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Is Skyrim Possible for the PS Vita?

/ Jan 9th, 2013 5 Comments



Skyrim released on Nov. 11 2011 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. Since its initial release, three different DLCs have become available for the game (Dawnguard, Hearthfire and Dragonborn). All three are readily available for the Xbox 360 with a limited exclusivity to that system, while two are currently available for the PC and none of the DLC is available for the PS3 (nor is there any real concrete answer as to when it will become available). The lack of DLC is not surprising for the PS3 version because that version has had massive problems since its release with Bethesda basically admitting that they released a broken product at launch. Numerous patches have come out since the game’s release over a year ago that has ameliorated some of the problems with the crashes on the PS3, but there still remains issues as evidenced by the lack of DLC for the game on that system. It is obvious that Bethesda, like other third-party developers, has issues when porting games to Sony’s systems because of the Cell Processing. However, Sony’s PlayStation Vita has hardware that should not present as many problems to developers as the PS3 does.

[adsense250itp]The question of Bethesda’s popular and seminal open-world fantasy RPG Skyrim ever being reproduced on the PS Vita is not too difficult to answer. It will never happen for a number of reasons. The sheer size of the game and detail, despite the PS Vita’s power, cannot be reproduced faithfully on a handheld. Some things will have to be removed or the Vita version would be streamlined, which is not terrible, but certainly people would find a scaled-down Skyrim less appealing. In addition, Bethesda’s proprietary engine will likely not make a smooth transition over to the Vita. More importantly though, if Bethesda themselves, or another contracted developer, tried to port the game to another Sony system it would likely not sell because the company’s responses/treatment of the PS3 Skyrim has poisoned gamers who purchased the game for the system. That said though, a game like Skyrim with an impressive open-world feel and fantasy virtuosity with dragons and spells could be possible for the PS Vita. Just not done by Bethesda and that is perfectly fine (They could do one, if they wanted, because if they can release a buggy version of Skyrim for PS3, so why not the Vita? Why limit Bethesda’s sloppiness?).

Despite simply being a handheld system, the PS Vita is powerful and as stated upon its release, it is the most powerful handheld currently (and ever really, at this point). Since its release, the PS Vita has shown the potential and power of the system through the release of games like Gravity Rush and Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation. These two games are beautiful to look at, as well as, show that the Vita can handle larger, expansive worlds that give the player a sense of exploration and scope. Now the open-world that players traverse in Skyrim is not exactly reproducible on the PS Vita, but something close to it is. By smartly using pre-rendered cut scenes to mask loading screens, a developer could create a massive fantasy (or cyberpunk because that would be a million times more interesting) world for Vita users to explore. There is a potential in the PS Vita that developers just need to utilize and tap into to trick out the fledgling system. Will gamers be able to Fus Ro Dah on the go? Possibly. Would gamers want to fight dragons while riding the train? Absolutely.

Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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5 responses to “Is Skyrim Possible for the PS Vita?”

  1. Kazriko says:

    It might still be possible to put it on the Vita. The biggest thing hurting Skyrim on the PS3 was its lack of memory. The Vita actually has more ram than the PS3. Nearly all of the bugs in skyrim on PS3 were due to the limited ram. (The PS3 has 256mb, with maybe 200 available to the developer. The Vita has 512mb of ram.)

    The hard part would be the storage space. The largest game so far was about 4 gigs (Uncharted), and I think skyrim was a bit bigger than that.

    • Facelord says:

      Compression, compression. Playstation All-Stars is over 7gb on PS3, and 1.2gb without any cut content on Vita. There are more examples of this with other games, but that’s the best one I can think of. The Vita’s storage medium isn’t a problem, the only problem is in toning down texture quality so the Vita’s slightly weaker GPU can handle the title at half the resolution as on PS3.

      It’s seriously possible. I could see modders making it so within three years, but that’d require direct hardware access to the Vita and I wouldn’t want that. That could ruin the platform through piracy.

    • Graig says:

      Honestly if sky rim took up most of a 32 gig card I would go out and buy a card to be able to play this on this road

  2. Facelord says:

    Not a very smart article. Skyrim is absolutely possible on the Vita, its hardware architecture is actually more suited to their engine than the PS3(as long as you scale down some of the textures), with the Vita being more architecturally similar to the 360 than the PS3. You could even fit it on a 3.4gb Vita game card if you compressed the files well enough, absolutely. The key thing would be optimization, above all else. They’d have to compress pretty much every texture in the game to be a smaller file size; this wouldn’t decrease the look of the game, considering the Vita’s screen is 960×544 and the game is optimized for higher resolutions, but you’d still have to manually go through most of the files in the game and compress-compress-compress.

    It could happen, the popularity of the console makes it pretty unlikely though. A Skyrim GOTY Edition for PS3 with the Vita version free through Crossbuy would be a great way for them to apologize to Playstation gamers and win back their trust. This article definitely doesn’t cover what it should’ve, the important thing to understand is that it’s absolutely possible and would be much easier than you’d expect. I’d love Skyrim and Borderlands 2 on the Vita, myself, and the Borderlands 2 devs have already made it clear they’d be interested as long as Sony dealt with most of the work.

  3. DarthDiggler says:

    You seem to proclaim the VITA isn’t powerful enough to house a world like Skyrim. Yet it offers many of the capabilities of the Xbox 360 (3 cores, 512MB System ram + 128MB Video ram).

    Admittedly the CPU and GPU are not quite as powerful but they wouldn’t have to produce a 720p image.

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