It won’t be long before you’re able to explore the snow-capped mountains of Skyrim together with your friends. Yes, Skyrim Together, a mod that’s been in development for the last couple years and adds multiplayer to Bethesda’s seven-year-old RPG, is about to go into beta testing.
When it launches, Skyrim Together will let you and several friends play the game start to finish with up to eight players. It’s a compelling idea – as enjoyable as it’s always been to head off into the vast gameworld on your own, the notion of exploring Dwemer ruins and frozen holds together with a band of friends puts a fresh Dungeons & Dragons spin on the game.
It hasn’t been an easy mod to develop, as you might imagine. The modders have had to add a lot of features to a game built around a single-player experience – for instance, what happens when several players complete a dungeon together, or defeat a boss? But beyond that, as YouTuber ESO explains, Bethesda shut down development of the mod at one point, telling the team they could continue making the mod, but not using Steam’s API.
Here’s the ESO video on Skyrim Together:
That means that the Skyrim Together team has had to develop their own third-party tools for matchmaking and friend invites, which naturally added a massive amount of work to the project.
But it seems the team has pulled it off, and they’re now getting ready to open a beta build up to their Patreon backers. Once they’ve made sure things are working as intended, they’ll open up Skyrim Together for a public beta.
Read more: The 100 best Skyrim mods
The backer beta will begin “soon,” according to an announcement on the mod’s official subreddit, with the open beta following several weeks after that – although no specific dates were included. A few features won’t be available, such as shared containers (think chests and NPC inventories) and dropped items. Each session will be capped at eight players, which is what they’ve always promised anyway – keep in mind, Skyrim Together was never intended to be an MMO.
Skyrim Together will work with either vanilla Skyrim or the Special Edition, and most existing mods will also be compatible (although some of the more complex ones are likely to cause visual discrepancies – we’ll just have to try them and find out).
It’s also important to note that existing servers are located in Europe for the time being, although the team plans to add more once they work out how many people are interested in playing.
My guess is that it’ll be a lot.