What is Creation Club? Bethesda’s new scheme is a store for premium mods (in all but name)

TODO alt text

Tucked away behind all the Nazi-punching, dragon-slaying action of Bethesda’s E3 2017 press conference, the publisher announced a new initiative designed to replace and resolve the paid mods scheme which its games have flirted with in the past. 

Creation Club will be launching in Summer this year, and gives players access to new modifications in Fallout 4 and Skyrim: Special Edition, as designed by both Bethesda Game Studios and a cadre of external development partners. They’re available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, in case you’re wondering. Those looking to be a third-party creator (all would-be collaborators will be paid by Bethesda for their work as soon as their pitches are accepted) can sign up via an online application form today, though you’ll have to show off some of your previous work if you hope to be successful.

Above all else, Bethesda really want you to know that Creation Club is not a paid mods scheme. In an FAQ on the newly launched website, the publisher gives a categorical “No” to the question on everyone’s minds, stating that the current mods arrangement on PC and consoles “will remain a free and open system where anyone can create and share what they’d like.” 

Instead, Creation Club is a space to enjoy the finer things in virtual life, whereby all content will be “approved, curated, and taken through the full internal dev cycle; including localization, polishing, and testing.” Even so, all Creation Club exclusive content will be acquired through in-game credits, which themselves are purchased with real money via the PlayStation Store, Xbox Live and Steam. 

Technically, then, you are paying for mods, but Bethesda’s navigating the waters carefully by instead calling the project “a collection of all-new content [...] featuring new items, abilities, and gameplay.” Creation Club hopefully won’t be filled with your average “All dragons are now Thomas the Tank Engine” mods, then, but will instead represent a store’s worth of genuine ways to change how players enjoy the likes of Fallout 4 and Skyrim: Special Edition. Still, the reaction to the “it’s not paid mods but you will be paying for mods” announcement, wasn’t hugely positive, but Creation Club could still win people over if the quality of the content can speak for itself. 

The prospect of Bethesda returning to the mountain peaks of Skyrim and the nuclear wasteland of Fallout 4 is exciting, for example, and the studio’s new ideas for each title have the potential to be real game-changers should Creation Club make good on the promises of its announcement. For now, however, the work begins on recruiting budding creators to the cause, each tasked with designing amazing new things for us to play around with in Tamriel and Boston, as if we don’t have enough excuses already. 

Make sure you check out our full E3 2017 schedule to stay tuned for all the details as they arrive, and check out our roundup of all the E3 2017 trailers.