On the eve of November 11th 2011, I don’t think any gamer could have predicted how big The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim would eventually become. Everyone knew that it would be huge of course; Oblivion had set gaming records and the company behind Fallout, The Elder Scrolls and more were known as reliable game developers who made huge games with incredibly detailed worlds. Hundreds of game of the year nominations, a massive fan-base and a reputation rivalled by many later- Skyrim has become a behemoth of gaming history that must be commended for the achievements it made. But, six years later, I sit at my desk writing this announcement knowing that the game is, clearly, still at the forefront of Bethesda’s minds. At Sony’s E3 conference at the start of June, it was announced that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR will be debuting in the future.
This came with no release date. This is alongside the announcement that a version of the game will also be making an appearance on the Nintendo Switch releasing Holidays 2017. Whilst this is incredible that one game company can make a game appeal to people so much that they are willing to buy it over multiple consoles spanning more than half a decade- has it all became too much for the gaming community?
‘Keeping Gamers Updated’
The response has been a mixed one to say the least. Whilst many have focused on the negatives, both gamers and journalists alike have commended Bethesda for their attempts to bring Skyrim VR into the new generation of gaming. The biggest positive from this announcement is clearly that; it allows those who love the game and are a part of the community to continue playing as they update their gaming specs. If Skyrim was only out on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC as was the original release plan- it is hard to argue against the idea that the player-base would have dropped dramatically. This will definitely keep those involved with the world coming back for more. Most who love Skyrim want to be able to replicate that love by playing the game on as many consoles and versions as they possibly can.
‘Moving With The Future’
With the way the gaming industry is going- Virtual Reality is the future. Sony have geared the campaign trail onto VR and are pushing for game companies to create original experiences for the software. As a result- Bethesda are ahead of the curve and are putting a game they know is well received onto this new, exciting software. Many gamers in the future will most likely move to VR. If Skyrim VR is on the system- be it Sony VR or another third party company- it could entice them to buy it. Additionally- upon release- the game will come with all pre-existing DLC packages, must like the Special Edition. While being currently priced at $60- it will be cheaper than buying all four packages individually.
But has this gone on for long enough? Many seem to think so.
‘A Ridiculous Price Tag’
As previously mentioned- the game is currently available for pre-order for $60. If you bought the original version on PS3, the Special Edition on PS4 and plan to buy the VR version- this will have cost you over $150 dollars without taking into account PC versions or additional DLC. This is a ridiculous amount of money for a single game and, while many will of course pay this, many gamers just do not have the funds to continually shill out this amount of cash. When we see games of incredible quality such as Binding of Issac, FEZ and Braid to name a few being priced at under $10, it’s baffling this price tag has been set for an umpteenth version of a game.
The biggest criticism currently being thrown at Bethesda is that this is a sign of laziness. As mentioned a numerous amount of times- they know how popular their game is. Thanks to this- Bethesda officials see no issue with creating new versions of Skyrim to put on the newest systems. But the gaming community is starting to wise up to this fact and calling them out on it. After checking Twitter immediately following the announcement- it was awash with fans crying out in boredom. ‘Who cares?’, ‘Oh well I’m not getting that’ and the like were being tweeted constantly during the rest of Sony’s conference.
When fans and gamers alike understand the ability Bethesda have to create fantastic games, it screams of un-originality when they can’t bring out anything new. Where is Elder Scrolls VI? Where is a new IP? Have you got anything original? During Bethesda’s conference, a representative said that they aspire to create brilliance from nothing. But where has that care, attention and imagination gone?
‘Not Enough to Buy VR’
Alongside it’s brother Fallout- both of Bethesda’s two biggest projects are hitting VR in the future. But many people just feel it isn’t a reason to purchase such a lofty piece of equipment. With Sony VR currently ranging from £299-£380 in the UK, it’s no surprise the majority of people don’t have Virtual Reality. The controls for VR consistently come under attack and, in a game where fighting is such a core mechanic, many issues could arise.
My Own Thoughts on Skyrim VR
For me, Skyrim is my favourite game of all time. I love its world, its characters and its feel. But it can’t even entice me to VR. Which I feel is the most damning indictment of them all. It can’t even entice one of their most hardcore fans over to a new system which could be its breaking point. But is it a bad move? In general terms- no. The game will most likely sell well and be welcomed with open arms to a lot of people. But many feel Bethesda are very quickly running out of ideas and are losing confidence in a brilliant, fantastic gaming company.