So what is Skyrim Anniversary Edition and what's actually in it?

Skyrim Anniversary Edition - A character wearing the Creation Club armor set Divine Crusader
(Image credit: Bethesda)

So what is Skyrim Anniversary Edition? Well, you'd be forgiven for thinking it's an elaborate self-parody by Bethesda about its habit of re-releasing The Elder Scrolls V. Instead, it's a new version of the long-running and ever-popular open world RPG from 2011 that Bethesda launched for the game's tenth anniversary. In Bethesda's words, Skyrim Anniversary Edition is "the most definitive version of Skyrim to date," which I suppose leaves us open to the very real possibility of a Skyrim Extra Special 15-Year Barrel Aged Edition five years from now. By then, arrow-in-the-knee references might even be funny again.

In any event, since the release of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition in November of 2021, fans old and new have been enjoying the most complete offering of Dragonborn adventures to date. Given the number of Skyrim versions that have already been released over the years, you'll want to know exactly what this one includes to decide whether it's an upgrade worth buying.

When is the Skyrim Anniversary Edition release date?

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition launched November 11, 2021. That's ten years to the day since the original game came out, if you don't remember the clever "11/11/11" marketing from back then. If you already own Skyrim Special Edition from 2016, Skyrim AE is available as a DLC for your current game, rather than an entirely new game in your library.

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What is the Skyrim Anniversary Edition price?

The Skyrim Anniversary Edition costs $49.99 USD/ $79.95 / €54.99/ £47.99 if you are buying it on its own. Scroll down a bit to find out what's actually included in Skyrim AE. If you already own Skyrim Special Edition, you can upgrade to Skyrim AE for $19.99 USD / $29.95 AUD / €19.99 / £15.99.

Skyrim Anniversary Edition is not included in Xbox Game Pass. Skyrim Special Edition is, though, so Gamepass subscribers can grab Skyrim AE for the upgrade price and also get a 10% discount on that price in the Xbox Store (opens in new tab).

But what is the Skyrim Anniversary Edition?

Bethesda is calling the Anniversary Edition "the most definitive version of Skyrim to date." That's not the most concrete explanation, so it might help to think of Skyrim Anniversary as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition - Definitive Edition. That definitely clears things up, right?

Okay, Skyrim AE is a bit like a Game Of The Year release for Skyrim Special Edition. It includes Skyrim SE and also bundles in all of the previously released premium Creation Club additions. In practice, Skyrim Anniversary Edition is a DLC for Skyrim Special Edition, launching alongside a free game update for Skyrim SE.

What's included in the Skyrim Anniversary Edition? 

If you buy Skyrim Anniversary Edition outright, what you'll be downloading is Skyrim Special Edition and a DLC package. Here's the Skyrim Anniversary Edition content:

  • Skyrim Special Edition
  • Skyrim's original DLCs: Dawnguard, Hearthfire and Dragonborn
  • Next-gen improvements for Skyrim SE
  • All 48 previously released Creation Club items
  • 26 new Creation Club items

Skyrim Anniversary Edition - A player rides on a white unicorn

(Image credit: Bethesda)

If you'd forgotten about Bethesda's Creation Club, it's a marketplace of paid DLCs developed either internally by Bethesda or by approved external creators. The 48 current Creation Club items that you'll get access to as part of Skyrim AE range from special weapons, to new enemy types, quest expansions, and gameplay changes. 

Some of the new Creation Club items that arrived alongside Skyrim SE include Morrowind-inspired weapons and armor and a quest expansion called The Cause. In total, Bethesda says that the 74 Creation Club items included with Skyrim AE represent over 500 new gameplay elements.

Players who don't upgrade to Skyrim AE also got four of those Creation Club items free on AE's launch day: the Saints and Seducers quest expansion, Rare Curious expansion, Survival Mode, and the Fishing skill and quests.

If you're just installing the free game update to Skyrim SE, you'll find that the free Creation Club items have all been downloaded for you. When upgrading with the Skyrim AE DLC, you'll need to head into the Creation Club section of the main menu and manually choose which pieces you want to install.

What if you already own Skyrim Special Edition? 

So what happens if you already own Skyrim SE? Bethesda says that current owners and Xbox Game Pass subscribers have the option to upgrade to Skyrim AE for $19.99 USD / $29.95 AUD / €19.99 / £15.99.

Even if you don't buy the Anniversary Edition of the game, those four free Creation Club items have been added to your game for free.

Will the Anniversary Edition mess up your mods? 

As of today, upgrading to Skyrim AE should not majorly affect your mods at all. In fact, it will give a visual update and add in a playlist of mods.

On launch, Skyrim SE modders needed time to catch up to the new code, so mod updates were a bit scattered. Over a year later, all major mods have adapted to AE, and should be working smoothly. 

After originally preparing for the worst, the developer of Skyrim Script Extender was given early access to Skyrim AE to work on updating SKSE. At the time of writing, the latest SKSE is available on their website, and it is up an running with multiple stable patches for Skyrim AE.

There's also a Skyrim Special Edition rollback mod that downgrades your game to a version prior to the Anniversary Edition update to help keep compatibility with your current modded setup.

Skyrim Anniversary Edition - a character in all gold armor draws a wooden bow

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Skyrim Anniversary Edition system requirements

Skyrim Anniversary Edition shares the same system requirements as the Skyrim Special Edition, so the good news is that you shouldn't need to worry about your machine falling out of the target specs for the upgrade.

Minimum:

  • Operating System: Windows 7/8.1/10 (64-bit Version)
  • Processor: Intel i5-750 or AMD Phenom II X4-945
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 470 1GB or AMD HD 7870 2GB
  • Storage: 12 GB available space

Recommended:

  • Operating System: Windows 7/8.1/10 (64-bit Version)
  • Processor: Intel i5-2400 or AMD FX-8320
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 780 3GB or AMD R9 290 4GB
  • Storage: 12 GB available space
Lauren Morton
Associate Editor

Lauren started writing for PC Gamer as a freelancer in 2017 while chasing the Dark Souls fashion police and accepted her role as Associate Editor and Chief Minecraft Liker in 2021. She originally started her career in game development and is still fascinated by how games tick in the modding and speedrunning scenes. She likes long books, longer RPGs, multiplayer cryptids, and can't stop playing co-op crafting games.