Skyrim small install size for PC, Bethesda bragging rights

By Jamie Pert - Oct 26, 2011

Yesterday we told you all about Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’s minimum and recommend requirements, at the time we listed 6GB of hard drive space as one of these necessities, we thought that this was very low, however it turns out that this is in fact accurate.

Recently it hasn’t been unusual for games to require 15GB+ of hard drive space, therefore we thought that such an expansive game like Skyrim would be similar, but as it turns out Bethesda Softworks’ upcoming game for PC needs just 6GB of free space, that’s nothing.

Like us, many gamers were sceptical about this, however Bethesda’s VP of PR and Marketing has been clearing things up about the relatively small install size, we can’t help but think he is taking a stab at other developers with the following tweet:

Content doesn’t take lots more space if you know how to build an open world game, which we do.

In other tweets it has been said that the small install size is possible thanks to the new engine and much better compression methods than ever before, especially for voice and video – you can see the tweet which revealed this here.

Finally another tweet mentions the fact that Elder Scrolls VI: Oblivion required just over 4GB of space, despite this the game consists of far more content than many games which require larger installs – this should lay to rest people’s worries who thought a 6GB install size would equate to a small game.

It is great to see Bethesda’s devs fit such a large game into such a small install size, it just makes us wonder what other game developers are playing at when lesser games require 2 or 3 times the free space of Skyrim, also lately we have seen Xbox 360 games struggle to fit on one disc, perhaps the problem is not with the disc format entirely…

Does it surprise you that Skyrim requires such a small amount of free space? Let us know below.

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Also See: Bethesda E3 2017 event date with games list hype

  • Their engine for Fallout is a physical simulator with an autonomous agent communication framework, they rely on real interactions to fuel much of the story, at least in their last game.  This helps free up developer needs to program in every happenstance in the game, and instead allows the engine to perform much of the dirty work.  This makes for a less “cinematic” experience, as many of these interactions are not planned for the sake of the camera, but for the sake of the simulated world.  Think of Final Fantasy’s Artwork, this required alot of space because it was all unique information.  Now picture the NPC’s in these games, they all use the same information, but only what is different about each one is stored.  That is why this game is smaller.  Also, think about the fact that they say many of the quests are generated.  This allows for the same concept in the quest line, only list the different parts, and it will save space, and time, and allow for the differences to be focused on and accentuated.  At least, I hope!!  Lets see, can’t wait to play this.

    • Josema

      Textures, voice, videos… All multimedia content takes loads of space. Scripted missions, AI and coding in general does not. It can take a lot of space too, but nothing in comparison.

      Probably they reutilised textures more than usual and improved compression overall.

  • “we thought that such an expansive game like Skyrim”
    Oh you mean like fallout 3 that they copy paste the same dungeon texture a billion times over?

    I go to a dungeon in fallout 3 in 2008, vist a 100 more with the same textures, buy ALL 5 dlcs and they ALL have that texture, i buy new vegas and ALL the dlcs and they ALL have that texture.

    2008-2011= 700 hours of fallout looking at the same texture.

    “Content doesn’t take lots more space if you know how to build an open world game, which we do.”You mean copy and paste? From that id rather have rage, unique enviroments and textures, and big size, admitedly rage textures are blurry in comparison with linear fps, imagine how they will be uncompressed.LOOK AT SKYRIM, it looks like a moded oblivion, god damn game companies posting lies.

    • JustSomebody

      Rage was a terrible example of an open world game. Linear as hell. And for all the hype the textures weren’t that great, especially when you don’t even get to see them because they never load in XD

      • “terrible example of an open world game”

        Not really, i prefer this and dead island from the super copy and paste fallout 3.

        Textures loaded fine on consoles and looked ok, for pc standards? Yes they were dissapointing, still better than fallout 3, admitedly dead island, mw2, black ops, all look better than rage.

        This is why games nodways have less envrioments, texture size, copy and paste bethesda  will deliver a huge identical world.

    • Xavier

      You do realize that Skyrim has been hand crafted, right? The entire world was made by a team of artists and mappers. Every bit of land was hand crafted, and so were the dungeons. Do a little research next time.

  • “perhaps the problem is not with the disc format entirely….”  Really?  Take a look at Battlefield 3 for example, the game comes on two discs for PC and the install size is 12GB, double that of Skyrim.  You insinuate this is a fault or failure in development, take a look at both games running side by side and at a quick glance it will become very apparent why there is a drastic difference in data size between the two titles, there is nothing “great” about them achieving a small install size.  Bethesda’s engine is a very minimal upgrade over their previous tool set due to the unfortunate fact that they are leading development for Xbox & PS3 which curbs graphical potential enormously.  The end result is a game that is lacking visually, in comparison to say The Witcher 2.

    • Yet rage is 22gb and doesnt look as good as mw2…texture wise.

  • Lang

    For anyone rocking SSDs in their PCs this is what they want to hear

  • Adam

    I think I also heard them say that they owed a lot to the fact that a lot of things like environmental generation is non-scripted and done by the game itself requiring less space. Don’t know how true this is.