Skyrim Special Edition: Free To Owners Of Original

Skyrim doesn’t feel old enough to have a shiny new edition with enhanced bells and whistles, but that’s exactly what’s coming on October 28th. It’ll be released on current-gen consoles as well as PC, and if you own either the Legendary Edition of the original, or the base game plus all DLC bought separately, you’ll receive a free upgrade to the new hotness. You can see it below.

Skip to 3.17 for immediate Skyrim. I expect the jump in graphics might be less impressive on PC than shown in the leap from one console generation to the next, particularly for those playing with fancy mods.

I demand a Daggerfall Special Edition. Daggerfall with these graphics. I demand it fall into my lap right now.

You can follow all our E3 2016 news here.


  1. Lars Westergren says:

    Lots of impressive announcements from Bethesda this E3. Apparently they are doing VR versions of Fallout 4 and DOOM too, speaking of remasters.

    • cunningmunki says:

      Impressive, really? Reads like a list of ticked boxes and missed opportunities to me.

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      Nathan says:

      They were demonstrating a DOOM VR “experience”, but I don’t think there was any implication that they were looking to turn it into a commercial VR release of the full game.

      • AutonomyLost says:

        I cannot imagine playing that game in VR at ALL. I think you’re right, it can’t be a full commercial release.

      • Press X to Gary Busey says:

        Perhaps it’s a preparatory dipping of the foot appendices since Playstation VR takes the plunge in october, either as an awesome abs-flexing backflip impressing all the ladies or a spectacular belly flop leaving them reddish and sore.

    • Suits says:

      Looks more like a “walk around in this world” type of deal

  2. snowgim says:

    I hope existing savegames will work, I don’t really want to restart again, but I will if I have to. Maybe I’ll even finish the main quest this time.

    • Ross Angus says:

      I’ve just done that. It was an emotionally flat experience. I wish Bethesda could poach some Bioware talent for writing characters.

      • Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

        Poaching Bioware for their writing chops is a bit like poaching the developer of Galactic Hitman for his level designs.

        Joking aside, this idea could work. The likes of CD Projekt RED could subcontract themselves out to developing houses, and write some actual stories. I would love just once to see a good story in an FPS, or a racing game. Not a complex one, just a good one.

        • fearandloathing says:

          I consider this an insult towards CDPR. Also, what you suggest is already a “thing”, consider Obsidian and its related writing staff, Avellone and so on.

          • Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

            What, it’s an insult to CDPR for someone to consider their writing so good that they could solve the issue of horrible story telling in the games industry?

          • Erayos says:

            Calling this an insult is super weird. It’d just be an extra recognition that CDP does great job at writing stories. I wouldn’t mind “talent transactions” to become something common between game developpers, we all agree that most developpers have strong and weak points, associating themselves for a few games could give us great stuff.

          • Press X to Gary Busey says:

            This is an CRPG pissing contest. Pistols at dawn. Standard RPG Codex rules apply per ISO 45001.

        • Ross Angus says:

          I’ve violently bounced off The Witcher twice (the first game only), but I hear great things about their work. While some have made many excellent point about Bioware’s shortcomings in terms of plot, those loyalty missions in Mass Effect 2 sure gave me the feels. Skyrim was sorely lacking anything similar, in my opinion.

          • njury says:

            Witcher 1 is about as far from witcher 3 as GTA 2 is from GTA 3.

          • Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

            I highly, HIGHLY recommend finding a 10 minute catch-up video on the first two Witcher games, then playing the third. I, like you, hated the first game and couldn’t see what the fuss was about, mostly owing to the shoddy controls and poor semi turn-based combat.

            The Witcher 3 on the other hand, is probably the best game of its type in well over a decade if not the last two. It’s the first game I’ve ever played where the world feels vibrant, and full, and alive; not because they gave every fucking NPC a daily routine, but because there is personality in the writing, affording wonderful moments, such as pitying a character that once you have felt enormous disdain for. This character doesn’t just have a name and routine, he has a whole life; a reason he behaves in the shitty ways that he does, and it by crikey does it get hard to hate him despite what a reprehensible twat he is.

            The detail in the environment is amazing, not just because moar polygons, but because the world is carefully constructed as part of a story, paradigmed with our own in relatable ways.

