“Skyrim”, the mythical region in Bethesda’s fantasy world of Tamriel feels like a second home to me…
With the news that a remastered version is on its way to consoles this October including the ability to add mods, I felt the need to return home again to remind myself why Skyrim is so special.
Back in 2010 open world sandbox games were still finding their feet. GTA, The Elder Scrolls and Fallout were the best examples of when a Dev gets it right. You have a vast map holding as many varied and interesting locations as possible, on top you build layer upon layer of different content and game mechanics that they start to blur into one. This produces the feeling of a very real and organic world providing the player with the illusion of freedom of choice to create their own experience.
Skyrim provides a main quest line to follow for those that prefer to be hand held through a game but wander off the beaten track and there are literally hundreds of side quests and story arcs that you can get involved in. Yes, the main story is brilliant in its own right, the self discovery that you are Dragon Born and the desire to become powerful is definitely all encompassing but you can’t beat dipping your toe into exciting quests such as learning to be an assassin in the Dark Brotherhood or hunting down a rumoured magic sword in a long lost ruin.
I found even spending time just listening to bards playing music at the Inns, chatting to the locals and drinking mead to be a rather pleasant past time… I mean who wouldn’t?!
That, I Believe, is the key to Skyrim’s success. The moment you find yourself doing something almost mundane in a fantasy world is when you are fully immersed in that world. I once spent nearly a full day hunting down materials to create that snazzy suit of Daedric armour that I felt the overwhelming desire to posses. This shows that I believed I would be rewarded for investing time and working hard as my chosen character which runs parallel to most people’s actual experience in every day life.
Lines between real and fantasy merge on such a subconscious level that Skyrim does exist, it’s real. Anything that a person believes to be real in their mind *is* real.
We in life are creators of our own experience and Bethesda understands this concept fully.
Before the Modded Console version arrived, I took it upon myself to boot up the original XBox360 version, Stream clips available below: