Bethesda pranked the audience at E3 with a trailer for a version of Skyrim played through Alexa. Except it wasn’t a prank after all. It’s real and you can play it now.
Bethesda has gained a reputation for milking Skyrim for all its worth, bringing it to new platforms even seven years after its release. At this point, there are few places you can’t play Skyrim. But Bethesda, being Bethesda, found a way.
At the company’s E3 press conference, the audience was waiting with expectant, but perhaps not hopeful breath for any kind of Elder Scrolls announcement. The last Elder Scrolls game came out in 2011, and Bethesda just announced a new Fallout game a couple weeks ago. The likelihood that a new main-series Elder Scrolls game to follow Skyrim would arrive seemed low.
Bethesda would eventually confirm that The Elder Scrolls VI is coming (yeah, that’s real, too, by the way). But not before teasing the frustrated audience with a trailer of Keegan-Michael Key playing an audio-only version of Skyrim through an Amazon Echo called Skyrim: Very Special Edition. With Alexa as a makeshift DM, the game played like a spoken word version of those old text adventure games. The video then went on to show Key playing on all the other platforms Bethesda will inevitably bring Skyrim to: an Etch A Sketch, a Samsung smart fridge, and even a pager.
It was an obvious joke.
At least, that’s what we thought. Bethesda moved straight on into announcing more details about Fallout: 76, a new Elder Scrolls mobile game, before finally teasing just the title card for The Elder Scrolls VI. By that point we’d almost forgotten all about it. But it turns out, it’s not a joke after all. You can enable the Alexa skill for Skyrim: Very Special Edition right now.
Just like in the parody (?) ad, Alexa will describe your environment to you, before asking you where you’d like to go and what you’d like to do. You can use voice commands to swing your weapon, cast spells, or even use the Fus Ro Dah shout to blast enemies backwards. Alexa even gets sassy on occasion, at one point telling you that getting the improved shaders DLC totally improved the environment rendering. Not that you can tell.
The game works on any Amazon Echo device you have, but if you don’t own an Echo you can still play. The Amazon app on Android and iOS devices (as well as the Alexa app on Android) can speak to Alexa, which means you can fire up the game from your phone as well.
Alexa-based games are nothing new but this is by far one of the most ambitious games put on the Echo platform. Obviously Skyrim: Very Special Edition isn’t the full Skyrim game, but it does feature a number of quests, locations, and storylines for you to follow that can fill hours of play time. Now we just need to find out if Bethesda really does plan on bringing Skyrim to your pager.