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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an action role-playing video game developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. It is the fifth main installment in The Elder Scrolls series, following The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and was released worldwide for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on November 11, 2011.
The game's main story revolves around the player character's quest to defeat Alduin the World-Eater, a dragon who is prophesied to destroy the world. The game is set 200 years after the events of Oblivion and takes place in Skyrim, the northernmost province of Tamriel. Over the course of the game, the player completes quests and develops the character by improving skills. The game continues the open-world tradition of its predecessors by allowing the player to travel anywhere in the game world at any time, and to ignore or postpone the main storyline indefinitely.
Skyrim was developed using the Creation Engine, rebuilt specifically for the game. The team opted for a unique and more diverse open world than Oblivion's Imperial Province of Cyrodiil, which game director and executive producer Todd Howard considered less interesting by comparison. The game was released to critical acclaim, with reviewers particularly mentioning the character advancement and setting, and is considered to be one of the greatest video games of all time. Nonetheless it received some criticism, predominantly for its combat and numerous technical issues present at launch. The game shipped over seven million copies to retailers within the first week of its release, and over 30 million copies on all platforms as of November 2016.
Three downloadable content (DLC) add-ons were released—Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn—which were repackaged into The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Legendary Edition and released in June 2013. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Special Edition is a re-mastered version of the game released for Windows, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 in October 2016. It includes all three DLC expansions and a graphical upgrade, along with additional features such as modding capabilities on consoles. Versions were released in November 2017 for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation VR, and a stand-alone virtual reality (VR) version for Windows was released in April 2018.