The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was one of 2011’s biggest video game releases, winning many Game of the Year awards and even eclipsing other big games that came out that year like Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Skyrim was no doubt a “tour de force“ for Maryland-based developer Bethesda, the team which was also behind last year’s sensation Fallout 4.
But despite the fact that Skyrim is unarguably one of the best role-playing games ever made, and also a massively popular game that sold more than 20 million copies, not everyone was happy to hear that a special, remastered edition of the game would be hitting the shelves this October.
The reason for this is that many fans of the Elder Scrolls series were hoping that Bethesda would remaster earlier games like Oblivion or Morrowind, and were disappointed that it was Skyrim that was getting the remaster treatment instead.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was, after all, one of the best RPGs of the 2000s, a game that offered a huge open world for players to explore, interacting with dozens of characters and embarking on hundreds of quests in the colourful world of Tamriel. It is clearly one of the high points of a series that has been going strong since the first Elder Scrolls game, Arena, debuted in 1994.
But the game is over 10 years old now, and likely the amount of work required to bring its graphics and game systems up to date for new-gen consoles was likely a bit too much for Bethesda…
Actually, the company’s vice president of marketing Pete Hines said as much to gaming website GameSpot, stating that an Oblivion remaster would be akin to making a new game and that the amount of work involved would be “mountainous”. Hines also mentioned that Skyrim’s popularity was also a factor when it came to deciding which game to remaster, as it’s their second most popular video game since Fallout 4, and one of the best-selling games of the last generation, no doubt.
Also, we must bear in mind that both Skyrim and Fallout 4 use essentially the same game engine, so bringing Skyrim up to scratch for a new-gen release likely wasn’t such a big deal for Bethesda at all.
This applies to user mods as well, as Skyrim is one of Bethesda’s most modded game’s to date with hundreds of user modifications available that add new characters, quests or make the game prettier, and also some mods that perhaps many would consider a bit weird…
And given how close Fallout 4’s and Skyrim’s game engines are it would not be that hard for Bethesda to add mod support to the console version of the upcoming Skyrim Special Edition, and actually the Skyrim remaster on PS4 and Xbox One will support user mods so console gamers will be able to play around with many of the mods that have been released on PC over the years, in the same way that Fallout 4’s console version now supports mods too.
So even if the upcoming remaster is not the Elder Scrolls remaster some were hoping for, it is still great that both those who loved Skyrim back in the day and a new generation of players will be able to replay this 2011 gem later this year.
Note: Skyrim Special Edition will be released on October 28, 2016. Available on PS4, Xbox One and PC.