After raking in numerous Game of the Year awards and exceptional holiday sales last year, developer and publisher Bethesda is releasing new content for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in the form of organized user mods. On the off chance you missed it last year, Skyrim is an immersive RPG in which you assume the role of the Dragonborn and must save the realm while traveling the world and completing countless quests. Bethesda announced their creation kit for Skyrim months as a way for players to create their own game mods store and distribute them freely through the Steam digital distribution service. Since we’re as excited about this as you are, here’s a breakdown of the upcoming Skyrim goodies.
The Skyrim Workshop is basically a mod storefront where players can browse mods, leave feedback and rate downloads. You won't need to pay for mods but you can subscribe to them for free, which will keep the mods you've installed updated through automatic downloads. In essence, Bethesda teamed up with Valve to create the Skyrim Workshop as an organized hub for the Creation Kit, and it seems like it will function as a sort of app store for Skyrim mods and downloads.
Bethesda fans know the studio is no stranger to user-made mods – the developer released similar creation kits for Morrowind, Fallout 3, and Oblivion – but this release has a suite of new features. Most notable is the inclusion of a scene editor and improved support and ease of distribution. Modders can take advantage of the scene editor to bring a more cinematic and high-quality feel to their interactions with NPCs. Dialog interaction between players and NPCs has also been improved with an easier way to create dialog trees, using an intuitive drag-and-drop interface.
Of course if you’ve used any Skyrim mods made without the creation editor, you know how annoying backing up and maintaining INI files is. With the Creation Kit custom INI files can be bundled with modded files, plus archive files can now be created and included with the mod files. Everyday gamers who have struggled with ideas for their own mods need not fret: Bethesda will include thorough and detailed documentation online so anyone can create mods, as well as a user-curated Creation Kit Wiki to keep all the tips and tricks from the Skyrim community in one place.
Whether you’re interested in creating mods or just finding the one that all your friends have been talking about, it seems like the Creation Kit will make the entire mod process simpler and more organized. By formally embracing the modder community and teaming up with Valve to make the whole thing a simple and intuitive experience for the user, Bethesda has set a precedent for all PC developers. We hope to see more game developers creating tools that help PC players enhance their own experience and improve games after they're released.