Games Similar to Elder Scrolls

If you love Skyrim, but got a bit too tired of it, we do not judge you. The game, no matter how dedicated Tom Howard is to selling it every year, is getting pretty old. It’s a good, almost perfect example of an RPG game with an open world, but since 2011 there were some other options released in this genre. 

Whether you want to explore open worlds or dive into RPGs with character customization, there are great alternatives while waiting for the next Bethesda game like Elder Scrolls 6.

Assortment of fantasy characters from games offering experiences like Skyrim

The Magic of Open-World RPGs

If you already played Skyrim, you somewhat understand what is an open-world RPG game. What distinguishes an RPG from other types of 3d games it’s a world you can explore almost without limits – you can go anywhere and pick up quests along the road.  Instead of being put in a specifically restricted area that you cannot escape with only one task per level, open-world RPG attracts people because you can do whatever the developer allows you to.

You choose a character, pick up a name, and different abilities that can alter your XP, Stamina, or Magic, and good to go. Along the road, you get experience points and level up. You can start the main story right away or just wander around, pick up some mushrooms, make soup, go fishing (if you purchased a Special Edition only), and so on. We want to show you some honorable alternatives, as well as talk about RPG game art, which distinguishes open-world RPG games similar to the Elder Scrolls from others.

Game 1: The Witcher Series

Witcher 3 gameplay screenshot Breathtaking Landscapes in Top Open-World RPGs Like Skyrim

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is an amazing fantasy RPG (role-playing video game). You play as Geralt of Rivia, a monster-slayer searching for Ciri, the heir to the Cintra throne. Similar to Skyrim, you are on your own on your adventure. There’s so much to do that you might spend hours exploring without touching the main story. If that’s you, the Game of the Year Edition includes excellent DLCs for even more gameplay. 

Concept art was crucial for creating the game’s look. The environment and concept art teams worked closely with quest designers to blend the game’s story and quest into the surroundings. In DLC Blood and Wine the visuals are brighter and more colorful than the base game. Integrating the game’s story with the environment posed challenges. The case study focused on Beauclair, Toussaint’s capital, showing the design process of balancing artistic vision with gameplay needs.

Beauclair’s early concepts drew from Siracusa, Italy, with warm colors. However, feedback led to changes, incorporating French and Italian Renaissance styles, emphasizing wineries and green landscapes. Elven architecture embraced gothic styles blended with organic designs to fit the Witcher lore.

Game 2: Dragon Age Series

Embark on Epic Quests in Medieval Cities with Games Similar to Skyrim Dragon Age gameplay screenshot

Love saving the day and fighting dragons? Dragon Age: Inquisition is the game for you. In the world of Thedas, a big breach in the sky lets out demons, but you gain the power to close rifts. Joining the Inquisition, you help restore order. With a great story, awesome characters, epic battles, and dragon fights, plus the freedom to decide how you play, it’s a game you can enjoy over and over. And if you liked the romance in Skyrim, Dragon Age: Inquisition has that too, with even more depth.

Dragon Age is influenced by The Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice & Fire, blending high and low fantasy. The Mirror of Transformation, found in Dragon Age II and Inquisition’s The Black Emporium DLC, lets you change your character’s appearance.

The game is deep, with a large cast of characters and decisions shaping an empire’s fate. Relationships and politics are as important as dragons and magic, and Dragon Age has even more of the latter. Similar to Game of Thrones, it offers drama, intrigue, and wit, making it an engaging experience.

Game 3: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Explore Enchanting Woodlands in Open-World Games Like The Elder Scrolls

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a solo adventure game you can play on PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. Originally planned as a multiplayer game, it became a single-player RPG. 

Ken Rolston, known for designing The Elder Scrolls games, leads the design. Fantasy author R.A. Salvatore created the game’s world, and Todd McFarlane, the creator of Spawn, did the artwork. In the game, there are “5 regions, 4 races, and 3 ability trees with 22 abilities each.” Playable humanoid fantasy races are Almain (noble Humans), Dokkalfar (Dark Elves), Ljosalfar (Light Elves), and Varani (nomadic Humans). 

Unlike other games, you start without a specific class, so you can make your own (like combining Might skills with basic Sorcery spells). The ability trees are for fighter, rogue, and mage classes. You begin as a “blank slate,” waking up among corpses after returning from the dead. The game has a unique “destiny” system, where you can invest in the skill-tree system to unlock different “destinies,” acting as the game’s class system.

