Gamescom 2011: A Few Thoughts From Bethesda's Latest Skyrim Demo

Bethesda has given us another tour through the world of Skyrim, this time focusing on what happens when you go off in search of your own adventures.

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One of Bethesda's loftiest claims about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is that this is a much bigger game than its predecessor, Oblivion. On the surface, that seems dubious: the two world maps are almost identical in size, so you've got more or less the same amount of room for exploring that you did before. But Skyrim is less about running from point A to point B than it is about setting off from point A and getting so hopelessly distracted by all the things you find along the way that you've begun to wonder what's so great about point B anyway. It is, in other words, a lot more dense with features and reasons to go exploring. Here are some that grabbed our attention from a demo Bethesda showed us earlier today at Gamescom 2011:

Dungeon Designs

You remember Oblivion's dungeons, right? Those underground stone labyrinths or dirt tunnels that you'd sometimes, maybe, feel tempted to go exploring on the off chance you might find some neat loot inside? They were fine for what they were, but they don't exactly cling to your memory as one of the better parts of the game. According to Bethesda's Pete Hines, the development staff has taken quite a different approach with Skyrim's dungeon designs. Literally. Whereas Oblivion's dungeons were largely drawn up by the staff's artists, now dungeons are in the hands of a team of full-time level designers. The aim is to make each dungeon stand out, serve a purpose, and feel like its own unique chunk of the world with its own backstory. Hopefully, that will mean more incentive to explore dungeons you'd otherwise pass by during your overland adventuring.

Making Something From Nothing

Things like crafting, enchanting, and potion-making have all been greatly expanded in Skyrim, but what really caught our attention is the way you can forge weapons almost entirely from scratch. Sure, you could do something similar in Fallout 3 with weapons schematics, but in Skyrim you're working with much-less-refined ingredients. Here's an example: you come across a wolf that looks at you funny, so you clobber it to death with your mace/blunt sword/clobbering fists. Suddenly you have some raw animal hide that you can take to a tannery to convert into leather. Later on, you're off adventuring through one of those fancy new dungeons when you spot a shiny vein of iron in the wall. You pull out your pickax and chip away at it until you get a nice supply of raw ore. Then you go find yourself a weapons forge, and suddenly you're able to create a fancy new leather-hilted iron dagger and feel the calming satisfaction that you just became a blacksmith. Now those wolves will think twice before looking at you funny.

Making Nothing From Something

You don't always have to be crafting new items to improve your handiwork. When it comes to enchanting, you can actually learn a few things from being destructive. You start off the game as an enchanting newbie without any knowledge of the magic that goes into creating fancy magic-enhanced items. What you can do to fix that is find an arcane enchanter (a magic station, basically) and disenchant any item you have that carries with it special magical traits. What this does is destroy whatever item you had, but with the added effect that you learn the enchantment that the item previously contained. So if you find a pair of enchanted pants that give you higher attack rates, but pants just really aren't your thing, you can disenchant said pants and learn the attack boost enchantment for another item you may find more to your liking. Like that sweet iron dagger you just made.

Probably some good adventures out there too.

Cat Elvis

The custom character that Hines made for the demo belonged to the Khajit race of cat men and sported some truly amazing muttonchop sideburns. This doesn't really have anything to do with the exploration side of Skyrim. We just really liked seeing a cat man with muttonchops.

Discussion

271 comments
boixwunder
boixwunder

this will be a great game to end the year with. im already looking forward to the games coming out beginning of next year. skyrim willl be consuming my nights and days through december.

adamomars
adamomars

@pushcreativity your XBOX friend its gotta be. its just easier and the controllers are nice. plus the hardwares top of the line. but dotn take my word for it. honestly though, its 5 days and im angry at waiting. plus, because of my schedule i wont be able to truly play until deccember. SATANS LUCK!

pushcreativity
pushcreativity

It's a long wait, 1 week, arghhh! Just need to work out whether it's a PC version for my laptop or Xbox

Garnog
Garnog

If this turns out to be another disappointment, then I am giving up on Bethesda. As it is, RAGE underscored the perils of pre-purchasing. I really hope it is a resounding success though, because I am SO looking forward to it.

