So, the rumour mill is spinning at full speed as per usual for E3. Naturally, Half Life 3, Portal 3 and Left 4 Dead 3 are all guaranteed to make an appearance (eye roll), but there are always some small nuggets of truth hidden amongst the chaff. One of those rumours that holds water, at least in my book, is Skyrim HD. This is made all the more solid by a German article from a reasonably reliable 'insider source' Shinobi602
Why would they feasibly want to make a HD version of a game that's only 5 years old? Well, there is certainly the demand. Skyrim is one of the most well-loved titles Bethesda have released, with a still thriving modding and option tweaking community around it. It would be a relatively easy cash-in to throw the game out with shinier graphics, the HD texture pack they released as free DLC as standard, pop it on the new consoles and begin their Scrooge McDuck swimming in their vault of gold.
So, why does this one bear a little more examination? Well, firstly, Bethesda's Showcase this year seems like it's going to be bigger and better than when they announced Fallout 4. This year, it's at a bigger venue, there's an after party and BLINK CHUFFING 182 WILL BE PERFORMING. Admittedly, the second part of that sentence has my teenage girl sense tingling, expect me to be screeching the lyrics somewhere near the front if they broadcast that part live.
The part that really lends all of this weight is that it's high time Bethesda whipped together another engine for their titles. Fallout 4 was a cracking title in my opinion. However, the main criticism was drawn towards the graphics not looking as good as they could be. I'm personally on the side of the fence of 'with what they achieved as far as scope, scale and story, its forgivable', but there's an argument to be had there. They DO look a little tired now and I'd imagine Bethesda knew that before they had mastered the release.
Considering the development time of Fallout 4 (quoted by them as 10 years, but let's face it, it was probably closer to 5 off the back of Skyrim's release), they probably didn't have the chance to make any great leaps and therefore it wasn't really an option. However, now would be the time to make a change. Whether its the creation of their own new, shiny engine with all the bells and whistles or adopting something like Unreal to move forward with, it makes sense to start now. Skyrim HD could well be their first project to move in that direction.
It makes sense to give the title a great facelift while providing more modding flexibility via a new engine. It makes sense to utilise a well-loved and well-supported franchise to launch that new engine and get excited about it. Bethesda like to make sense with their business decisions usually. I'd like to think this is a time where they will do just that.
Regardless, we're just a few short days away from finding out for sure. Look out for us at the Showcase and throwing our especially bought panties at the gig afterwards. If you're wondering what they look like, I'm torn between these two.