Bethesda's Pete Hines said via Twitter on Friday that the Creation Kit for The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim is on track for a Tuesday, February 7 release. He also hinted to a "special surprise" that will accompany the release which is rumored to be an official high-res texture pack for the PC version.
As reported earlier, the Creation Kit features the same toolset used to create Skyrim's virtual environment. However, it also includes lots of new features such as the ability to build archives. The kit will be free to download via Valve's digital distribution platform supposedly on Tuesday if all goes well with the release schedule. Until then, modders are encouraged to check out the Creation Kit Wikki for more details.
Also slated to launch on Tuesday via Steam will be the Skyrim Workshop, an organized hub for what modders produce using the Creation Kit. This community-driven mod storefront will allow users to easily upload, download, and install their mods, making sharing custom content easier than ever before. Fans won't need to purchase the mods, but they can subscribe to them for free, essentially allowing for automatic updates to every Skyrim mod installed via the Workshop.
"With Skyrim Workshop, you can browse and search for the latest or highest rated mods, subscribe to any that interest you, rate your favorites and post feedback," Bethesda stated last week. "Once you've subscribed to some mods, start the Skyrim launcher and you'll see your subscribed mods automatically download. The launcher will even check if a mod has been updated and grab the latest version."
Be sure to keep your eye on Steam for the launch of both the Creation Kit and Bethesda's Skyrim Workshop. Happy modding!