YourMonk
YourMonk

Can't wait, if this game gets less than an 11 out of 10 I will never come back to this website again. lol

DAMSOG
DAMSOG

Damn.....someone messed around with the controls on my cryo-chamber....it's not the 11.11.11 yet....argggghhhh....back to sleep for me.

terminator661
terminator661

why does time even have to exist. I WANT THE GAME!!!!!!! :P

Ballock
Ballock

Have taken 11.11.11 off and the week after the weekend...and the girlfriend have been forbidden access to my apartment...good thing to now that that's taken care of :) load off my mind

ANUJITHC
ANUJITHC

why is it not yet 11/11/11.

DAVIDINTEL
DAVIDINTEL

Life as we know it ends 11/11/11. Kiss your loved ones goodbye, and lock yourself in your room for the winter. Be prepared, Skyrim approaches!!!

wishsong4
wishsong4

These are the predicted system requirements by fan sites. Official requirments will be updated in October. I would plan on DX 10 and a little higher Ram though. Recommended: OS: XP,Vista, Windows 7 CPU: Core 2 Quad 3 GHz RAM: 3 GB HDD: 15 GB free mem DirectX 9 Compatible, DX 9c Graphics: 512 MB recommended GForce GTX460/Radion 5850 or higher

disturbed742
disturbed742

What type of system Spec's Will we have to expect? I would Like to know so i can plan on upgrading my Pc if it need's to be upgraded from Oblivion. Thanks ~Dis~

glintott
glintott

All over this game. Day one for sure!

wellrod
wellrod

Oh dear, I'm getting seriously worried about my future at University XD Thats all I did with Oblivion, I've played over 500 hours maybe and still havent got close to finishing the main quest ^^ got distracted way too much...

Cygnus421
Cygnus421

I'm pausing my life when this comes out. Indefinitely.

vadagar1
vadagar1

the waiting is agonizing

bugside
bugside

One thing that annoyed me on oblivion was the inventory, the fact that you had a limit to the weight you could carry, to the point that I was finding dungeons and not even entering them due to lack of space to carry loot. Since it was on PC I quickly solved it by installing mods. I'm thinking of getting Skyrim for console, but the lack of mods make me think twice, there are some mods that make the game much better, including graphically.

echo-sentience
echo-sentience

@SpideR_CentS you may as well take an entire week off, looking at how great Skyrim is going to be :)

Deferet
Deferet

@ SpideR_CentS that is a great idea, I think I will take that day off as well!!

BloodFatality
BloodFatality

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

SpideR_CentS
SpideR_CentS

Just took 11.11.11 off from work. Will have a nice 3 day weekend when this comes out.

kvortka
kvortka

@Skymoses Definitely the best year of gaming there has been for a while... I will be one poor man by the end of this year :)

Skymoses
Skymoses

Is it just me or is 2011 turning out to be the best year for games in a long time, a looooooooooong time.

vadagar1
vadagar1

is it 11.11.11 already???!!! oh never mind *goes back to sleep*

Targzissian
Targzissian

@lindallison In the Ultimas it wasn't just the combat that was turn-based. Movement was like that too. I really feel that was the best Richard Garriott could do with the Apple computers of the day. It was a technological limitation, and I feel it was less fluid and engaging than real-time combat would have been. But I do agree with you about the dominance of action-RPGs these days. I think it goes back to Diablo, and people trying to imitate the success of the Diablo franchise. I would love to see a deeper, more interactive role-playing experience in a game with Sacred 2's graphics, for example. Of course, there are also combat systems where you can pause the action and issue commands, that are kind of a hybrid between turn-based and real-time systems. I think there's room for all of it.

icetone
icetone

AGREED, but i need it a little more

metaltorn
metaltorn

@icetone WE ALL NEED IT!!!!!

icetone
icetone

@metaltorn SHUT UP! I NEED IT!!!!

lindallison
lindallison

@Targzissian Haven't read much from old schoolers on the net who believe that TB combat was a technological limitation. I don't agree with you a 'course, and am a little miffed that new AAA RPG's play an awful lot like AAA action games. A good TB combat engine is engaging in a different way than an action game or ARPG...I'm sorry such a distinct gameplay system may never be marketable in a big-name title again...specially when old-shoolers turn their back on it - I like action games much as the next guy but they're wearing out the welcome mat.