            There’s side quests that are more fun than the main quest, but not because the main quest is shit (a-la Elder Scrolls games); but because the effort and love that has been poured into every little nook and cranny in this game is gargantuan.

            Don’t not play TW3. You’d be daft not to at least try it.

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          DelrueOfDetroit says:

          Here’s how that meeting would go:

          “OK, so you have this quest where you have to kill 10 monsters and you’ll find someone’s dead wife. What we’re going to do is change that to a quest where you have to find someone’s dead wife and you find 10 monsters on the way!”

      • vorador says:

        They should just buy Obsidian, then make it the brains of Bethesda developer team, charged with game design and writing.

        Last time they did like that with Fallout New Vegas, it worked really well.

  3. Neurotic says:

    Such a wasted opportunity, remastering the most recent TES. I get that doing so for the previous games would involve a hell of a lot more work than just re-painting the pikchurs, but man, I would pay a AAA price tag for a sexy Redguard, Daggerfall or Arena. Oh well, at least we have SkyWind.

  4. Rich says:

    Best look out for the legendary edition in the next Steam sale then. Up until now I’d ignored the DLC due to silly pricing.

    • anandus says:

      During sales it’s often cheaper to get the Legendary Edition than all the DLC. Even if you already own the basegame.

      • Rich says:

        That’s what I meant by silly pricing. The idea of buying it again irked me. Still, if it means I get the new hotness, I might as well.

        • fish99 says:

          LE will upgrade your current Skyrim to have the DLCs, and I’ve seen it for under £10 in sales. Some people paid over £30 just for the DLCs.

          • KingFunk says:

            Yeah I was only short of Hearthfire, but decided to pick it up after this announcement. Steam offered me an ‘upgrade’ to the legendary edition which meant a 39% discount so it cost me £2.13. Not bad to get Hearthfire and the redux version…

    • Geebs says:

      I’d ignored the DLC because apparently it causes random vampires to show up constantly and murder all of the killable NPCs, right from the start of the game, and I couldn’t be bothered with that particular noise.

      • fish99 says:

        I saw them in Whiterun once, in Solitude once, and a few times in the wilderness. Also if they kill any of the minor NPCs (all quest NPCs are unkillable), you can just reload – the game saves every time you fast travel or enter a town.

        It’s one of the better quest lines in the game.

      • Ephemerous says:

        One of the essential mods for Skyrim is called “Timing is Everything”. It lets you set the level your character needs to be for each DLC to kick in. You can even change the number mid-game, so I always set Dawnguard to an absurdly high level, then shift it downward if I am ready to deal with it.

        Bethesda really should have thought this through on their own for people that GOTY editions. Another pet peeve of mine is how the GOTY version of Fallout: New Vegas starts you with a ton of bonus equipment packs right from the start. It really detracts from the scrounging aspect of the game.

        Saints Row the Third has the same problem if you get the complete version. Considering the plot revolves around losing everything, it really detracts from the story to start with a huge array of cars, tanks and VTOL aircraft in your garage on your first play through. I remember getting to late in the game when you have a mission to steal a VTOL and realizing how cool this would be if I hadn’t had one since day one.

        • Press X to Gary Busey says:

          If you don’t want the silly pre-order items:

          Before starting a new game, click “Data Files” on the launcher and untick CaravanPack.esm, ClassicPack.esm, MercenaryPack.esm and TribalPack.esm.

          Alternatively you can disable DLC directly from your Steam Library: Untick Courier’s Stash, TribalPack, ClassicPack and CaravanPack there and the DLC files are removed from the install.

          Neither does help if you use mods requiring them or the quest spam from the other DLC’s when stepping out into the Wasteland for the first time though.
          But if you play vanilla or with mods that has no DLC requirements you can disable all the DLC before starting a new game and enable them individually later.

          • Press X to Gary Busey says:

            It looks like you can disable the cheat DLC in Saints Row: The Third from the Steam Library too. I don’t own all the DLC so can’t confirm but the ones do I own shows up in the checklist.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Don’t forget that Steam did finally add a feature that lets you toggle off DLC for a game, and it does work with Skyrim. I own them all, but only have Dawnguard enabled for now (for werewolfery improvements) until I’m ready to be bombarded with Even More Side Stuff.

