What’s in the Skyrim DLC? The pre-release evidence examined

Morrowind, as seen in Skyrim

Delve into the online Skyrim forums and you’ll find many PC players who reckon these ‘extra areas’ might just be Cyrodiil and Morrowind, Skyrim-sized slabs of country that provided the settings of the previous two Scrolls titles. Apparently, tech-savvy players have been able to bypass Skyrim’s mountainous borders and enter both realms.

While it would be undeniably awesome, we highly doubt we’ll see Cyrodiil and Morrowind fully-rendered in Skyrim’s engine, a) because it would require ridiculous amounts of man-hours to create and b) the resulting size of the game would cause PS3s to implode, creating numerous console-sized black holes that would turn the planet inside-out. PC gamers are most likely accessing generic terrain added to create the illusion of a continuous world beyond Skyrim’s borders.

Extra areas are certainly on the cards however, and – using Oblivion’s Shivering Isles as an example – we can expect them to be crammed with individual flavour. What will this area be called? How about ‘Dawnguard’, a word recently trademarked by ZeniMax Media (Bethesda’s parent company) for ‘computer game software for use with computers and video game consoles; downloadable computer game software offered via the internet and wireless devices.’ Sounds like DLC to us.

Silus Vesuiuss' quest reintroduces Oblivions Mythic Dawn cult to Skyrim

Speculation surrounding the name ranges from the return of the Mythic Dawn cult – the antagonists of Oblivion – to having something to do with the city of Dawnstar. We’re more inclined to go with the latter – the Mythic Dawn were eradicated in Oblivion, centuries before the events in Skyrim – but we reckon Dawnguard could be an entirely new area. It could even be populated with the goblins from the Game jam video – Shivering Isles was a high-fantasy slap in the face of Oblivion’s more grounded universe, so we see no reason new DLC shouldn’t diverge from Skyrim’s thematic path.

What is certain is that whatever Bethesda cooks up for us, it won’t be just fancy new armour and weapon packs. The studio has a reputation for crafting DLC that extends the experience for 10s of hours (think Fallout 3’s Broken Steel as well as the aforementioned Oblivion expansions), so you can expect to get stuck into some thoroughly meaty adventuring. If we’re doing it riding Dragon-back over russet-tinged autumnal foliage while a creek babbles playfully below, then so much the better.