This article represents the opinion of the writer and not We Got This Covered as a whole.
Around 2011, just after the release of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, I was sitting in a cold bedroom, wondering what I should do with myself. Five years ago, and it was like my life had been optimized for playing video games. Some evenings, I’d go back to my room and think about my life, but most evenings, I’d just turn on the PlayStation.
I remember this chapter in my life because I was playing Skyrim at the time; the fifth instalment of Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls series. My room was fairly spacious actually, containing all of the amenities one might need to sustain a short term stint of video game addiction. Not that I was actually addicted per se; but you know what I mean.
Deep down, I felt like those people who play World of Warcraft well past the sound of birds chirping outside their windows. Those same people forgetting to feed their pets until the smell of dead cat is unmistakable – because like luggage in an airport, there’s only so long pets can go unattended.
But there I was, equally as unattended, lost in the world of the Dovahkiin.
Some of the people I respect, they hate Skyrim, they hate The Elder Scrolls series, and they hate Bethesda, too. According to them, any problems with Bethesda’s games get a free pass in this industry. And maybe they’re right. When Skyrim was released half baked back in 2011, I remember critics citing hardware limitations. The bugs, they said, were just by-products of an overly ambitions development team.
With the mini fridge humming in the corner of my room, I remember finding glitches and bugs throughout my 2011-2012 play through. I especially remember the night my housemate knocked on my bedroom door, asking how the PlayStation was handling it. As an Xbox fan, he had read the news regarding Skyrim under performing on the rival console.
“Game breaking bugs,” he said, “save issues too.”
I must have shrugged; closed the door; kicked the fridge to stop it humming. He was right, after all. The game was flawed – not just on one console, either. We’d later discuss how the dragons would appear and disappear like a Middle American UFO. How the non-playable characters would behave like they’d just fallen from the mother ship.
Of course, this was all fairly inconsequential. I’d still sit in the dark of my room, sink another hundred hours into my character; alone and despondent every time I heard the neighbours arguing in the room next door.
That’s just the way it was, even when the Dragonrend refused to work and Alduin’s health wouldn’t ever deplete when it was supposed to. There were no work-a-rounds when it came to this game breaking issue, albeit a reload and the constant aversion of Skyrim’s main quest line.
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For a long time, the development team were keen to let bugs go officially unacknowledged; but we all knew they were there, even Bethesda. Eventually they conceded, offering more excuses than a divorce settlement. But by that time the house had been paid for, and we were allowed to keep the kids. A reminder of our relationship with Bethesda, because deep down we knew it wasn’t ever going to work the way we wanted it to. Even after The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Fallout 3, we expected a changed man, only to be left at the side of the road a third time; our clothes in bin liners.
To a certain extent, Bethesda managed to redeem themselves with Fallout 4. Even so, there was an unhealthy degree of scar tissue left on the skin of consumers and critics alike. Not surprisingly, the game missed out on numerous awards, falling short to much-loved underdogs like CD Projekt RED’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. It wouldn’t be long before Bethesda fell from the golden graces of a fickle industry. I think everyone tried their hardest to enjoy DOOM, but publishing that game was just another nail in the coffin – another scratch in the disk.
It’s interesting, then, how Bethesda has gone ahead with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition. Thinking about it now, it makes a lot of sense. With this game, Bethesda can set the groundwork for The Elder Scrolls VI, whilst reminding consumers about what they do best.
On the other hand, they could be signing their own death warrant…..