Ice, Ice, Maybe: New Skyrim Screenshots

By Quintin Smith on February 9th, 2011 at 8:25 am.

Heroes are most noble of all the arsonists.

Yes! We no longer have to use that one shot anymore. OXM has gifted the internet with five new shots of the next Elder Scrolls game, and also some art which I have not included here because art, as everybody knows, is for the elderly. So if you “like” “art” you can view it over at OXM and if you like actual real screenshots that will put a song in your heart and make your tea taste all the sweeter you can see them all below.

Click to embiggen!

Wow! That… looks like Oblivion!

…and so does that!

…and there are the Elder Scrolls character statistics! Wow, you know what, this is all really a bit underwhelmi–

OH MY GOD DRAGON. Oh, man! Man! Look at that thing! I want to be that guy and I want to fight that dragon and I want to win. When is this game coming out again? 2011? Sounds good. Good work, Bethesda. Keep up the good work. Also, the enormous dragons. Keep up the dragons. Except when we fight them, because then I guess they’ll have to keep down to the ground. Yeah. Unless you also felt like giving us a bow the size of a house and a team of men to operate it. That’d work.

Oh, alright. I will post one bit of art, too, because it’s kind of like a screenshot if you squint.

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154 Comments »

  1. Choca says:

    I like the nordic feel of it. I hope it won’t be as boring as Oblivion.

    • BarerRudeROC says:

      Oblivion boring?!!!!

      Obviously you never took down a full grown Minotaur with a Spork before.

    • Dragatus says:

      I took down a Minotaur Lord with my bare hands if that counts. But that’s really not the point. The point is that Oblivion’s setting was boring generic fantasy.

      Elder Scrolls games are at their core about sandbox exploration so in order to be any good they need to have an interesting gameworld to explore. For example in all my years of posting on the official Elder Scrolls forums I’ve seen quite a few people complain about Oblivion, but everybody just loves the Shivering Isles expansion.

    • CryingTheAnnualKingo says:

      On the surface you might call it “generic fantasy”, but what made Oblivion brilliant was the darkness underneath it all. That boarded up house in Cheydinhal, an abandoned chapel in the middle of nowhere with human remains offered to corrupt gods, secret torture chambers in the bowels of a castle, an isolated little town of inbred weirdos who hate visitors, just to name a few. There are a lot of strange things going on in Oblivion underneath the veneer of “generic fantasy”.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Sorry, but all of those things you just listed sounded like a generic fantasy game to me. Morrowinds world was far more appealing to me. I’m excited about Skyrim though as it looks far more interesting than Oblivion as was previously said.

    • woodsey says:

      Game Informer have an hour-long interview with Todd Howard, and he mentioned the more typical fantasy style of Oblivion, and how they’re trying to make Skyrim feel more unique.

      I’ve got to agree with BarerRudeROC, aesthetically it may have been too standard-fantasy, but scratch the surface and it’s got a lot of personality.

    • Dragatus says:

      I’m not saying there weren’t any darker parts and that isn’t even the issue. The issue is that the gameworld was one big renaissance fair (to borrow the phrase used by Game Informer). I want a world with a sense of an ancient history and distinct culture.

      Skyrim is looking rather promising in this regard. I highly doubt the setting will be as fascianting as Morrowind’s, but based on what little we’ve seen it does seem to be a large step up from Oblivion.

    • Grape Flavor says:

      @Dragatus

      Yeah, I’m guessing you never read any of the many books scattered throughout Morrowind or Oblivion, or got any of the references, or ever visited UESP.

      Garbage in, garbage out.

    • CryingTheAnnualKingo says:

      @DrGonzo

      I tried my best to illustrate, but you really have to experience it yourself, and the experience of stumbling upon these instances of evocative environmental storytelling are the real pleasure of the Elder Scrolls games, regardless of what province you find yourself in.
      You seem like the kind of person who wouldn’t listen to a song or play a game based on strict genre lines in the sand rather than the quality of of the work itself.

    • omicron1 says:

      They’re saying the whole world is “handcrafted” – no procedural content. Which to me says “Gothic 3.” Also, “Smaller than Oblivion,” “Crowded,” and “No real open spaces.”

