August 15th, 2019.  The fan-based volunteer development team responsible for recreating the world of the Elder Scrolls 4 Oblivion on the updated Skyrim Engine. Let the world know through an impressive trailer that they are one step closer to completing their creation. The trailer garnered millions of views in only a couple of days. If you’re a fan of the Elder Scrolls series, then be sure to check out the link to the trailer down below after we tell you why Skyblivion is such a big deal. Just be prepared to let the hair on the back of your neck stand while you’re watching.

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Fans of the Elder Scrolls series have had a long-standing tradition of fixing The Elder Scrolls games through mods ever since the release of the construction set, Bethesda’s in house game development environment. Bethesda’s construction set editor allowed modders to, obviously, modify the game files to either improve the game. Create an entirely new based on the original game files. Thus, when the construction set was updated with the release of Oblivion. It didn’t take modders long to make modifying one step further by trying to remake the previous game entirely. In 2012, the first version of their creation, Morroblivion was released. Morrowblivion allowed you to see The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind in all of its glory with Oblivions updated engine. Unfortunately though, like a wrong Tinder date, nothing came to complete fruition, and its support halted a few years later in 2014 on version 0.64. By then The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim was well into its modding lifespan, and most of the modding community from Oblivion moved on to a once again updated engine. Before long Skywind was announced. Declaring that it could bring the world of Morrowind to life in the now so-called Creation Engine and Skyblivion, the thing we’re talking about now. Today Skyblivion is years in development, and with updates continuing at a steady pace, we’re hoping it’s not going to leave us again in the dark. After all, the last release of an Elder Scrolls game was eight years ago. Having this to bridge the gap until the next official installment would help many of us pass the time.

 So is holding us over until The Elder Scrolls VI that important? Of course, those who have been waiting for the next game in the Elder Scrolls series have been doing so almost ten years at this point. Most of us haven’t played The Elder Scrolls: Online because we’re not into MMORPGs and are just waiting for the next single-player game. Has waiting like this always been the case for TES fans? It has, but never for this long.

 Historically, the Elder Scrolls series has always released about once a generation, with each game having improvements over the previous title. From 1996 to present day, the franchise has slowly moved from a basic dungeon-crawling RPG with complex role-playing elements to a fully fleshed-out action-adventure game with some RPG elements. The second game in the series, The Elder Scrolls 2: Daggerfall was a procedurally generated world that focused heavily on the role-playing elements and mechanics for everything from leveling to storytelling. If you started your Elder Scrolls journey with a later game and tried coming back to Daggerfall, you would probably be overwhelmed by how much you needed to know about skills and attributes compared to modern titles. You don’t find yourself needing to pick up a manual for Skyrim as you do for Daggerfall, or these days a wiki. If you tried showing a Daggerfall walkthrough to someone who started with Skyrim, they would probably spontaneously combust. Each subsequent Elder Scrolls title has become less adventurous with its RPG mechanics leading to more accessibility for a wider audience of players.

The Elder Scrolls: 3 Morrowind also had a powerful role-playing system that encompassed the use of both attributes and skills that the player depended on to progress their character. For example, if the player wanted to break into a castle, then he couldn’t just rely on his skill in a mini-game as he could in later Elder Scrolls titles. Instead, lockpicking was based on an algorithm that calculated the player’s success chance based on their character’s skills,  lockpick quality, and even the amount of stamina they had while attempting the pick. It’s no secret that Morrowind was a masterpiece and was way ahead of its time, but as new games were released some Elder Scrolls, fans wondered if the shift to more action-adventure oriented mechanics was a blessing or curse for the series.

 In The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion, Bethesda decided that they wanted to double down their focus on action-adventure gameplay by sacrificing a bit more of the role-playing elements. The combat system was more of a clean hack-and-slash, you could now fast travel only by clicking around on the map, and the dialogue now had more and, believe it or not, better voice acting. While many did embrace the changes, some weren’t happy with how much they oversimplified the game. This trade-off, at least, was successful at making Oblivion more accessible and introduced even more players to the Elder Scrolls universe.

