Let's face it: at this point, anything that Bethesda publishes is going to be huge. Whether it's the revival of an old franchise such as Doom, or a completely original project like The Elder Scrolls or Fallout, it doesn't matter: Bethesda games are so consistently fantastic that gamers will get excited over just about anything the studio touches.
A lot of that is thanks to Todd Howard — after all, it's hard to overlook someone who's had a hand in creating some of the biggest titles in modern gaming history. Even Fallout 4, a game that fans are still divided about, is considered one of the best releases of 2015. If there's any real problem with the setup over at Bethesda, it's that the studio always develops games one at a time: Fallout and The Elder Scrolls are great, but gamers typically expect to wait at least four years in between releases.
However, that may be about to change: while speaking at DICE 2016 (via Kotaku), Howard mentioned that Bethesda Game Studios is currently working on not one, not two, but three new "long-term" projects.
"We actually have three kinda longer-term projects we're doing that are all — we'll talk about them at a much future date, but they're different than anything we've done before, while also being a Bethesda-style game, big and crazy — in many ways different than things we've done before."
So, the big question is: what is Howard talking about? Considering that Fallout 4 just launched, it's easy to assume that the games are still very early on in development. Bethesda typically waits until their current game's DLC is finished to begin working on a project, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.
As for specific franchises, The Elder Scrolls immediately comes to mind. Skyrim was one of the best RPGs ever released, and still sells well on PC five years after release — it only makes sense that Bethesda would want to start working on a follow-up as soon as possible. Otherwise, one of the mystery projects could be another Fallout spin-off — New Vegas was a huge hit with longtime fans, and building something similar in Fallout 4's engine could help speed up the game's development cycle.
Or, in what is arguably the best-case scenario, Bethesda is working on a completely new IP — it's been a long time since the studio created a world of its own from scratch. If they're working on three projects at once, who's to say it's not something wholly original?
Either way, it'll likely be a long time before fans find out exactly what Howard is talking about: as previously mentioned, Bethesda is currently hard at work on Fallout 4's downloadable content, so that will likely be the studio's focus for the time being.
If anything, gamers can hope for some sort of tease to drop during Bethesda's press conference at E3 2016 this June.