It's 2021, and Skyrim is being re-released for the sixth time to celebrate the RPG's huge 10-year anniversary. The new re-release carries forward one of Bethesda's most unpopular decisions to help breathe new life into the game.
Skyrim's new Anniversary Edition comes packed with 78 of the best Creation Club mods available for the game, which means the contentious program is being propagated with the new release.
The Creation Club program was massively controversial when it launched in 2017. Many saw that Bethesda was trying to sell paid mods to console and PC gamers who could literally enjoy the same content for free on both platforms. The idea was to give mod creators a way to monetize their creations and kick back something extra for Bethesda in the process. This was during the company's messy time of strange monetization tactics, which found their way into lackluster games like The Elder Scrolls Blades, and Fallout 76, which charges a premium for the kind of in-game cosmetics that Fallout 4 players can get for free.
The execution of the Creation Club storefront broke a multitude of mods (critical Script Extenders no longer worked) and added another layer of complexity to the already-fragile mod scene--a scene that is fractured due to infighting over creations, personal drama, and clashes with hosts like Nexus Mods.
The BGS modding scene is still rife with fresh controversy, this time stemming from Nexus Mods' new policy of no longer deleting mod content.
After the Creation Club was introduced, many mod makers simply stopped creating. The scene was disrupted and many old mods didn't work after Bethesda's updates. Console mods were significantly disrupted and many mods that were previously available simply disappeared off the rather barebones console mod download section.
Not longer after Creation Club launched, Bethesda seemingly abandoned the initiative, leaving it as a microtransaction storefront in a game that supported free, user-created mods that were often better than the paid ones. In a very real sense the Creation Club launched as an obsolete platform.
So far as we can tell the Skyrim Anniversary Edition will have some pretty big Creation Club mods, including actual fishing included in a new-and-improved survival mod.
"The Anniversary Edition includes Skyrim Special Edition and 74 creations, all 48 currently available and 26 to be released. These showcase over 500+ individual elements such as quests, items, armor, houses, etc."
We can also expect the Anniversary Edition to support the base console mods, too, but these have significantly fallen off the map compared to what they used to be. Here's hoping that Bethesda adjusts the in-game UI to make mod curation, downloading, and upkeeping much easier than it is. Right now it's pretty complicated and barebones.
As the BGS modding scene fades more and more with the absence of a big release, contentious programs like the Creation Club, and the usual infighting drama, paid may eventually be all there is left when the dust settles.
The Skyrim Anniversary Edition releases November 11, 2021 on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.