Why Bethesda Turned Its Skyrim Very Special Edition Joke Into A Real Thing

During Bethesda’s E3 2018 press conference, Bethesda Game Studios director Todd Howard announced yet another version of Skyrim. The port was presented as a joke, complete with a skit starring Key & Peele’s Keegan-Michael Key, but it’s actually a real thing you can get on the Alexa store. It’s called Skyrim Very Special Edition and it’s for Amazon Alexa–it works sort of like a text-based adventure.

Skyrim Very Special Edition took a lot of people by surprise, including us, but this version of Skyrim is definitely playable. We asked Bethesda Senior Vice President Pete Hines about the multilayered joke, and he explained how it came to be.

It all starts with the sea of jokes about Skyrim being on everything, which picked up steam after Bethesda announced both Skyrim on Nintendo Switch and Skyrim on PSVR last year. “We know we get a lot of flak [like] ‘What else are you gonna put Skyrim on,’ so we’re like, ‘Well, we’re just gonna own it and have fun with that and make fun of ourselves and make fun of everybody else,” Hines said.

“This, by the way, was entirely Todd [Howard]’s idea from the beginning, but it just started off as a joke and then it evolved into, ‘Actually, we could make the game that we’re joking about and then just troll [you] one layer deeper where [you] think [it’s] really funny…and then you find out that it’s a real thing, and we got you twice.”

It certainly got us–we had to update our original story once we realized Skyrim Very Special Edition was real–and it also seems to be somewhat of a hit among fans, with 85% five-star ratings on the store page as of this writing.

“It started out simple,” Hines said. “But like a lot of Todd things, it turned out to be way crazier and more complicated and awesome as a result.”

In addition to Skyrim Very Special Edition, Bethesda also announced mobile game Elder Scrolls Blades as well as the long-awaited Elder Scrolls VI. To catch up on anything you missed, be sure to check our roundup of all the news from Bethesda’s E3 2018 conference.

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