The design team wanted to make a special world that’s different from regular fantasy places. They cared a lot about fitting things like swords, armor, and effects into the game’s world, and also thinking about what colors and symbols mean in the game’s story.

The game was meant to be colorful and lush, like a dark storybook, not trying to look too real. Artists drew initial ideas in 2D, making plans and mood-setting pictures. The game told stories and history through things like stained glass windows and dungeon ruins, making the world feel deeper. Creatures like trolls and bogans were made from scratch to fit the game’s style but also be different from usual fantasy. Even though the game had lots of details, there was still space for players to use their imaginations, hinting at a bigger, more complex world.

The game had a detailed history and lore shown in the world, talking to characters, and in the books in the game. It wanted players to explore and think about the world.

Game 4: Fallout Series

Post-apocalyptic adventurer with canine companion evoking the exploration of Skyrim Fallout gaming background
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Fallout is a series of video games created by Tim Cain at Interplay Entertainment. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the games are influenced by 1950s U.S. culture, blending hope in technology with fear of nuclear destruction. The story imagines a scenario where the U.S. becomes dominant by developing fusion power but faces a nuclear exchange in 2077, leading to the post-apocalyptic setting of the game. The user interface as well as some of the basic gameplay mechanics are pretty much similar to Skyrim (here is a link to what is a user interface and where to find game user interface design examples). 

The series was inspired by Wasteland, a game from 1988. 

The series has six main role-playing games: Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4, and Fallout 76. There are also spin-offs like Fallout Tactics, Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, and Fallout Shelter, a simulation game. Some other Fallout games were canceled during development.

The game was made by Bethesda, so they know how to make a survival game. The Fallout series is a lot like its fantasy relative, some games even share the same engine. It explores a post-apocalyptic world, has thematic depth game art, and share some gameplay similarities with Elder Scrolls.

Game 5: Dark Souls Series

Heroic knight with a shield in a dramatic fantasy setting similar to Skyrim's epic landscapes Dark Souls gameplay screenshot

If you want to play games with character customization, where they make a specific accent at the character development, then maybe you’ll like the Dark Soul series. 

Dark Souls is a series of action role-playing games developed by FromSoftware and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. The first game, Dark Souls, came out in 2011, followed by two sequels, Dark Souls II (2014) and Dark Souls III (2016).

These games are set in a dark, medieval fantasy world where players fight against knights, dragons, phantoms, demons, and other supernatural creatures. The story revolves around collecting, losing, and regaining souls, which are important for both the narrative and gameplay, as they serve as both in-game currency and sort of XP points to get new levels. Each game involves a choice at the end: reignite the “first flame” or let it fade, similar to choices made by others before.

Dark Souls games are played from a third-person perspective, emphasizing exploration and battles with enemies using weapons and magic. Players face bosses to progress and interact with other characters. You can create your character, choosing gender, appearance, name, and starting class. Classes, like knights or mages, offer different starting gear and abilities that you can customize based on your preferences.

The games handle progress, death, and improvement uniquely. Bonfires act as checkpoints, restoring health but respawning enemies. When you die, you lose your souls, which can be recovered if you return to where you died without dying again. If you die again before reaching your lost souls, they’re gone for good. The design encourages players not to fear death, as long as they learn and adapt, with no progress lost.

Game 6: Divinity: Original Sin 2

Fantasy RPG characters ready for exploration in a Skyrim-like open world divinity original sin 2 game screenshot

Original Sin 2 brings a mix of tactical combat and engaging storytelling. After the first game, Larian Studios worked on improving the sequel, focusing on enhancing the narrative, a weak point in the original. The sequel introduced six unique characters, letting players either control them or include them in the party. This added depth and individuality to the gameplay. The team collaborated with studios worldwide, overcoming challenges like time differences to bring in fresh ideas and creativity. In “Divinity: Original Sin II,” the art style became more mature and realistic to match the story’s tone and avoid repetition in game design.

Skyrim vs. Other Games

Skyrim brought a new level of detail and scale to open-world games. The game featured a vast number of locations, quests, and events, making it one of the biggest open-world games of its time. How exactly is Skyrim different from the games mentioned above?

Feature/Aspect
Skyrim
Witcher 3
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Fallout 4
Dark Souls
World Type
Open world, high fantasy
Open world, dark fantasy
Open world, high fantasy
Open world, post-apocalyptic
Semi-open world, dark fantasy
Character Customization
Extensive (race, skills, etc.)
Fixed protagonist (Geralt) with customizable skills
Extensive (race, class, skills)
Extensive (S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system, perks)
Extensive (classes, skills)
Storytelling
Player-driven with many side quests
Story-focused with a rich narrative
Strong central narrative with branching paths
Story-driven with significant player choice
Minimalist, lore-rich environment
Combat System
Real-time with pause option
Real-time, action-focused
Tactical and real-time options
Real-time with V.A.T.S. for targeting
Real-time, skill-based
Modding Support
Extensive community mods
Limited official mod support
Limited mod support
Extensive mod support
Limited mod support (before installing a mod check if you are not going to be banned for it)
Gameplay Focus
Exploration, questing, crafting
Story, character development, exploration
Story, character development, tactical combat
Exploration, survival, crafting
Challenge, exploration, combat skill

Games released after Skyrim appear to draw inspiration from its innovations. For instance, Dragon Age: Inquisition embraced an open world and increased character customization similar to Skyrim. If we’re talking about other games similar to the Elder Scrolls seriesBreath of the Wild introduced a fully explorable world with dynamic systems reminiscent of Skyrim. 

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey & Valhalla incorporated RPG elements like character progression and branching narratives, echoing Skyrim’s depth. 

Additionally, Fallout 4 & Fallout 76 show how Bethesda learned from Skyrim’s successes and challenges, particularly in world-building and player freedom. Skyrim’s impact on RPG history is undeniable, earning numerous Game of the Year awards and maintaining popularity today.

ivid medieval scene in RPG, indie alternatives of Skyrim

Indie Alternatives

If you are looking for a small developer company RPG game that has an open world, you should check out: 

  • Kingdom Come: Deliverance. It is a video game released in 2018. It’s an action role-playing game set in a medieval kingdom called Bohemia. The game focuses on being historically accurate. Though it’s quite hard to call this an indie game with a budget of about $36 million, while some inside info suggests that the actual budget was closer to $80-90 million. You play from a first-person perspective in an open-world environment. The game has a flexible role-playing system, so you can customize your skills and play as a warrior, bard, thief, or a mix of these. Your abilities and stats grow based on your actions and choices in dialogues.

In conversations, you need to make decisions quickly, and these choices affect your relationships with others. Your reputation is shaped by the choices you make, leading to possible consequences.

  • Subnautica. Created by Unknown Worlds Entertainment, lets players explore an alien planet called Planet 4546B. To navigate its mostly watery surface, players can scuba dive or use futuristic aquatic vehicles for most of the game. In the game, you’re Ryley Robinson, a maintenance chief on the spaceship Aurora sent by the Alterra Corporation to build a phase gate. After a crash on the water planet, Planet 4546B, you need to find a way to escape and figure out why the Aurora crashed. The main goal is to explore the ocean, survive, and complete tasks to move the story forward.

Players can gather resources, build tools, create bases and submersibles, and interact with the planet’s wildlife.

  • Valheim. It is a game where fallen Vikings aim to prove themselves for Valhalla. Players start with nothing and must defeat dangers in Valheim to reach the Norse afterlife. Guided by instincts and a raven, they prepare to face Odin’s enemies. In this open-world survival game, players craft tools, build shelters and fight enemies from a third-person perspective. Cooperative gameplay for up to ten players and optional PvP(player versus player) are supported.

Players create a Viking character and explore procedurally generated worlds with different biomes, each having unique enemies and bosses. The world has a day and night cycle.

Survival involves gathering resources through foraging, hunting, mining, or farming. These resources are used to build, craft, and forge. Players have health and stamina bars replenished by eating food, which can also boost them temporarily based on it’s quality.

All those games were developed by small companies. How did they grow their fanbase? Basically, if you want your game to be noticed (not mentioning the most obvious reasons like you need good gameplay, UI, UX, so on), the game should have a style. Check out the best video game art styles to see what we mean by it.

Lone hero overlooking medieval castle in a vast open-world similar to Skyrim's landscapes

Skyrim vs Morrowind vs Oblivion?

We were motivated to write this part of the text by a thread on Reddit by a player who made a full analysis of three games.
For us personally, though, Morrowind smacks of an indie game.

For your convenience, here are the main differences:  

World:

  • Morrowind has a very unique setting with different landscapes. It feels different in each region and encourages exploration.
  • Oblivion has a more typical fantasy setting with forests and plains. Cities are big and there are many towns. Dungeons get repetitive, and the urge to explore is less.
  • Skyrim’s world is mysterious, with diverse areas. Dungeons are unique and the world invites exploration.

NPCs and Creatures:

  • Morrowind has unique creatures but human enemies are dull. NPCs talk a lot but lack personality.
  • Oblivion’s enemies are more repetitive but NPCs have more character.
  • Skyrim balances enemy variety well. NPCs have distinct personalities.

Quests:

  • Morrowind’s main quest is engaging. Quests feel realistic and side quests are varied.
  • Oblivion’s main quest is less exciting. Guild quests and side quests are a mix of good and boring.
  • Skyrim’s main quest is fun. Guild quests are short and side quests are diverse.

How do the players feel about the game environment?

  • Morrowind feels real with consequences for your actions. It’s challenging with more skills and magic options but old-fashioned combat.
  • Oblivion lets you role-play with more choices. The game is easier to get into, with simpler magic and more enjoyable combat.
  • Skyrim offers freedom but lacks consequences. It’s smooth to play with balanced leveling and improved combat.

The Importance of Modding Communities

So, what’s “modding”? It’s changing a game by tweaking its files or engine. People do this to alter game content, visuals, and more, creating new stuff. Modding is a powerful way for gaming communities to express themselves and influences the industry in the long run. Most mods are free and made by passionate community members. They stand out in the game development world, not tied to budgets or tight deadlines.

Skyrim boosted mod popularity with its active modding support. Mods initially fixed bugs and improved gameplay. Modding Skyrim is easier with Bethesda’s Creation Kit, letting anyone create custom content. Modders have kept Skyrim’s visuals up-to-date despite aging graphics. Recent open-world games outshine it, but mods enhance details, making Skyrim more enjoyable. Sometimes modders completely change the way how characters look, their clothes, weapons and much more.

Some game icons can be redone too just to match new modes’ aesthetics or make. If you need more information look at our icons for games services.

If you want to become such a modder, you’ll have to learn modeling for games (we do also provide such services). 

NPCs in Skyrim can be dull and predictable. Sometimes it can be seen in combat from other games similar to the Elder Scrolls online. Modders addressed this by adding more dialogue, making characters more interesting, realistic, and improving their combat abilities. These mods enhance the Skyrim experience for those bothered by its aging visuals.

It’s a completely different story from remake and remaster. What is the difference between remake and remaster? A video game “remake” is when a game is completely recreated with new graphics and sometimes changes in gameplay and story. It’s like making a new version of an old game with modern technology and ideas. A “remaster,” on the other hand, keeps the original game mostly the same but improves things like the graphics and controls. It’s like giving an old game a polish to make it look and play better on newer systems.

Fantasy RPG tavern bustling with diverse characters, reminiscent of Skyrim's interactive worlds

The Future of Open-World RPGs

AI is changing how open-world RPGs work. Instead of fixed game worlds, imagine playing a game like The Elder Scrolls VI where the fictional universe changes as you play. AI makes it possible for the game world to adapt and respond to your actions, making it feel alive.

In many current RPG games similar to the Elder Scrolls, characters you meet in the game follow simple patterns, making them predictable and sometimes boring. AI can make these characters more complex and interesting by learning from your actions. This makes your connection with them deeper and your gaming experience more engaging.

One exciting thing AI can do is help players create their own content in the game. With AI tools, you can make your own quests, dialogues, and stories in the game world. Imagine crafting your own adventures in games like Cyberpunk or Grand Theft Auto. This gives you more control over your gaming experience.

The past doesn’t tell us what the future holds. Instead, it’s a chance to think about how our values as gamers and game makers are changing. We can shape the future of gaming by choosing what we care about in upcoming games. The future of open-world role-playing games (RPGs) looks exciting with several advancements:

  • Games similar to the Elder Scrolls will have smarter characters and more realistic worlds that change and react in new ways.
  • Players might use VR to feel like they’re really inside the game world.
  • Future games could work on PCs, consoles, and even phones, letting everyone play together.
  • Expect deeper stories and characters, where player choices really matter.
  • Games will look more beautiful and realistic.
  • Playing with others online will be smoother and more fun.
  • Players will have more ways to change their characters and the game world.

