Todd Howard talked to IGN and discussed why it was now or never for Starfield and how the next Elder Scrolls will have more depth.
In describing what he would change about Skyrim, Howard hinted at the future direction of the series. "There are a number of parts of [Skyrim] where we don't go deep enough, where it's a veneer in terms of its interactivity. [...] When we think about games and what we would want to do going forward, it's okay... whatever that system is... how deep can we make it? The other thing is how AI and NPCs interact with you. That's something I think we still have a long way to go with."
Ultimately, the success of Elder Scrolls Online and the overall health of the franchise gave Bethesda the confidence to focus on Starfield, Howard said. "[E]verything takes longer than we'd like as well, but we want to make sure we get it right. Hopefully Elder Scrolls 6 -- you don't want to say that it's worth that kind of wait -- but it does stand up to the series as it has been in a really big, impactful way when it comes out."