Build A House! Adopt A Kid! Home Invasions!
After a few months of speculation, Bethesda has formally announced Skyrim's latest DLC pack: Hearthfire. It's a more modest expansion than Dawnguard, providing a few new ways to make a permanent mark on the game world for 400 Microsoft Points.
Hearthfire will allow players to buy land and build their own homes from scratch, creating building materials out of stone and lumber using new workbenches and drafting tables. A meagre smallholding will eventually expand into a major compound, "complete with an armory, alchemy laboratory, stable, garden, and more." Children can also be adopted, using the player's new home as their own.
- Choose Your Land – Choose from property in the salt marshes of Hjaalmarch, the forests of Falkreath, or the vast tundra of The Pale. For the more ambitious landowner, purchase multiple plots and start building a real estate empire.
- Customize Your Home – Expand your home with a variety of room combinations including an armory, alchemy tower, kitchen, trophy room and more. Grow plants in your new greenhouse, cultivate slaughterfish in the fish hatchery, house your Arcane Enchanter in the enchanting tower, or display your latest conquest in the trophy room. Add additional features like stables, mills, smelters, gardens and more.
- New Objectives and Interactions – Guard your home from unwanted visitors like marauding kidnappers, armed bandits, and skeever infestations. Turn almost any follower into your personal steward to improve and protect your home. Or if you require more help, hire a personal bard or carriage driver to ease the burdens of home ownership.
- Adoption – Transform your house into a home with Hearthfire’s all-new adoption system. Adopt children and discover new ways to interact with your family. Play games with the kids, allow them to have pets and gain new bonuses from having a family.
As with Dawnguard, Hearthfire has only been given an Xbox 360 launch date, which is slated for September 4th. It will run you 400 Microsoft Points. The PC release schedule is TBA - and I wouldn't hold your breath for a PS3 version any time soon.
Hearthfire certainly beats Oblivion's Horse Armour, but we're still waiting for a truly expansive expansion in the vein of The Shivering Isles or Bloodmoon. Still, at least there are plenty of mods on PC...