      But anyway, on to Screenshot Analysis!

      Shot 1: It’s a picture of combat. Looks like their shaders and texturing are much improved over Oblivion; their geometry detail not so much, however. The yeti’s hands are not articulated; he has permanent fists. All punching, no clawing, in other words.
      The background scenery looks like it’s similar to the Ayelid Ruins in Oblivion – setpieces assembled from a preset group of scenery bits. There are a lot more little detail objects on the ground, but it’s still got that atrocious “rock model on top of otherwise-smooth terrain” look to it.

      Shot 2: It looks like they’re adopting a more realistic style than Oblivion – less fantasy, less meat flopping around in plates; more realistic piles of items, things hanging from ropes at the back of shops, and realistic clutter piles. They seem to have toned down the specular highlighting a good bit, and vastly improved the lighting, although the textures are a bit of a mixed bag. (Note, for instance, the stone slab on the floor, with its vastly lower resolution compared to the surrounding textures)

      Shot 3: I actually really like this screenshot, aside from the aforementioned “flat rocks on smooth terrain” appearance. In particular, the trees look worlds better than Oblivion’s, much sharper and more detailed and with very nice distance/fog effects in the background. The water shaders themselves also seem very much improved.
      That being said, I do not think their grass effects have improved that much over Oblivion’s, and even more worryingly, the reflections seem to have regressed somewhat – note the lack of object reflection in the water; the generic skybox-blue appearance; and, even more troubling, the line running through the center of the lake between blue and brown – a mark of a sphere-mapping reflection that isn’t quite working properly. Has water reflection been cut in favor of more polygons/environmental details? I suspect so.
      I do like the presence of roots on the underside of the weird flat dirt-boulders, though. And I would like to point out that my observations concerning their waterfalls have been carried out. Solid, white, no spray effects – these are relatively bad waterfalls, where videogames are concerned.

      Shot 4: It’s a pretty yet ultimately rather vapid inventory-type screen. Designed for Xbox controllers. What can be said, has been said already. Although I do find the presence of a last name for this guy interesting – it implies a great number of very interesting possibilities – but also that the person making the character might just have given him a last name. We shall see.

      Shot 5: Yes, yes, dragons. This one appears to be looking at the player.
      More intriguingly, though, we can see the way they’ve made their rocky peaks here: as discrete, separate models (allowing for overhang in an otherwise conventional terrain), but with some attempt made to join them to the terrain and make them look more natural. They are probably assembled from very large, handcrafted “peak” models, and they are probably impossible to climb in normal gameplay.
      Again we see their “little groupings of tiny rocks” models, and here they have, if I may say so, a negative effect on the overall scene. Far from improving the look of things, by poking themselves out above the snow they illustrate its flat, baked-on nature and heavily damage the illusion of a snow-covered slope. A far better use of your time, Bethesda, would have been to modify your terrain texturing shader to allow for footprints/impressions in the snow.
      And finally, we may note that Bethesda is trying to use their terrain texturing system to represent very small, discrete areas and changes in the terrain – but using an alpha-map resolution barely large enough to account for them, and with little to no changes from their Oblivion shader system. Thus we see the ugly terrain in the near-center of this image, with its linear fades and blocky splotches of snow and gravel. A much better approach, Bethesda, would have been to make use of a noise texture of some sort, as well as terrain texture weighting, allowing for abrupt transitions between terrain textures where appropriate.
      I do like the character modeling/texturing in this one, though. Very, very nice work. If I had to guess, I’d say Bethesda is focusing on characters here, in much the same way that they focused on water in Morrowind and forests in Oblivion.

    • Dragatus says:

      @ Grape Flavor

      You’re guessing wrong. Very very wrong. I read all the books in Morrowind and most of the books in Oblivion. I also read a lot of lore that isn’t even in the game (such as both editions of the Pocket Guide to the Empire).

      Morrowind was fantastic. Overall it’s my favourite game of all times. It had it’s share of flaws but it more than made up for it with it’s fascinating game world, rich lore, freedom, and so much to do. I think that over the years I must have spent about 4000 hours playing it over the years.

      OK, maybe I’ve done Oblivion some unjustice when I called it genric and it’s possible that it only felt so generic to me because I was comparing it to Morrowind.

