On November 11, 2021, it was the 10th anniversary for Bethesda’s fifth game in their "Elder Scrolls" series, the ever-loved "Skyrim." Despite being quite buggy throughout its decade-long lifespan, it has a large and devout fanbase and a massive modding community. I personally have somewhere in the realm of 1500 to 2000 hours in the game, spanning across a decade and multiple consoles and PCs. And to be frank, that’s not even close to what the top players of the game have.
Since the release of "Skyrim" in 2011 - on the data 11/11/11 actually - a lot of us were already eager to see what was next for the "Elder Scrolls" series. But Bethesda has been quite slow in creating the sixth Elder Scrolls game. Skyrim’s predecessor, "Oblivion," was released in 2006, meaning there was a five-year gap between the successive games. In regard to the sixth Elder Scrolls game, Bethesda didn’t even announce it until 2018, and here we are, three years later, with no new game.
In all honesty, I get it. Creating a AAA title takes a lot of time and effort and care, and even years of creation can lead to buggy releases. Seriously, "Cyberpunk: 2077" was first teased in the early 2010s and was released in 2020 with a huge number of bugs and a lot of pushback from the players. Bethesda also has to contend with the fact that gaming technologies are evolving at a dizzying rate. So-called ‘next-gen’ games don’t stay ‘next-gen’ for long.
Luckily for Bethesda, its parent company ZeniMax Media was acquired by Microsoft in 2020. This means that they now have access to advanced technologies and a heap-ton of money to make games. Bethesda’s president Todd Howard has said several times that the sixth Elder Scrolls game will have new technologies and that the company is working on finding and tweaking them for their games.
Personally, I have high hopes for the sixth Elder Scrolls game. Bethesda has had a decade now to listen to fan feedback, adapt new technologies, and plan out the game.
Now, I want to discuss the elephant in the room: "Skyrim: Anniversary Edition." One of the many, many releases and versions of Skyrim out there. You can buy the game individually on Steam for $50 or buy it as an upgrade for "Skyrim: Special Edition" for $20. As of right now, it has mostly positive reviews on Steam, with many people grateful for the new features, while others lament the fact that those features can be gotten for free in mods from the massive modding community. Others report that the game simply doesn’t work and keeps crashing. I even saw an article from PC Gamer discussing how the game runs too efficiently, causing it to crash. As for me, I’m having plenty of fun playing "Skyrim: Special Edition," and I don’t feel the need to buy the anniversary edition other than out of curiosity.
I’ve been playing Skyrim since its initial release a decade ago and it’s definitely one of my favorite games. I’ll be frank, I’ve never actually 100% finished the game, I’m far too casual to do that. I just enjoy running about the place slashing up bandits and giants.
Throughout my decade with Skyrim, I have also grown better at modding the game. Currently, I have over 100 mods installed for "Skyrim: Special Edition." They range from bug patches, to UI overhauls, to better visuals, to added NPCs (Inigo, my beloved). I honestly wouldn’t recommend playing Skyrim without mods, they just add and fix so much of the game and I can’t imagine playing the game without my staples, such as Inigo, Realistic Needs, and Diseases, RaceMenu, Frostfall, and other mods that just make the game feel more complete.
I hope that the sixth "Elder Scrolls" game is good, that its modding community is large, and that it can be as timeless as "Skyrim" has been. And I hope that the next decade of the "Elder Scrolls" is as fun as this past decade has been.
(PS: On the topic of Bethesda games, "Fallout 76" is the superior "Fallout" game).