Bethesda have undertaken their “largest engine overhaul since Oblivion” according to Bethesda director and executive producer Todd Howard. In a keynote speech for the Develop: Brighton virtual conference, Howard stated that the revamped engine has been developed in preparation for upcoming next-gen titles such as The Elder Scrolls IV and the new IP Starfield.
The Creation Engine, which has existed in some form since The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind released in 2002, has powered the studio’s sprawling open-world adventures in the Fallout and Elder Scrolls universes. In a September statement Howard commented on Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda Game Studios and said that the updated systems will take advantage of greater graphical and CPU capabilities provided by newer technologies. The greater use of procedural generation also indicates that the size and complexity of in-game worlds will increase as a result.
The engine will allow for greater freedom in non-player character interactions, which has remained a key selling point for Bethesda’s titles (an example being the development of “radiant AI” for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion). This also indicates that in-game cities in upcoming titles are likely to be much larger than in previous releases. Mod support for both PC and console remains a firm commitment as well, and with future releases appearing on Xbox Game Pass it looks as though the modding community will have plenty of content to fiddle with. Whether or not newer titles created with the infamously buggy Creation Engine will require their usual Unofficial Patch remains to be seen – the Skyrim Legendary Edition Unofficial Patch has racked up over 6 million downloads to date.
Keen to get your hands on some new modding tools and a few fancy graphical upgrades? Or are you just excited to see what new bizarre glitches a new Bethesda engine could bring?