Hammerfell Is The Perfect Setting For The Elder Scrolls 6
November marks a decade since Skyrim originally launched back in 2011 – yes, that makes me feel like a decrepit old draugr as well. Over the last ten years, fans have regularly speculated as to where the next Elder Scrolls game could take place. For a long time I personally reckoned we’d be off to Valenwood, while lots of other folks were certain it was going to be Elsweyr. Well, dear Dragonborn, it looks like you were wrong (I was too, but shhh).
After almost three years of radio silence following a vague announcement trailer at E3 2018, Bethesda has finally given us a hint about the next region of Tamriel we’ll be visiting in The Elder Scrolls 6: Hammerfell.
What’s weird about this is that we already went to Hammerfell in the second Elder Scrolls game, Daggerfall – although it’s likely a lot of Skyrim fans (myself included) were a bit too young to play it in 1996 (I was ten months old, so I, of course, played it). Apart from Solstheim, which is technically a province of Morrowind, this will be the first time we return to a location we already visited in a previous Elder Scrolls game (not including Arena or Elder Scrolls Online, obviously, which both take place across the entire continent).
Although some fans may have been hoping for a new region, I actually think Hammerfell is the perfect choice for The Elder Scrolls 6, primarily because of where Skyrim left off. It’s easy to see each Elder Scrolls game as distinct from the rest given all of the different locations and timelines, but they’re all united by the same lore – and Skyrim’s lore was pretty good. While I still think Morrowind and Oblivion have better stories overall, Skyrim nailed its introduction of the Aldmeri Dominion – a faction of ratty High Elves that Hammerfell’s Redguards are not the slightest bit fond of.
If you’re not quite sure what I’m on about, that’s alright. Remember the quest in Skyrim where you’ve got to infiltrate the Thalmor Embassy in order to get into Elenwen’s solar? Well, that’s your first proper look at the Aldmeri Dominion, a nefarious organization of radical supremacist High Elves based in the Summerset Isles. The Stormcloaks originally posited themselves as a retaliatory group to the Thalmor – although the waters became murky pretty quickly, what with Ulfric Stormcloak publicly murdering his own High King while his advisors’ unabridged and unabashed racist tendencies went unchecked.
Igmund, mate. She’s right behind you.
While the Aldmeri Dominion easily squashed Elsweyr and Valenwood, Hammerfell managed to resist. Relatively speaking, Skyrim’s hardy Nords did a decent job in pushing back the Thalmor – although the High Elves quickly noticed the brawn-over-brains approach of the Nords and instigated a civil war among them instead of fighting them head-on. Ulfric, you massive clown.
The Redguards, on the other hand, are far more experienced with the Thalmor. It’s reasonable to assume that by the time the Fourth Era’s Cold War begins, Hammerfell is one of the last true anti-Thalmor bastions in Tamriel, given that even the Empire itself recognizes its futility against the elven supremacists. And so Hammerfell feels like the most natural regional successor to Skyrim. With other provinces either occupied, under the thumb, or powerless, the Redguards are the last people with a means of genuinely taking the elven supremacists on without the caveat of certain defeat. For what it’s worth, the Aldmeri Dominion actually pulled out of Hammerfell 21 years prior to the beginning of Skyrim due to the fact that it simply could not grapple with the Redguards.
Hammerfell also makes for a perfect sequel in terms of geography. It shares a border with both Cyrodiil and Skyrim, attaching it to the fourth and fifth Elder Scrolls games, while Summerset Isles is situated southwest of it.
What’s more, Hammerfell also borders High Rock, land of the Bretons. While the two countries share a bloody history, the Redguards, Bretons, and Nords all banded together to prevent the encroaching onslaught of orcs from Orsinium. While Bretons have Aldmeri blood, they have fought alongside the Redguards for three eras. After centuries of sowing peace, it is unlikely that they would secede from this alliance, especially when you consider that their nickname – “Manmer,” literally meaning “man-elf” – would likely disqualify them from the elven supremacy the Thalmor is gunning for.
Also yes, I did mention the Orcs, who are now living in the fourth iteration of Orsinium in the Dragontail Mountains. They may not be fond of the Redguards or Bretons, as mentioned above, although I reckon a deal could be struck once they learn that the Thalmor are planning on invading their fancy new mountain fortress. Redguards, Nords, Bretons, and Orcs? The artsy-fartsy High Elves are about to wet the bed.
All in all, Hammerfell is the best possible area for The Elder Scrolls 6 to take place in given that it’s the only one that makes sense in relation to the organization we already know is going to be this game’s Big Bad. The location is perfect and the context of successful resistance makes sense. What’s more, if Skyrim was about how the Thalmor started a civil war, The Elder Scrolls 6 could be about how the Thalmor inadvertently created a powerful civil alliance between previously dissident factions. That’s some decent narrative development, I reckon. I can’t wait to see if I’m right in three-to-six years time.
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Cian Maher is the Lead Features Editor at TheGamer. He’s also had work published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Verge, Vice, Wired, and more. You can find him on Twitter @cianmaher0.
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