The logo for Bethesda at beginning of Skyrim.

Skyrim Anniversary Edition: Everything You Need to Know

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Considering Skyrim originally launched back in 2011, there are now several versions of the game. It can be confusing to figure out which one you should get, so here is everything you need to know about the Skyrim Anniversary Edition.

Table Of Contents

    What You Get With Skyrim Anniversary Edition

    Skyrim Anniversary Edition is basically everything that has been released so far in Skyrim, plus some. You get the base game, all the DLCs, better graphics and performance, new Creation Club content, and the new fishing mechanic. But since various forms of Skyrim have been released over the years, deciphering what content comes with each can be difficult.

    A scenic view of the sky in Skyrim.

    Differences Between Skyrim, Skyrim Special Edition, and Skyrim Anniversary Edition

    These are the differences between SkyrimSkyrim Special Edition, and Skyrim Anniversary Edition.

    Original Skyrim

    • Released in 2011
    • No DLCs
    • 32-bit

    Upgrades From Skyrim to Special Edition

    • Released in 2016
    • Comes with all three DLCs (Dawnguard, Hearthfire, Dragonborn)
    • Remastered art and effects
    • Volumetric lighting
    • Dynamic depth of field
    • Screen-space reflections
    • New snow and water shaders
    • 64-bit

    Upgrades From Special Edition to Anniversary Edition

    • Released in 2021
    • Includes Skyrim Special Edition (DLCs and upgrades)
    • Next-gen improvements from Skyrim Special Edition
    • 26 new Creation Club items (including Morrowind-inspired armor, quest expansions, and spells)
    • Saints & Seducers Creation Club content
    • Rare Curios Creation Club content
    • Fishing content and mechanics

    The Vampire Lord tree from the Dawnguard DLC

    Why Get Skyrim Anniversary Edition

    Obviously, it’s up to your personal preferences on whether you want to spend the money on another version of Skyrim. However, if you’ve missed any of the DLC content over the years, this could be the perfect time to jump back in. Additionally, if you’re one of those people who used to love Skyrim and have been looking for an excuse to go back, the new Creation Club content, new fishing mechanic, and familiar yet revamped scenery might be enough justification.

    Skyrim Anniversary Edition Cost if You Already Own Skyrim

    Unfortunately, Skyrim Anniversary Edition is not free if you already own the base game. If you own the base game, you will still need to pay the full price of $49.99. However, if you already own Skyrim Special Edition, you can upgrade to the Anniversary Edition for only $19.99. Skyrim Anniversary Edition isn’t on Xbox Game Pass, but you can still get the upgrade price if you’ve got Skyrim Special Edition on Game Pass.

    How to Upgrade Your Skyrim Game

    The Skyrim title screen.

    If you own the Skyrim Special Edition and are looking to upgrade to the Anniversary Edition, this is actually done in-game. Instead of the PlayStation or Xbox store, you’ll want to open Skyrim. There should be a prompt on the main menu that allows players to upgrade.

    How Skyrim Anniversary Edition Affects Mods

    If you’re big into using mods for your Skyrim gaming, you may want to reconsider buying the Anniversary Edition. Unsurprisingly, it’s likely that upgrading will disrupt many of the mods you’ve been using, especially dated ones, due to Bethesda’s switch from Visual Studio 2015 (for Special Edition) to Visual Studio 2019 (for Anniversary Edition).

    Skyrim Anniversary Edition FAQs

    This guide covers most of the basics you’ll want to know when it comes to the Skyrim Anniversary Edition. However, Bethesda has been kind enough to provide an FAQs post you can check out for any other questions you may have regarding the game—including information on trophies, languages, psychical copies, and more.