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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
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Sun, 12 Dec 2010 23:21:47
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Edited: Sun, 19 Dec 2010 23:32:33


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Sun, 12 Dec 2010 23:24:33
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What is Skyrim?  Here is the breakdown from the best Elder Scroll's resource on the web.

http://www.uesp.net/wiki/LoreUneasykyrim

Skyrim is the northernmost province of Tamriel, and is a cold and mountainous region. Although it is one of Tamriel's less hospitable provinces, it has been home to both elven and human civilization since time immemorial. It is currently inhabited by the human race of Nords. The Aldmer and Falmer occupied Skyrim until the late Merethic, when the final wave of Nordic immigration, led by Ysgramor, finally drove out the mer.

Politics:

Redguards and Bretons are still giving resistance today, as The War of the Bend'r-mahk expanded Skyrim far into Hammerfell and High Rock. Resistance is mostly encountered in the cities of Jehenna and Elinhir, and of course, along the border to those provinces.

How about the engine? (link)

Nick Breckon, Bethesda Softworks’ community manager, has confirmed that the brand new Elder Scrolls game announced last night, Skyrim, will run on an “all-new” engine.

We can now confirm that the TES V: Skyrim engine is all-new,Breckon said. “And it looks fantastic.”

As ZeniMax (Bethesda’s owner) also owns id Software, the id Tech 5 engine was on the cards, but that’s obviously out of the window. Either way it’s good to hear the shitty faces and character movement in Gamebryo will be a thing of the past.

skyrim

Edited: Sun, 12 Dec 2010 23:30:14


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Sun, 12 Dec 2010 23:39:25
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Eurogamer Germany broke the first news of 5 on November 23, 2010.

http://www.eurogamer.dk/articles/2010-11-22-the-elder-scrolls-v-paa-vej

It was re-reported here in English:

http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=277273

Bethesda is said to be working on a direct sequel to 2006's excellent Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.



Eurogamer says an unnamed source 'not only confirmed that the game is in current production, but also spoke briefly about the content - with fantasy-sounding phrases like Dragon Lord, something with The Blades'.

Voice acting work for the game's characters is apparently being carried out at we speak.



'The same source confirmed, with official game documents in hand, that this will be the chronological sequel to what happened in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion,' the site adds.



'The sequel to Oblivion is coming, we can hereby confirm without hesitation.'



It's obviously not official, but it would make perfect sense to us, and the news is sure to please many, including UK rapper Dan Bull.

Edited: Sun, 12 Dec 2010 23:40:05


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Mon, 13 Dec 2010 00:08:55
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Huh? I thought it was going to use Gamebryo again.

Edit: Nevermind.

Edited: Mon, 13 Dec 2010 00:09:30
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Mon, 13 Dec 2010 00:20:29
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So yeah, I'm pretty stoked about the announcement. But even having spent more hours into Oblivion than into Morrowind (or perhaps because of that), there are a number of things that Bethesda needs to fix, and most of them aren't really tied to a game's engine. Do away with randomly generated dungeons, even if that means less of them. Make loot actually significant and interesting. Eliminate Oblivion's scaling system. Fix quest structure so fast travel isn't that necessary, and people wishing to explore the gameworld at a leisurely pace are not forced to traverse all across the map because of some stupid reason like a key or a book.

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Mon, 13 Dec 2010 00:42:41
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All excellent points.

I was thinking about the difficulty scaling, and obviously due to the way I played Oblivion it was not an issue, but in playing JRPG's they have been scaling difficulty for years.  As new parts of the map open up, and as your level increases the enemies are tougher.  So that's been an established part of JRPG's from day one.

Is it controversial that they did that in Oblivion because it was new to the series?


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Mon, 13 Dec 2010 01:14:37
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aspro said:

All excellent points.

I was thinking about the difficulty scaling, and obviously due to the way I played Oblivion it was not an issue, but in playing JRPG's they have been scaling difficulty for years.  As new parts of the map open up, and as your level increases the enemies are tougher.  So that's been an established part of JRPG's from day one.

Is it controversial that they did that in Oblivion because it was new to the series?

That's not the same. Oblivion scales so it's the same difficulty regardless of where you go and how you level. The enemies and enemies available change as your character does. You'll wander the fields and meet wolves and bandits with rusty swords, and you'll wander the same fields when you're higher level and meet minotaurs and bandits who will have magically upgraded to glass and elven weapons (if you ever even reach that level, otherwise the variety is even less). Scaling took over every aspect of the game and made everything the same. Whether you just wandered the same field or traversed the whole continent, you'd have more or less the same experience and challenge, and end up with the same exact loot, because even that wasn't unique. Like the glass weapons I mentioned which you could just as easily acquire from a random bandit as you could from some dungeon, which basically made exploration useless as anything but sight seeing. Why go to a dungeon when there's no chance of finding anything unique and the same items can be acquired from basically anywhere else? Why unlock a hard lock to get a fancy looking weapon when if you're too low level it will be a shitty immitation and if you're high level you can get it from any random enemy? The only unique things you ever get to see are items tied to particular storylines, main or otherwise, with little or no effect outside them.

