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Video Game / The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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And the fiercest foes rout when they hear triumph's shout...
You should have acted. They're already here.
The Elder Scrolls told of their return.
Their defeat was merely a delay till the time after Oblivion opened, when the sons of Skyrim would spill their own blood.
But no one wanted to believe... Believe they even existed. And when the truth finally dawns... It dawns in fire!
But... there is one they fear. In their tongue, he is "Dovahkiin": Dragonborn!
Esbern, Narration of the teaser trailer.

Skyrim is the fifth entry in Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls main series, released on November 11, 2011note  across multiple platforms.

It takes place in the year 201 of the Fourth Era, two centuries after the events of the fourth game, and is set in the eponymous Skyrim, one of the northernmost provinces of the continent of Tamriel and home to the Nords. The feared dragon Alduin the World Eater has returned after ages of absence with an army of dragons, fulfilling an ancient prophecy that heralds the end of the world. Alduin's appearance also exacerbates a bitter civil war over Skyrim's independence from the Empire of Tamriel, which is fought between the Imperial Legion under General Tullius, the appointed Military Governor of Skyrim, and the secessionist Stormcloaks under Ulfric Stormcloak, Jarl of the city of Windhelm. Into this time of crisis enters the Last Dragonborn, a person born with the soul of a dragon, who has the ability to absorb their souls of slain dragons to gain strength. Under the guidance of Delphine and Esbern of the exiled warrior order known as the Blades, and the monastic Greybeards of High Hrothgar, the Dragonborn must uncover the means to defeat Alduin and avert the apocalypse.

The game runs on a heavily modified Gamebryo engine called the Creation engine, complete with all the Good Bad Bugs that Bethesda fans have come to know and love. The soundtrack is once again provided by Jeremy Soule. The PC version was also the debut title for the Steam Workshop, an integrated way to browse and upload mods, which are subscribed to and downloaded automatically via the Steam client. This had never been attempted on such a large scale before.

Three DLCs were produced for Skyrim (they were short-term timed exclusives for Xbox 360, but the PS3 releases were delayed beyond that due to technical issues with the porting process):

  • Dawnguard, released on June 26, 2012 for Xbox 360, on August 3, 2012 for PC, and on February 26, 2013 for PS3. The Last Dragonborn is caught in a struggle between an ancient vampire clan and a newly-reformed order of vampire hunters.
  • Hearthfire, released on September 4, 2012 for Xbox 360, on October 4, 2012 for PC, and on February 19, 2013 for PS3. This add-on allows the player to buy plots of land and construct custom homesteads, as well as adopt children.
  • Dragonborn, released on December 4, 2012 for Xbox 360, on February 5, 2013 for PC, and on February 12, 2013 for PS3. The Last Dragonborn investigates the island of Solstheim (the setting of the Morrowind expansion Bloodmoon) and confronts the First Dragonborn, a servant of the Daedric Prince Hermaeus Mora who is using Solstheim's inhabitants in a nefarious ritual to allow him to return to Tamriel.

On April 15, 2013, Bethesda announced that no further DLC packs would be produced for Skyrim as the studio moved on to its next project, but technical support would continue.

Skyrim had a series of re-releases over the following years, one of the factors that allowed it to enjoy a remarkable longevity for a strictly single-player title, well after many of its contemporaries had either been forgotten or set aside for sequels. These releases are:

  • Legendary Edition, released on June 4, 2013 for Xbox 360, PC, and PS3. It was a bundle of Skyrim with all three official DLCs. A copy of Legendary Edition was included in a PC-exclusive bundle of all five main Elder Scrolls games released on September 10, 2013.
  • Special Edition, released on October 28, 2016 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. It was an Updated Re-release of Legendary Edition that used the version of the engine from Fallout 4, and also added mod support for consoles. Steam owners of Skyrim and all of its DLCsnote  received a copy of Special Edition for free.
    • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for Nintendo Switch was released on November 17, 2017. Like Special Edition, Skyrim on Switch includes all three add-ons, but it lacks mod support and uses a slightly scaled-back version of the engine to make it compatible with the Switch. Uniquely, this edition of the game boasts weapons and armor based on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, support for amiibo, and motion controls.
    • Skyrim VR released on November 17, 2017 for PS4, and on April 3, 2018 for PC. This was a version of Special Edition designed for virtual reality headsets.
  • Anniversary Edition, released on November 11, 2021 for Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PlayStation 5, and PC, and on September 28, 2022 for Nintendo Switch. Prepared for the celebration of the 10th anniversary of Skyrim, Anniversary Edition is essentially the Special Edition bundled with optimizations for the new generation of consoles plus a total of 74 "Creations", which were paid third-party mods curated by Bethesda through the "Creation Club" program and classified as canon content. Anniversary Edition was also available for purchase as a discounted upgrade for players who already owned a copy of Special Edition.

At E3 2018, Bethesda announced and launched the Very Special Edition, an Interactive Fiction adaptation of the game exclusively for Amazon Alexa devices, as a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment of the original game's multiple releases.

Another factor contributing to Skyrim's long term popularity is its massive modding community. Skyrim is a strong contender for the title of Most Modded Game evernote , and its community is still in full swing a decade after release. At the Mod Nexus, the original version of Skyrim holds the crown for most mods produced, with a total of nearly 69,000 mods, and if you add in the mods for Special Edition (which on its own is sitting pretty at second place), the total jumps to over 120,000, with more than four billion downloads between the two! For comparison, Fallout 4 clocks in third place at just over a third of that. There are whole YouTube channels that have been extremely successful that are solely devoted to showcasing Skyrim mods. The release of the Special Edition, particularly with it being in a far more stable 64 bitnote  gave the modding community a definite shot in the arm, allowing mods to become even more ambitious. A list of troper-recommended mods has been added here.

The following mods have their own pages:

On September 28, 2017, the "Creation Club" debuted on the versions of Special Edition equipped with mod support. This was a program that permitted third-party mod creators who had been vetted by Bethesda to formally sell their mods, termed "Creations", through the game's newly-added microtransaction marketplace. Creation Club was replaced by the "Verified Creators" program on December 5, 2023, which continued to offer select third-party mods for purchase. The key difference between Creation Club content and Verified Creators content is that the former is officially considered to be canon, while the latter is not.


I used to be a troper like you... then I took an arrow in the knee.

Alternative Title(s): Skyrim, The Elder Scrolls V, Tropes 0 To G


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