        Look at the game in large mode, detail view, and there’s a list with checkboxes. (I suspect once you’ve saved having played with them on, you can’t then correctly load that save with them turned off, of course.)

        • Qazi says:

          TES since Morrowind has let you disable them as a basic feature.

          What you’re doing is telling Steam to not even bother downloading and installing the data. Which is a heavy handed way of “disabling” the various discrete portions of DLC. I think toggling it off here tells steam to delete the relevant data too. TES data file structure is finicky as it is…

          • Qazi says:

            However, yes. For other games stuff like the Saint’s Row cheatyfuntime DLC, or the Tom Braider cheatyfuntime Perk “DLC”. This steam feature is great.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Sure, you can do it in the game launcher too. I’d actually forgotten that was there because I haven’t changed mods in a long time and I launch via a SKSE shortcut.

    • ElPolloDiablo says:

      Right now the LE isn’t listed on the Steam catalogue anymore. Which would make sense, since the Special Edition will be up for purchase soon.

      • Remedy says:

        Yes it is, I’m looking at the LE on Steam right now. You just have to go to the normal Skyrim store page, as it’s listed as a bundle, not a separate game.

        • ElPolloDiablo says:

          Ah, so it is. And at a 33% discount even. I’ve been meaning to buy the bundle for months now.

          Thank you for pointing this out, much appreciated.

          • ElPolloDiablo says:

            Oh, and just to clarify that I may not be a total idiot (debatable), the LE was listed as a separate game until before today’s Special Edition announcement. Hence I thought the LE had totally disappeared.

  5. aksen says:

    so because i didn’t buy that silly house-building child-rearing DLC (honestly forgotten its name…housestone? hearthstone? homehearth? old age simulator?) as i had mods if i wanted that stuff (which i didn’t), i won’t be getting this version for free?

    of course, would’ve preferred a TES6 announcement.

    • Raoul Duke says:

      I’m in the same boat, but seriously, Skyrim goes on sale for about 20 cents all the time.

      • aksen says:

        i know, but it just feels…wrong to buy the game again, or to buy that one bit of DLC, just to get the new shiny.

        given my steam backlog though, i shouldn’t even be thinking about replaying skyrim.

        • Ephemerous says:

          There really isn’t anything wrong with simply ignoring this special edition. The coolest thing about is allowing mods on consoles, which means nothing to me. I’ll be getting it for free, so I will probably give it a spin, but otherwise, I’d be passing on it.

          In an case, in a year or two, this special edition will be as cheap as the Legendary Edition is during the sales.

          • jerubius says:

            The Special Edition will be 64bit. Are you telling me you never ran into the 4GB RAM limit with mods? I know I have.

    • RedViv says:

      Hearthhell: The Rearening – Wrath of Getting The Dogs To Stay Away From Dragons Dammit Why Stop Dying Near My Safe Home

  6. satan says:

    Argh they want god rays in Skyrim too? Those things were so damn bright in FO4 it was like staring into the sun, got rid of them in a hurry.

    • Llewyn says:

      I suspect not everyone has quite the same fundamental objection to them as you.

      • satan says:

        It’d be nice if they’d just put in a slider for the intensity, I’d settle for being able to tone them down to agnostic rays.

        • J. Cosmo Cohen says:

          This made me laugh out loud like a madman. This was before I even noticed your username. Well played.

  7. Yachmenev says:

    I wonder what this means for the Steam Workshop mod.

    Will they be supported at all in this, considering that Bethesda probably want to push for mods?

    And if they aren’t supported, will the old version that does support them still be sold?

    • anandus says:

      A very good and interesting question.

    • J. Cosmo Cohen says:

      Similarly, are they going to be separate versions, or if you own everything and are automatically upgraded, will it replace your original version? If it’s going to bork my saves, I’ll gladly pass on the upgrade, even if it’s free (assuming they combine into one version). If they are separate, of course I’ll take it.

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      I hadn’t even considered that aspect. :O
      I bet a basket of blueberries they’ll take this opportunity to use their new and shiny cross platform PC-console mod system for that sweet feature checkbox on the game case.

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      Also, I should’ve read the Steam store page: “Skyrim Special Edition also brings the full power of PC mods to consoles.”
      I read that as the same optional Bethesda account login for their mod platform as Fallout 4.