      Still, the world could have been much more interesting. The first edition of the Pocket Guide to the Empire (from 1998) says: “Cyrodiil is a river-based society surrounded by jungle”. [...] “Several small islands rose from this lake [Rumare], and the capital city sprawled across them, crisscrossed with bridges and gondola ferries.” [...] “From the shore it is hard to tell what is city and what is Palace, for it all rises from the islands of the lake towards the sky in a stretch of gold. Whole neighborhoods rest on the jeweled bridges that connect the islands together. Gondolas and river-ships sail along the watery avenues of its flooded lower dwellings.” It also describes a strong cultural divide between the hardy Colvian west and the mercantile Nibenean east.

    • Grape Flavor says:

      @Dragatus

      Er, sorry. I never played Morrowind until AFTER Oblivion, and I didn’t know about the whole jungle-thing at the time. So when Cyroddil had a bog-standard fantasy landscape it was exactly what I had expected.

      I can see how people felt Oblivion was generic compared to Morrowind and previous descriptions of the province. That said Oblivion still isn’t really any more generic than most fantasy RPGs. So maybe Bethesda set themselves up for Oblivion to be judged more harshly than it otherwise would have been.

    • rayne117 says:

      From what I have seen, Grape, your story is the run-of-the-mill case for people that played Oblivion before Morrowind. I have three friends, all who loved Oblivion very much (spending hundreds of hours each, and they got all the achievements and DLC), when I showed them Morrowind, only one took a liking to it. And he didn’t even like it that much. None of them played, or ever heard, of the Elder Scrolls games before.

      Me on the other hand, I spent countless days playing Morrowind on the Xbox 1, yearning for a 360 so I could play Oblivion. Once I got it, my only save file had 20 hours after owning the game for a year in a half.

  2. outoffeelinsobad says:

    I dig the ruins. Gives it a sorta Morrowind-y, Robert-E.-Howard, ancient-mystery feel.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      @frightlever

      Apparently there was only one person working on the dungeons for Oblivion! That does explain much. This time they have a whole team (i think it was maybe 5? My memory is awful though so it may not be) and have stated that each dungeon is handcrafted and should have its own flavour. So that’s quite promising.

    • Berzee says:

      Yep, frightlever, still on the go :) But a world populated with only high levels and no noobz is kind of saddening to me, so I play it no more. =T

    • akaleus says:

      Yeah, I hated how Oblivion had the same dungeon over and over again… it got old really fast. My other complaint with oblivion was the combat… it was just plain boring imo. I wish there were more games that took a cue from Zeno Clash as far as combat systems are concerned.

    • Zaboomafoozarg says:

      Crapppp, now I want to play Asheron’s Call again…

    • akaleus says:

      Asheron’s Call was awesome in the day… just the complete customization of character stats…. usually resulting in me screwing my character up… nevertheless, it was awesome to have that kind of control over stats.

    • Danarchist says:

      I tried playing asherons call again recently but I just couldn’t get my head around the graphics anymore. I kept getting the itch in the back of my head that I was playing a lower polygon count lego game.

      The game mechanics itself are some of the best out there, probably the most fun mmo I have ever played. If they would just reskin the damn thing with modern graphics I would clear out my steam wishlist, cancel both my current mmo accounts, break up with my girlfriend, and call in sick for two weeks straight to build a awesome new og mage!

  3. pipman3000 says:

    lol once it’s released everyone will call it horrible consolized crap that ruined/raped the elder scrolls series and call for bethesda’s death.

    • Dlarit says:

      “Loud noises!”

    • Navagon says:

      I doubt most people that would do so have even played a TES game that wasn’t “consolized crap”.

    • phlebas says:

      Are you sure? Morrowind may have been available for the XBox but wasn’t primarily designed for it in the way that Oblivion so obviously was.

    • Joshua says:

      People will see ‘Consolized crap’ everywhere. Just because games are also released on consoles.

      They would call Freelancer Consolized Crap if it had come out on Xbox as well.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      To sell it on console you’d need to consolize Freelancer to make it more crappy. For example a loading screen every 30 seconds, because there would be not enough memory to keep the whole system at once.

