Hey all, I've been wondering about TESVI and the mysterious trademark filing of "REDFALL" by ZeniMax. I decided to take a look at the timing of trademark filings for BGS games and how they relate to the announcement and release dates for those games. I am trying to gauge how likely it is that "REDFALL" is in fact the name of the sixth Elder Scrolls game. This is what I've learned:
Let's start with Oblivion.
FILING – The first trademark for Oblivion was filed way back in June of 1995. This was a placeholder trademark filing and it expired in 1999. Later, another filing for oblivion was made by Zenimax in April of 2005.
ANNOUNCEMENT – Oblivion was announced in September 2004.
RELEASE – Oblivion was release in March 2006.
NOTES – Interestingly, Oblivion was announced while Zenimax did not have a live trademark. About half a year after announcement, the trademark was renewed/re-registered. However, the initial trademark was filed over a decade before the game wound up coming out. This may mean that BGS considered making Oblivion before Morrowind, but then ultimately decided to proceed with Morrowing for the third game and hold off on Oblivion until TESIV. This is just speculation, but it does show that "Oblivion" was something that Bethesda was at least thinking about for a long time before they went forward.
FILING – Interestingly, there are no registered trademarks for "Fallout 3." Not for Zenimax or anyone else.
ANNOUNCEMENT – 2007, RELEASE – October 2008.
NOTES – This one is a bit of a head-scratcher, and may have to do with the transfer of the rights to the IP to bethesda. There is a filing for just "FALLOUT" in 2006.
FILING – The first trademark filing for SKYRIM was made by Zenimax in October 2006, soon after Oblivion was released. This was abandoned in 2010 and was likely a placeholder.
ANNOUNCEMENT – December 2010.
RELEASE – November 2011.
NOTES – A very early placeholder was filed. I don't remember when the trademark filing was first discovered, but I believe it was about 6 months or so before the announcement – can anyone confirm?
FILING – The first Fallout 4 trademark appears to have been filed in June 2015.
ANNOUNCEMENT – June 2015.
RELEASE – November 2015.
NOTES – Obviously, this window of time is much tighter than before. This may have to do with the fact that Zenimax already held the rights to the trademark "Fallout" and thus there may not have been as much urgency to lockdown "FALLOUT 4," as they were probably sufficiently protected based on their holding of the "FALLOUT" registration.
FILING – June 2018 appears to have been the earliest filing for this mark.
ANNOUNCEMENT – June 2018.
RELEASE – November 2018.
NOTES – Another quick turnaround and tight time window. This may be explained by the same rationale as applied to Fallout 4 above.
FILING – Starfield's earliest mark filing was in March of 2013. This has since expired and was likely intended as a placeholder.
ANNOUNCEMENT – June 2018.
RELEASE – ?
NOTES – A very early placeholder mark filed five years before confirmation/announcement. As a new IP, the incentives to file early are higher than variations of marks already held, which is the case with the Fallout games. It's also interesting to note that even after the SKYRIM trademarks gave away the setting and title of TESV, Zenimax went ahead and registered this quite early. This suggests that they did not adjust the timing of their filings based on the fact that they "leaked" Skyrim this way.
FILING – December 2018.
ANNOUNCEMENT – June 2018 (?).
RELEASE – ?
NOTES – Redfall was registered very shortly after the release of FALLOUT 76. It is still unknown whether this refers to TESVI or any Elder Scrolls content at all. Unlike Skyrim, the word itself is not immediately recognizable as a TES product.
SPECULATION BASED ON THIS INFO – It's interesting that Skyrim's initial filing came about six months after the release of Oblivion. We know that between Oblivion and Skyrim, there was Fallout 3. It seems clear that when BGS releases a game, they soon form plans not only for the next game but the one after that. At the time that Skyrim was filed, Oblivion had just released and they were actively working on Fallout 3, with Skyrim's development on deck, and at least confirmed internally as their next project after FO3. The Fallout registrations are anomalous in terms of their timing, but I think this has more to do with the fact that Zenimax held "FALLOUT" and thus didn't feel much pressure to file for "FALLOUT 4" and "FALLOUT 76" as early as their activity around their other titles would suggest.
I used to believe that September 2018 would be way, way, way too early to register the name of the next TES game, but now I have changed my mind based on this research. They file early, and they file often. I think that if they learned any lessons from the SKYRIM "leak," it's that they shouldn't pick a name that is immediately recognizable as a TES property. If they had registered "HAMMERFELL," I think that would all but confirm the next TES game's title and setting just as it did with SKYRIM. However, "REDFALL" is not immediately recognizable as TES property, like "OBLIVION."
Taken together with the analyses of the teaser, which all seem to point to either Hammerfell, High Rock, or both, I now believe that it is more likely than not that REDFALL is the name of the new game. "Red" could refer to the Redguards. "REDFALL" may be a reference to the downfall of the Redguard leadership in Hammerfell. This is, of course, just speculation. But I'm now fairly convinced that Zenimax files trademarks for games well before they enter active development, and we know that TESVI is in active development or is nearing active development. Therefore, I think it's almost assured that Zenimax has registered the name of TESVI. Looking at all of their filings, "REDFALL" seems to be the only filing that fits the bill. It could still be something like a new Dishonored game or ESO expansion or something like that, like I used to believe, but now I am leaning the other way.
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