Skyrim Special Edition unlock times, free upgrade terms confirmed

Skyrim Special Edition arrives next week in time for the original game's fifth year anniversary. After announcing its system requirements last week, Bethesda has now revealed exactly when it'll unlock depending on where you are in the world. What's more, the developer has also outlined the prerequisites existing owners will need to ascertain in order to nab the HD remaster for free.  

Boasting a range of new features designed to make the fifth Elder Scrolls series entry "feel fresh again", the Special Edition will introduce things like remastered art and effects, volumetric lighting (better known as 'god rays'), and new snow and water shaders, among other aesthetical tweaks. It's universal release is set for October 28 at 12am UTC, which translates to:

  • 5pm Pacific Time (October 27)
  • 8pm Eastern Time (October 27)
  • 1am British Summer Time (October 28)
  • 2am Central European Summer Time (October 28)
  • 11am Australian Eastern Time Zone (October 28)
  • 1pm New Zealand Time (October 28th)
  • 2pm Japan (October 28th)

As per this Steam Community update, if you already own Skyrim and all three of its separate DLCs—that's Dawnguard, Hearthfire and Dragonborn—or the Skyrim Legendary Edition, you'll receive the Special Edition free-of-charge. A disclaimer notes that "if you do not complete your Skyrim [and] all DLC bundle until October 28th, your free upgrade to Skyrim Special Edition may take up to 36 hours to apply to your account."