    • DrGonzo says:

      We need to change it to over-simplified crap.

    • Danarchist says:

      I had the epiphany recently to start expecting every game to be absolute crap, that way when I get it I am happily surprised or it meets expectation!

      This worked pretty well with two worlds 2, I expected a generic fantasy game that I would get bored of in a week. I got a generic fantasy game that is actually pretty fun to play and unexpectedly pretty!

    • phlebas says:

      ‘oversimplified crap’ is only part of the issue though, along with atrophied attention spans and a fear of abstraction – but there’s a specific kind of poisoning caused by designing the interface to be used from a distance, with a gamepad, and then mapping that as directly as you can to keyboard/mouse. It can (often) be fixed by mods, sure, but it shouldn’t need to be.

  4. Squirrelfanatic says:

    Dragons are the new Cliff Racers.

    • stahlwerk says:

      That was my first thought as well.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      ditto. Though I very much hope not

      Interviews initially got me excited with things like “This is deffinitely not traditional treatment of dragons. We’ve deffinitely gone a different direction”.

      Recent interviews, though, leave me with a more cliff racer feeling. It seems by no traditional they just meant that fighting them will be slightly more adaptive to the environment. The impression they’re now giving is that they’ll just be another monster to fight. Although a challenging one.

    • Sidorovich says:

      Dragons are the new Oblivion Gates.

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      You must kill ALL of the dragons!

      Before they DESTROY the whole WORLD!

      But, you know, in your own time, like.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      I’m actually faaaiiirly sure Howard mentioned that ridiculous lack of urgency in the GI interview. So hopefully they are aware of how stupid that is and not doing it this time

  5. Starayo says:

    The dragon shot does look fantastic, but I think you’re downplaying the amazing progress they’ve made in the field of not having stupid faces that they show in the first shot. :)

    • Wolf Hongo says:

      The faces were the first thing I noticed, and oh god they look so much better. Facial features are quite distinctive and I’m taking a keen liking to their textures. No more middle-aged people whose head is shaped like Rocky Dennis’ and show no sign of aging!

      Also: those trees!

    • Plankton says:

      That thing actually resembles a real woman! It even looks like something that we could consider a nordic woman. Well done, Bethesda. :O
      (disclaimer: with “that thing” I was referring to the fact that it is a virtual entity in a video game and I was not trying to objectify women in any shape or form … boobs are nice in almost any shape or form, I should add)

    • Urael says:

      That was covered pretty comprehensively in one of the previous threads. Lots of praise for the very natural looking woman, both of her face and, of course, of the boobies.

      Congrats, Bethesda. This is a woman I’d actually like to date!

    • MrMud says:

      yea, this is by far the thing that stood out to me.
      Actual realistic looking faces is a new for Bethesda

    • bonjovi says:

      “Also: those trees”
      should be:
      “uno dos tres”

      I’ll get my coat

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Agreed with the general concensus, the models look excellent.

      Until they release video and it becomes clear they never fired their previous animators. (I’d like to be wrong here, honest.)

      Oh and no water mills, and no towers either!

    • Jeremy says:

      Yeah, honestly, I didn’t find those first few shots to underwhelming at all, mainly because of that normal looking human being!

    • Wolf Hongo says:

      @bonjovi

      Oh, no, don’t get your coat. If anything, please, just move your chair a little closer to mine, I’ll put on my favorite vinyl record, take out some chardonnay from 72′ and maybe you could teach me a little more Spanish. Maybe…

      Sexy Spanish?

      Goddamn, those trees though!

    • sinister agent says:

      Are they going to include kids at all? Even teenagers would be a start.

      I couldn’t play morrowind or oblivion without the faint dread that the next sinister cave/dungeon I crept into would be the Temple of Doom, and all the adults in the land would suddenly hiss and run screaming in after me, ending the game in one endless, desperate scrap.

  6. Njordsk says:

    Can’t wait to get my hands on that one.

    Forest, mountains, swamps… I’m glad to see some north landscape for once.

    Too bad it’s comming out at the same time BF3 does.

  7. Dlarit says:

    I’m going to have an accident today and wake up from my coma when this game is out!

