It's been a long road to The Elder Scrolls 6, and there is still quite a long way to go. However, with Starfield right around the corner, Skyrim's sequel doesn't seem as far off as it was a few years ago. While The Elder Scrolls 6 might not come until 2027, fans have high hopes for what the new game might contain.

One common fan request is that wherever The Elder Scrolls 6 takes place needs to feel as big as the lore says it should. Size and distance have always been fuzzy in The Elder Scrolls, but the main series games feel like they're getting progressively smaller over the years. TES6 needs to recapture the sense of scale that fans loved in Daggerfall and Morrowind, and Bethesda could do a few things to pull this off.

RELATED: The Silver Lining in The Elder Scrolls 6's Far-Off Release Date

The Elder Scrolls' Problem with Scale

Skyrim Winterhold

The Elder Scrolls 2: Daggerfall has one of the largest maps of any open-world game, with a land area of more than 63,000 sq. miles. TES: Arena is technically larger due to its infinite wilderness, but it's not a seamless open world like the later games have. Interestingly, Morrowind is the smallest at only around 10 square miles, which is significantly less than Oblivion and Skyrim. Despite that, both latter games can feel weirdly small in many ways. This is partly due to Morrowind’s more restrictive fast travel system, but it is also a matter of density.

Playing Skyrim for a while makes it clear that very few people seem to live there. Each of the eight Holds has a capital city, but most feel more like villages. Even Skyrim's major cities like Whiterun and Riften are more like small towns. Bethesda employs various tricks to make them seem more expansive, such as arranging streets and buildings, so the player never has an unobstructed view. Still, anyone who plays the game enough will start to see through the illusion.

Only half of the Hold capitals have an identifiable architectural style, while the rest have the same thatched roof houses seen across the province. The major Holds also offer much more content than the others. Players come and go from Solitude and Windhelm, but there are only one or two reasons to visit places like Falkreath and Dawnstar. Meanwhile, Skyrim's minor settlements barely qualify as hamlets. Some of these locations were supposed to be large towns or even cities in the earlier version of The Elder Scrolls lore, but most are just a small collection of houses. There are also not that many of them.

Oblivion was better in this regard and did an excellent job of giving each city a unique architectural style. However, its towns and cities were still positively tiny compared to the earlier games, and the smaller villages were few and microscopic. Therefore, it's no surprise that some of the most popular mods for both games are city overhauls, with larger cities being a common request that fans have for The Elder Scrolls 6.

Not every Morrowind settlement was huge, but even many smaller villages would have been among the largest of Skyrim's minor settlements. Meanwhile, major cities like Balmora and Vivec seem colossal in comparison. However, Daggerfall still blows Morrowind out of the water both in the size of its settlements and how many there are. Even some of Daggerfall's villages could pass for cities in the newer games, while the kingdom capitals like Sentinel, Wayrest, and the titular Daggerfall are comparatively enormous.

RELATED: How The Elder Scrolls 6's Religion Could Differ From Oblivion, Skyrim

Recapturing the Scale of Older Elder Scrolls Games

The Elder Scrolls Hammerfell and High Rock Map

Of course, there will always be downsides to colossal maps and sprawling cities. Daggerfall's world map is impractically large for a modern Bethesda game. Bethesda designed all its games since Morrowind, so players could walk from one side to another in under an hour. Being able to walk in a random direction and find something is also a big part of the modern Elder Scrolls appeal. This requires dungeons and other locations to be relatively close together.

Bethesda also needs to balance quantity with quality and width with depth. Hypothetically, the studio could create a giant Assassin's Creed-style city with hundreds of buildings and thousands of NPCs. It would likely not be as detailed or fully explorable as players want from an Elder Scrolls game, though. Still, there is plenty of middle ground between a realistic-scale country like Daggerfall and the comparatively tiny Skyrim.

The Elder Scrolls 6's presumptive setting of Hammerfell contains ten major cities, including the island of Stros M'Kai and the Orcish City-State of Orsinium. If The Elder Scrolls 6 also features High Rock, that takes the total number of large cities up to 18, which is still less than half as many as the number of kingdom capitals in Daggerfall. Scaling those up to the size of Daggerfall's or larger, distributing them across a map three or four times the size of Oblivion’s, and sprinkling dungeons and villages in between would create a large and populated world that’s still compact enough for players to explore.

The Potential for a Procedurally Generated TES6

The Elder Scrolls Online Sentinel Docks

That might seem like a lot of work for Bethesda, but the developer could accelerate the process with procedural generation. The tile-based system Bethesda developed for Starfield shows great promise in creating large environments. Meanwhile, the early-access indie game Shadows of Doubt shows how procedural generation can help create dense and fully explorable urban environments.

The Elder Scrolls 6 being procedural isn't necessarily incompatible with Bethesda's oft-discussed hand-crafted environments either. For example, developers could procedurally generate an environment, then point to various hills and streams and decide what landmarks could best be built there. This would also mirror how people build things in the real world, which could help give The Elder Scrolls 6's locations a greater sense of authenticity.

Of course, there is also nothing stopping Bethesda from using procedural generation to turn The Elder Scrolls 6 into Daggerfall 2. However, while some fans would appreciate that, it would likely turn others off. A more intermediate world size would likely represent the best of both worlds.

The Elder Scrolls 6 is in development.

MORE: Lessons The Elder Scrolls 6 Could Learn From One Long-Forgotten TES Game