After some behind-the-scenes wrangling with Valve, Enderal: Forgotten Stories hits Steam next Thursday, February 14th as a free, standalone game for anyone who owns Skyrim. Originally a mere mod (set in its own world entirely separate from The Elder Scrolls), you won't even need Skyrim installed to play this version of Enderal. Developers SureAI say the Forgotten Stories version boasts more quest-lines, new character classes, a new (hidden) ending and other upgrades - it even has its own Steam Workshop for mods. See the very dramatic new trailer below.
Thanks to Skyrim's modular nature making it easy to add stuff to its world, total conversions like Enderal are rare. If you're unfamiliar with the term, think of it as an entirely new game built on the foundations of another. It's even rarer that a distributor allows a mod of this scale to be released as a (nearly) standalone game. Credit where due, Valve have been pretty good about that, for better (Sven Co-op) or worse (Hunt Down The Freeman), so here's hoping for more in future. Rivalling Skyrim for scale, you're still looking at an estimated 30-125 hours of fantasy fun with Enderal, and you probably won't see it all in one go.
The Forgotten Stories expansion adds two 'morally grey' questlines that more overtly heroic players might not see on their first go. Also two interesting new character classes, one based around enchanting and the other on alchemy. Phasmalists can craft and deploy spirit companions to do their heavy lifting, while Lycanthropes can brew up potions to transform themselves into werewolves, as you do. There's been a lot of tweaking and tuning done under the hood, and the whole game is fully voiced and subtitled in both English and German.
For those wanting to get a feel for the world of Enderal now, there's a free tie-in novel being written. You can read the first chapter now on the game's writer's Patreon here, but it'll be available on Steam later here. According to Steam's store listings, SureAI are also bringing over their previous Oblivion total conversion - Nehrim: At Fate's Edge - in similar fashion next year.
Enderal: Forgotten Stories launches on February 14th. You can find it here on Steam, where it will be free for anyone who owns Skyrim Classic or the Legendary Edition. No DLC is required. Sadly, Special Edition owners will need to pick up the older version of the game, though SureAI say they're considering an updated Special Edition version later. Check our SureAI's other projects on their page here.