Exploring temples, helping townspeople, and dueling dragons are all part of a typical day in Skyrim.
The Elder Scrolls series has come a long way since its humble beginnings on the PC back in the early '90s. Throughout the years, these games have gathered a loyal following enamored with their massive worlds and open-ended gameplay. At Bethesda Softworks BFG 2011 press event, located deep in the mountains of Utah, we got our first peek at what's to come for this venerable role-playing series. The hands-off demonstration, hosted by Bethesda Softworks' executive producer Todd Howard, took us through a short adventure centered on the theft of a golden dragon's claw. From combat to character customization, Skyrim is bringing a lot of tweaks and changes to the Elder Scrolls formula, so let's get right to it.
The demonstration opened on a woodland path that was dense with all of the graphical splendor and attention to detail we've come to expect from an Elder Scrolls game. Unlike in Oblivion, the developers have built the game's graphics engine, dubbed the Creation Engine, from scratch to give themselves more flexibility than they had with the previously used Gamebryo engine. The result was a scene packed with tiny details, from the veins on individual leaves of a fern to the rushing currents of water breaking over rocks. Once we had finished soaking in the scenery, our character--who was dressed in the same apparel as in the debut trailer--ventured through the woods until (like in any good role-playing game) a wild bandit appeared.
Howard took this opportunity to break down some of the changes the developers are making to the combat in Skyrim. In brief, you character's left and right arms are mapped to two separate buttons; in this case, the left and right triggers on the Xbox 360 controller because the demo was on an Xbox 360. Pressing the left trigger brought up our character's wooden shield to block an incoming attack, while pressing the right trigger swung our character's sword to attack. Compared to previous Elder Scrolls games, combat in Skyrim seemed much more involved. Our Nordic-looking hero was constantly sidestepping around his opponent to better position his shield against oncoming attacks or to find a way around the enemy's own defenses.
Once the first bandit was dispatched, a second appeared to avenge his friend's death. Against the new foe, our character swapped out his shield for a magical spell. Depending on how you wish to play, your character can be outfitted with different combinations of spells and weapons in each hand. The classic sword-and-shield combo is always an option, but you can also use a sword and staff if you want "to do the Gandalf thing." Or you can toss a fireball spell into the mix and become a magical warrior. Equipping the same spell in each hand allows you to perform a more potent version of that spell; however, your options in combat won't be as diverse.
Against the second bandit, our character used a ray of frost spell, which both slowed and damaged the target. In her weakened state, the bandit could do little to defend herself when our character swooped in for the kill with a stylish execution move, which involved a sword through the chest. With the fighting concluded, we took a moment to explore the upgraded menu system. Going to the menu screen pulls up four categories to choose from: skill, inventory, map, and magic. The inventory and magic screens display a list of the various spells and equipment you have collected. Individual spells may be saved for quick access later on, while different pieces of equipment may be compared to one another within a single screen (a feature the developers are still fine-tuning). The map screen pulls back the game's camera to reveal a full-3D view of the world and highlights major points of interest.
However, the most impressive section was the skill screen. Instead of just being a spreadsheet that comprises names and numbers, the skill screen displays your skills as star constellations in the sky above. As you level up, you can help fill in these constellations by purchasing perks (represented as stars) within your skills. On the topic of character advancement, Howard noted that the eight original character attributes from previous Elder Scrolls games have been condensed into three: magica, health, and stamina. He justified this by stating that the original eight all "trickled down" into each other and that this change allowed players more direct control over their characters.
With our business in the menus concluded, our character headed into the nearby village of Riverwood. We then took a brief tour of this small settlement as Howard explained how the new radiant story system works in Skyrim. Basically there are a number of skeleton quests that have been planned out in broad strokes, but have some of their characters or plot points left blank. The system then dynamically populates these blank areas with people or objects you've encountered during your journey. He also noted that the number of voice actors featured in the game has been greatly expanded, so that players won't run into the same handful of voices time and again. After speaking to a few locals, we learned that there had been a robbery at the local supply store. Speaking with the store's owner revealed that the only thing stolen was a golden dragon's claw.
Our character agreed to help the shopkeeper retrieve his trinket and set off in the footsteps of the thieves. Our journey took us up along a mountain pass where we learned that some creatures--such as a lumbering giant--aren't out to kill and won't attack on sight. Others--such as an angry frost troll--still wanted to rip our head from our shoulders but were easily dispatched with a blast of fire magic. Toward the top of the mountain, we discovered an ancient temple devoted to the worship of dragons. Just as our character passed under a large dragon statue, we thought we saw something move from the corner of our eye. Looking again, we saw that it wasn't a statue--it was an actual dragon.
