There's no denying that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a massive game. It's almost unfathomable how massive it is, actually, considering the fact that it's crammed onto a single Xbox 360 disc. But that doesn't mean it's not going to get any bigger. In fact, Bethesda has already given us a tiny peek at their DLC strategy.
Though The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion became notorious for its overly expensive horse armor DLC, this was something of a learning experience—not only for Bethesda, but for all game developers considering DLC at the time. This was back in the early days of console DLC, after all. And later in Oblivion's lifespan we were given "Knights of the Nine" and "The Shivering Isles," which each provided a fair amount of content for players to enjoy, proving that the developers did eventually figure out what players wanted out of their DLC packs. Lesson learned.
With Skyrim, though, the focus is going to be slightly different. Todd Howard, producer and director on the game, told Wired that the team would like to focus on "bigger and more substantial" DLC. He claimed, "The goal overall is not necessarily to put out more content, but to make the game better." How big is Howard thinking? No one is quite sure yet. But if the base game is any indicator, he has no problem thinking on an absolutely enormous scale. Some sources have even been suspecting a return to the expansion packs of old, when players would willingly pay twenty to thirty dollars, expecting new pieces of land to run around on, as well as brand new game mechanics, new mob types, new dungeons, and much more than a few measly hours of content.
Now, it will be a while before we see any DLC for Skyrim—there are quite a few bugs that need to be addressed and patched away first—but that hasn't stopped Elder Scrolls fans from speculating on what exactly we'll see in the future. In fact, some explorers have tinkered around a bit with "no-clip mode" and have discovered some new areas already inside the game. Parts of the province of Cyrodiil, the setting of Oblivion, have been uncovered, with glimpses of the Imperial City. Also discovered was the entire landmass of Morrowind. In fact, some even claim that the entire continent of Tamriel has already been modeled and can be found by any who ventures outside Skyrim's playable area. This has stirred up speculation that some eventual DLC will take us outside of Skyrim and back to locations in Cyrodiil and Morrowind.
It would be quite interesting to see how these areas have evolved and changed over the extensive time period between these titles, since Skyrim takes place a couple hundred years after Oblivion. Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing how Oblivion's Imperial City has aged, or, even better, how it would look in Skyrim's game engine.
Of course, there's no confirmation from Bethesda on this, and there are several other possible explanations for why Bethesda would have included this extra landscape. Some even believe it was a gift of sorts to the modding community, allowing for them to do with it what they will. Still, it's fun to speculate on what a southward expansion into familiar territory would entail.
Some other rumors have popped up in the meantime, one of which speculates there could be dragon mounts at some point. Considering the Odahviing encounters in the game, it wouldn't be entirely improbable for players to acquire a dragon to ride on, perhaps even Odahviing himself. It certainly wouldn't go against the established lore of the game, anyway. Personally, though, I think this might have too much of an impact on gameplay, as taking down an entire enemy camp in one fell swoop would be a fairly simple task on the back of a dragon. Then again, it's not unheard of to see NPCs take down a dragon in the current game, so this might not actually be as game-altering as I suspect.
Either way, all we know about Skyrim's DLC at this point is that it's a long way off, should be "substantial," and will arrive on Xbox 360 a month before it hits PS3 or PC.
My prediction: Skyrim's DLC is going to be a meaningful expansion of an already massive game. I'm betting we'll see something along the lines of Morrowind's "Bloodmoon" expansion. While I think the idea of revisiting Cyrodiil and Morrowind on the back of a dragon would be incredible, I'm not so sure this is what Bethesda has in mind.
But who knows? Apparently, not even Bethesda at this point.
CCC Editor/Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*