    • Wolf Hongo says:

      That’s exactly what I do when I have to cook something in the microwave for longer than two minutes!

    • Unrein says:

      I’ll have some coma too. How much?

    • Sarlix says:

      lets see, a basic two month coma will set you back £500. This includes basic accommodation, two meals a day and a choice of four radio stations to be played on a rotational basis. Washing and grooming are included, but only once a week.

      Up from that is the mid-range 4 month coma. This includes modest accommodation. Three meals a day, and a choice from the wine list. A selection of 12 radio stations are available and a nice range of books on tape. Basic grooming and body care are included and will be administered three times a week. A selection of hair cuts are available at additional costs. Price: £1500

      Finally we come to our deluxe package, the 9 month coma. This baby includes luxurious accommodation, balcony with sea views. Three four-course meals a day, all liquidized for your connivance. A selection from our extensive wine and champagne list. A choice of 50 radio stations, sky+, and linguistic lessons from a choice of seven different languages. Daily grooming and body care with a selection of 25 different hair and facial hair styles. (you may be in a coma, but that’s no excuse not to look your best!) Afternoon sports massage followed by a sauna and optional golf lessons. All this can be yours for a mere £102,000!

  8. Davie says:

    YES. YES. STOP THE PRESSES. THE NORDS HAVE FOUND A CURE FOR POTATOFACE.

    This also actually looks like it might run on my crap machine. Of course I won’t know for sure until the specs come out, but yay!

  9. Unrein says:

    I do wonder what makes interface artists make that kind of crap. Dragon Age II is going the way of garish mp3 player like interface as well. Yuck.

  10. Davie says:

    It’s a bit late to lament the inclusion of dragons. Especially since they were referenced in every previous game.

    But yes, I am slightly horrified by that interface. It looks like…*shudder* the Xbox Live dashboard.

  11. Sunjammer says:

    But I already live in Norway :( I get my fill of dragons and wenches daily, now MY escapism is RUINED FOREVER. NOoooo

  12. Nemon says:

    Xbox360-screens? Meh.

  13. Dlarit says:

    Can we contact Fox news as i really want to play this game but i fear becoming a rapist.. can we confirm this game does not create rapists please?

    • SanguineAngel says:

      this game contains depictions women. This game also contains depictions of violence. At times this game may depict scenes of women using violence and may even allow you to use violence against women.

      I can confirm through this scientific reasoning that this game does indeed cause rape.

    • akaleus says:

      Clearly this game is male chauvinistic as it apparently has women in it and they do indeed have breasts.

    • Davie says:

      This game may also include black people and lizard people, and may allow you to perform violent acts against them, including female members of said races, so THIS GAME ENCOURAGES RACISM IS CLEARLY A CATALYST FOR INTERRACIAL AND INTERSPECIES MURDER AND SEXUAL ASSAULT.

  14. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    it will probably be called SkillFlow.

    Also, that “Click to embiggen!” caption is subtle. very subtle indeed.

  15. Giant, fussy whingebag says:

    I can maybe see the interface working fairly well on a console, where it wouldn’t be possible to click on exactly what you want from a list. On PC it is just going to be frustrating having to scroll through everything you don’t want.

    Of course, I haven’t had a console since NES, so maybe I’m wrong and it’s horrible for them too…

  16. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    My interest in this went from here_ to ^ up there somewhere, am interested; also dragons ! yay! I sure hope we can ride them ! <:3

  17. poop says:

    pff i thought they introduced outdoor shadows but nope the game literally looks exactly like oblivion

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      You didn’t happen to read the Game Informer coverage where Bethesda specifically talked about outdoor shadows in the new engine, did you?

    • Urael says:

      Use better eyes, Poop. there’s a clear upgrade in visual quality apparent from the screenies, albeit still within the Oblivion style.

  18. Plankton says:

    to be fair, interface styles tend to change quite a bit during the last few months of development. Fingers crossed that it’ll look a little more fitting. :)
    (trying to be optimistic here!)

  19. DarkFenix says:

    Well, everything looks great… except that screenshot of one of the most horrific interfaces I’ve ever seen. Oblivion’s interface wasn’t good, but that one is frankly taking the piss. “Let’s see how little information we can allow someone to see on screen at once, gamers will love that” seems to be their line of thought.