Thank you Skyrim and Uncharted. Without you, this would've been a very disappointing gaming year :-/
So far I agree with just about every change they made, but this "dragon shout" thing might make it too easy fighting basic enemy's
When i saw the title of this preview, i thought i was going to see the trailer but with Dragonforce - Through the fire and flames going in the background... lol ^^
ever find yourself wanting more from a game? Do you have an appitite for countless missions and side quests? Ever get the urge to smash a Goblin's face in with a flail? Look no further folks, this is going to be one for the ages. I hear those with some concerns over dumbing down the skill tree, I also aware that some are worried that this will be as buggy as Fallout: New Vegas. Perhaps only time will tell but, nevertheless ES5 is going to be great! you know it, i know it, and Bethesda are certainly confident. Bethesda's overall track record speaks for itself. Bring on 11.11.11. Nuf said
1)Did they actually listen/read/watch/play countless Mods came from relentless fans of Oblivion and Fallout 3? 2)Will it be finally a HUD that won't need modding? 3)Please ,finally a decent Inventory System? 4)Horses (I am not looking forward to any other mount type as long as they are ) on par /better with/than RDR's? 5)Will I still be able to get a conclusion/reward/or just even a "mention" of a quest even if I killed/encountered the related NPC or random world event earlier than "I was supposed to".(as far as I believe Sandbox world made these games legends!) 6)Can I really play a distinctive class rather than trying to MAX OUT every skill/talent? 7)Showed some effort for decent Voice Acting ? 8 )Finally "playable" over the shoulder view ? 9)Are we going to get an ACTUAL FINISHED PRODUCT? or will it be the same story as Oblivion and Fallout 3 and it will take another 2-3 years actually until game "settles down" ? 10) Charisma/Character/Speech ? Finally , will they be functional at all , or just keep holding disk space? ...................................................................... It's all sweet interviews and impressive voice overs mixed with flashy , shiny crisp graphics so far.But I want to see some real "improvement" over fundamentals of Oblivion and Fallout 3,what made those games legends!I want to enjoy that feeling kept me playing of hundreds of hours despite "the flaws" I deliberately ignored!
Freshman year at college will be a tough time for me if this game is even half as addictive as Oblivion was for me, and I have a strong feeling it will be way better.
not sure I agree with dumbing down attributes from eight to three. It looks like they keep dumbing the Elder Scrolls down which was at its peak at Morrowind. Has anyone seen a screenshot of the inventory, is it the stupid list again like in Oblivion? Please, don't screw up the PC version this time.
i cant wait to get it! oblivion was one of my favorite games of all time i still miss the whole nights i spent playing it till the sun rose again and have no doubt this will live up to its predecessor! oh i hope they enhance the 3rd person gameplay too
@MagicMarker44 You're right school is a problem. I bought oblivion during the summer not knowing i would like it but i agree, games should come out in May or June not during the winter when everyone's working and at school.
@LinkLuigi Yes you can hold a shield and sword at same times. I am not specifically sure if it will be the left hand though.
Since 2006 I've been devoted to role playing games. Oblivion changed how i look at games and i truly hope this game will put the same impact as oblivion had onto it's users. Skyrim will eat away days of my time and i will be prepared for it.
It pains me to know hibernation isn't possible, cus these next few months of waiting are slowing down to a crawl.
I've always loved Elder Scrolls, its an "EPIC" series. Skyrim looks beautiful, and I'm hoping to put 100+ hours into this
One minor question - is it possible to have a sword in the left hand, shield in the right? Just a small little wonder. Even if you can't, this game is on my must buy list.
Damn. I wish it was coming out this summer. My school work is going to be taking a back seat for my alternative life in Skyrim.
Been Quite a While since I have been Anticipating a Game ! ! Finally, Something to Look Forward to . . . !
Been waiting 6 years since Oblivion in 2006! I can wait 5-6 months more! Already pre-ordered it for PC. I'm hoping it'll take a long time to play through! Game of the year?
It was a mistake to watch and read the preview... Now I can't wait for Skyrim to come out... :( I'm going to be very very sad if they have to move back the release date so let's hope it was as good as Oblivion was considered in 2006
Does anybody know if you will be able to shape-shift? I'd love to be engaged in double-bladed combat, only to unleash a barrage of lightning, leap into the air and land on my opponent as a snarling, bloodthirsty wolf or bear or something. That'd be kickass.
hmm talking thing...eh i dont think i like it for an "all the time" deal maybe like when you get ambushed and it just stops time so you can chat first...no i think the action should continue then but well in a shop or one on one conversation it should be kept the way it was.
