A cursory glance at popular internet memes seemingly suggests that Skyrim’s “arrow to the knee” meme has been eclipsed by Skyrim re-release jokes. Since the game’s initial launch on PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 in November 2011, it’s been ported to a number of other platforms. PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch constitute the title’s main re-releases. However, other versions exist as well. For instance, many VR units support the game, including PlayStation VR and Oculus Rift. Following the E3 2018 parody video, a version of Skyrim also launched on Alexa. So when will Bethesda stop porting this seven-year-old game to new platforms? According to director Todd Howard, when people stop buying it.
During a talk with Geoff Keighley at Barcelona’s Gamelab event, Howard directly addresses the re-releases. The reason for the continued ports is very simple–people, millions of them, are still playing the game. “Even now, the amount of people who play Skyrim seven years later; millions of people every month are playing that game,” Howard says. “That’s why we keep releasing it. If you want us to stop releasing it, stop buying it.”
That Skyrim continues to resonate with audiences proves Bethesda must be doing something right. The worlds Bethesda Game Studios craft are worthy of millions of players persistently returning. Howard touches on this, too. He notes, “Every year there’s a new idea we can’t do, and a new technology for something that excites us. I’d say I want it to be sustainable. Eventually there will come a day where I’m not making games at Bethesda. Hopefully that’s a long time away. But I want to make sure that who we are, what the worlds are, what the company is, that’s sustainable far beyond me.”
Fallout 76 marks the next time players will launch themselves into a new iteration of one of the studio’s sustainable worlds. The game hits PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One this fall on November 14.