Are you going to get Skyrim Anniversary Edition?

Skyrim Anniversary
Skyrim Anniversary (Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

Recently, yet another rerelease of Skyrim — Skyrim Anniversary Edition — was announced during QuakeCon 2021. The newest version of the iconic 2011 RPG is slated to arrive on the 10th anniversary of the original game's release: Nov. 11, 2021.

In terms of what's new, fans can expect next-gen enhancements, a Survival Mode, brand-new fishing mechanics, and access to over 500 pieces of content from Bethesda's community-driven Creation Club. Notably, owners of 2016's Skyrim Special Edition will be able to upgrade to the Anniversary Edition for free, although access to the Creation Club content will be restricted unless you pay up (the game's price is currently unclear).

Skyrim Anniversary Edition sounds awesome, but will it truly be worth buying or upgrading to? There are many factors to consider depending on which platform you enjoy Skyrim on and how you choose to play the game.

Source: Bethesda Game Studios (Image credit: Source: Bethesda Game Studios)

For PlayStation players who don't have the option to use mods and fans on both Xbox and PC who prefer the vanilla Skyrim experience, I think upgrading Skyrim Special Edition to the Anniversary Edition that features next-gen enhancements and the new fishing mechanic will be a no-brainer. There's ultimately no reason not to take advantage of these free upgrades in this scenario, especially if the next-gen enhancements Bethesda has planned for the new edition are substantial. The only downside I can think of would be that your character saves might not transfer (this is what's stopping my girlfriend from getting the Special Edition on Xbox), but Bethesda hasn't clarified whether saves will carry over yet.

There are many factors to consider, including what platform you use and whether you like using mods.

Where things get murkier is if you're an Xbox or PC player who's looking to experience Skyrim for the first time or if you're someone who likes to mod the hell out of Skyrim (like me). There's a good chance that the Anniversary Edition of the game will break a ton of the popular mods that thousands upon thousands of players consider to be a core component of their playthroughs, and it's unclear whether it will be easy or difficult for mod authors to make their mods compatible with the new version of the game.

If this happens and mod creators struggle to get their projects working with the Anniversary Edition, modding veterans and new players alike should probably stick with the Special Edition so that they have the option to use mods if they want to (or continue doing so). Sure, they'll lose out on next-gen enhancements, but you can make Skyrim look like it released in 2021 already with the best Skyrim Special Edition PC mods or best Skyrim Special Edition Xbox One mods. With that said, if Skyrim Anniversary Edition includes some modern upgrades to Skyrim's engine like Skyrim Special Edition did, I can see moving to it being beneficial in the long run since those upgrades will probably make modded playthroughs smoother, and most mods will most likely get ported to the new edition eventually.

Regarding the Creation Club portion of Skyrim Anniversary Edition, I'm feeling conflicted. On one hand, I've tried out some of the content offerings in the Skyrim Creation Club in the past, and while some of the content is nothing to write home about, there are also several excellent creations that have become staple additions to my playthroughs (The Spell Knight armor set is my personal favorite).

On the other hand, there are hundreds if not thousands of mods that add in new quests, weapons, armors, spells, NPCs, and mechanics (there are even mods for fishing and survival systems, which is what the Anniversary Edition offers). All of these mods are available for free on Xbox and PC, and based on my experience, most of them are on par with or better than what you'll find in the Creation Club in terms of quality.

Overall, I personally wouldn't mind paying for tons of new content to enjoy in Skyrim, but I absolutely understand why many players might choose not to when so many great mods are available for free on Special Edition.

Your thoughts

Overall, how are you feeling about Skyrim Anniversary Edition? Are you planning on getting the full package, or are you just going to take advantage of the free upgrades and skip buying the Creation Club content? Are you going to avoid the Anniversary Edition entirely and stick with Special Edition? Let me know in the poll below, and make sure to discuss your reasoning in the comments. Personally, since I'm a heavy modder, I'm probably going to stick to Special Edition in the short term, although I may eventually switch to the new version.

If you don't want to wait for Skyrim Anniversary Edition to enjoy the fifth installment of the Elder Scrolls franchise, you can get Skyrim Special Edition for $40. It includes all of Skyrim's DLC and features some great improvements to the game's visuals and engine that make one of the best Xbox games even better, so I highly recommend it.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

