GameGuideDog probes Nick Brecken, the new Community Manager at Bethesda who recently left ShackNews to work with the development team to fill us in on the details for Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Here is what we uncovered. As the fifth Elder scrolls video game, there’s a lot to tell. It’s a massive epic fantasy world designed based on the success of previous Elder Scrolls entries which have shown that huge single story RPG experiences is true gaming that fans cannot get enough of. As the next evolution from executive producer Todd Howard and his team’s vision, the game sports an entirely new engine and overall design.
The game takes place in the province of Skyrim which is much more rugged, sort of Nordic with mountain vistas in the distance, and very atmospheric. An emphasized feature of Skyrim are the dragons which are incredibly dynamic enemies which you’ll find throughout the world. You encounter them at various points and they’ll have several different actions and even functions they can perform. They are extremely unpredictable.
One pertinent question of ours was if it was mandatory via objectives to deal with these huge dragon in Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim or was it just expected happen-chance during travel, and the undeniable answer is both, and it’s absolutely necessary to deal with them at one point or another. So know that you will meet these beastly fearsome entities regardless if you want to or not. Of course the objectives requiring that they be handled included in Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is not one to be overlooked as ‘commercial hype’.
The tale and game itself has been in development before the completion of Fallout 3 approximately three to four years in production and the next important informative request is does this mean the game’s world is even larger or somehow bigger given that much time to model and design it?
The answer is both yes, and that Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is on par with what we’d come to expect from previous Bethesda games as they are generally quite huge and intentionally overwhelming anyway, but what they’ve done is make it a much more desperate questing experience as you encounter over a hundred fifty dungeons, each one much more complex and detailed than any previous Elder Scrolls game has ever been seen visually. Brecken also explains that the previous titles published had a team of only two level designers/artists whereas with Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim they had eight on the team paying close and tedious attention to all those artistic and functioning specifics.
Additionally Nick pointed out to us that since the engine lends really well to such intense graphic detail, they certainly had their hands full, and along with incredibly talented artistic maps and textures, the other thing the engine does really well is the animation. You’ll see this in the third person view, when you pull back and the you see the player in a sort of a momentum shift during running and walking based on scripted or atmospheric occurances, and overall in third person view, the perspective really shows off the the rugged terrain and ambiance, which sells the experience so much more than previous releases.
We also inquired about the creative VATS mode provided in the Fallout series, and if there was anything constructed for Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim that might be similar.
The answer to this a mixed bag. We were told yes of course however there isn’t a tactical VATS mode of course since you wouldn’t want to do that with just swords and spells per Brecken (why not though, right?), but what they have done is include a tilt cam that displays all kinds of new combat moves. This view accentuates the action when the character pulls them off, the top end will slow them down and stylize them much more effectively than previous titles have shown. “It’s much more visceral…”, says Brecken and at the same time always being realtime action.
Finally we questioned about the weaponry and items to be found. All the weapons, routes that are taken, items and objects all have a very cool 3D aspect to them. The inventory system itself is completely redesigned so for example when you have an item, you can look in your inventory and examine it at every angle and examine it’s every detail which is much more satisfying. Obviously there are dozens and dozens of crazy weapons from swords and staves, and in Skyrim there is now dual wielding which means you can have an Ax in one hand and a sword or a magic spell in the other.
Since now you’ll now be able to have two spells to dual wield we asked if the combining of spell casting in this fashion would create some kind of hybrid new spell. Brecken explained they didn’t go into the combining so much but the overall power say if you have two fire spells and cast them at the same time will have a much more powerful result. What this means to us, is that dual spell casting combinations will matter depending on how you creatively use and switch between them which is also pretty cool.
We asked a rather secretive question about the intentions of Bethesda to have any DLC plans at this point, and the answer although bleak still says it all. They haven’t announced any DLC’s but the potential to create them is definitely included in the design of the software. As most gamers have come to both expect, desire and adore extra content, we have the sneaking suspicion if it’s ever a strong enough request, we will be seeing them.
It’s a bit premature to speculate expansions at this time of course, since they just announced Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in the first place, and per Brecken it’s safe to say the game will take 30 hours to get through the base play-through and there are at least 200 or 300 hours of total mission time to be experienced. It’s a huge amount and a really exciting year for Bethesda, they have two huge open world ambitious games this year including Prey 2 in that lineup and it’s great because it’s what they really love to do.
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has a release date branded as November 11th, 2011 (or 11-11-11 if you’re looking closely!)
Below is a video from Coin-Op TV from E3 discussing Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim with some exceptional gameplay footage you won’t want to miss: