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Why we need Skyrim on next-gen consoles

The dawn of a new generation is the most exciting time to be a gamer. It only happens once every seven-or-so years, and--regardless of your allegiance to one console or another--there’s no denying the thrill of seeing shiny new hardware playing dazzling new games. Even mediocre shooters and tired racers seem wonderful when viewed through next-gen-o-vision. So it might seem odd that I’m seriously promoting the idea that Bethesda should re-release The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: a game that will be at least 2 years old by the time PS4 and Xbox One hit the shelves.

Well, bear with me. When Skyrim first appeared back in 2011, it was--and still is--the most ambitious game of the current console generation. Its struggles on PS3 are well documented, and although the game managed to run perfectly well on Xbox 360 it was far from the definitive version. That honour, as with many games to appear in the past few years, belongs to PC. The PC doesn’t care about ‘console generations’; it cares about the amount of grunt you can shove into your hardware without turning your entire rig into a sad pile of melted plastic.

Right now, there’s a disparity between what can be achieved in games on consoles and PC. One of the most common PC-owner complaints is that certain games are ‘held back’ by console hardware. While visual fidelity and content can be boosted on PC with mods and advanced settings, the actual size and scope of most modern games can’t be drastically altered. The technological playing field will be (mostly--yes, we know some rigs are already more powerful than next-gen consoles) levelled again when Xbox One and PS4 appear in November, allowing developers the scope to create their PC games without concession to consoles.

So where does Skyrim fit into all this? Well, it’s one of the few games with the scope and size to justify a next-gen make-over and still feel like it belongs amongst the likes of Titanfall, Battlefield 4 and Tom Clancy's The Division. Its world is huge and ripe for improvement. We also argue that GTA V deserves a next-gen version, and we’d be hugely surprised if this doesn’t get announced shortly after Rockstar’s game releases on Xbox 360 and PS3 in September… but that’s a different editorial.

In fact, high-end PC owners are playing next-gen Skyrim right now. Smart mods like the ENB series have transformed the look and feel of the game, and added fresh content that sits perfectly within the Elder Scrolls canon. There are numerous examples of these incredible mods running effortlessly on hardware equivalent to that of the next-gen consoles. So, theoretically, it’s possible. Very possible. Check out this video:

What could a next-gen version of Skyrim bring to the table beyond ‘looking more awesome’? That’s a technical term, by the way. The most obvious thing would be seamless movement and combat. The power of next-gen could easily remove texture pop-in, vastly increase draw distance, and still run a modified version of the game at 60 frames per second. Not only that, the increased speed of the Blu-ray drive in both consoles, combined with superior hard drive read-speeds could virtually eliminate load-times. There would be no pause when travelling between interior and exterior locations, and fast travel would be, well, fast. Given Skyrim’s relatively modest file size, Bethesda could even enforce full-game installs to make it run even quicker. Imagine the hassle taken out of, say, the Thieves Guild quests if you could do them without having to load twice when you’re walking into the Ragged Flaggon.

One potential barrier to all this is money. Would Bethesda recoup enough cash to make it worth their time and manpower? It’s a tough call, and if Bethesda was to go it alone, I’d say ‘no’. However, if the developer got the community involved, it’d be a different story. Not only would Skyrim be able to take advantage of existing mod packages--thereby cutting down on the amount of work Bethesda’s in-house teams would need to put in--but it could also absorb the best community created content to refresh the game for its console audience.

Bethesda has already proven, with its Game Jam sessions, that it values the input of the community (most of Skyrim’s existing DLC was conceived during Game Jams), so it already has a wealth of quality, user-created extras to choose from. In fact, there’s no reason why members of the community couldn’t continue to create extra content for Skyrim for official release on next-gen systems and PC. Both Microsoft and Sony are relaxing the submission process for patches and DLC, so it could be updated and expanded quickly.

At the end of the day, though, it all comes down to demand. Perhaps I’m a mad-man who has spent too long in Tamriel on my 360, but I would happily spend £40 to play Skyrim: The Super Mega Hyper Edition on the PS4 I’ve already pre-ordered. Skyrim is all about the 200 hour journey, not the destination, so the fact that I know what happens in the main story barely matters. To me, the idea of a shiny new look, combined with a bunch of cool extras and zero load times would feel like money well spent. How does that sound to you?

You know that kid at parties who talks too much? Drink in hand, way too enthusiastic, ponderously well-educated in topics no one in their right mind should know about? Loud? Well, that kid’s occasionally us. GR Editorials is a semi-regular feature where we share our informed insights on the news at hand. Sharp, funny, and finger-on-the-pulse, it’s the information you need to know even when you don’t know you need it.

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67 comments

  • Demir - August 3, 2014 3:47 a.m.

    i hope skyrim will come to next gen consoles because i really love the game its one of my favorites of all time and i just bought an xbox one so i can't wait, and if it releases on next gen i also hope the will make more dlc's, i really love dragonborn, dawngaurd and heartfire
  • martin-chara - July 6, 2014 10:17 a.m.

    This was probably the best game i had for playstation 3...i bought a xbox one and i hope they will do it for next gen... Amazing game.. One of kind.
  • FluffyPuffBall - February 20, 2014 1:05 p.m.

    I watched the making of the game and a guy said that he wanted people to play skyrim for years to come. Well, a couple of years have come and the PS4 and Xbox one are out. If they want people to play for years to come then they need to put it on next-gen consoles. The majority of people who played the game and have next-gen consoles know that it is good and they will most likely buy it again. So why make the game 2 years before the next-gen consoles come out and not put the game on them? As much as I enjoyed it on my 360 I would like to play it on the PS4 which will have better quality and more space than my piece of crap 360( not saying 360s or Microsoft is crap its just mine was old and about to "die"). I love what Bethesda did with Skyrim and I still play it even though I have a next-gen. It would make some of us crap our pants to see this game come to next-gen.
  • thewebstergamer - February 3, 2014 6:04 a.m.

    I honestly think that all they need to do is port of the game but with the HD texture pack that they released on pc. This feels like the most practical approach and I know I would deffinitly buy it :)
  • KASEnBAKE - December 4, 2013 1:51 p.m.

    I have both consoles and a PC that I built and I prefer to play on console simply because of the lack of issues with compatibility. There has been several times that I've bought a game for PC and been completely unable to play it for one reason or another. I would love to have a new version of Skyrim for PS4 and Xbox one. Especially since the voice commands will work much better this time around with the new Kinect or PS eye. I would gladly pay for skyrim again to play it on PS4 or Xbox One. Simply for the fact that it would not crash constantly like it did on my Xbox 360. The game was pushing the limits of what that system could handle. It would be great to have the quicker load times and everything too. And hopefully by now they could work out most of the existing bugs for a more definitive version of the game. All I can say is I got 101 problems but a PC aint 50 of them.
  • Litephoenix - November 13, 2013 1:07 p.m.

    Hi all, Been reading all the comments about pc vs console and have to say a couple of things. 1 is that people should just enjoy what they have be it xbox 360, ps3, pc, new consoles ect. 2nd I'm a pc gamer and console user and yes an expensive pc is the better option if you have the cash for skyrim gameplay and other titles but the reason the ps3 and xbox 360 have kept up in terms of cod titles and other games is because of how the game designers program the game to interact directly with the consoles hardware to get the most out of it. Where as you have raw power with pc but bottle necks such as direct x and pc games not able to have direct access to the graphics card hardware. AMD have just launched a new set of graphics cards that have programming for a process called (mantle) which is similar to the console situation were the game designers are going to have more direct access to the hardware power available on pc graphics cards. The key thing I'm trying to say is that for average gamer the consoles are a good choice as they are usually problem free and easy to use where as the pc gaming is a specialised market and they can be problems with getting hardware working properly because people have different hardware and game designers have to try and make it work on them all. With consoles the designers know what hardware they are working with and can get the very best out of the console and can test stability. To finish off I would like to say I think they will be skyrim on ps4 and Xbox one, I just hope they put the work in and revamp the game on the new consoles to look lots better and have more content than on previous gen of consoles. I think if they revamp it they could make it look as good as a good mid range gaming pc. I'm going to leave it at that. Happy gaming people!
  • houmie - September 16, 2013 1:50 p.m.

    It is very likely that Skyrim comes out on PS4. Why? They are already working on Fallout 4, which is based on Skyrim game engine. Fallout 4 will be coming out for PS4 right away, which means they are porting the whole game engine on PS4 right now. Once it is ported the major hurdle is already done and it would be very easy to port Skyrim as well. It would be free money making for Bethesda. Considering there won't be any new single player Elder Scrolls for at least 3-4 years on next gen, this would make strategically very much sense to have it with all the DLCs for the next gen platform. I believe we hear about its announcement no later than Christmas.
  • KuroHigu - July 6, 2013 10:45 a.m.

    I have to disagree. If you want Skyrim with these graphics, then get a pc. However, the main reason I disagree is because Bethesda is already working on some very ambitious games already. It is confirmed they are currently working on Fallout 4 and if you've ever played Fallout 3 or NV, you know the world is about as big and open as Skyrim is. Furthermore, I'm sure they plan on making a new Elder Scrolls game. It hasn't been confirmed what it is just yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for either Elsweyr or Black Marsh.
  • CraZed - July 6, 2013 5:40 p.m.

