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'Skyrim' continues to flex its popularity, versatility

Bethesda Softworks

There's much to see and do already, with more possibly coming soon.

The previously reported "Creation Kit" and the "Skyrim Workshop" that accompanies it have proven to be massive hits. The game's publisher, Bethesda, reports that more than two million modifications have been downloaded, and over 25,000 published, both within the first week of the tools and marketplace going live.

The publisher has also revealed other impressive numbers: despite being released in the final part of the year, "Skyrim" was the second best selling game of 2011, with 2012 sales remaining strong as ever.

In the first month alone, 10 million copies were shipped across the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360, resulting in $650 million at the cash register, an amount that has increased considerably since.

Players have also averaged a staggering 75 hours of playtime. And that was before "Skyrim Workshop" was launched. No doubt, many will continue to come back for more, even those who managed to clear the adventures offered by the game's official designers.

But might there be more to come from Bethesda? "Skyrim 2" perhaps? Not quite, though the developer and publisher recently offered an inside look at how they both blow steam and brainstorm.

For his keynote at DICE 2011, Bethesda Games Studios game director and executive producer Todd Howard talked about an annual tradition at the studio, a company wide game jam. For an entire week, everyone on the team can create whatever the heck they'd like, and on company time. The most recent one took place right after "Skyrim" was shipped.

The following is a sizzle reel that highlights their internal jam session's results. As Howard notes, who knows what will end up in the game, but there's a good chance that the best parts might fall into the laps of consumers at one point or another:

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Matthew Hawkins is an NYC-based game journalist who has also written for EGM, GameSetWatch, Gamasutra, Giant Robot, and numerous others. He also self-publishes his own game culture zine, is part of Attract Mode, and co-hosts The Fangamer Podcast. You can keep tabs on him via Twitter, or his personal home-base, FORT90.com.