In RPGs without that, difficulty varies depending on where you are, it doesn't scale to adjust to your level no matter what. There will be areas you can return to and kick ass without even trying and areas you can't explore because you're just not strong enough. Of course if it's a fully linear experience with nearly no exploration as some JRPGs tend to be, there's little difference in practice, but usually exploration is a large part of RPGs and finding areas you can't go to yet that you later revisit and see what they hide, which is bound to be unique in appearance and reward since it's handplaced rather than randomised based on your stats, is part of the fun.

Edited: Mon, 13 Dec 2010 01:44:31
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Mon, 13 Dec 2010 02:29:02
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Back in October 2009 1up had a story about an Elder Scrolls novel that made comment about a sequel to Oblivion (as reported by Foolz in Press Room Podcast #33).

link

Considering how well The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion sold, it's pretty likely Bethesda will make a new game in the series eventually. But according to a blurb describing author Greg Keyes' "The Infernal City: An Elder Scrolls Novel," the prospects for a sequel have become a lot more likely (via Kotaku).

The Waterstone's retail site's listing for the novel originally had a blurb that described its story as "[taking place] forty-five years after the Oblivion Crisis, which is the story of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion game and the expansion pack Shivering Isles. It partly bridges the gap for the next game, which is set 200 years after the Oblivion crisis."

Next game, huh? Set 200 years after Oblivion, eh? It sure seems to confirm a sequel, but you probably won't be surprised to learn that this portion of the blurb seemingly confirming The Elder Scrolls V has since been removed from the retail listing. So don't necessarily take this as a confirmation, but if the blurb was indeed accurate, it looks like Bethesda is already setting the pieces for a sequel in place.

Elder Scrolls Book

Edited: Mon, 13 Dec 2010 02:31:26


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Mon, 13 Dec 2010 03:45:43
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SteelAttack said:

So yeah, I'm pretty stoked about the announcement. But even having spent more hours into Oblivion than into Morrowind (or perhaps because of that), there are a number of things that Bethesda needs to fix, and most of them aren't really tied to a game's engine. Do away with randomly generated dungeons, even if that means less of them. Make loot actually significant and interesting. Eliminate Oblivion's scaling system. Fix quest structure so fast travel isn't that necessary, and people wishing to explore the gameworld at a leisurely pace are not forced to traverse all across the map because of some stupid reason like a key or a book.

And fix the bullshit voice acting.

The random dungeons really ruined the setting.

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Mon, 13 Dec 2010 09:14:00

An additional snippet about the engine, as reported by Eurogamer:

"Fallout 3 technically does a lot more than Oblivion. The new stuff is an even bigger jump from that," he said. "I can say it is on the existing platforms, which we're really happy with. You almost feel like you have a new console when you see the game."

Fallout: New Vegas was the last of Bethesda's games (developed by Obsidian) to use Gamebyro: "outdated tech", according to Eurogamer's Fallout: New Vegas review.

Edited: Mon, 13 Dec 2010 09:14:23


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Mon, 13 Dec 2010 12:01:13
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Agreed Steel. I would want no random generation and to get rid of the horrible segments when you went through the gates into the horribly designed towers. Also a small map that is better designed and more easily traversed.

Better combat would be cool and they really need to improve the facial animation, bloody Wii games like Dead Space Extraction have better face animation - there is no good reason that NPCs in Oblivion and Fallout should have the dead eye zombie look these days.

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Mon, 13 Dec 2010 19:54:00
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Agreed on all the improvements they should make. I am afraid the game will be all white cause its a snow area, I want green, I love green.

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Mon, 13 Dec 2010 21:17:10
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I want yeti's.

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Tue, 14 Dec 2010 03:45:17
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There were yetis in Morrowind. Happy

Or yeti-like trolls anyway...

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Thu, 16 Dec 2010 11:15:02

What the? Posts are missing. Sad

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Fri, 17 Dec 2010 19:40:11

The sixth Bethesda Podcast is dedicated to Skyrim. Link

"Following the announcement of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Bethesda Game Studios executive game director Todd Howard stops by to chat about the exciting, cathartic reveal."


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Fri, 17 Dec 2010 19:49:54
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When I see this game's title "Skyrim," I think of it as kinda ripoff of "Skyward Sword," even though it probably isn't. Way to leech off the Nintendo's hype train, Bethesda! Even though you probably weren't trying to.

