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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? No, it isn't some elaborate self-parody by Bethesda about its habit of re-releasing The Elder Scrolls V. It is in fact a new version of the long-running and ever-popular open world RPG from 2011 that Bethesda is launching for the game's tenth anniversary. Bethesda is calling it "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. 

In any event, Bethesda is launching The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition this November. 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. Here's everything we know about what the Skyrim Anniversary Edition will include.

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.

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.

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 fro Skyrim SE.

What's inclduded 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 arriving alongside Skyrim SE on November 11 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 are also getting four of those Creation Club items free on November 11. They'll receive 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 whice 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 will 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 will be added to your game for free.

Will the Anniversary Edition mess up your mods? 

As is often the case with game updates: yes, Skyrim AE will probably affect some game mods you have installed for Skyrim SE. It's still unclear just how many mods the Skyrim AE is affecting and how long some of them will be out of commission.

After originally preparing for the worst, the developer of Skyrim Script Extender was given early access to Skyrim AE to work on updating SKSE. As of launch day, a preliminary new version of SKSE is available on their website, though more work has yet to be done by SKSE's developer and other mod developers.

If you're particularly attached to your modded version of the game, the safe advice seems to be catching your version of Skyrim Special Edition before it automatically updates. That way you won't wind up with a game version that's suddenly incompatible with all your mods, as happened with Fallout 3 recently.

There's already 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

What else do we know? 

Bethesda has said that in November all Creation Club installed quests won't initialize on startup, meaning you won't be bombarded with new quest notifications each time you start a new game. Instead, you'll find those quests out in the world.

Bethesda is also hosting an anniversary concert on November 11 at 11am PDT featuring the London Symphony Orchestra live on YouTube and Twitch.

Lauren Morton

Lauren loves long books and even longer RPGs. She got a game design degree and then, stupidly, refused to leave the midwest. She plays indie games you haven't heard of and will never pass on a story about players breaking games or playing them wrong.