With all the focus on re-releases, MMOs, and card games in The Elder Scrolls universe lately, it seems like a long wait is ahead before we get a true single-player sequel to Skyrim.
Honestly, there's no need to really ever leave the frozen Skyrim expanse, though, as hundreds of thousands of mods out there can keep you coming back for years to come.
The biggest of these radically change the game to such a degree that they qualify as total conversions -- a mythical status of mods that has given the gaming community such gems as DotA, Counter-Strike, Day Z, and Garry's Mod in the past.
Currently, most of the Skyrim total conversion mod projects aren't actually finished, or even in a state worth downloading yet. There are a handful that you can lose yourself in right now, however, giving your favorite Skyrim character whole new worlds to explore.
Sadly, you won't be finding any of these on PS4, and most won't be available to Xbox One due to console mod restrictions. Sorry folks, but total conversions are frequently PC-only territory. Now fire up that Nexus Mod Manager and get on downloading these awesome conversions!
If there's one Skyrim mod that best stands as an example of what is possible to achieve with a total overhaul, it would easily be Enderal. The mod presents an entirely new world with its own characters, lore, races, and history completely separate from The Elder Scrolls universe, even featuring all-new voice acting.
Enderal takes place in the land of Vyn and serves as the sequel to the previous Oblivion total overhaul mod, Nehrim. Much like with the base Skyrim, you could easily sink 80 or more hours into Enderal, exploring every nook and cranny and finding all the various quests and characters.
If you like the idea of an open-world RPG like Skyrim but aren't keen on the dumbed-down RPG elements or the story-lite approach, Enderal is frankly a better experience than the base game, with a more compelling story.
The massive Beyond Skyrim project seeks to add all the lands of Tamriel into the Skyrim experience. Instead of only being able to explore within the borders of the game's namesake nation, this gigantic work-in-progress will eventually add in Morrowind, Elswyr, Atmora, Iliac Bay, and many other locations across the continent.
That's sort of an Elder Scrolls fanatic's dream come true, although it still remains a dream for now. At the moment, most of these mods are still very much in-progress affairs, but Bruma is now fully available for download, letting your Skyrim character explore locations like Frostcrag Spire, Cloud Ruler Temple, and Frostfire Glade.
The city of Bruma itself features a huge cast of additional characters with their own quests and voice acting, drastically expanding out the base game. What you get now is already pretty amazing, but when the entire set of mods is done, Beyond Skyrim is going to be jaw-dropping.
Bringing a whole lot of Darks Souls or Bloodborne influence into The Elder Scrolls, this mod adds in four new chapters, complete with new areas that play with the concept of the Vigilants of Stendarr standing against the forces of Oblivion.
Each chapter builds on the last, pulling you in and constantly increasing in quality and length. A little over halfway through, the Vigilant mod basically goes full throttle into horror, providing a very different experience than your standard Skyrim playthrough.
Yes, there are also devastatingly hard bosses like you'd expect from a Dark Souls-styled mod, so get ready to rethink your character build after dying the first few (dozen?) times!
More lore-friendly than Enderal while still taking some liberties with the Elder Scrolls storyline, Falksaar adds in an extra 20-30 hours of gameplay, with completely new areas, dozens of quests, and fully voiced characters to discover.
A whole lot of work went into this one, with an entirely new soundtrack created just for Falksaar, along with a bunch of new items, spells, and even shouts arriving along with the new area.
If you need ever-more areas to explore and dungeons to delve into, Falksaar has got more than enough to keep you occupied for hours while waiting on other total conversions to get finished.
Although this mod isn't quite done yet, it is much farther along than other mods of its scale and can currently be downloaded and played. You essentially get an unofficial DLC here, with a vast new area in the east of High Rock and a bunch of additional quests based heavily around exploration.
New factions, voice acting, armor, weapons, and spells all await you in this gray land ravaged by pox and despair. Be on the lookout for this one to get even bigger and better in the coming months.
Although it doesn't transport your character to an entirely new area or flood the game with new quests and voice acting, Skyrim Redone is still so extensive an overhaul of the base game that it practically qualifies as a total conversion.
Essentially everything about the mechanics of the game is revamped or totally changed with this mod, from completely redone racial modifiers to vastly expanded skills, radically altered combat, and a host of other tweaks to encounter scaling and much, much more.
The guide to what all exactly is changed with the mod is more than a hundred pages long, so that ought to tell you just how extensively Skyrim is altered here.
Obviously, total conversion mods are an ambitious and time-consuming undertaking, so it shouldn't be much of a surprise that there are only a few that are feature-complete already.
What did you think of our six best Skyrim total conversion picks here, and are there any others we missed that should get added?
Beyond these finished mods, there are plenty more in development, like Skyblivion (exactly like it sounds, porting all of the quests and locations from Oblivion into Skyrim) or the Nordic-inspired Hoddminir total conversion project. Others, like the horror-focused Virus mod, are currently under review and no longer up for download, but hopefully they will return soon.
Still need more mods to change up your Skyrim experience? We've got plenty others well worth downloading, so you should take a look at these: