Over the past two decades, video games have become one of the pillars of entertainment in the modern world. In that time, modding became very popular in the community and led to massive projects like Skywind.
One of the biggest video game companies in the world is Bethesda, and in 2011, they released a game called “Skyrim.” “Skyrim” was a game that would quickly become one of the most popular video games of all time.
With the popularity of “Skyrim” came a large modding community that produced massive mods such as Skywind.
“Skyrim” is part of a more extensive video game series called The Elder Scrolls. Skywind is a mod that is part of the fan-run Elder Scrolls Renewal Project. To fully understand what Skywind is, you must understand what “Skyrim” is and how it became a massive modding platform.
What Is ‘Skyrim’?
“Skyrim” is the fifth game in the Elder Scrolls series. The games are open-world action role-playing games.
It is such a massive game that most players who purchase the game will play for hundreds of hours, sometimes thousands. “Skyrim” was a revolutionary game to the RPG genre.
Grossing more than $1.3 billion and selling 30 million copies, “Skyrim” is the 13th best selling video game of all time. Take away Nintendo games, and it rises to fifth on the all-time list. The rise of “Skyrim” brought RPGs to the mainstream in a previously unseen way.
“Skyrim” is a game that has stood the test of time, maintaining immense popularity almost eight years after release. For a game to have more than just a niche community this long after its release is practically unheard of for a game, especially for one that isn’t multiplayer.
“Skyrim” still consistently ranks in the top 20 in concurrent players among games played on Steam, often breaking into the top 10.
What consoles can I play ‘Skyrim’ on?
“Skyrim” is available on a wide variety of consoles. It saw its initial release in 2011 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. Since its original release in 2011, Bethesda released “Skyrim” on the next-generation consoles Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Additionally, Bethesda released “Skyrim” on the Nintendo Switch at the end of 2017.
What Is a Mod for a Video Game?
Mod is short for modification and is a term in the video game community for an alteration to a game that is available for download. The general public and fans create mods for the community to use for free. They can change how the game looks or behaves, or it can even add additional content.
Part of what keeps games alive for years after their release is the modding community, especially in single-player games. Even for a game like “Skyrim” where there are hundreds and maybe thousands of hours of content, eventually, you will have done everything there is to do. Modding takes the game the players love and breathes air into it by adding extra content.
Unfortunately, the copyright law as it relates to modding in video games is an evolving and mostly unresolved legal issue. The uncertainty revolves around which party is the legal copyright owner of the mods in the game. Is the company that produced the game the owner, or the creators of the individual mods?
Most mods in most video games do not permit the modders to sell their mods for money without the permission of the developer. However, this is rarely a problem as fans usually release mods for free.
Luckily, Skywind is part of The Elder Scrolls Renewal Project, a project that has been approved and endorsed by Bethesda.
What Is Skywind?
As we discussed above, Skywind is part of The Elder Scrolls Renewal Project. The Elder Scrolls Renewal Project is a fan volunteer effort to recreate and remaster the video games in The Elder Scrolls series.
The project began before the release of “Skyrim” with the fourth game of The Elder Scrolls, “Oblivion.” The project developers wanted to recreate the third edition of The Elder Scrolls, “Morrowind,” in “Oblivion.” The mod, Morroblivion, released in 2008.
With “Skyrim’s” release in 2011, the project started back up again in 2012, and this time, they wanted to recreate “Morrowind” in the “Skyrim” engine, hence the name Skywind. The plan for the mod is to take all the original game assets and redesign them. It is a massive project that involves over 70 volunteers in artist, composer, designer, developer, and voice acting roles.
Up until late 2014, players were able to download an unfinished version of Skywind. However, the volunteer team chose to divert assets to development instead of user support at that time.
Since 2014, there have been several significant updates from the development team, including a public alpha test in 2015. However, this test version was short-lived, as the development team withdrew it soon after.
Since then, the team has been working hard to finish Skywind as fast as possible. Unfortunately, since it’s a massive project using volunteers exclusively, it is taking a long time. There was a significant trailer released in October of 2018.
The most recent update on the progress of Skywind came in the form of another trailer. The modders dropped the trailer in July of 2019.
The History of ‘Skyrim’ and Skywind
In the eight years since the release of Skyrim, there have been several notable events that have led to the upcoming release of Skywind. The initial explosion in popularity of the game, the publication of downloadable content, followed by the expansion to other consoles and the growth of the modding community.
The beginning of ‘Skyrim’
Set to be released in November of 2011, “Skyrim” was the most anticipated game in years. The Elder Scrolls was already a top-rated franchise that was a staple of the RPG genre. However, the release of “Skyrim” saw an explosion more significant than anyone imagined.
In the first month of the game’s release, “Skyrim” sold over 10 million copies. It was an active 10 million users as well, as executive producer Todd Howard revealed that the average playtime was 75 hours.
The next year would see the continued rise in popularity of “Skyrim,” as well as the addition of downloadable content.
The release of downloadable content
Downloadable content, more commonly referred to as DLC, is an addition to a game released by the developer after the release of the official game. It is like a mod, except the original developer makes it.
