Bethesda’s Todd Howard has said that the company’s current engine – which will be used for Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6 – is getting what could be its largest upgrade yet, and is being worked on by the largest number of employees the company has ever assigned to engine work.Speaking during the Develop:Brighton keynote session, Howard was asked how much work was being done on Bethesda’s proprietery Creation engine, which has attracted criticism in the past.
“We too will acknowledge it needs more work than it has in previous times,” Howard replied, “and we do that between generations – and we’ve been doing it. I can say that the engine work started a while ago.”
It sounds as though this is a major rework, too – perhaps the largest leap for the engine in its long history (Creation was born out of the older Gamebryo Engine, which was initially released in 1997). “We have more people doing engine work now, by a factor of five, probably than we’ve ever had,” Howard explained. “So the overhaul in our engine is the largest we’ve probably ever had, maybe larger than Morrowind to Oblivion.”
Howard went on to explain that there are elements of Creation that Bethesda continues to like, but pointed out the sheer number of changes being made:
“There are things we do that we still like. The way we build our worlds, the way people can mod it – these are things that I think are fundamentally good about our tech stack. But from rendering to animation to pathing to procedural generation – I don’t want to say everything, but it’s a significant, significant overhaul.
“It’s taken us longer than we would have liked, but it’s going to power what we’re doing with Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6, and when people see the result, they’ll hopefully be as happy as we are with what’s on the screen, but also in how we can go about making our games.”
Confirmed Xbox Series X Games
We’ve previously heard that the engine was being worked on, when Howard explained that it was being rewritten for Starfield and next-gen consoles.
That news came alongside Microsoft’s $7.5 billion acquisition of Bethesda parent company ZeniMax. Howard’s also explained that it’s ‘hard to imagine’ The Elder Scrolls 6 becoming a full Xbox exclusive after the buyout.