We’re listing the ten Games of the Decade. These are the ten PlayStation titles released over the past ten years that we believe have left a historic mark on the industry. Whether it’s Destiny's impact on the Games as a Service space or Journey’s innovative approach to online connectivity, these are the releases that the industry will be referencing well into 2020 and beyond.
Yes, we all know that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was a mess when it first released back on the PlayStation 3, but it's impossible to deny the influence that Bethesda's open world role-playing title has had on gaming since it launched more than eight years ago.
At over 30 million copies sold, Skyrim remains Bethesda's greatest commercial success, and once you begin to break it down, it's easy to see why. At its core, Skyrim offers an addictive gameplay loop that greatly encourages adventure. It's certainly not the most in-depth RPG of the decade, but that's perhaps its greatest strength. For many, Skyrim has been a gateway to the genre -- its streamlined mechanics and systems making it a perfect entry point for those who have never branched out beyond their casual approach to gaming.
Skyrim is almost in the same league as Pokémon when it comes to pushing RPGs into the hands of people who would otherwise have zero interest. Like Grand Theft Auto or Minecraft, it's become a household name -- most who use it probably don't even know that it's part of a long running series. Heck, they're probably waiting on Skyrim 2, as opposed to The Elder Scrolls VI.
But Skyrim isn't a Game of the Decade just because of its ability to ensnare mainstream-minded gamers. In many ways, it helped evolve another genre entirely -- a genre now so commonplace that we rarely even consider its legacy. We are, of course, taking about open world games. Obviously Skyrim didn't invent or popularise the concept, but it did play an important role in defining open world structure as we know it.
Skyrim is subtle in the way that it guides you from one location to the next. Quests that send you to the far reaches of the map purposefully push you past points of interest that pique your curiosity. Before you know it, you feel like you're forging your own entirely unique adventure, and it's this sense of wonder and, perhaps, destiny, that open world games are still trying to capture here in 2019.
There's a timelessness to Skyrim that's difficult to ignore. There's a distinct cohesion to its world -- the way that its art direction and soundtrack combine to create such a tangible atmosphere is impressive to this day. On a technical level it may be lacking, and as an RPG it may struggle to satisfy enthusiasts, but there was and still is a certain magic to Skyrim that's somehow kept it relevant for almost a decade. Its modding community remains one of the most active in gaming, it still rakes in the views on YouTube, and it's still so easy to lose hours of your time exploring its towns, roads, caves, ruins, and mountains.
By this time next year, we'll have gone a whole console generation without the release of a new mainline Elder Scrolls game. Bethesda struck gold with Skyrim, and for better or worse, we're still feeling the effects.
What are your thoughts on Skyrim? Do you think it's a timeless classic? How many hours have you sunk into it over the last decade? Shout in the comments section below.