The internet exploded earlier today when the eagle-eyed folks at OnlySP spotted an odd discrepancy on the official Skyrim website. Namely: PS4 and Xbox One versions. Twitter, Reddit and the internet's assembled hacks burst into a frenzy, all tremendously excited that Bethesda had outed a new lease of life for their epic RPG.
Except they hadn't. Turns out that it was just a website error... at least, that's the official line.
It's possible that Bethesda's denial is damage control pending an official reveal, or perhaps unbelievably devious market testing, but this morning's kerfuffle makes for a more interesting discussion. Would you buy Skyrim on PS4 or Xbox One, and what would it have to do in order to earn your moolah?
The answer to the first question appears to be an overwhelming "yes!" Just a cursory look at comments sections and twitter reveals a ready-made and eager audience for a next-gen remake, from fans to developers.
It makes sense from a business and gaming perspective. There's a lull in Xbox One and PS4 software right now barring a few major highlights (Titanfall, DriveClub, inFamous: Second Son and some of the most promising boutique releases - Transistor can't come soon enough) - and many new PS4 and Xbox One owners would rather like a great big meaty game to get stuck into. At least now most of us have polished off Assassin's Creed 4 and Dead Rising 3. Skyrim would be a great fit for the new consoles, helping tide us over, while also letting PS3 owners actually enjoy what should hopefully be a much more stable version. And a vastly prettier version to boot.
Let's face it, most of us will accept any excuse to play more Skyrim.
I'm not convinced that just turning up with shinier graphics will be enough, though. Tomb Raider's enhanced edition might prove me wrong, but revamps arguably need to offer more in terms of content and features. A next-gen version of Skyrim would need to be the complete edition containing all DLC to be competitive, at the very least, preferably with a couple of extra quests thrown in for good measure.
Of course, the PS4's share button and "Xbox, record that!" will provide a brand new way of sharing our exploits in the frozen wastes, which brings us neatly onto the potential for more interesting features. Like, for example, mod support.
Assuming that any next-gen port of Skyrim would be heavily based on the PC version, given the architecture of the PS4 and Xbox One, there's a ready-made wealth of user created material just waiting to be enjoyed by a whole new audience. Steamworks would appear to be the most obvious avenue for mod support at first glance, seeing as Sony and Valve have collaborated in the past. However, since Valve are keen to put their own OS into living rooms over the coming months and years - presumably using the PC's support of modding and UGC versus consoles as a major selling point - they're no longer the most likely of bedfellows. What's more, all of this content would arguably need to be thoroughly tested to ensure that it works properly - Bethesda already get enough flack over bugs and glitches as it is. It's an exciting dream, but perhaps an overly ambitious one.
This could all be moot, naturally, since Bethesda eventually closed down discussion by blaming it on a CMS bug. But if they weren't already planning on bringing Skyrim to PS4 and Xbox One, they'd arguably be mad not to do so now.
Anyway, that's more than enough vague punditry from me. Let's bring this full circle: would you buy Skyrim on PS4 or Xbox One? And for which platform? Let us know in the comments!