Here's Why 'Skyrim Special Edition' Should Both Upset And Excite You
Taking an arrow to the knee just got needlessly prettier.
Over the last decade, the game industry has fallen in love with repackaging games we've already played. Then they try to pull one over on us by telling us they're something new and special.
Granted, sometimes they are.
The latest DOOM, for instance, is a prime example of all the good things a remake SHOULD be. The fine people over at id took everything that made the original great (e.g. gratuitous violence, campy machismo and really, really big guns) and gave it a modern retooling with gorgeous visuals and smoother mechanics so a new generation of gamers could experience a title that helped define the first-person-shooter.
For every DOOM-quality re-make though, there are 8920834349008495 soulless re-skins and uninspired franchise revamps saturating the market every holiday season, that are nothing more than calculated cash-grabs
Too often, we gamers buy an HD remake and it feels like this.
Of course, I'm not trying to point fingers at ANYONE specific.
Take Activision. They're a wonderful company *cough* Satan incarnate *cough* known for their endless ability to innovate *cough* mercilessly exploit franchise dry until nothing but a withered husk remains. *cough*
I'm sure that the forthcoming release of 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered' *cough* steaming shit in disc form *cough* this November will be an historic moment for all of gaming *cough* their stock price *cough*
*Ahem* Sorry, I got a little disgust caught in my throat.
Which brings me, at last, to Bethesda's newly announced 'Skyrim Special Edition.' The masterminds behind Fallout 3 and 4 and the Elder Scrolls franchise are jumping on the 'HD Remake' bandwagon where there's plenty of room for excitement and skepticism.
Excitement: It's fucking gorgeous.
Us console plebs who've been stuck rendering Skyrim's breathtaking vistas in the limited fidelity of yester-year are finally getting the graphical update we deserve. Thought smashing dragon skulls and fus-ro-dah-ing your foes off cliffs was a blast before? Now you'll get to do it all over again in sparkling detail.
Bethesda has promised "completely remastered art and effects."
A graphical update is expected of any remastered release, but it means a lot more for a game like Skyrim where so much of the player's experience revolves around exploring the game's massive sandbox world, to which they're adding new water and snow shaders, volumetric god rays, and improved depth of field and reflective lighting.
Skepticism: Why Skyrim?
C'mon, you can't tell me that Skyrim stands to gain more from an HD remake than 'The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall.' The graphics may have been groundbreaking at the time, but now it looks like someone who forgot their glasses squinting at an early build of Runescape.
Skyrim is only 5 years old, and the game's 'Legendary Edition' which included the base game bundled with all 3 DLC's Bethesda released for the game, is only three years old.
My question is why 'resurrect' a relatively young property with a release like this when Bethesda has so many older titles that fans would love to see re-done?
A dedicated army of modders have already been working tirelessly on modern ports of Morrowind, Oblivion and even Daggerfall, proof that hardcore Elder Scrolls fans would lose their collective shit if Bethesda-sanctioned remakes were ever announced.
Excitement: Long-awaited console modding
The PC gaming master race may scoff at console players' excitement at finally getting access to mods, but the addition of Fallout 4 mods to the Xbox One and PS4 was pretty freakin' momentous. I always wanted to cut down irradiated baddies with a lightsaber like my PC compadres, and now I can.
Naturally, Bethesda has confirmed the same modding interface will be included in 'Skyrim Special Edition.'
Skepticism: Why Now?
Bethesda is still fresh off the heels of 2015's Fallout 4 release, and it looks like they've got plenty of DLC in the pipeline for 2016.
That begs the question, who was asking for this? Most of the Bethesda fans I know devote themselves maniacally to their games, logging several hundreds of hours. I myself, have lost 600+ hours of my life to my Skyrim addiction, and have barely even scratched the surface of what Fallout 4 has to offer.
What do you think? Check out the full announcement vid below.
It could be that I'm just being overly cynical. Maybe I'm just worried that Bethesda, with all their massive success both in development and publishing is on track to becoming the next EA.
With the limited (albeit rad) improvements to the 'Special Edition', though, and the weird announcement less than a year after Fallout 4's release, the release date (October 28th, just in time for the holidays), and multitude of candidates more deserving of a remake, something about this feels rushed, like a cheap way to re-exploit their most successful game of all time during a year when they otherwise wouldn't release a full title. I just hope that I'm wrong.