The Elder Scrolls has been name-dropped once again during the Microsoft v FTC court battle. On the final day of the hearing, Microsoft's lawyer claimed the next Elder Scrolls game by Bethesda was projected to release much earlier than expected.
Before you get too excited, it seems the lawyer got a bit mixed up while attempting to correct the FTC - confusing the next mainline entry in The Elder Scrolls series as "Elder Scrolls 16" and claiming it was targeting a release date of 2026. Here it is in full (via The Verge):
Microsoft lawyer: "Could I clarify one issue that council raised with you, when you were asking about Zenimax and asked him to find a game that was most similar to Xbox, he mentioned Elder Scrolls. That is incorrect. There are two Elder Scrolls games, one is online called Elder Scrolls Online — that is a multiplayer game, it is on PlayStation today. The game he’s talking about Elder Scrolls 16... the projected release is 2026 as a single-player game. It is not anywhere similar to Call of Duty, which as you know is multiplayer and multi-platform."
While it's clear this was actually a reference to Elder Scrolls 6, the release date has definitely raised some eyebrows. Either Microsoft's lawyer knows something everybody else doesn't or this is just some wild projection or error.
Obviously, Bethesda's next open-world space RPG Starfield isn't even out yet, and won't arrive until September. It's already taken many years to develop, with it seemingly being the company's main focus for some time now.
This projected window of 2026 also doesn't exactly line up with Phil Spencer's comments during the hearing last week, where he claimed the sixth Elder Scrolls entry was at least "five-plus years away" from release. The platforms are apparently still to be determined according to Spencer, although it's been suggested it will be an Xbox exclusive.
If the Microsoft lawyer does happen to be providing an accurate window, it would no doubt be a lot sooner than most Elder Scrolls fans are probably expecting the next entry to arrive.