This looks really good. But I'm interested in the combat, he said they are improving the combat. I hope these changes and improvements kickass.
I apologize that I misunderstood you. But I don't know of anyway PC's that come out of the box ready to play, if their is such a product it's being poorly marketed. It has not hit mainstream yet,but fot the most part you're gonna need some extra (like the cable you mentioned) in order to run through your TV. Consoles doesn't have that issue, and you get into further issues for certain games that are not released on PC. Also I have a motion hard-ware that goes with the console, and if there are PC software/hard-ware that allow the same capabilities as Wii or Kinect along with the same games then once again I am ignorant of that PC product. The PC just doesn't lend itself as the "source" of family entertainment from the living-room. And I'm not neutral towards people who "put down" others, I'm against them
@Theoledominion It's not a never-ending cycle. My pc that I built before Xbox360 came out can run anything with no problems on Dx10. Compared to the xbox which is showing it's age, that's a far longer life expectancy. You need to learn how to speak proper English. I didn't say that playing PCs for games was a foreign concept, only using them in a living room with a TV instead of a Console. I am not in the slightest way arrogant, I was merely providing reasons for several issues you raised. I never suggested that PC gamers are superior/inferior or anything of the sort. Merely the reasons why several people act like that. And once more, you fail to comprehend my point. You are putting yourself above pc gaming elitists, as if they are scum for believing they are superior. If you truly believe what you say then you would have a more neutral viewpoint instead of a constant attack and, you will note, I never attacked you. At all. You are using the same cyclical argument and putting words in my mouth in place of what I actually say. I am bored of arguing with an idiot.
@LuciferAmadeus - lol....I'm glad we entertain you...tune in next week.."same Bat time....same Bat channel"...lol Quote commentary from the old Batman television series.
@radioactive1wiz - Upgrading PC's to play the next big game is a never-ending cycle I refuse to subject myself to. And for as using my PC for gaming as being a "foreign concept" that's false too. I use to play "Eye of the Beholder", Half Life, Rainbow Six(in which you controlled 4 different squads,unlike todays series on consoles), Diablo, and including other much older RPG games where all you got was a text to let you know if you "hit" or "miss" on attacks with NO VISUAL illustrations on PC. So I'm very familiar with PC gaming, but I never had the arrogant attitude I see out of some of the PC gamers(YOU included) of today. Though as something being "foreign" you could say that for MOST things, at one time consoles were "foreign" to me too. We had to go to the arcades or bowling alleys to play video games. We didn't have a console in my home at the time I developed a love for video games. So if you want to call me an elitist for not allowing PC gamers "put down" console gamers and not called them out on it, then so be it. But I'll say it again since you have a "reading and comprehension" problem. Regardless if you re a PC or CONSOLE gamer it DOES NOT make you SUPERIOR/INFERIOR to the other in intelligence. Class Dismissed! Oh by the way recognizing people having DIFFERENT preferences rather having a superiority complex is a BETTER attitude, maybe you'll learn that when you grow up.
@theoledominion & radioactive1wiz- gamers in general are eletists im a pc guy because i like single player games like TES tho it could b argued that we are the biggest when it comes to multiplayer games because it is true we have wow after all lol not sure how wow's numbers stand up to x-live or psn but booyah! but if you like to play donkey kong with your family or u have friends who like to play madden 11 ect.... consoles are right for you but most of us in this forum in sure have a gameing pc or laptop im sure because their so cheap and a console because it just easier to go x-360 wireless controler than to splice a x controler for a pc but then again for some games the keybord and mouse is just the way to go oh yah and THE CHEATS!!!! @luciferamadeus LAWLZ!!!!
Wow, this post has become a crusade platform. I'm rooting for the PC crusader... no, I think Console Crusader will win... omg, i don't which side of the crusade i'm going to follow. . LOL! You guys are epic...... I love you guys.
@theoledominion As I said, many of them are just trolls trollin' And you fail to take in my point again; Those pcs are already in the house, correct? You upgrade them to being capable of pc games easily, and they can use emulators for most xbox, ps3 and all wii games Fighting games/ sports games are also available for same screen playing on pcs. And yes, my pc is out of the way and hidden in my living room but it does have controllers, because of the fact it has been used for street fighter before. You are elitist for taking a self-righteous stand against pc elitists, putting yourself above them. In any case, most of what you said I put down to different culture. You may call me "nationalist" or other BS again but different places do things differently. Not every village/town/city/whatever emulates others, especially the people I'm bored of your cyclical arguments now. The only reason it isn't practical in your mind is because it's a foreign concept to you. Nothing else.
- Release Date: Nov 11, 2011 (US)
- ESRB: MTitles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older.