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The most ambitious mods we're looking forward to

Skyblivion
(Image credit: TES Renewal Project)

As we look forward at the upcoming games of 2021 and 2022, we're also keeping in our eye on some of the most ambitious mods coming our way. Created by teams of volunteers, who often spend years working on sprawling projects out of pure passion, mods can transform the games we know and love to give us hundreds more hours of enjoyment. We're dying to get our hands on these expansive and exciting mods.

Someday, at least. Many of the mods listed below don't have announced release dates yet, but we certainly hope to see a few of them in 2021. And with mods that look this good, we're willing to wait as long as it takes.

Here are the major upcoming mods we're most looking forward to.

Fallout Miami

Even years after it launched, players can't get enough of Fallout 4's post-apocalypse. With 2018's Fallout 76 being multiplayer only, and the fact that we have no real idea when we might see a Fallout 5 appear, fans are hungry for anything new appearing in the singleplayer Fallout universe.

That's just one reason why Fallout Miami has so many people excited. This massive mod will give us a whole new city to explore, an entirely new main quest, sidequests, and new factions to battle or side with, including a cult that worships automobiles.  Expect irradiated gators, mutated flamingos, and ghouls wearing sunglasses as you explore and fight your way through the seaside city of Miami. Plus, there's lots of new weaponry, including the sick quad-barrel shotgun, which you can try out right now.

When's it coming out? TBD. The Fallout Miami team has an release window targeted, but they haven't announced it yet.

Where can I see more? Head to the official Fallout Miami site for videos, screenshots, music, developer updates, and more.

Skyblivion

Imagine The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion, but in Skyrim's engine, with improved graphics and updated systems. That's the aim of Skyblivion, the incredibly ambitious mod from the TESRenewal modding group, who want to breathe new life into the beloved Bethesda RPG from 2006. Since 2012, the team has been busy meticulously recreating the entire game, from quests to locations to hundreds of individual items. We can't wait to see Oblivion reborn in Skyrim's engine.

Skyblivion will be free to play, though players will need to own both Skyrim and Oblivion to run it. The mod will also included content cut from Oblivion, such as the lost city of Sutch, as well as some completely original creations.

When's it coming out? Currently, there's no release date for Skyblivion. "With a community project such as this, progress often comes at an irregular rate and is hard to predict," the devs say.

Where can I see more? Visit Skyblivion's official site for the latest news and progress.

Skywind

Skyblivion isn't the only massive mod project based on The Elder Scrolls in the works. Skywind is a total recreation of 2002's The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind, in the Skyrim: Special Edition engine. 

"Skywind sheds the shackles of the older game, bringing modern graphics, assets, and sounds, a full cast of voice actors, and all the benefits of fifteen years of gaming improvements," say the developers, "while preserving the incredible characters, locations, and quests with which Morrowind charmed the world all those years ago."

When's it coming out? Once again, the developers have a target in mind but haven't released a date to the public yet. "Providing even an approximate estimated date won’t help us deliver Skywind faster and will result in disappointment if we’re delayed. It’ll be done when it’s done."

Where can I see more? The official site has image galleries, videos, and much more info.

Realms in Exile

(Image credit: Paradox Interactive)

One of the most exciting things about the release of Crusader Kings 3 in 2019 is all modders lining up to create new worlds for it. Crusader Kings 2 resulted in mods for everything from Game of Thrones to Lord of the Rings, and we're expecting Crusader Kings 3 to be no different.

The good news about Realms of Exile, which is based on Lord of the Rings, is you can play a portions of it right now. The primary rulers include Saruman, Theoden, and Wulfgar Brynjarsson, and it's set in year 3000 of The Third Age of Middle-earth. But that's just a small fraction of the plans for the entire mod.

I really loved playing with an LOTR mod for Crusader Kings 2, where I played as a Balrog, assassinated Gandalf, and married Shelob. Twisting the plot of established fiction is so much fun, and I'm excited to see how Realms of Exile continues to develop.

When's it coming out? It's being released in sections, with a Two Towers campaign coming next.

Where can I see more? The best place to stay up to date is probably on its page at ModDB.

Fallout 4: New Vegas

Speaking of recreating older games in newer versions of their engines, the F4NV team is doing that will Fallout: New Vegas. Largely regarded as the best Fallout RPG,  New Vegas is certainly showing its age these days. That's why a faithful recreation of Fallout New Vegas in the Fallout 4 Creation Engine has so many fans excited and interested.

Recreating the entire game of Fallout New Vegas is obviously a major task for a group of volunteers, and the project has been in the works since 2017. It does look pretty great already, though.

When's it coming out? That's a big TBD at the moment—the modders won't say.

Where can I see more? The official F4NV site is the best place to start.

Destroyed Aperture

We could always use more Portal in our lives, and Destroyed Aperture looks like it's cooking up just that. The story involves a test subject named David, who awakens in an empty testing facility with no memory of how he got there. But David isn't alone. With a helpful memory core and a teleporter, he's able to access new areas of the facility as he attempts to escape and regain his memories.

More Portal puzzles with some new stories and music to go with them, plus entirely new puzzle features like portable pedestal buttons? We're definitely interested to play it.

When's it coming out? We don't know. The mod team has been on the quiet side for the past year or so, and haven't published a release date, though the mod does have a page on Steam.

Where can I see more? The official site has a FAQ and lots of images to look at.

Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring stories in RPGs so he can make up his own.