Okay, it sure sounds like a joke. It even looks like a joke. Bethesda showed an official trailer of a ‘very special’ Skyrim edition at its E3 press event. It featured yet another edition of Skyrim – hardly news at this point, isn’t it? Here’s the trailer in question:
It looks funny but definitely not real, doesn’t it? Well it is. At said press event, Bethesda showed this version made for Amazon’s smart assistant Alexa. It’s a silly but fun idea to break the ice at an event for sure, but…it’s also available as a free skill from the Amazon store right now.
It’s called Skyrim: VSE (Very Special Edition) and you can download it to any of Amazon’s devices. At first, people assumed that Bethesda was poking fun at the sheer amount of special editions, remasters and ports that Skyrim had seen since it’s launch several years ago.
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The video stars comedian Keegan-Michael Key which didn’t exactly convince people of it being genuine. Having comedians in your promo videos will do that. Well, not long after the show finished, someone that we love to imagine as a naive and trusting guy in the second-to-last row discovered that an actual product page had appeared for this Skyrim edition.
It just popped up on the Amazon store, and still people assumed Bethesda was just really committed to their joke (something we can only applaud), but as it turns out, the VSE is playable. It’s a voice-controlled edition of the seven year old game.
Now, if you’ve played Skyrim – and if you haven’t, why are you here? – you may be wondering how the hell the game would work through voice controls. ‘Attack Dragon with Sword’, ‘Eat Wheel of Cheese’ and ‘Punch Nazeem’ aren’t exactly what you want to yell at your Alexa. Or maybe you do, we don’t know you. It is, however, not quite how it works.
The VSE is a very scaled down version of the game. It does play a little more like the text-based games that many of you are likely to young to remember, or even a table-top role-playing game. The game’s page promises quests, dungeons, spells and shouts, so much of what made Skyrim popular in the first place.
And just to show that Bethesda really DOES have a sense of humour, the page also warns players to guard their knees against arrows, and advises them that they can just walk up mountains instead of around them. Okay, we are beginning to see why nobody thought this was real at first.
The page further confirms a strong likelihood of mead, meaning Bethesda really only missed two possible jokes: they should have warned players against molesting chickens and told them that free sweet-rolls were on offer.
Still though, all in all, we can forgive these oversights pretty easily. Even if this whole thing had turned out not to be real, we would have had to commend Bethesda for their efforts with this. Here’s another video of the whole thing:
Since the Alexa version, people have begun to speculate about whether or not they would soon also see versions for smart fridges, smart washing machines or even smart cars (wouldn’t they look great with a sword strapped to them?). Odds are, they won’t, but at this point, can we really be sure it won’t happen?
On a more boring note, Bethesda has also announced The Elder Scrolls: Blades and TES VI. Blades is going to be a first-person RPG for Android and iOS of all things, and it’s supposed to come with console-quality graphics. We’re a little sceptical of that one, but you never know. After all, Bethesda already achieved one impossible thing, who is to say they won’t make the best mobile app ever next? There’s also new DLC for TES Online if that’s your thing, but really, compared to Alexa’s Dragonborn exploits, Bethesda’s other announcements are just plain boring.
What do you think of the Skyrim VSE? Are you more interested in Blades? What was your favourite part of the new Bethesda announcement?