Would you pay $15 for a more hardcore version of Skyrim? Bethesda is testing a survival mode for Skyrim Special Edition that will add the usual difficulty enhancers to turn it into a more grueling open-world experience. You’ll need to eat and sleep. The cold can kill you. Fast travelling is disabled. Health no longer regenerates. It’s similar to the survival mode that Fallout 4 received last year. The difference? Fallout 4’s mode was a free update. Skyrim Special Edition’s addition seems to be a Creation Club exclusive with a price.
“Both PC and console players will get Survival Mode free for one week once it launches on their preferred platform.”
Note that “free for one week” bit. In images captured by a beta tester, the Creation Club price (disabled for the test) is 800 points, but thanks to the usual funny money shenanigans, you can’t buy exactly 800 points with real money. The next valid purchase option is $15 for 1500 spacebucks.
Bethesda announced paid mods for Skyrim: Special Edition and Fallout 4 via the upcoming Creation Club. This is something Bethesda has been creeping towards since their ill-fated experiment with Steam and the original version of Skyrim in 2015. This time, we’ll see if they get it right. It’s the Bethesda.net mod workshop but with curated community-made DLC you buy with credits. There’s no word yet on the exchange rate between real dollars and the Creation Club funny money, but you can assume it will be controversial no matter the cost.
The rest of Bethesda’s E3 2017 briefing was a parade of sequels and oddities. Doom VFR moves the demon ripping and tearing to virtual reality. How will Doom’s dance of death work in VR? It doesn’t. Movement seems to be changed to teleporting around. Fallout 4 VR offers the full open-world experience but with virtual fumbling and hand-waving. Dishonored: Death of the Outsider is a standalone serving of stealthy assassinating. Evil Within 2 showed off more inexplicable horror and things shuffling in the dark. Finally, BJ Blazkowicz returns in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.
Player made mods for Fallout 4 are awesome. That’s something most people can agree on. The ability to change things like graphical effects, or add new assets, or just shut Preston Garvey up is possible through the extensive modding community. While PC players have been enjoying mods on Bethesda roleplaying games for years, Fallout 4 is the first one that’s offered mods on a console. Mods through the Bethesda.net portal have been available on the Xbox One since May 31st, and the developer had said they were working on mods for the PlayStation 4. Since that time, we’ve been given repeated assurances that Fallout 4 mods on PlayStation 4 were coming. That dream ends today. Bethesda has announced that mods for Fallout 4 and Skyrim Special Edition will not be available on the PlayStation 4.
Like you, we are disappointed by Sony’s decision given the considerable time and effort we have put into this project, and the amount of time our fans have waited for mod support to arrive. We consider this an important initiative and we hope to find other ways user mods can be available for our PlayStation audience. However, until Sony will allow us to offer proper mod support for PS4, that content for Fallout 4 and Skyrim on PlayStation 4 will not be available.
What happened? There are no specifics as to where the breakdown occurred, but as early as July, Bethesda’s Pete Hines expressed frustration on Twitter when asked about the delay. In a more recent interview with Metro UK, Hines declined to blame Sony, but did say that mods for Fallout 4 on PlayStation 4 was “undergoing an evaluation process” outside of his control.
During Bethesda’s E3 show, one of the most exciting bits of information was that the company will be releasing a new version of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim this year. Ever since this console generation kicked off with HD remakes of previous games, people have been asking for Bethesda to look towards their back catalog. When Fallout 3 was made backwards-compatible on the Xbox One, fans rejoiced and wondered when Skyrim would get the same treatment. Rather than simply making Skyrim backwards-compatible or cashing in with a quick and dirty port, Skyrim Special Edition features substantive changes. The remaster has new art and effects, volumetric god rays, dynamic depth of field, screen-space reflections, Fallout 4 style integrated modding that works on consoles, and all the official DLC.
All that is well and good, but current PC owners of Skyrim (either the original with all DLC, or the Legendary Edition) get the new version for free. Free! Plus, Skyrim Special Edition on PC will be 64-bit, greatly enhancing performance and mod capabilities. It’s a well-known fact in the modding community that Skyrim’s 32-bit memory limitations cause a myriad of issues, especially when multiple mods are used. The move to 64-bit code is a welcome change even if you don’t care about the visual enhancements. Macho Man Randy Savage dragons, endless cheese wheels, and lightsabers all day!
Skyrim Special Edition releases on October 28.
Valve is disabling the ability to set pricing on mods. According to this official announcement, Valve is turning off the feature they rolled out on Friday that allowed modders to set pricing for their creations in the Steam Workshop. Even though modders have generated significant profit for Valve’s own Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Dota 2, gamers voiced their displeasure at the new revenue sharing system as soon as it was launched. Negatives cited by detractors included copyright concerns, sketchy future support of broken mods, poor quality control, and modders getting too small of a cut.
We understand our own game’s communities pretty well, but stepping into an established, years old modding community in Skyrim was probably not the right place to start iterating. We think this made us miss the mark pretty badly, even though we believe there’s a useful feature somewhere here.
Earlier in the day, Bethesda had posted an explanation of their strategy on paid mods, but their reasoning did little to stem the arguments against the feature.
Alexander J. Velicky is a Skyrim modding legend. He’s the industrious young man that spent over 2000 hours to create the Falskaar mod which contained a new land, assets, voice acting, and a new soundtrack. Velicky wanted to get a job at Bethesda and was hoping Falskaar would make a good resume. Well, he’s gotten a job in the industry – at Bungie. He’ll be an Associate Designer at the Destiny developer. Velicky posted his announcement on the official Skyrim boards and thanked the community for their support. He also offered some advice to budding designers.
Of course, all of this leaves me with one corny ‘life lesson’ that I’d like to extend to all of you. Never be afraid to try. I set my sights on a professional design job pretty early, I lowered my head, charged forward, and rarely looked back. Of course, I ensured what I was doing had a reasonable chance for success from time to time. But the most surprising of all, is who I’ve ended up with. I applied to many companies, and Bungie was in my, “Huge company that will completely ignore me.” category. Well, they didn’t and look what it got me. Bungie is an awesome company with an amazing team, and I’m very lucky that they’ve decided to give me a chance! Never be afraid to try. I spent the time it took to apply and the rewards are proving to be greater than I could have possible imagined.
Velicky hopes to continue modding games in his spare time. The latest build of his Falskaar mod can be found at the Skyrim Nexus.