Game Art and Design: Games with similar Style to Elder Scrolls

Diverse group of fantasy game characters ready for battle, Character Customization from games similar to Skyrim

Customization and Character Development

How does it work in games similar to the Elder Scrolls and Fallout? This process typically involves several key elements: character creation, skill development, moral choices, narrative integration, and the impact on the game world.

  • Players are often given extensive options to customize their character’s appearance, race, and sometimes initial attributes or class. This initial stage is important as it allows players to create a unique avatar that they can connect with. Games like Skyrim offer a variety of races and backgrounds like elves, orks, humans, argonians (reptiles), khajiit (cats), each with unique lore and abilities, encouraging players to think about the kind of character they want to choose in the game.
  • Unlike traditional RPGs where classes define skill sets, The Elder Scrolls series often allow players to develop skills based on usage. This system encourages experimentation and lets players naturally evolve their character based on their play style. For instance, a player who frequently uses stealth will become more proficient in it, shaping their character into a stealthy rogue without being confined to a predetermined class.
  • Player decisions, both major and minor, often shape the character’s development and reputation in the game world. Actions and choices can affect how NPCs interact with the player, the quests available, and even the outcome of certain storylines. This level of agency can lead to a highly personalized story experience where the player’s character genuinely feels like a product of their decisions.
  • In games similar to the Elder Scrolls, the character’s background and development are often intricately woven into the larger narrative. This can mean that a character’s race or past decisions might unlock unique dialogue options or change the context of certain events. Such integration elevates the importance of character building as it directly impacts the player’s understanding and experience of the story.
  • The way a character grows and interacts with the game world can lead to noticeable changes in the environment or the game’s political landscape. For example, a character’s allegiance in a faction war might lead to the rise or fall of certain groups within the game. This dynamic interaction reinforces the player’s sense of immersion and consequence in the game world.

If you need a well-developed character in an RPG game, you should probably do your research and consider this list for further inspiration.

For this, you will definitely need a 3d character customization service.

Fantasy RPG hero in a vibrant open world, reminiscent of top RPGs like Skyrim

Conclusion

Skyrim has influenced other big games similar to the Elder Scrolls Online. It is famous for its huge, open world. This has inspired other games to create big worlds full of different places to explore and things to do outside the main story. In Skyrim, players can change the game by adding new things or changing how it looks. Skyrim can be called the father of heavy modding.

So, Skyrim hasn’t just been a fun game on its own. It has also shown other games new ways to create big worlds, let players change the game, and make everything look and feel real. This influence is why so many newer games are more exciting and feel like real adventures.

FAQs:

Digital vector art banner with FAQ and a stylized female character

What makes a game similar to Elder Scrolls?

Games that are similar to The Elder Scrolls series often have big open worlds to explore, interesting stories, lots of ways to make your character your own, and really get you into the role-playing experience. These games let you feel free and explore however you want, which is something people who like “Elder Scrolls” really enjoy.

Can indie games deliver an experience comparable to Elder Scrolls?

Indie games can give you an experience like Skyrim. Many of them capture the same kind of feeling, sometimes with their own special twists or more focused stories. These games are great to try out because they often bring new and creative ideas to role-playing games.

How do mods enhance the experience of these games?

Mods are a big deal for these kinds of games. They let players add new things to the game, make the graphics better, fix problems, or even completely change how the game plays. This can make the games last longer and be more fun, just like mods do in Skyrim.

Are there any upcoming RPGs that Elder Scrolls fans should look out for?

As for upcoming RPGs that fans of The Elder Scrolls series might like, there are several to look out for in 2024. Games like “Final Fantasy VII Rebirth,” “Dragon’s Dogma 2,” “Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes,” “Greedfall 2: The Dying World,” “Black Myth: Wukong,” “Kristala,” and “Chrono Odyssey” are all expected to offer unique experiences that might appeal to RPG’s fans.

How important is storytelling in these RPGs?

In these RPGs, storytelling is really important. It makes the game more interesting and helps you feel more connected to the game. Games like Skyrim have great stories that really pull you into their worlds.

What distinguishes Elder Scrolls from other RPGs?

What makes The Elder Scrolls different from other RPGs is how big and open its world is, its detailed background stories, and how much freedom you have to choose what to do. It mixes exploring, good stories, and ways to make your character special in a way that really sets a high standard for other role-playing games.