Insanely ambitious Elder Scrolls remake Skyblivion shows off another reason it's not releasing until 2025: refreshed dungeons with unique appearances for each region

Skyblivion spriggan forest creature
(Image credit: Bethesda, Skyblivion Team)

Every time the volunteer team behind Skyblivion, a fan-made remake of The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion, comes out with a new dev update, I make the same mistake. I figure, "I know what they're all about, I've played Oblivion for a million hours, nothing here can surprise me." Well color me surprised, the team's latest development diary really got me going. Skyblivion is going to do things with Cyrodiil's Ayleid ruins and Skyrim's UI that have me giddy as a longtime Oblivion sicko.

The thing that consistently impresses me is how Skyblivion addresses one of the original game's greatest weaknesses⁠—its repetitive environments⁠—while preserving the hazy, high fantasy daydream vibe that still has a hold on my psyche 18 years later. The new dev diary gives a peak of how the team's continuing that process in the overworld with the autumnal Great Forest region, but the real heat is underground.

Ayleid ruins are those distinctive white marble labyrinths that dot the province of Cyrodiil, and when you think of an Oblivion dungeon, these guys probably spring to mind first. Their grey-green, haunted gloom and eerie music is still so dear to me, but if you've seen one, you've seen them all. In order to combat that feeling and make them feel exciting again, Skyblivion will be differentiating them by region, with flashes of red ivy in Great Forest dungeons or a flood of sand choking the ruins of the West Weald.

The Skyblivion team has also managed to get me giddy over their UI design, with the menus having evolved significantly since they were first shown off. Instead of a Skyrim impersonation of Oblivion's look, it feels like a real union of the two, with new takes on Oblivion's fantastic illuminated manuscript class and birthsign art sealing the deal. For the real Elder Scrolls sickos, Skyblivion is also cribbing Morrowind's custom class menu, complete with letting you type out your own flavor text for your creations.

Most important of all, though: Skyblivion is bringing back those motivational level up messages from Oblivion and Morrowind, complete with custom ones based on your race and chosen class' specialization (sneaky, fighter, or mage). "You realize that all your life you have been coasting along as if you were in a dream. Suddenly, facing the trials of the last few days, you have come alive." That's the stuff, man.

Really, the amount of effort from this volunteer team continues to astound me, and Skyblivion's projected 2025 release (making for a whopping nine year development cycle) makes a lot more sense given this attention to detail. You can keep up with Skyblivion's progress via project lead Rebelzize's YouTube channel, and if you have expertise you'd like to volunteer (they always say they're looking for 3D modelers), Skyblivion also has a dedicated volunteer portal

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.