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Sat, 18 Dec 2010 01:04:32

Game Informer magazine has a 4 page special on the history of the Elder Scroll games in the January 2011 issue.  Here it is:

Decrypting the Elder Scrolls

A look back at the storyline and development of the role playing juggernaut. by Matt Miller

arena cover shot

"One of my first jobs at Bethesda was helping with the CD-ROM version of Arena in 1994. Every time there was a new build I took it upon myself to finish the main quest.  I can probably finish the game faster than anyone.  The "Passwall" spell, which lets you literally carve your own path through dungeons, is still cool. - Todd Howard, Game Director

daggerfall cover

"Daggerfall in my memory is mostly flavoured by how large it was. It was something we really struggled with during the project.  We were never sure if it was big just to be big, since it was randomly generated.  We could dial up or dial down the size very easily.  But it became the sum of its parts.  You could do so much. It's also the Elder Scroll's game that introduced the skills system, and the whole "you improve by doing" paradigm, which I think defines the series in many ways.  You really felt like the character you played was up to you, and not the game" - Todd Howard

"I was hired during the final throes of Daggerfall's long development.  Nobody had a lot of time to train or supervise me, so I was pretty surprised to be this brand new rookie designer basically doing whatever I wanted.  Luckily I was still young and responsible, so I didn't take (much) advantage of my freedom.  This was also my introduction to the magic of game development -- I still remember my amazement at being able to put together a dungeon or quest, fire up the executable, and see what I'd just done right there on my computer screen in actual game.  I'm still occasionally floored by that magic, even after all these years - Kurt Kuhlmann, Senior Designer

morrowind

"Morrowind was a real reboot not just for the Elder Scrolls, but for Bethesda. We built a game while building up a development team.  We had shrunk to maybe six people in develpoment, and this was probably our last chance. I coded the initial demo of the game by myself and designed the editor when we started.  I felt the whole game hinged on having a great tool we could build and tweak the game with, and The Elder Scrolls Construction Set was born.  I took the name from the Apple 2 program, "Stuart Smith's Adventure Construction Set."  To this day, I think what the modders have done with those tools has helped define the series." Todd Holland

oblivion

"Todd Howard asked me to create and present a quest line for the Thieves Guild.  I put together a rambling presentation of the 20 quests I had planned.  In the meeting I got one sentence out before Todd stopped me. 'Tell it from the player's point of view', he said.  I had gotten so wrapped up in my back story I was telling that rather than the player's story. By the end of the day, almost half the quests had been cut, making it much better.  Since then, I've never forgotten that we make stories for the player, not ourselves." - Bruce Nesmith, Design Director

"We started in 2002 with Oblivion, right after Morrowind.  The easy thing would have been to do a two-year sequel, but I somehow persuaded upper management to let me take four years and make a next-gen game for consoels that didn't yet exist.  That was a stressful time, since we only had final hardware for maybe the last six months. So almost all of Oblivion's development team's time was spent thinking, 'I'm not sure this is ever going to actually work.'  I was really influenced by the Lord of the Rings movies at the time. It felt real, almost historical, and that's something I think is key to The Elder Scrolls." - Todd Howard

"E3 was coming up and we were scrambling to get the Oblivion demo done in time.  The plan was to show a detachment of Imperial soldiers attacking an Oblivion gate. It was close to being polished and I was feelign pretty good.  This was Friday night and the demo needed to be ready early the next week.  The Todd called me over to see something that Istvan Pely had prototyped - a fight through a ruined city.  Todd:'this is what we're doing. How long will it take you to get it working? Me: "..." (I may have yelled something unprintable as I walked out of his office).  it turned out to be the right decision - this was the Kvatch demo we showed at E3, and the original legion fight ended up in the game as a random encounter near an Obvlion gate." - Kurt Kuhlmen [ASPRO: I think this is the battle that occurs at the final Oblivion gate in the main quest.]

"I've always found it interesting that the art style for each game is a direct reaction to the previous game.  After finishing Morrowind I wanted to take the Elder Scrolls in a more realistic direction, with some high fantasy elements. I brought this to Todd's attention and surprisingly I found out we were on the same page.  Similarly, at the end of Oblivion I felt the art style could go in a completely different direction, which drove the look for Shivering Isles.  Once again, Todd was excited about a stylistic change and we ended up with our most unusual aesthetic since the Elder Scrolls series began. I think changing the visual style between games helps keep the series interesting for us as developers and for the people who play it" - Matt Carofano, Art Director

Edited: Sat, 18 Dec 2010 01:28:36


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Sat, 18 Dec 2010 02:23:18
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"We had shrunk to maybe six people in develpoment, and this was probably our last chance."

surprise

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Sat, 18 Dec 2010 04:55:21

In the latest Bethesda podcast Todd Holland described the trailer shown at the VGAs, "I wouldn't even call it a teaser trailer, it's more of an announcement trailer"  he said that all they wanted to convey was (paraphrasing) "we're working on a new Elder Scrolls game, and it'll be out 11/11.

Only other thing he said of note was that the develpoment team was 75, and after finishing Fallout 3 they added an additional 25 staff to work on the Edler Scrolls.  So 100 people currently working on the game.


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