Bethesda released the first DLC for “Skyrim” in June of 2012. The DLC was called Dawnguard, and it revolved around a brewing war between vampires and vampire hunters. The DLC added more than 30 hours of additional content to the already vast game of “Skyrim.”
The second DLC came a few months later in September of 2012 with the release of Hearthfire. Hearthfire was the smallest DLC release, as it was a simple DLC that allowed the player to build houses and adopt children.
Bethesda released the final DLC with an expansion called Dragonborn in December of 2012. It was also the biggest of the three DLCs. While Dawnguard added two smaller regions to explore, Dragonborn added the massive island of Solstheim.
Dragonborn revolves around the player’s effort to defeat the first Dragonborn, a corrupted figure who seeks to control the world. Unfortunately for fans of “Skyrim,” Bethesda announced in 2013 that they were moving on from “Skyrim” and were preparing to work on other projects. They announced that they would only release minor updates from this point on.
Re-releases and ports
Although Bethesda would not add any more original content to the game after Dragonborn, they did release a remastered version of “Skyrim” in 2016. The remastered version saw a massive performance and graphical improvement to the game.
Furthermore, Bethesda released a port for “Skyrim” for the Nintendo Switch in late 2016. This port marked the first time Bethesda released an Elder Scrolls game on a Nintendo platform. A virtual reality port of the game released for PC in April of 2018.
‘Skyrim’ becomes a hub for mods
An open-world game is a modders dream. There is so much content to work with and so many options for what to do. As a result, “Skyrim” has become one of the most popular games for modding in history.
“Skyrim” was so popular that even after finishing hundreds of hours of content from the original game and DLCs, a substantial part of the community turned to mods. Mods allowed the community to recapture some of the feelings they got from the original game — new textures, missions, and even new regions to explore existed in mods.
There are so many mods for “Skyrim” that it would be impossible for someone to play through all of them. However, despite this, the most ambitious mod for “Skyrim” yet, Skywind, has not been released yet.
The past, present, and future of Skywind
As we discussed earlier, Skywind has been in development since 2012. The goal of the mod is to recreate the third edition of The Elder Scrolls, “Morrowind,” using the “Skyrim” engine. It’s a massive project, but the modders have made significant progress as can be seen in their most recent trailer.
The first screenshots of the project appeared in early 2012, and since then the project has grown significantly. The volunteer team has grown to more than 70 people working to recreate the game they love in the form of Skywind.
Some who haven’t touched “Morrowind” might not enjoy playing a game that was released more than 15 years ago. However, “Morrowind” was “Skyrim” before “Skyrim.” With “Morrowind’s” release in 2002, it had graphics that were revolutionary for the time and open-world freedom that gamers had never seen before.
“Morrowind” is the game in the series that most encourages creativity. Features such as spell creation have not been present in the more recent Elder Scrolls games. As a result, it’s not an uncommon opinion that “Morrowind” is the best game in The Elder Scrolls franchise.
However, the biggest drawback is that since Bethesda released “Morrowind” all the way back in 2002, the gameplay and graphics don’t hold up as well nearly 20 years later.
Skywind is looking to fix that problem by recreating “Morrowind” with updated graphics and “Skyrim’s” engine. Unfortunately, there is no release date for Skywind currently. However, we can infer with the recent trailers, that it might not be too much longer until it is finally released.
How to Download Skywind
As we discussed above, Skywind is not released yet, and there is no release date yet. As a result, you cannot download the mod and play it right now. However, the developers have released what you will need in the future to run Skywind.
You will need to have “The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind” installed, as well as the Bloodmoon and Tribunal expansions. Additionally, you will need to have “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Special Edition.” The developers have also said that the recommended system specifications will be slightly higher than that of “Skyrim: Special Edition.”
Should I Play ‘Morrowind’ Before the Release of Skywind?
“Morrowind” was a fantastic game at the time and could still be fun to this day. However, no game won’t look a little worse 20 years later. Graphically, the game will look outdated, and the movement and combat may seem clunky at first.
However, despite that, the game still offers a rich and vast open world to explore. You may find the core mechanics in the game outdated. But after playing for a few hours, you will adjust to them. It won’t be a game you sink 500 hours into at this point, but if you’re a fan of open-world games and The Elder Scrolls, you will enjoy a playthrough of “Morrowind.”
Will Skywind Recapture the Feeling of Playing ‘Skyrim’ or ‘Morrowind’ for the First Time?
Since Skywind has not officially released yet, we can’t say if it will recapture the same feeling as playing “Skyrim” or “Morrowind” for the first time. However, they are the same team that remastered “Morrowind” inside “Oblivion,” and that mod received substantial praise. Although we can’t say for sure, if you’re an Elder Scrolls fan, it seems likely that you will enjoy Skywind.
For many fans of The Elder Scrolls, waiting for the sixth edition of the game may seem like an eternity. With any luck, the release of Skywind will be a good stopgap while we wait for the anticipated Elder Scrolls VI.
How many of The Elder Scrolls games have you played? Will you download Skywind when they release it? Let us know in the comments!