    • akaleus says:

      I hate this interface as well…. You mean I have to scroll back & forth all over the place to see skill levels that would have all fit nicely in one window all together on one screen?

      The only reason I can think of that they would set it up like this is for people that play sitting on the couch 10ft away from the screen. If this is the case, then they should definitely include an option on which interface we’d like to use.

      Hey, even more awesome… why not create a completely customizable interface similar to what many MMOs have… that would rock imo.

  20. Number47 says:

    Is it just my juvenile, sex fixated mind or did anyone else giggle when reading “Click to embiggen”, and then looked at the womans breasts and thought YEAH!!!

  21. Plopsworth says:

    You know, the clunky yet criminally underplayed Elder Scrolls 3rd person action-adventure swashbuckler Redguard had you fight dragons too.

  22. Handsome Dead says:

    Look at that arm hair. This is the future of video games, make no mistake.

  23. UberMonkey says:

    Enjoy this wall’o'text:

    My previous experiences with Bethesda leave me feeling like this will be a “grab it on a Steam sale” purchase a while later, once the bugs are cleared up and the mods have established themselves. Aside from the various blatant consolization issues we’re all basically expecting from every AAA game at this point (giant text & controller-designed menus, sparse enemy and NPC population to deal with performance issues, etc.), I’ve mostly been turned off by their ‘meh’ writing and questionable RPG mechanics (see: the levelup gaming from Oblivion, the overzealous scaling from Oblivion and F3, extra-generic dungeons).

    The unfortunate thing is that they always seem to have half the equation for a great RPG down (large, impressive, open environments, freedom to interact with the world as you prefer, etc.) and then fail to make it work by screwing up actual gameplay mechanics and delivering poor writing. Unlike a lot of the anti-Bethesda crowd I really want them to sort these issues out and release something I can actually enjoy beyond the initial discovery phase… I’m hoping they’ve learned some lessons over the past several years because I really don’t see any other major studio out there getting into the open world RPG business. To be honest I could probably forgive the mechanical issues if they actually manage to produce a decently-written plot (and likewise I think I could overlook a ‘meh’ story if they solve the RPG mechanics issues).

    The game still screams “WTF, why is there no co-op multiplayer,” but I think it’s obvious that’s just not going to happen until they do a full engine upgrade (which this most certainly isn’t).

    @poop: I might be wrong, but it seems like there might be shadows in the second shot (look under the tree that’s just to the right of center). The other two appear to have no shadows, but they also seem to be using a perfect noon lighting setup to deliberately make it ambiguous. Maybe they’re a work in progress? It’s also possible that I’m just crazy and the branch shadows in shot 2 are something else entirely. Either way it’s pretty clear to me that this is not really a “new” engine so much as an upgrade to the current one. I just hope they finally solved that stuttering issue.

    TL;DR: Looks open and shiny, but I still don’t trust Bethesda when it comes to story or RPG mechanics. Definitely not a completely new engine, and still a consoles-first design. Hope I’m wrong because I really want a solid open-world actionish RPG.

    • Urael says:

      Kindly don’t speak for all of us, Handsome Dead. And kindly moderate your tone to something more civil, please. There’s no rule that says comments must be snappy two-line zingers or otherwise. Ubermonkey’s opinion is completely valid and I won’t have that right to expression truncated by people who believe they can dictate to others how they should be writing.

      Consider the old parenting adage: “If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.”

      {EDIT] Hmm. Now I look silly ranting at someone who’s not there anymore. As you were, everyone!

    • JackShandy says:

      As a man on the internet I’m outraged that UberMonkey has spent time writting something that I’m not personally interested in.

      You all should learn from my example.

    • 12kill4 says:

      ^That.

      [edit: I was of course referring to TheApologist's comments. However, due to people posting in the time it took me to reply, and thus making my post meaningless, I have now lost the brevity I was going for- you bastards.]

    • SanguineAngel says:

      I was with you up until the multiplayer part UberMonkey.

      I very much agree that there games have always seemed like halfway there sort of affairs. Some of the things they have said seem to imply they have learnt from the mistakes in oblivion. Some show ignorance. We shall see.