JOKER677
JOKER677

I thought about passing on this because I might be broke after October with Sonic, HotD and Battlefield 3 dropping but will still get,

Gabe_Logan_666
Gabe_Logan_666

I actually found and went into every dungeon in Oblivion and I had a blast doing it. Definitaly my favorite part of the game and now I hear that they are improving the dungeons even more, I CANT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!

FPSRTSMMOplayer
FPSRTSMMOplayer

LMFAO "You come across a wolf that looks at you funny, so you clobber it to death with your mace/blunt sword/clobbering fists" Win.

eddyoshi
eddyoshi

@eternal_blade3 I completely agree, ive just started ME2 like a week ago and love it already

eddyoshi
eddyoshi

@metaltorn no I want it (tee hee)

jasonzilla11
jasonzilla11

Lol, this was pretty funny. But I think Skrim will have a great chance at GOTY, second being Battlefield 3. Personally, I think those 2 are the top titles in September through December.

metaltorn
metaltorn

@icetone no u dont i DOOO!!!

danden147
danden147

i was thinking that batlefield 3 would win goty, but skyrim has many chances too.i will also buy AC revelations and forza 4

icetone
icetone

I WANT THIS SOOO BAD!!!!

Targzissian
Targzissian

@lindallison No, I don't really miss the turn-based combat from Ultima. Actually, when I think of it, I think about Ultima III. I still have the sound effects from combat in that game burned into my brain, over twenty years later. The tune that plays when you enter combat, the descending pitch of each character's attack, and the tune that plays when you achieve victory. It was great for the time... For games played on the Apple 2+, or x386 and x486 PCs, but the way combat is handled in modern RPGs is simply more engaging.

reavin81
reavin81

im starting to think with so many epic games coming out this year how the heck will 2012 be able to match this year games roster like for real

Sigil-otaku
Sigil-otaku

@eternal_blade3 Agreed, 2012 is still a little more open since something good may come out toward the end but you'll have the uncharted fanboys pretend it's goty.

eternal_blade3
eternal_blade3

Skyrim: GOTY 2011 Mass Effect 3: GOTY 2012 I feel as though it's a fairly safe bet.

lindallison
lindallison

@Targzissian Do you miss the turn-based combat of Ultima IV-VI as well?

Targzissian
Targzissian

I think that by giving the dungeons to level designers and giving each dungeon more attention and backstory, they are making this game more like the old Ultimas than Oblivion was. In Ultimas IV through IX the dungeons weren't just random holes in the ground, but each one held special adventures for you that were important to the plot of the game. I miss the Ultimas, but The Elder Scrolls series is coming to fill that role for me now--the epic single-player fantasy RPG.

Chaos_Dante_456
Chaos_Dante_456

Fallout3, New Vegas, and Oblivion are all games I got for a discounted price are some of the few games I felt were actually worth the full price of a game ($60) or more. I always wondered how they're able to support such a vast game with lush environments great voice actors and good character models. especially if the dungeons are going to be as distinctive as they say they are.

Chaos_Dante_456
Chaos_Dante_456

@OJdaLIONKing i can understand that... different strokes for different folks. I actually don't really care for Grand theft Auto for that reason lol. But I love the Elder Scrolls and Fallout series

OJ_the_LION
OJ_the_LION

I'm sort of looking forward to this. Honestly, though, I never got through all of Oblivion in one playthrough (to be more accurate, I cleared the main quest, but never all the relevant content and sidequests in a single playthrough) because it was such a huge directionless sandbox. I lost motivation to play when there was so much disorganized stuff to do that I didn't really have a goal to aim for, and eventually stopped caring. From what I've heard this isn't an isolated case. I think there's got to be a better balance between non-linear sandbox gameplay and a story driven main quest to keep people playing and shooting for something. The game's not out yet, so maybe it'll have that, but this article doesn't get my hopes up about that.