Skyrim SE vs. Skyrim: What Are the Differences?

Brief History of Skyrim and The Elder Scrolls Series

The Elder Scrolls series, which includes Skyrim, is considered one of the most successful video game sagas in gaming history. The fantasy RPG world first launched in 1994 with Arena, and new titles continue to captivate fans over 25 years later.

Skyrim was originally released by Bethesda Game Studios in November 2011 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC. The game takes place in the northernmost province of Tamriel, known as Skyrim, where players take on the role of the prophesied Dragonborn. This customizable protagonist possesses the power to absorb dragon souls while embarking on an epic quest to defeat Alduin, a dragon hellbent on destroying the world.

With its expansive open world gameplay and seemingly endless quests, weapons and spells to discover, Skyrim quickly became a monumental hit. By 2016, it had sold over 30 million copies worldwide across all platforms.

Skyrim SE vs. Original Skyrim Side-by-Side Comparison

In June 2016, Bethesda released The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition, a remastered version of the beloved classic game. This updated release boasted technical and graphical enhancements for modern platforms.

Here is a side-by-side comparison of some key differences:

FeatureSkyrim SE (2016)Original Skyrim (2011)
PlatformsWindows, PS4, Xbox One, SwitchWindows, PS3, Xbox 360
Bits64-bit32-bit
GraphicsImproved lighting, textures, modelsLower resolution textures/models
PerformanceMore stable, less crashesFrequent crashing issues
GameplayIdentical mechanicsIdentical mechanics
Bugs/GlitchesSome fixed, but many still presentPlagued with amusing/game-breaking glitches
DLCAll DLCs includedSeparate paid DLCs
ModsFull mod support on all platformsOnly on Windows PC

As shown above, Skyrim SE provides technical advantages over the original version, while retaining the exact same classic gameplay. For newcomers and returning fans alike, Skyrim SE is clearly the superior way to experience this timeless RPG adventure.

Six Must-Know Facts About Skyrim

Beyond the measurable differences between editions, Skyrim itself has left an undeniable impact on video games and popular culture over the past decade:

  1. With over 30 million units sold worldwide, Skyrim is the highest selling title ever produced by Bethesda Game Studios.

  2. Skyrim‘s open-ended gameplay and interactive world has influenced numerous other successful RPG franchises, including The Witcher 3, Dragon Age, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

  3. The extensive character customization allows players to fine-tune their Dragonborn‘s appearance, skills, weapons and magic to perfectly match any desired playstyle.

  4. Exploring the sprawling fantasy province of Skyrim accounts for over 300 unique dungeon locations, including ancient ruins, caves, castles, cities and small settlements.

  5. The Hearthfire DLC introduced home building mechanics for the first time. Players can construct their own custom houses, adopt children, take spouses and really settle into the world.

  6. Skyrim boasts one of the most impressive modding communities ever seen. Over 70,000 mods have been created by fans – that‘s more mods than actual minutes of gameplay!

Which Version of Skyrim is Better?

When it comes to deciding which version of Skyrim delivers the definitive experience, Skyrim Special Edition is the clear winner:

  • Built specifically for modern platforms using an upgraded 64-bit engine, Skyrim SE provides significant technical improvements over the unstable, error-prone original.

  • With enhanced lighting, higher resolution textures, improved models and effects, Skyrim SE is far more immersive and visually impressive than its predecessor.

  • By bundling all existing DLC content together and supporting full mod access across all platforms, Skyrim SE removes needless barriers that segmented the previous release.

Of course, the signature open world freedom and adventure that made Skyrim so impactful remains fully intact. But Skyrim SE allows both new and returning Dragonborns to enjoy those endless possibilities stabilized and looking better than ever before.

Skyrim Continues to Evolve

Bethesda hasn‘t stopped remastering and expanding Skyrim over the past decade. Some other notable editions include:

Skyrim VR – A 2017 virtual reality version offers the full adventure through VR headsets, providing the most immersive Skyrim experience yet.

Skyrim Anniversary Edition – This 2021 release celebrated Skyrim‘s 10 year anniversary with 500+ pieces of new Creation Club content integrated with Special Edition.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Amazon Alexa – Believe it or not, Skyrim was adapted into a voice controlled game playable entirely through Amazon Alexa devices!

And Skyrim‘s popularity shows no signs of fading. Its passionate fan base continues to play, mod and keep the game feeling fresh even 11 years later. And Bethesda keeps rewarding them with upgraded remasters optimized for modern platforms. For any RPG fans yet to enjoy Skyrim‘s endless adventure and freedom, Skyrim Special Edition is the perfect entry point.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Skyrim VR?

Skyrim VR is a version of Skyrim redesigned for virtual reality headsets and motion controllers on PC and PlayStation platforms. It offers the same complete open world adventure through an immersive first-person VR perspective.

What is included in Skyrim Anniversary Edition?

Skyrim Anniversary Edition bundles Skyrim Special Edition together with all Creation Club content, featuring over 500 pieces of new quests, dungeons, bosses and weapons added to the game. It released in 2021 in celebration of Skyrim‘s 10 year anniversary.

How many mods are available for Skyrim on PC?

Across various modding platforms like NexusMods, over 70,000 Skyrim mods have been created by fans! These mods allow customization of virtually every aspect of the game, from visual upgrades to new quests and expanded worlds that dwarf Skyrim‘s already massive scope.

When was Skyrim first released?

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was first released by Bethesda Game Studios in November 2011 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC platforms.

Is Skyrim Special Edition available on PS4 or Xbox One?

Yes, Skyrim Special Edition was designed specifically for modern console platforms like PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in addition to Windows PC. This provided a remastered version of Skyrim optimized for improved graphics and performance on current generation hardware.

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