Why Skyrim remains one of the most popular games

Marta Juras • September 29, 2022 10:45 am

When The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim first released in November of 2011, it quickly became a household name in gaming. It built upon established Elder Scrolls lore with a massive open world to explore and treasures to fight for. Eleven years later, the game is still running strong thanks to community development and multiple re-releases from developer Bethesda. And even though other massive games were released that year, including Uncharted 3, Saints Row: The Third, and Portal 2, Skyrim still lives on while others have nearly become forgotten. So what makes Skyrim so popular in 2022? The answer lies in its excellent base game, modding scene, and multiple rereleases.

Skyrim’s gameplay and story still hold up in 2022

While some of the graphics and writing have aged in the decade since its release, the very basic version of Skyrim is still a great time. Bethesda’s release still contains hundreds of fascinating quests and locations to discover. The lore holds up perfectly, while the most mystical elements like the Dwemer ruins and vampires still intrigue. 

For many gamers who started playing in 2011, Skyrim may have introduced them to the concept of complex and story-driven video games. There’s no doubt that nostalgia plays a role, but there’s a reason that Bethesda still sells the original version of Skyrim on some online storefronts.

Skyrim remains a modder’s paradise years after release

Even though Bethesda worked hard to make Skyrim accessible, visually stunning, and enjoyable, players still find new ways to make the game their own. The open nature of Skyrim means that it’s relatively straightforward to modify the game, which in turn has spawned a massive modding community. There’s an uncountable number of mods released for the game, and the best Skyrim mods for this year can evolve the experience into something completely new. The graphics of the first Skyrim release don’t look amazing by 2022 standards, but a quick trip to a mod database can make it on par with current AAA releases.

In addition to upgrading the visuals, Skyrim players can get mods for custom quests, characters, dungeons, houses, weapons, and more. No two playthroughs are the same when it comes to modded Skyrim, and that’s what makes the game so popular even in 2022. It’s both a game for people to enjoy and a testing ground for mod creators.

Skyrim is still easy to play thanks to re-releases

One of the biggest reasons Skyrim remains popular is its multiple releases across several generations of gaming consoles. Originally for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, Skyrim has since been updated and ported to every modern gaming console for multiple generations in a row. In addition to performance upgrades, the multiple re-releases often add even more endlessly amusing quests to the already massive total. 

This accessibility even extends to mods, which Bethesda has made multiple attempts to incorporate into updated re-releases of its game. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition, which was released to celebrate ten years of Skyrim, included more than 500 community-made mods adding everything from custom quests to an aquarium simulator. Some gamers lamented the paid mod content and repeated reissuing of Skyrim, but it’s helped keep the game in the zeitgeist as its competitors faded into obscurity.
Until The Elder Scrolls 6 eventually comes out, gamers who want a massive open world full of adventure will still naturally turn to Skyrim.

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