  • I don't see why I would buy this again. I thought the game was good, but it's been a decade. There are plenty of new, modern titles coming out worth playing. In some instances, they've taken inspiration from Skyrim and come up with new ideas, better gameplay, and other things that improve on RPGs. Bethesda's had SO LONG to put out something new, and they just keep re-releasing Skyrim instead. It took 4 years to go from TES 3 to 4, and 5 to get from 4 to 5. We're now at 10 years since TES 5 and they're STILL not ready to move on...and they've said Starfield will come before TES 6. It just feels lazy, in some respects, but their company has a lot of good things coming out as a whole (especially from id) that makes the glacial pace of TES development easier to forget. I'm just not interested in buying Skyrim a third time; I want something new.
  • 1- Game development is a business. Skyrim is still raining cash so the market hasn't dried up, requiring a sequel. Don't forget ESO is also out there.
    2- Game developer staffers like to do more rewrite the same game forever.
    3- The Bethesda staff, in particular, wanted to do something different from ES and Fallout.
    4- Modern AAAA games are getting harder and pricier to develop and take longer. And successful ones will remain front and center longer. Because game development is a business. Add it all up and the "slot" that should have gone to ES6 went to STARFIELD, bumping both the existing franchises. Now, all those decisions were made pre-merger. Things have changed but it'll take time for the changes to be reflected in new releases. But don't expect an annual release cadence for MS top games like Activision, EA, and UbiSoft do with their top franchises. MS is going to rotate their releases and milk them fully. And their roster of RPGs is broad and getting broader. The new normal is likely to be a different new big RPG every year for a decade, with a similar cadence for shooters, action games, and adventure games, one of each a year every quarter. For RPGs they are reportedly working on 2 new ("Dragon") projects, plus the 3 Bethesda franchises, at least 2 Obsidian ones, and at least 2 from inXile, and Fable. Once a decade will give each one room and time to (literally) play out without cannibalizing each other. Shooters the cadence might be shorter but you still have Halo, Gears, Doom, Wolfenstein, Prey, Quake, and probably a new one or two. Action and adventure games you have Perfect Dark's new direction, Hellblade, Crackdown, Indiana Jones, Dying light, Dishonored, the Forzas, Grounded, Halo Wars, Gears Tactics, plus uniques like Flight Sim, Project Mara, and whatever new stuff they cook up. The game for XBOX moving forward is lots of games in every genre they can reach spread out over time rather than milking two or three franchises with annual or biannual releases. The idea is to fill up GamePass with variety rather than run a single franchise into the ground. Whole new game.
  • Again? This is an ages old game, and only those who are mad about it keep playing it, it's not aged well IMHO. Wasn't this coming to Game Pass anyway?
  • The basic part and some of the new add-ons. The rest will be sold as DLC.
    As for who plays it, well yes, fans who enjoy the mods (especially the DLC-sized mods) are still playing it intermitently(?). Re-releases don't just sell to existing customers and often draw in new players. Not everybody now playing it (or interested in buying the new release) was old enough to be playing it ten years ago. Or was interested in it at the time. Interests change over time. One of the things MS has demonstrated with their approach to BC is that every old game is new to a lot of somebodies and not just within GamePass. A lot of 360 games are still selling reasonably well at prices in tbe $5-10 range, overlapping with many newer games. There is actually good money to be made from tbe sunk costs of old games which justifies the ocassional face lift and port. Where SKYRIM is an outlier is not in its longevity but in its ability to support a relatively high price so long.
    Todd Howard said it best: They'll stop updating and re-releasing the game when people stop buying it. And while some might not think too highly of it, fans of the High Fantasy subgenre love it. After all, you get to fight dragons and live to tell of it. Me, I played it to conclusion and beyond on 360, revisited it with Mods on XB1, and if the add-on price isn't too high (say$10) will probably go back to see how its evolved at 4K/60 vs 1080p/30. I doubt I'll spend a ydar there this time but a month or so? Possible. 500 pieces of content and some new quests should make it worth it.
    I just went back into the Mass Effect Trilogy after all. And it held up fine after the facelift. These timesink games have legs.
  • Considering mods, it's probably the best aged game in history.
  • Depends on the upgrade cost I guess. They mentioned there would be a way to upgrade. If it's more than $20 then definitely not. But under, then maybe.
  • Skyrim SE is AU$60 at the moment on Steam and I got it a week ago for AU$24. I figured to get it on sale now and upgrade to the AE for free when it becomes available. Given how many other unplayed games I have in my library, I don't really need all the mods and Creation Club content and, if I want them later, I can pay for the latter and the former should be generally supported by then.
  • Included in Game Pass?
  • It's not like everyone rushed out for the Oblivion Anniversary Edition. Why make a fuss over the Skyrim one?
  • I think that one of the big questions here is, given that it is a free upgrade (without the Creation Club content) but might not support many common mods to begin with, will existing players upgrade or not? Generally speaking, if a free upgrade becomes available for a game you're playing then installing it would be a no-brainer but there are other considerations in this case. That's one reason to "make a fuss", as you so leadingly put it.
  • Windowscentral writers need to come to grips with GamePass Ultimate and stop writing as if it isn't almost the de facto route for Xbox Gamers. NO, I'm not "buying this" but I will play it since all first-party titles are Game Pass Ultimate anyway.