E3: Skyrim Special Edition

 

Bethesda are releasing Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition, a remaster of the original game, which will be coming to PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One this October. Although the announcement came during their presentation at E3 last week, there had been rumours leading up to the announcement that we might see a new version of the game.

This new edition of Skyrim comes with major visual upgrades for those that previously played the game on Playstation 3 or Xbox 360, or that ran the PC version straight out of the box. The new release will feature new shaders for weather and water effects, enhanced dynamic lighting and depth of field effects, as well as those gorgeous god rays that make a misty day worthwhile.

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That mightn’t seem impressive for the Skyrim players who know their ENBs from their ESBs and that have capitalised on all sorts of mods, but it’s worth remembering this is a new starting point in graphical quality.

On mods themselves, the line between PC and console will blur a little further with Skyrim following the precedent set by Fallout 4. We already know from a long-running love of the Elder Scrolls series just how much mods can add, change and even overhaul a game, so it’s especially exciting that this will be coming to those that may have lacked the hardware or know-how to get them running before.

skyrim-god-raysIt also stands to reason that a more advanced engine and better shaders will give PC modders a prettier starting point from which to make their Skyrim more beautiful. Many of those who have the original Skyrim on PC will receive a free upgrade to the Special Edition, contingent on them having access to all of the DLC.

Skyrim may not be the Elder Scrolls remaster that every player was hoping for most (the answer you are looking for here is Morrowind), nor is it the Elder Scrolls VI, but it’s still an entertaining game. Mods will bring the game that extra distance for where the attributes of the game might have lacked, particularly in keeping with known lore, or bringing more quests, areas, weapons, spells and more into the game. They can even take you Elsweyr.

With a huge array of mods already out there, the additional platforms bring with them their own concerns. As seen with Fallout 4, the relationship between console players and the modding community can be rocky. Many console players haven’t had exposure to this before, and can err on the side of demanding when it comes to wanting mods or not being grateful for them.

skyrim-special-snowOn the other side of it, many modders might be reliant on external programs like Script Extenders for their mods, or might not have access to the console platforms where their mods are being made, and have received abuse for any issues people have had with their mods.

This situation is exacerbated further by some copying mods and changing them so they work on consoles, and in doing so take credit for the work of others. The size of the mod library on Skyrim makes this even more of an issue than it is with Fallout 4, as many modders who’ve brought their time and talent to PC editions of Skyrim may not be involved with modding anymore.

With that said, we’re hopeful that one mod in particular could one day make it to consoles. That mod would be the in-development Skywind, which seeks to bring Morrowind into the Skyrim engine. It isn’t clear if it would be possible, but Morrowind still represents the pinnacle of Elder Scrolls experiences to us.

Elder Scrolls III was the time of our first visit to Tamriel, first on PC and then later on the original Xbox. While we’ve played every game in the series, it was that first voyage to Vvardenfell that made us fall in love. It was a massive world filled with all kinds of races, questionable characters, and a mountain of lore… and a literal mountain imbued with lore.

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Few opening moments can compare to leaving the Seyda Neen processing centre with a vague set of directions to the nearby city of Balmora and a big slather of choices about what you did next.

The story turned the chosen one/prophecy angle on its head and presented such a dirty way of dealing with fantasy compared to the high, noble tropes. Even the Tribunal, deities of the Dunmer faith, were as grey in soul as the Dunmer were by skin. There were so many side quests and conflicting factions (House Redoran represent) that it seemed to be something that was never truly finished.

Even if that stays beyond our reach, no matter the reason, we’re keen on seeing Solstheim once again with Skyrim Special Edition, and can’t wait to head back into Nord country this October. There are so many elements of Skyrim that work well, and with mods only adding to what’s possible, it’ll not only look like a whole new game – it’ll act like one too.

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