For those of you that don’t know, a Skyrim Remaster was announced at Bethesda’s E3 press event yesterday, touting improved graphics, console mod support, and including up-to-date DLC.
What wasn’t initially considered as we gawped at the on-screen improvements and over-hyped atmosphere however (I’m going to coin the hashtag term here: #e3fever), was whether or not we needed a Skyrim remaster? I can understand the excitement for most fans in the audience, seeing god rays, improved LOD distances and shadows, but for me, this is par for the course.
You see, for years now, the PC community has enjoyed mods on the Steam Workshop, but more importantly, we’ve had improved graphics for all of that time as well. A popular graphics mod called the ENB Series, is famous for taking games that already look good, and making them look even better through small injection processes within the Direct X Graphical API pipeline, and tweaking shaders to get better results. When you combine an ENB series mod with HD texture packs, and other various graphical mods, you achieve hyper-realistic results, that PC gamers are used to having these days with the likes of GTA V and many more.
Embarrassingly, PC gamers aren’t likely to purchase Skyrim Remastered for this very reason. Most PC gamers who play Skyrim will have already bought the DLC, and will already be playing with graphical mods and texture packs installed, so this leaves very little reason for any of us to purchase a remaster, that looks worse than what we have configured with mods years old! There’s even mods that replace the 3D models in game with higher resolution ones, so every imaginable facelift the game could receive, would be outshone by a current mod or model/texture pack.
Thankfully however, Bethesda tweeted this welcome piece of news:
— BethesdaGameStudios (@BethesdaStudios) June 13, 2016
So for PC gamers who were very likely not going to splash out on a remastered Skyrim that’s inferior to their current setup, we now have the opportunity to begin afresh with a new foundation of graphical quality that’s as a higher starting point for its base. From there, we can improve the graphical mods even further, as we already have the starting point much higher up from where it was before, making it easier to push the game and its engine further.
No doubt there’s many bug/glitches fixed at this point as well, alongside tweaked/balanced gameplay, so there’ll be plenty of reasons for all of us to start a new character in the new and improved release of Skyrim. Of course, the main reason for all of this, is to provide current-generation players with a method of playing a game they might have missed years ago.
PS4 and Xbox One players are the ones benefiting the most from this release, as they’ll be able to enjoy a better looking game, enjoy modding support, and have their favourite RPG updated from their PS3/Xbox 360 versions, or be able to try it out for the first time if they didn’t get the chance to play it before. Five+ years is a long time in gaming, and that means there’s a whole generation of people that haven’t played Skyrim yet, and might not want to because of how old the game is. A Skyrim eemaster will be a great way to introduce people to an older but still incredibly playable experience, and give everyone a new base foundation to work from for future mods and graphical tweaks.
Check out this IGN video, that is from 2014, and shows how long we’ve been enjoying this kind of graphical quality on PC:
Skyrim Special Edition is set to be released on PS4, Xbox One and PC on 26 October 2016.