      They’ll most likely keep selling the old PC version’s DLC at least, so people already invested in some of them can complete their collection to get the new version.

      There is a chance the old version will be included with the new, either as an option when launching or a separate Steam Library entry since it’s included the other way around.

      If they just upgrade there are a whole bunch of support issues if the old is force-upgraded to the new with broken mods, saves and the very important problem of system requirements.

  8. PsychoWedge says:

    whew… good move for them for not taking money for this on PC if you already own the game+dlcs. this looks like the game looked like on pc in 2012/13… xD

    with only a couple of medium modern mods skyrim looks thrice as good as in this video…

  9. iainl says:

    I didn’t buy any of the expansions, because I never finished all the side-quests in the base game. This looks very shiny in comparison to unmodded Skyrim, but I don’t know if I can be bothered to go back.

  10. Troubletcat says:

    But will they fix the terrible gameplay and atrocious story?

    • ZippyLemon says:

      “THIS time it’s -totally- a new engine, giving us unprecendented creative freedom to throw away.”

    • Scrofa says:

      Do you wish them bankruptcy?!

  11. Rizlar says:

    As much as I will totally play this because I still crave Skyrim after hundreds of hours, really don’t agree with all these ‘remastered editions’. It’s clearly motivated by money. It shows a lack of respect for the original games and the craft that went into them for the sake of new shiny bells and whistles. It just reminds me of the Star Wars remasters and this.

  12. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    Here’s my take: Elder Scrolls VI is still a ways off, so they’re doing something to keep people interested in the brand. Sure, this is mainly for console folks, but it isn’t a bad move business-wise.

  13. ElPolloDiablo says:

    This is somewhat frustrating. I’ve been looking at replaying Skyrim with DLC for a while now. Buying the DLC separately would cost more than the Legendary Edition (LE). Buying the LE would essentially mean buying the base game again.
    In my country the LE costs almost the same as Witcher 3 + Expansion Pass, so it’s relatively pricey. And so I waited for it to go on sale.
    Of course after this announcement, the LE isn’t listed on Steam anymore.

    • KingFunk says:

      Look under the base game as a bundle. It offers ‘upgrades’ to LE at a discount…

    • Llewyn says:

      Actually, I think this might be a good move. The LE is now listed as a bundle rather than an individual item, but with the new partial bundle discount mechanic that Steam introduced I think this might make it cheaper to buy the DLC during the next sale than the LE would have been separately.

      I suspect Bethesda will manage to find a way to break this for us though.

  14. Geebs says:

    Announcement that the Skywind team are throwing out all of their previous work and starting from scratch in the new engine in 3…2….1

  15. iainl says:

    I’ve noticed a few times that some mods have “base game only” and “with expansions” versions, to cover the changes they bring. Presumably the reason this is only free for those with the expansions is that they just can’t be bothered spending time making a “base game only” version of the updates when there’s no money in doing so.

  16. Necrourgist says:

    F…. Now i DO need to buy Hearthfire finally. I held off of it ever since it released…Oh well…

  17. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    So this edition will allow console users to add mods. Except that 90% of Skyrim mods seem to be nude packs, which will get banned, so what does that leave for the console owners?
    (tongue somewhat in cheek)

  18. brucethemoose says:

    “Skyrim doesn’t feel old enough”

    I don’t know…

    On one hand, the CPU shadows feel pretty dang old.

    On the other, it still runs terribly in 2016…

  19. bill says:

    I would have thought a Morrowind Special Edition would have been much more successful… though of course a fair bit more work.

  20. Jarendron says:

    Bugthesda doesn’t care about Daggerfall any longer. Hell they cared about it so little they threw its source code in the garbage.

    I like that they are giving this version to people who already own the game for free.

  21. ChipDipson says:

    Oh, so people like post-processing effects, do they? Special thanks: Boris Vorontsov. Which they won’t say out loud because it would point to the fact that Bethesda hasn’t implemented a good idea in decades that they didn’t rip directly from the minds of modders.

  22. Abdalrhmn says:

    plz anyone tell me
    if im have the game on steam but without the DLC ..
    will i receive a upgrade ?? or i should have the DLC to receive it ?? and if i can receive it the upgrade will be with the mods or without ????