The Elder Scrolls 6 may still be a long ways off from seeing the light of day, but there’s already enough speculation and fan theories online to span a few books. By far, the most talked about aspect of the highly anticipated RPG from Bethesda is where it will all take place, as setting is everything in the series. However, we believe we have enough information (and fair guesswork) to deduce that it will indeed take place not just in Hammerfell, but High Rock as well.
First and foremost, we have to eliminate the possibility of other regions simply based on the geography of the land shown in the teaser trailer. YouTuber ESO provides a more detailed explanation, but basically, the sun’s direction is a big giveaway. Through an elimination process, he managed to bring it down to two possible regions: High Rock and Hammerfell.
If there’s one constant in the gaming industry, it’s Bethesda’s drive to improve the size of their worlds. They were proud to reveal Fallout 76‘s world being four times the size of Fallout 4, and even boasted about Skyrim being their largest and densest hand-made world to date. So how does Bethesda one-up themselves by impressing fans with sizeable maps? The answer is simple: deliver two maps. It’s possible that they’ll just set The Elder Scrolls 6 in one region and scale up the map, but there are several reasons why both High Rock and Hammerfell might be on the table.
The Climate of the Fourth Era
To understand why Bethesda might choose High Rock and Hammerfell for The Elder Scrolls 6, we need a quick history recap of Tamriel. Skyrim took place in the 201 year of the Fourth Era, but things were looking grim in other parts of the continent at the same time. Hammerfell broke away from the Empire following the signing of the White-Gold Concordat with the Thalmor, which would’ve given away portions of their land to the Aldmeri Dominion. Hammerfell disagreed with the terms and rebelled against the Empire, becoming a sovereign nation in the process.
For The Elder Scrolls 6, it’s likely we’ll find ourselves in the war-torn, independent Hammerfell following their exit from the Empire. The Thalmor will undoubtedly be a stronger antagonistic force in this region, as we have yet to learn about the outcome of the civil war in Skyrim. In short, we think the Empire will be victorious in their war against the Stormcloaks, but that’s for another topic entirely.
This will have a ripple effect for Skyrim’s neighboring nations, High Rock and Hammerfell, with the latter being the ones to suffer the most if the Aldmeri Dominion are allowed to dominate the Nordic province with the Empire. Where does High Rock fit into all of this? Apart from the region still resolving their own petty conflicts and political power struggles, they’re still in service to the Empire in the Fourth Era. However, they’re probably the most capable of initiating a strong defensive and offensive movement thanks to their affinity with magic. We don’t think High Rock would easily accept the consequences of the White-Gold Concordat either.
Diverse Cultures and Locations
The Elder Scrolls 6 will have the massive task of delivering an experience greater than Skyrim, and the best way to do this is to ramp up the cultural and natural diversity of its new locations. Hammerfell, the home of the Redguards, is famous for the treacherous terrain of the sandy Alik’r Desert to the southwest, and more diverse forests, jungles and tropical paradises in the surrounding areas. Hammerfell alone features sprawling, unique locations that could be a nice change from the rustic, snowy lands of Skyrim.
High Rock, the home of the half human-elf Bretons, is a more traditional European-inspired fantasy region that’s not too different to Skyrim. To the north, you’ll still find tall, snowy mountains and as you travel down south, you’ll find dense forests, picturesque sea-side settlements and cities, and the Iliac Bay which houses the massive Adamantine Tower on the Island of Balfiera, the oldest structure in all of Tamriel that was said to have been built by the gods.
Furthermore, both the Bretons and especially the Redguards have terrific cultural practices and religions. The Redguards, descendants of the Yokudans, even have their own pantheon of gods that they worship which are quite different from the usual Aedra that dominate the religions of Tamriel. The Elder Scrolls 6 could choose to explore these diverse religions and cultures in more detail, which would be a nice deviation from the familiar Nordic practices in Skyrim.
High Rock’s Game of Thrones
High Rock has historically been the most politically charged and intriguing province in Tamriel. Unlike most provinces which have generally clear-cut political rivalries and motivations, High Rock was – and for the most part, still remains – a land fractured by several smaller warring political parties. There is an overruling seat of power in High Rock, but it hasn’t stopped the dozens of political factions from claiming pockets of land. Because of this, tensions are always high in the region, and without some kind of unified political identity, High Rock also remains a volatile location that is prone to shifting allegiances at a moment’s notice.
If The Elder Scrolls 6 were to feature High Rock, we imagine the region’s political turmoil will be a focus. Like Game of Thrones, there are a lot of cogs constantly turning when it comes to politics and control. If we believe that the Dark Brotherhood were successful in reforming themselves during the events of Skyrim, they could play an integral part in High Rock’s shadowy political assassinations in the Fourth Era.
Sword-Singers of Hammerfell
The Nerevarine of Morrowind, the Hero of Kvatch of Oblivion, and the Dragonborn of Skyrim all have one thing in common: the successful “chosen one” formula. As it turns out, Hammerfell has an ancient league of their own that fits the bill. The Sword-Singers were once gifted warriors of Yokuda (and subsequently Hammerfell) that were not only talented and incredibly powerful, but could conjure swords out of their own souls. Some believed that they were as much mages as they were warriors, but they followed a strict martial philosophy called the “Way of the Sword” which granted them these abilities.
The strongest and most respected of the Sword-Singers came to be known as the Ansei, who were etched in history to the point where they’re now seen as legends. The Ansei and Sword-Singers have since faded out of Redguard culture, and in the Fourth Era, they’re practically non-existent. If Bethesda were to base The Elder Scrolls 6 in Hammerfell, then it stands to reason we’d play as a Sword-Singer or Ansei of legend: the resurgence of an ancient tribe of warriors that could open up several interesting and flexible new playstyles while also expanding upon the rich lore.
Finally, there’s Orsinium, the nomadic homeland of the Orcs. The Orcs of Tamriel, unlike other races, don’t have a province of their own. Instead, Orsinium has changed locations over the eras to several new shores, only to be driven out by Bretons, Redguards and other races. During the Fourth Era, Orsinium is believed to be located in Northern Craglorn, bordering Hammerfell and Skyrim. If it still stands, then it’s possible we’ll be visiting this location too in The Elder Scrolls 6. The Orcs are nomadic by nature and probably the most ostracized race in Tamriel, so it could be interesting to explore their culture and people further if we’re allowed to visit their homeland.
Bethesda Have Already Teased It… Kinda
If you’ve been following the trail of breadcrumbs that Bethesda has carefully been leaving in regards to The Elder Scrolls 6, we more or less already have a good indication that this is where they’re going. The teaser trailer’s land formation fits either High Rock or Hammerfell the most. A Tamriel map Bethesda posted early last year clearly showed a candle carefully placed over the region of Hammerfell, urging players to “map the future”. Finally, there’s the sneaky Easter egg Bethesda left in the CGI trailer for Starfield, which shows an etching that looks identical to the map of the Iliac Bay, featuring High Rock and Hammerfell.
At this point, it only makes sense for The Elder Scrolls 6 to take place in those locations. Following the aftermath of the civil war in Skyrim, there are still plenty of questions left about how it would impact the provinces most devastated by the White-Gold Concordat, and Hammerfell is at the top of that list. The heated political climate of High Rock could be reaching boiling points if the Empire is successful, and could spark another great war between High Rock, Hammerfell and the Aldmeri Dominion (of the Summerset Isles) which may be at the heart of The Elder Scrolls 6‘s main story.
Until we actually get our hands on The Elder Scrolls 6, we can only speculate.