Skyrim's iconic starting village just hits different in Unreal Engine 5

Christian Gomm, an environment artist with Myrkur Games, has created an impressive mock-up of some early locations from Skyrim rendered in Unreal Engine 5.

Seeing some lower-res stills of Gomm's work that were making the rounds on Reddit recently, I was wondering what meaningfully differentiated this project from the numerous system-destroying lighting and texture overhauls available over on the Skyrim Nexus mods page, but I have to admit I changed my tune after seeing Gomm's high-res original screenshots and some video of the demo in motion.

The quality of lighting, models, and materials really makes Riverwood pop the way it did when I first saw the village 11 years ago. Gomm has also recreated the Western Watchtower, where Skyrim's first dragon battle takes place, as well as the Oblivion gate outside of Kvatch from The Elder Scrolls 4. Graphics aren't everything, but there's something special about seeing these familiar scenes rendered with such high fidelity.

Bethesda remains committed to its own in-house tech for the foreseeable future, with its upcoming space RPG Starfield being built on the same foundations as prior Fallout and Elder Scrolls projects. Another developer behind big open-world RPGs, CD Project Red, recently revealed they would be switching to Unreal Engine 5 for the untitled Witcher 4, despite having built an impressive reputation with its RedEngine.

It's early days for Epic's latest iteration of the Unreal Engine, but the projects and demos we've seen so far have been impressive. The Matrix Awakens demo in particular was a stunning introduction, and if the company's promises surrounding UE5's ease of use prove true, it could provide the foundation for the next generation of great games.

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.