Skyrim Anniversary Edition, Explained

Image for article titled Skyrim Anniversary Edition, Explained

Screenshot: Bethesda / Kotaku

Yesterday, just a week before it launches, Bethesda finally revealed how much Skyrim Anniversary Edition will cost: $50. But what you’re actually getting in the latest version of the decade-old game is a bit confusing, so let’s break it down.

What does Skyrim Anniversary Edition include?

Skyrim Anniversary Edition includes Skyrim, all three DLCs—Dragonborn, Hearthfire, and Dawnguard—all previously released Creation Club mod content, some new Creation Club mod content, and a brand new fishing mechanic.

It’s not a better version of Skyrim. It’s just Skyrim with more stuff. It’ll be out on Xbox One, PS4, and PC on November 11. It might also break any current mods you’re using.

What is Creation Club?

Creation Club is paid mods curated by Bethesda. The company got into hot water when it announced plans for regular paid mods several years ago, then backtracked, and later came out with Creation Club. The content there costs money, some of which goes to any outside developers who helped make it, but it doesn’t replace Skyrim’s existing free mod community.

Creation Club mods are purchased with credits that cost roughly $1 per 100. If you were to buy all of the current Creation Club mods separately, it would cost well over $100. That is why Bethesda is calling Skyrim Anniversary Edition a “convenient, high-value bundle.”

How many versions of Skyrim are there?

Too many. Let’s list them:

  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)
  • Skyrim – Legendary Edition (2013)
  • Skyrim – Special Edition (2016)
  • Skryim for Nintendo Switch (2017)
  • Skyrim VR
  • And now Skyrim Anniversary Edition

Image for article titled Skyrim Anniversary Edition, Explained

Screenshot: Bethesda

Can I upgrade to the latest Skyrim if I own one of the older versions?

Sort of. Bethesda also revealed yesterday that current owners of Skyrim Special Edition could pay $20 to get everything additional that comes in the Anniversary version. It’s not really an optional paid upgrade so much as a big discount on all of the current Creation Club stuff.

If you have any other version of Skyrim, you’re out of luck. Skyrim Anniversary Edition isn’t coming to Switch at all, and unlike when the Special Edition was released, there aren’t any limited-time free upgrades.

What happens if I don’t buy or upgrade to Skyrim Anniversary Edition?

You’ll still get a ton of stuff, assuming you already own the Special Edition. The new fishing mechanic will be a free update to everyone, as will specific pieces of Creation Club content including a new set of quests called Saints & Seducers, new Rare Curios items, and Survival Mode where players can freeze to death.

Skyrim is also getting a PS5 and Xbox Series X/S version in the future that will be free for all existing owners of either the Special Edition or Anniversary Edition to upgrade to.

Why is any of this happening?

I supposed because if you plaster the words “Skyrim” and “Edition” onto something somebody somewhere will buy it. It’s also one way to continue charging a premium for a 10-year old game. I bought Skyrim Special Edition on PSN back in January for $16 because it was on sale.

Now it’s back up to $40 and I doubt it will be similarly discounted again anytime soon. For anyone who hasn’t already bought the Special Edition, why not just pay the extra $10 for all the extra stuff? That’s one way to deal with the fact that The Elder Scrolls 6 is probably still several years away at best.

And in the eternal words of Pete Hines, “If you don’t want that, don’t buy it.”