Todd Howard, Game Director for Bethesda Game Studios, sat down with the German gaming website Gameswelt to discuss some more details of the upcoming Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. In the 14-minute clip, we hear a little bit more about the details of playing in Skryim and what we can expect to be different and simliar from the previous Elder Scrolls.
Howard discusses that the goal going into developing Skyrim was to explore the Norse culture of Tamriel. Where Morrowind brought a “stranger in a strange land” feel to Elder Scrolls, Skyrim will follow Oblivion’s mythology and fantasy feel with more development on specific Norse mythology.
The ten races from Oblivion, which includes Elves, Humans, Kajit and Orcs, are back. Howard comments that the team was very pleased with the races developed in Oblivion and currently have no desire to add any more. Howard also comments that racial choices will impact some quests and interactions, as issues of racism were an important aspect that the team wanted to bring back, but will not impact players from completing main missions in impeding ways.
Some additional updates to the game include a more developed “sneak” system that is similar to Fallout 3‘s, in which NPC states (alarmed, asleep, suspicious, distracted, etc.) determine how accurately your character can sneak around. The developers are also creating an on-screen notifier which will help players understand character states a little better.
NPCs, as stated in earlier previews of the games, are now a little more developed to make the world appear more realistic. NPCs will now be doing specific animations related to their career choice, such as cutting wood, cooking and working in mines. In addition, players can also engage in these tasks and some aspects, like cooking your own food, have been added to the game.
Howard states the goal of Skyrim was to make the game a lot more realistic. Gone are NPCs randomly standing around seemingly doing nothing all day (as mentioned above), but Howard also mentioned that randomly-spawned animals are also going to have more of a role than “just walking around”. Howard hinted that behaviors and certain gatherings for creatures might be developed, for example Giants will often be found in their own villages. Other creatures mentioned are mammoths, wolves, deer and elk.
Other additional updates to the game include better traps and spatial puzzles, with Howard stating, “we’ve come a long way with that.” Crafting will be back for the specific disciplines such as enchanting and blacksmithing. The difficult alchemy crafting that was used in Oblivion is back, but Howard promises that it has been “reworked”. In addition, specific Guilds have returned to Skyrim but have also been made a little different. No word yet on what the differences may be, however.
Howard promises the game will be as involved and as large as Oblivion was. While the map size will be as large as Oblivion, Howard feels that because Skyrim will be more mountainous it will allow players to take more time exploring the entire land and might feel larger than Oblivion. At the time of the interview, Howard stated that there are over 120 dungeons and over 100 “points of interest” that players will interact with. Be prepared to be at this game for a while, everyone!
So far, Skyrim is looking like a beefed-up and much-improved version of Oblivion. We will be keeping our eyes out for some more updates as the date for Skyrim’s release draws close. In the meantime, you can also check out Howard’s full comments regarding the game (including some points on the graphics quality) in the video below.