The Federal Trade Commission vs. Microsoft case has been a gold mine of leaks this week. Yesterday we learned Microsoft targeted a 2028 launch window for a successor to the Xbox Series X and Series S. The latest leak reveals a number of unannounced Bethesda games, including remasters of Fallout 3 and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
The documents, apparently accidentally published as part of the FTC's ongoing legal challenge of Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, include a management forecast from Zenimax, Bethesda's parent company, put together in July 2020 ahead of its purchase by Microsoft for $7.5 billion in March 2021. Obviously, given when the chart was drafted, some of the release windows are out of date. Nonetheless, it gives us a clear picture of Bethesda's planned release schedule through the fiscal year of 2024 (at least as of three years ago).
You can find the full list here. Some of the highlights include:
- An Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Remaster, originally listed for fiscal year 2022, but has obviously been delayed since
- A game based on the Indian Jones IP, also originally targeting a fiscal year 2022 release
- Doom Year Zero in fiscal year 2023, with DLC planned for fiscal year 2024
- A Fallout 3 remaster in fiscal year 2024
- Ghostwire: Tokyo 2 in fiscal year 2024
- Dishonored 3 in fiscal year 2024
- The Elder Scrolls VI in fiscal year 2024
Some of these timelines have almost definitely shifted. For example, Starfield, Bethesda's highly anticipated RPG set in outer space, is listed for a FY2021 release, with DLC planned for FY2022. But after development faced several delays, we only just got our hands on Starfield earlier this month. Release windows for DLC expansions remain up in the air.
Though it wasn't the plan Bethesda had in mind, Starfield's release couldn't have come at a better time. With the disastrous launch of Xbox's other big exclusive this year, Redfall, Xbox desperately needed a hit with Starfield to keep its consoles competitive with the PlayStation 5. In our Starfield review, we hailed it as “one of the biggest Xbox series X games of the year if not the generation.”
Even though the document is over three years old at this point, the reveal of upcoming projects like Oblivion and Fallout 3 remasters and Dishonored 3 is still a big deal, as neither game had been confirmed to be in the works. And while I'm a fan of both and excited to see them brought to current console generations (or future ones, given Bethesda's history of delays), I can't help but think the schedule seems a bit light. Especially in the wake of Starfield. No doubt Bethesda's betting on the kind of long-term success it saw with Skyrim to keep the hype afloat.
The three unnamed projects included in the chart could be promising, but the fact that production is in such early stages that they remain untitled likely means we have a while to wait. Some of these games will no doubt materialize eventually; it's just a matter of when.