Skyrim 1.5 Beta update hits Steam; new 'kill cameras' included

If The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and its host of NPCs have taught us anything, it's that taking "an arrow to the knee" is a surefire way to cut one's adventuring days short. Bethesda has announced that the 1.5 title update for the game is now available in beta form via Steam, adding (among other things) "swords to the chest," "daggers to the face," and "being blasted off a cliff" to the roster of career-ending injuries that can now be inflicted on Skyrim's denizens with cinematic flair.

The announcement, which comes by way of Bethesda's official blog, notes that an official version of the update will also be "arriving soon" for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game.

A new trailer showcasing the new "kill-camera" functionality in action features, as one would expect, a number of NPCs getting savaged in a number of creative ways. Death by bone-crunching suplex is one of of my personal favorites. You can read the complete list of features and fixes below, though be forewarned that the list of bug-fixes may contain minor spoilers as they relate to specific quests.

Steam users interested in checking out the 1.5 beta can do so via a simple opt-in process. Once running Steam, click on the Steam Tab, followed by Settings. Under the Account tab, go to the Beta Participation section and select Change. Select "Skyrim Beta" from the drop-down menu, and click "OK." Steam will restart, and you should be good to go.

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New Features

  • New cinematic kill cameras for projectile weapons and spells

  • New kill moves and animations for melee weapons

  • Shadows on grass available (PC)

  • Smithing skill increases now factor in the created item’s value

  • Improved visual transition when going underwater

  • Improved distance LOD transition for snowy landscapes

    Bug Fixes

  • General crash fixes and memory optimizations

  • Fixed issue with Deflect Arrows perk not calculating properly

  • In "A Cornered Rat," the death of certain NPCs no longer blocks progression

  • Fixed issue where Farkas would not give Companion's quests properly

  • Fixed crash when loading saves that rely on data that is no longer being loaded

  • Followers sneak properly when player is sneaking

  • Fixed issue with weapon racks not working properly in Proudspire Manor

  • Arrows and other projectiles that were stuck in objects in the world now clean up properly

  • Fixed issue where "Rescue Mission" was preventing "Taking Care of Business" from starting properly

  • Fixed issue where certain NPCs would fail to become Thieves Guild fences

  • Fixed issue in "Diplomatic Immunity" where killing all the guards in the Thalmor Embassy before starting the quest would break progress

  • In "Hard Answers," picking up the dwarven museum key after completing the quest, no longer restarts the quest

  • Killing Viola before or after "Blood on the Ice" no longer blocks progression

  • Fixed issue where Calixto would fail to die properly in "Blood on the Ice"

  • In "Waking Nightmare" fixed occasional issue where Erandur would stop pathing properly

  • Fixed issue where letters and notes with random encounters would appear blank

  • Fixed rare issue where dialogue and shouts would improperly play

  • Lydia will now offer marriage option after player purchases Breezehome in Whiterun

  • Fixed issue where if player manually mined ore in Cidhna Mine, jail time would not be served

  • Fixed rare issue with skills not increasing properly

  • Fixed issue where the Headsman's Axe did not gain proper buff from Barbarian perk

  • In "A Night to Remember" it is no longer possible to kill Ysolda, Ennis or Senna before starting the quest

  • Fixed issue with the ebony dagger having a weapon speed that was too slow

  • Fixed issue with "The Wolf Queen Awakened" where backing out of a conversation with Styrr too soon would block progress

  • The third level of the Limbsplitter perk now properly improves all battle axes

  • Fixed a rare issue where Sanguine Rose would not work properly

  • In "Tending the Flames" King Olaf's Verse will no longer disappear from explosions