Skyrim was released ten years ago this week, but it also released earlier this week. In fact, in the 520 weeks since Skyrim launched, I think it’s released about 437 of those weeks. With remakes, re-remakes, ports to the next gen, then the next gen, then the latest line of smart fridges, Skyrim is playable pretty much anywhere – and everyone is still playing it too. Ten years later, it has lasted. But that was never really intended, and that’s why Phil Spencer’s thoughts on making The Elder Scrolls 6 a “ten year game” worries me.
Skyrim is not a ten-year-old game. It took ten years for various factors, but forward planning was not one of them. Ten years ago, when it debuted, the idea of a “live-service” game was still unknown. Many series realized that it was no longer possible to release a game every year, and a few still had not understood. The face of the game was changing, but no one knew where it was heading. Skyrim isn’t a precursor to the live-service genre – it’s just a good, decently-sized RPG that lets you do a lot of different things in different ways.
Red Dead Redemption, released a year earlier, it’s essentially the opposite interpretation of what a huge RPG should be. RDR is an inhabited world, full of constantly changing quests, events, and stories, but you can only really play it Marston style. Conversely, Skyrim lets you do whatever you want, but the world won’t do anything without you pushing it.There are multiple ways you can play through Skyrim and customize the journey, but that’s largely because the underlying story doesn’t ask much of you. Its policy is simple. His choices are binary. Its world is vast, dense, and immersive, but it exists for you to play. Compared to its contemporary
As our senior editor Cian Maher wrote for Skyrim’s tenth anniversary, no one has copied the Skyrim way. While The Witcher 3, Cyberpunk, GTA 5, and of course Red Dead Redemption 2 have all relied on RDR’s vision for modern open-world RPG games, Skyrim is without imitation. This will likely continue until Starfield, or maybe even The Elder Scrolls 6. This, along with the fact that Skyrim is just such a great video game, is part of the reason Skyrim lasted. until this day. Red Dead Redemption is great, but you can play better and more polished versions of it, and not just in the sequel. With Skyrim, well, there’s only Skyrim.
This is not something Bethesda intended. It’s not a Bethesda thing could have planned. You cannot simultaneously seek to create something new and innovative in a familiar genre while seeking to create something that no one will try to copy. Skyrim was meant to be a great game, played and played and replayed, but ultimately left it behind. It was never really meant to last ten years. Considering we’re three years away from The Elder Scrolls 6 if we’re lucky, I think it’s safe to say that on Skyrim release day, the developers expected the next one to come a lot. earlier than expected.
The game has changed. Now some games should last a long time. Fortnite came out in 2017 and shows no signs of slowing down, while it is generally believed that Blizzard revealing Overwatch 2 was a mistake – modern trends indicate that relying on the original Overwatch would be the smart move. Then again, there’s a lot worse going on behind the scenes at Blizzard these days, so maybe Overwatch 2 isn’t that bad in the grand scheme of things.
It’s a good thing Bethesda is taking its time with The Elder Scrolls 6. It suggests a lot of attention is being paid to Starfield, and once that gets in our hands, development on TES6 is likely to heat up a bit. While the Fallout 76 debacle left Bethesda’s reputation with a few bumps, TES6 is huge enough to make the money what it looks like. That it doesn’t come for a while is disappointing, but overall it’s a good sign.
That is, unless it’s because TES6 is designed to keep up with Skyrim and last ten years. Skyrim has a special place in everyone’s hearts, but TES6 won’t get away with releasing the game every few months for ten years and then tasking people to add peach to the mix. Skyrim became a ten-year-old game by accident. It was never in the script. TES6 could last ten years, but it won’t if it’s something the developers set out to build from scratch. It’s got to happen naturally, if it’s got to happen at all. Skyrim isn’t a ten-year-old game – it’s a game we’re still playing ten years later. If TES6 can figure out the difference, it could be a masterpiece. If not, well. We will always have Skyrim. I’m serious. Always. We never get rid of Skyrim.
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