After six years Skyrim still refuses to call it a day


I love Skyrim. I love the Elder Scrolls series. I think they're absolute gems of RPGs and have absorbed many thousands of hours from my life. Starting my journey with Daggerfell, if you'd have asked me back then if I thought I'd see a fully 3D interpretation of Skyrim released on consoles and a handheld Nintendo machine, I'd probably spit out my coffee and laugh in your face. But this is now a reality.

The dead horse

Skyrim SE Modded

A modded Skyrim Special Edition install.

Skyrim is one of few games that refuse to die. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim originally released on November 11, 2011 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. It was met by positive reviews and critical acclaim. The game has since been remastered for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC with the Special Edition (opens in new tab), which introduced some new graphical effects and texture improvements. Even with the Special Edition running at full settings, the game hasn't aged well in terms of looks or gameplay, notably the combat.

Interestingly, while I see this as an odd release for Bethesda, it also makes perfect sense. Bethesda has yet to find a platform onto which it didn't want to port it. Skyrim on a mobile platform that isn't a smartphone is something that feels natural. Being able to take the world with you wherever you go is something that will take many hundreds of hours to get old.

It's been six years. We need a new Elder Scrolls.

Skyrim has always attracted gamers with a mix of RPG elements done right, including a vast open world that's full of content, some interesting quests, as well as choices that allow you to do what you want and develop a character. And after six years, we're really yet to get such a game that takes on Skyrim toe to toe. It's a game that cannot be explained to someone who hasn't played it, all you can say is "Go and play it, now."

For the Switch release, as a PC gamer, I'm torn. One half of me enjoys the portability of Skyrim and bringing aboard some handheld console fans who may yet to play an Elder Scrolls game, while the other half of me wants Bethesda to crack on with releasing the next installment.

Best mods for Skyrim Special Edition on PC

New coat of paint, same ol' bugs

I didn't pay the full price for Skyrim on Switch. In fact, I picked up a physical copy (opens in new tab) just so I wouldn't. There's no way I'm paying $60 for a six-year-old game I already own three copies of — and yes I know it has portability. While I'm enjoying Skyrim on the go, my PC will remain the platform for all my adventures simply because of mods. I'm talking visual improvements, new characters, lands to explore, and unofficial bug fixing.

There are still some notable bugs, and that makes the price and even harder ask. Bethesda still relies on third-party mod authors to fix parts of the game, even the Special Edition. Even after all these years, there are still issues with the game that have yet to be fixed. But hey, at least we have the Creation Club, right? Jokes aside, the release on Switch is pretty good.

Performance is fine at a stable 30 frames-per-second and you could say it's between the original Skyrim and Special Edition. But we're talking about an aging game engine and needs some serious work for keeping up with competitors. CD Projekt's Redengine is vastly superior if we're to compare Fallout 4 (runs on the same engine as Skyrim) to The Witcher 3.

We need a new game and a new engine now. No more releases of Skyrim, regardless of how much we enjoy it.

It's time for change

Skyrim SE Modded

A modded Skyrim Special Edition install.

Millions of people have already completed Skyrim's main quest, as well as the hundreds of side missions available. Some have played it twice, thrice, or even more. It's a huge game that commands upwards of 100 hours if you're not walking slowly across the land and as such I find it difficult to see new releases of this game and feel excited. I enjoy the portability that the Switch offers to the game, but that's the console and not Bethesda.

I think it's time for the studio to call it a day with Skyrim. We've got the VR and portable releases, can we please just leave it to rest and move on to a new project?

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • Lol. I keep telling myself "Call it quits on Skyrim". Then i feel like I've taken "an arrow to the knee", and go "meh", and play an additional 100 hrs of the game in all its 4k glory on my Alienware :).
  • Its called. Milking it , draining e every last drop of ,money - interest they can get I have the feeling they're going to find Diaz and I'm afraid to release a new edition    
  • What if the 329 different versions of Skyrim is what's funding the next game? Plus, it's a little disingenuous to say "oh my God, another verions of Skyrim!?!?" while at the same time praising Mincraft being playable on a refrigerator.
  • bobsentell What if the 329 different versions of Skyrim is what's funding the next game?
    This entirely.  Skyrim SE paid for a 32-bit to 64-bit conversion to their game engine.  I'm a software engineer and in a previous job we had to move a codebase into a 64-bit world and it's not easy to do.  It took a long time and a lot of effort.  So now, thanks to Skyrim SE, they have a 64-bit engine to use as a starting point for whatever next game they come up with.  Personally the second I saw that Skyrim Special Edition was going to be 64-bit I thought it was a brilliant move.  They got all of us to fund fixing a bunch of their technical debt.  
  • To someone that mods on the pc... the 64bit was a blessing and a curse. The modding community was hurt by the lack of a script extender. But regardless just glad Bethesda is going to have the budget for its next release.
  • Maybe Skyrim was their last hurrah?  They've nothing better to give?
  • I'm terrified of the next Elder Scrolls. Fallout 4 was nothing compared to the wonderful Skyrim, and achieved nowhere near the renown and prestige of the fifth Elder Scrolls. If the next game is anything like Fallout 4, I'll be incredibly disappointed. 
  • Yes it is time for ES6 but I hope they bring Skyrim VR to the Microsoft Store and/or Steam VR but support Windows Mixed Reality controls in the process while we are waiting.  Fix the mistakes they made in the PSVR version, up the graphics and it would be like an incredible new game in VR
  • I would just like this game better if they added actual colors to it.