    • Stevostin says:

      I disagree on the “Bethesda writing” flame. Bethesda writing can be very dull but it can also be brilliant. Did you play the dark brootherhood quests ? Shivering Isles ? I am actually playing back F3 after FNV and while it’s true it’s less consistent than FNV, it’s also way funnyer.

      I also disagree about boring dungeon. I know I am not from a big tribe but I actually like how Beth is dealing with dungeon. Partly generated, so you can have a lot of them, but each of them has something unique, so there’s always a point about doing them. This is especially true for F3. I really missed the heap of vaults in FNV.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      People frequently cite the Dark Brotherhood as justification of Oblivion’s excellence. In a game full of hundreds of quests and dozens of storylines (beofre shivering isles came along) there was precisely ONE that was any good. That is not a plus. It is an example of what Oblivion could have acheived across the board but for me only serves to highlight where the rest of the game fell down narratively.

      Regarding dungeons, I like what they’re doing with Skyrim – I don’t /think/ they’ll screw the pooch on this one and they seem aware of the dangers and pitfalls of the system they have created.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      …you’re complaining about the lack of multiplayer in an Elder Scrolls game?

      It’s times like these when I love it when developers flat out ignore the “fans.”

    • Stevostin says:

      Speaking about the particular quest line just mean it’s the most telling exemple. Now if you want to go into detail, you it’s rather like this :
      warrior guild quest line : dull and boring
      magic guild quest line : ok but forgettable.
      thief guild quest line : very good.
      dark brother hood quest line : one of the best in any RPG for a lot of people
      That’s all for the quest lines. Ah yes : main quest line is pompous but has some epic moments. Extension main quest : one of the best in any RPG

      Now of course there all the independent quests. I will not list them, just remind you that some are really, really good. I think everyone trapped in the painting was charmed by this quest for instance. The paranoid citizen : fun. The women who hire you to know where her partner in crime has hidden a loot : fun too. Etc. I played the game three times, which is enough for me to know nearly all of these quests are designed in a way that allows you to do them in several different ways. Few RPG does that. I consider it to be especially an achievement in an open RPG.

      A lot of people think beth dialog are not good because they lack the polish you can find in ME in term of dubbing and visual. I think it’s the price to pay for a game far more open ended than anything else. Beth soft requires the gamer to use his imagination to fill the gaps and indulges the flaws in the way it represents what happen. But it also offer a field where a lot of things can actually happen. If that’s the trade off I need to reach the king of game that tickles me, fine. I don’t see any competitor to Bethesda for supplying me with the kind of RPG I want to play. (I like ME but it’s rather great adventure with some casual gameplay rather than an RPG to me)

  24. madAzrael says:

    the eye-candy design is “Style 2.0″
    it is cool and hip and buzz and … manager like it

    sad, they dont realize that often it’s just “not appropriate” (read: fucking annoying)

  25. mrjackspade says:

    Needs a solid compelling storyline to go along with the vast interactive world. Pretty pls :).

  26. DeepSleeper says:

    I always desperately craved playing Redguard, but sadly I never could get the “direct3D wrapper” or whatever working with it, and then when I did try playing it in extra-chunky-vision the controls were terrible in a way that suggested there were serious timing issues between my PC and the game.

    I wish I could play that game.

  27. axed says:

    i CANNOT understand why developers release screenshots on consoles when the game is also for PC. why not release PC shots with full features and resolution!? Marketting is supposed to make you want to BUY the game. PC shots would trick consolers into thinking thats how it looks (nothing new by the way as games used to advert based on cinematic shots). Consoles shots make me think this game looks a bit old.

    for fucks sake… at least the pc has proper anti-aliasing!

    • Brumisator says:

      Because it’s the official Xbox mag?

    • stahlwerk says:

      IS IT SUPPOSED TO BE XBOX?!

      sorry, could not resist.

    • Stevostin says:

      Couldn’t agree more. It seems ages ago when publisher just were taking their shots out of the best possibly looking version.

      Now of course it’s XBox mag first but hey, you all know we won’t be seeing any PC shots anytime soon and that PC upgrade will be mostly better resolution and view distance. It’s not like anyone is trying anymore to just make the best possibly looking game regardless of console’s limitation.