    While I usually would defend my console brethren, on this one I'd have to agree. Skyrim is unabashedly better on the PC in every way. It looks better, plays better (looking at you PS3) and mod support alone is worth getting the PC version. Now granted my PC is starting to get long in the tooth and I have a very hard time running it on high with any good ENBs running but when the time comes for my PC upgrade (after my PS4 arrives and my coffers recover) PC is where I'll be playing Skyrim next gen.
  • Nines - July 8, 2013 12:49 p.m.

    It's obvious that TES VI will be in Summerset Isles. Besides, I think Elsweyr and Black Marsh doesn't have anything worth to see.
  • db1331 - July 5, 2013 10:51 a.m.

    This is so fucking stupid. If this is what you want, then GET A GODDAMN PC. The XBox One isn't some magical mystery box. It's a fucking $500 PC that you cannot upgrade. For the same price, maybe an extra $100, you could build or buy a PC that is significantly more powerful, can be upgraded whenever you choose, and requires no monthly fee for MP games. You can even hook it up to your TV and use a 360 controller. Even if you spent $800 on a PC, you would recoup that money in a few months from cheaper PC games (Many games that launch for $60 on consoles launch for $40 on PC) and not paying for XBL. And you can do this TODAY. You don't even have to wait. It's just completely fucking illogical to want a "next-gen" console when you don't even have a gaming PC.
  • CraZed - July 6, 2013 5:46 p.m.

    You simply CANNOT purchase a PC for 6-800 USD that will run games at their full potential on PC. It just doesn't work that way. PCs use brute force to achieve the advantages in graphic fidelity and frame rate performance that they have over the consoles. A 6-8 hundred dollar PC is not a brute and will only leave you wanting. You'll need to leave your GPU settings on performance for all but the oldest of games, and then maybe you can get some of that back from pumping up some of your in game settings but you will take a hit in frame rates and performance. Never spend less than $1000 on PC. Even then you will still find you are behind the curve especially if you play online. Most of those people screaming about hax0rs and cheats online, yeah those are they guys who spent $600-800 on their rigs.
  • db1331 - July 8, 2013 5:33 a.m.

    You're right, but I'm not talking about a PC that can live up to its full potential. I'm talking about a PC that's at least as powerful as the XBone. And for $500-$600, you can build a more powerful PC. People have priced them up and posted them all over the internet, if you care to do a bit of googling. The parts in the Xbone are 2-3 years old, and the system isn't even out yet. You could easily get a better PC for the same price, if not a hair more.
  • CraZed - July 8, 2013 3:56 p.m.

    The problem is a PC that is 'just as powerful' in hardware terms really isn't. The level of optimization that goes into console games requires that a PC version have much more powerful hardware. So technically you could argue that it is as powerful (and you'll still end up paying more for a PC by at least $100) but it will absolutely not yield the same results or performance. I have Googled it AND priced it out as I tend to build my own rigs for myself and you simply cannot keep up with games on a console for the same price point.
  • SirVancelot - July 9, 2013 10:23 p.m.

    Yeah I agree, though I have spent less than a thousand on a pc, there wasn't really a choice. But even that for me, it's good enough, I'm pretty into gaming and I would like something more powerful, but I can live with what I have. For me the me the best thing about using PC instead of console is the fact you get everything else that a computer has to offer as well as mods and everything else, I just think its a longer lasting experience.
  • sillyrabbit51 - July 5, 2013 7 a.m.

    I really like this idea, and I think it would be even better improved if with the next-gen there was some form of Mod integration. A lot of people will agree that non-modded skyrim is vastly inferior to its modded PC counterpart. With the next-gen focusing even more on seamless and online integration and an "all in one" approach, why not use something such as the Cloud for mod support. Maybe Sony and Microsoft could establish there own mod center, not just for games like skyrim, but every game.
  • chavbuster1 - July 4, 2013 9:59 a.m.

    Agreed. Would happily pay £40 for Skyrim+ Edition. -Graphics/ textures overhaul -Improved combat -More weapons, armor and Items. -More NPCs on screen during battles (Siege of Whiterun comes to mind, come on there were only like 15 ppl fighting + the player xD) -Maybe one final DLC? Please Bethesda? Pretty Please?
  • CraZed - July 8, 2013 3:59 p.m.

    Why buy it for half that on PC and get access to the wealth of player created mods while getting the superior experience. Provided you have the PC hardware to run it while having settings on high+ AND ENBs etc. Especially if you want 'more NPCs on screen.' There are all kinds of mods for PC that do that. Heck there are mods for having over 10 followers at once! Console versions just aren't as good.
  • chavbuster1 - July 9, 2013 6:25 a.m.

    Man I would if I had a spare £1500/$2000 knocking around in my booty pipe! xD +I know nothing about constructing a gaming PC so its kinda daunting...

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