When it came to combat and movement, the game was just better in almost every way, but Oblivion still had its flaws. The level scaling was tedious because many enemies would get stronger as you leveled instead of weaker. When it came to voice acting, the voices were repetitive as only a few voice actors used, but what game is without flaws? At least most players appreciated those quest goals were highlighted with a marker on the map, which made it easier for the player to see where they needed to go. It really took away a lot of the trouble Morrowind had when it came to finding the place you needed to be. Then again, a big part of Morrowind was that the player had to do a lot of thinking themselves, and that was the fun of role-playing and paying attention to character dialogue. The list of spells was simplified down too, only having a handful of easy-to-understand spells. Finally, the lore of the game was a little easier-to-understand as well. Usually, the guild quests and tasks of the Daedric princess fleshed out and dove more into the overall moral implications of the Elder Scrolls which, unfortunately, left out those who enjoyed a deeper dive into storytelling. Ultimately having these changes lowered the barrier of entry to the series, which also meant more straightforward gameplay. Sadly, for those that criticize this decision, Bethesda would not change their focus in the next game.

The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim took action-adventure gameplay to the absolute maximum. Players could openly explore the game and dive into every dungeon. Dungeons in Oblivion were mostly copied and pasted assets with random enemies and little to no story. However, in Skyrim, almost every dungeon and location had some story behind it. Even the smallest of caves have notes or books that fleshed out the lore of the Elder Scrolls world even more, and while reading these, we begin to understand more about the entire world of Nirn which Tamriel sits on. Unfortunately, no location outside of Tamriel is explorable by the character in the base game, but we can start to get an idea of what the world outside of Tamriel looks like through text and dialogue. Since Skyrim is up in the snowy parts of Tamriel, the climate was a bit limited from tundra to snowy peaks, but Bethesda still managed to do a good job separating the regions. Every inch of Skyrim had incredible detail thanks to the work of the original developers and designers, and it was only further amplified thanks to additional work done by the modding community.

Skyrim’s success wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for its incredible ease of gameplay. Had Bethesda kept the original Elder Scrolls role-play elements instead of implementing simplistic hack-and-slash gameplay, then Skyrim may not have the commercial success it is today. Skyrim is extremely simple, understandable, visually pleasing, and its low barrier to entry makes it so the most novice of action-role playing gamers can jump into it without missing a beat.

All of this has lead to where we are now, why we’re so excited for Skyblivion and the question as to why Skyblivion is so important for the Elder Scrolls community. As you can now see, Oblivion was the bridge between the old and new Elder Scrolls. Many in the community want to go back and dip their feet into back into the more complicated role-playing mechanics with the fleshed-out world and lore they experienced in Skyrim. This is also great for those who didn’t have the ability to play Oblivion before because they lacked access to the proper hardware to do so or were too young back then. 

It’s almost as if the developers of Oblivion were torn about their intention of bridging the gap to a more accessible Elder Scrolls game. They dove right into more action hack-and-slash gameplay while still trying to retain some of the role-playing mechanics which felt a bit unbalanced at times. It is this world that Skyblivion hopes to allow players to experience just without the obvious graphical flaws and smoother combat. From the trailer, it’s apparent that they have worked hard to take the wide-open spaces that were empty and lifeless terrain in the original Oblivion and give its regions different life, not unlike Skyrim. Skyblivion wants to take the broken gameplay of a game most deemed unplayable today and make it playable for a new generation. For those who played Skyrim and tried going back to Oblivion only to find a gutted version of an Elder Scrolls game where the developers took a lot of risks, it is the perfect solution.

The modding community is trying to bring life back into the title that preceded the wildly successful Skyrim. The once vast monotonous landscape now looks to be full of life, and the design improvements seem to be the high-definition remaster we felt the game always deserved.

Many long-time fans don’t even consider Skyrim to be a part of the Elder Scrolls franchise. It was so many leaps and bounds ahead of Oblivion that it was almost lost its roots. Skyblivion is giving players a chance to go back and play through the old Oblivion title and enjoy it in all its glory and without all the game-breaking technical imperfections that haunted it so long ago. Skyblivion is something to play and enjoy before the next Elder Scrolls title comes by and makes The Elder Scrolls formula unrecognizable yet again.

Since the release of the original Elder Scrolls titles, do you believe the series has moved in the right direction? Do you think there is the right balance between role-playing mechanics and brain-dead hack-and-slash gameplay? Let us know in the comments. Don’t forget to share this video with other elder scrolls fans so we can discuss the future and past of the series as well as the fan remakes. Regardless of the opinions on past titles, I think we’re all looking forward to Skyblivion.

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