Comparing the trailer with what we already know about High Rock, including its appearance in The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall and in-game lore, IGN says it's the ocean-bound terrain that might offer up the clip’s biggest clue.
“The main indication of this setting comes from the topography found in the teaser,” IGN notes, adding later that “High Rock is home to many coastal cities like Camlorn, Northpoint, and even Daggerfall itself — and they could easily be the one pictured far in the distance of the view in the trailer.”
There’s also speculation that ESVI might not even be set on the continent of Tamriel at all. Until now, The Elder Scrolls has mostly hinted at the existence of the separate continent of Akavir, a mysterious land far across the eastern ocean from Tamriel inhabited by at least four races referenced in lore: the Snow Demons of Kamal, the Monkey People of Tang Mo, the Tiger Dragons of Ka Po’ Tun, and the serpent-men of Tsaesci.
“Akavir has been rumored for a while for the new game,” observes Forbes, “and it would definitely get around the problem of so much of Tamriel already being explored in TESO.”
Whether set in High Rock, Akavir, or any and all of The Elders Scrolls’ other iconic locations, one thing’s for certain: The speculation will stay hot until Bethesda reveals more about the game. With a release date so far in the future that, according to the studio’s Todd Howard, it won’t hit consoles until after the distant release of all-new game IP Starfield, here’s hoping we get a bigger taste of what Bethesda’s planning as E3 rolls along this week.