Ever since Bethesda announced The Elder Scrolls 6 back at E3 2018, people have been wondering exactly when will the game be released. Bethesda has stated it expects the game to release on next-generation consoles, which means that it's some time away. However, the launch of next-gen consoles may not be the only factor affecting the game's release date.
According to a new investigation, Bethesda parent company ZeniMax Media is involved in a trademark dispute over the term "Redfall," which is widely thought to be the subtitle of The Elder Scrolls 6. ZeniMax Media seeks to get the Redfall trademark, having filed for it back on September 10, 2018.
However, the website BookBreeze.com argues that the general public may confuse the Bethesda Redfall game with Jay J. Falconer's Redfall series of books, the latter of which the website publishes. On Twitter, Falconer said that this "all could have been avoided" as the author's lawyers made attempts to set up a licensing deal, but were ignored.
The schedule for the trademark reveals that the final part of the case–that is, the option for a request for an oral hearing–is due on August 20, 2020. This date falls after E3 (which traditionally takes place in June) and means that Bethesda would miss out on a huge marketing opportunity for a "Redfall" titled game.
@zoe_dels Your Redfall Article. My lawyers made attempts to contact gaming company to work out a simple licensing deal for them to use my Redfall name. They ignored me every time. Shame. Left me no choice. All could have been avoided. Just call my attorneys back.— Jay Falconer, Author (@JayJFalconer) February 20, 2019
If Bethesda wants to call the game The Elder Scrolls 6: Redfall and wants to properly market it before release, it likely wouldn't be come out until 2021 until the very earliest. So, it looks as if there may be a potential situation wherein the trademark is dropped and Bethesda comes up with a new subtitle for The Elder Scrolls 6.
Bethesda's Todd Howard had already said that The Elder Scrolls 6 is in a very early state, with the game having not been playable internally as of E3 2018. It's unclear if the game has entered production, or whether the development team is still figuring out what features it will include. As previously mentioned, the plan for a next-gen release also confirmed that this game is a long while away. However, this trademark dispute could mean that what was a long wait for The Elder Scrolls 6 could now be even longer.
The Elder Scrolls 6 has yet to receive an official release date, or supported platforms.