The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition Early Technical Analysis

The folks at Digital Foundry have penned an early report on the technical makeup and performance levels of the Special Edition of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, a remaster of Bethesda's most successful title yet published on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Unsurprisingly, in its early days this remaster hasn't set the PC fanbase on fire, but the results on consoles seem pretty good, with the exception of a gnarly audio bug that Bethesda has already committed to fix:

After Fallout 4's somewhat wobbly performance, we were eager to see how frame-rates hold up on the console Skyrim remaster. Overall, it's a pretty solid 30fps with just minor stutter - we suspect that storage and streaming may well be the issue here, more noticeable on Xbox One.

In terms of the rendering basics, Skyrim Special Edition runs at a native 1080p on both platforms with what looks like the same temporal anti-aliasing solution utilised in Fallout 4 - but we're still filtering through Xbox One results in the wake of the revelation that Fallout 4 actually employed a dynamic scaling buffer on the Microsoft platform, adjusting horizontal resolution on the fly according to GPU load. It's something we missed at the time, but came to light via user pixel-counting further on down the line.

Thus far, Xbox One has held firm at its 1080p pixel-count during our tests, and we suspect that there may well be some degree of overhead left over - but almost certainly not enough to sustain 60fps frame-rates, necessitating the 30fps cap. So far, both consoles appear remarkably like-for-like in terms of their presentation, while Bethesda has confirmed that the PS4 Pro version of the game renders at a native 4K resolution. Bearing in mind that this is a 4x resolution boost over the base PS4 version, using a GPU with around 2.3x the processing power (plus other enhancements), there is the suggestion that the standard PlayStation 4 hardware may be somewhat under-utilised here.

You can also look at a framerate comparison between the two consoles here:

And a graphical comparison between the original PC edition and the remaster, courtesy of Candyland. I'm curious to see how the subtle changes to the weather cycles and atmosphere will be received, though then again, many people already use mods that change the look of the game far more dramatically:

Finally, YouTube channel Brodual points out five hidden improvements that can't necessarily be achieved with the original game, even with mods: