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To say that the release of Skyrim’s first DLC Dawnguard went by without a hitch would be more than slightly inaccurate. In fact, PS3 users are still awaiting the release of the Vampire focused add-on. That, however, doesn’t appear to be stopping Bethesda from getting down to creating the next, somewhat inevitable, Skyrim DLC pack. In a submission to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the developers’ parent company and owner Zenimax requested a trademark for the word ‘Hearthfire’, leading many to suspect that this is the title of the new Elder Scrolls addition.
The official document (which you can view here) notes the trademark as a “Computer game software for use with computers and video game consoles; downloadable computer game software offered via the internet and wireless devices”. It doesn’t take a level 81 mage to make the link between this description and a possible DLC add-on, so certainly one could assume for now that the term ‘Hearthfire’ is either the title of or heavily associated with the theme of the new content.
As far as speculation on what the term relates to goes, there’s not a lot to work with. ‘Hearthfire’, also sometimes referred to as ‘Heartfire’, is the ninth month of the calendar of Tamriel (the fictional world in which Skyrim is set). There are several events that have a notable presence in the Elder Scrolls universe during this month, with the Tales and Tallows celebration of Necromancy perhaps being the most intriguing. The obvious link from here would be the connection between necromancy in Skyrim and zombies (or Draugr). It’s certainly a well proven concept to release a zombie focused add-on experience and would fit well in to the Skyrim setting. As for originality in terms of concept and gameplay, however, a zombie DLC seems a little too familiar as the Draugr are a very consistent part of the base game. The month of ‘Hearthfire’ also offers up a Children’s Day as well as a day for accepting priesthood, which does little to detract from the zombie theory unfortunately.
Obviously this is all speculation as of this moment, but with Bethesda’s promise of expansive and consistent DLC it’s hard to ignore the possibilities. Will ‘Hearthfire’ be announced in September (the corresponding Earth month)? Or is this just a small decision blown out of proportion? Whatever your thoughts be sure to share them in the comments section below and check back for more on this story.