The Elder Scrolls 6 is making some big changes to the entire world of Nirn. At this month’s Brighton Digital 2020, Todd Howard announced plans to utilize procedural generation to make a huge game world with cities and towns on a much more realistic scale than any found in recent Elder Scrolls games.
But, The Elder Scrolls 6 has another problem it will need to solve if it is going to surpass Skyrim and fulfill the immense expectations being put on the sequel. The Elder Scrolls 6 should figure out an answer to the issue posed by its beastfolk — both the feline Khajiit and the aquatic Argonians.
The Khajiit along with the Argonians are iconic staples of this Elder Scrolls franchise. In recent games, however, they have felt just like a case of early-installment weirdness leaking through. When Skyrim came out in 2011 it was part of a tidal wave of gritty, realistic medieval fantasy in and outside of gaming from the first collection of Game of Thrones to The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings, each of which also released the same year. For lovers who were unfamiliar with the remainder of the series, this made the Argonians and also the Khajiit seem like a strange choice in the character creation screen, especially with none seen in the introduction thus far.
The Argonians and also the Khajiit were introduced in The Elder Scrolls: Arena. The first two games in the show had a far more pulpy tone, together with muscled warriors and chainmail bikinis which called into mind Conan the Barbarian over the usual Song of Ice and Fire. The beastfolk’s roots lie in that genre’s aesthetic, that has generated some interesting problems since the show changes.
By the period of Skyrim the perceived clash between the beastfolk and the series’ effort at a more down-to-earth aesthetic led to their relegation to the peripheries of this match. There are not any Khajiit settlements, just their travelling trade caravans, and also the sole Argonian area seen in the game is the pier out Windhelm. There is only one Argonian in the entire sport which may be wed without mods, and there aren’t any Khajiit that may be married in the sport. This makes it hard to assert that the game was designed to accommodate players who wanted to roleplay as both of those playable beastfolk races.
It’s clear that the Argonians and also the Khajiit are a small minority at the frozen tundras of Skyrim, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t lost opportunities to learn more about the beastfolk far more. The absence of focus given to them leads to some strangely dissonant moments for Argonian and Khajiit players, even in which they are permitted entrance to cities where their races are banned without question.
Players might have discovered Khajiit conducting a black market using the Thieves Guild in Riften, or might have met a bunch of impoverished Argonians living in the sewers under Windhelm. There’s a large amount of lore with the two races that is one of the strangest lore in the Elder Scrolls series, but which is almost never explored with race. The Khajiit have a huge number of subraces, ranging from highly intelligent housecats to something resembling Bosmer with tails. The Argonians possess a strange and profound connection with something called the Hist, a race of sentient trees in their native Black Marsh.
In both instances these feel like components from an earlier iteration of The Elder Scrolls’ aesthetic. The pulpy nature of the earlier games isn’t just evidenced by the beastfolk. The first two matches had a different tone in all from conversation to in-game novels. Daggerfall’s The Real Barenziah Part 3 features a near-pornographic description of a woman’s night with a Khajiit that would later be trimmed from sequel games, demonstrating a change away from pulp aesthetics that, despite its success in other locations, would render the Khajiit and Argonians high and dry.