Surprising absolutely no one, Skyrim is being released yet again. To mark the ten-year anniversary of the RPG’s original launch, Skyrim: Anniversary Edition has been announced. Rereleasing games is nothing new – it’s a trend that’s been on the rise throughout the entire eighth console generation. The simple fact of the matter is that nostalgia sells. So, naturally, companies are going to take advantage of that and flog our old favourites and hidden gems with cult followings for as long as we're willing to fork over our cash.
I know I sound pessimistic, but I don’t hate remasters or remakes. It would have been much harder for TheGamer’s lead features editor, Cian Maher, to get into the Yakuza series if he had to search far and wide for PS2 copies of Yakuza and Yakuza 2, and I doubt I’d have ever gotten around to finally starting Final Fantasy 10 if it didn’t come in a PS4 bundle along with its sequel. Whether I’ll finish it or not is another story. Another editor here, Stephanie Minor, has been a vocal supporter for a remake of one of her favourite games, The Legend of Dragoon, so I understand that many people enjoy new versions of old titles, and that they can hold tremendous value.
The key lies within that value, and how much a remake or remaster can add. When The Last Of Us Remastered launched on PS4 it contained the Left Behind DLC and an extra difficulty mode, so its price tag felt reasonable. With TLOU rumoured to be in line for a PS5 remake, it could take some cues from A Plague Tale: Innocence by adding better AI for Ellie and allowing you to dictate her actions more. GTA 5 launching on PS3 and Xbox 360, PS4 and Xbox One, and now PS5 and Xbox Series X with only the addition of a first-person mode seems less reasonable, especially considering how much Rockstar makes from the absurdly popular GTA Online. Meanwhile, Skyrim Anniversary Edition adds – drum roll, please – fishing.
As you may be aware, Skyrim already has fishing. You just jump in the water and grab a fish – done. It’s the most simple fishing mechanic in any game, maybe ever. Adding fishing to justify relaunching a ten-year-old game that’s already been repackaged more times than I care to count feels more like a cash grab than a labour of love.
If Bethesda really wanted to add fishing to Skyrim, it could have done so via paid DLC or a free update to celebrate the tenth anniversary. Updated graphics and shorter loading times are swell, but considering anyone can already play Skyrim on any current-gen console or PC, I don’t see the need for another slightly upgraded version.
To give Bethesda some credit, it is allowing people who already own a copy of Skyrim Special Edition to upgrade for free. That’s the version of the game that launched on PS4, Xbox One, and PC back in 2016. How it’s different from the Skyrim Legendary Edition that launched in 2013 for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC I could not say, but if you own that, then you’re shit out of luck and will have to buy the Anniversary Edition.
If a studio wants to remake one of its games after ten or 15 years, I’m all for it. It worked for Taylor Swift when she started rerecording all her old songs and approaching them with a more mature, almost nostalgic style – that adds a lot of value to an already amazing discography, and game developers could learn from it. If she rewrote Fearless every few years, though, I’d probably get sick of it.