      No one is trying to do something like this in a real game, for instance :

    • axed says:

      ok ok so its for xbox mag ant this ONE TIME they have an excuses. but i was using this article as an excuse to vent my long running frustration with screenshot releases. i remember even valve released non high res non antialiased shots of hl2 before it came out and people were sad as they thought the game looked… how do you folks say it? “rubbish”?

      @Stevostin thanks for the link. its sad, kinda. i mean on one end im glad i dont have to upgrade every year or 1.5 years to play top end games but for results like that i really wouldnt mind.

  28. derella says:

    Well, the character models look better. I can actually tell that the bar wench is female!

    • Urael says:

      You know, she’s so well done you can probably make a decently accurate stab at her age, too. A game I like to play on PlentyofFish (Called “How Truthful is She?”). Not that I’m dating at all, I just like to play. :)

      Whaddya say? Late 20′s, early 30′s?

    • stahlwerk says:

      Is there tobacco in Tamriel? If not, I’d say 37. Else, 28.

    • Sarlix says:

      There is, it can be purchased in the main ingredient. The finest products and lowest prices in all of Tamriel!

  29. Qjuad says:

    You know, I actually saw a Dragon yesterday. Terrible creatures. I tend to avoid them.

  30. Stevostin says:

    It certainly does look better than oblivion, especially the characters and short distance object (thanks to globlal lightning).

    This for instance :
    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/images/11/feb/skyrim2.jpg

    looks better than this :
    http://www.playingzone.com/images/jeux/xbox360/oblivion_shivering_isles_sc1.jpg

    - I think everyone will agree on that. Now I also have this painful memory at Oblivion’s release of visual deception : Beth had successfully keeped hidden from us until release the fact that long range view was pretty ugly. That’s why I won’t be completely confident until I see some real long range view from Skyrim. That being said, that shot :

    http://cdn.medialib.oxm.co.uk/screens/screenshot_17303.jpg

    gives me some hope compared to this :

    http://img222.imageshack.us/img222/4412/oblivion200612031417071tk6.jpg

    But hey, all of this are official screenshots vs real game captures, so let’s not be too trusty…

  31. pakoito says:

    It’s (modded) oblivion with better character modeling/animation.

    /digg

  32. MadTinkerer says:

    Huzzah! I haven’t had to upgrade my PC for two years, and now there will finally be a compelling reason to do so!

    • Sarlix says:

      Yes and in 2015 we might actually have the hardware that can run the thing ;)

    • faelnor says:

      Erm, looking at those screens, if their engine is well-optimised there shouldn’t be any reason to upgrade from a two year old rig. It really doesn’t look better than Just Cause 2 (obviously, since it’s also on X-Box 360) which runs absolutely fine on the PC I built in December 2008.

  33. CommentSystem says:

    I’m sad that the PC is no longer the lead platform for these games. The graphical leap between Morrowind and Oblivion was pronounced, but between Skyrim and Oblivion far less so.

    As long as the 360/PS3 generation of consoles stick around we are not going to be seeing any amazing leaps forward in graphics. Which, as a long time PC gamer who is used to seeing graphical engines advance by leaps and bounds every few years, takes away the excitement of a lot of these newer releases.

    On the bright side, at least we don’t have to build a new PC every three years like in the 90s.

    • drewski says:

      Screenies are from the consoletoy version so I hold out a tiny bit of hope that Bethesda will allow things to scale up for monster rigs.

      Not that I have a monster rig.

  34. Emperor_Jimmu says:

    I’m going to play as a wizard, because we all know that fighting a dragon with a sword goes badly. Case in point, Beowulf.

    • pakoito says:

      Battlemage all the way across the sky. If the game doesn’t allow you to make one, I just quit.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Fighting dragons (or any large enough creature) is a problem in games like this. It makes sense that a strong mage or ranged weapon class might tackle one, but doing it as a melee class never feels right.

      There were a few dragon battles in Dragon Age: Origins. Playing as a Rogue, I spent all my time running around, stabbing its knees. Can you bring down a real dragon by kneecapping it? I dunno. If a game allows warrior and rogue types to jump onto the dragon’s back or neck, that would seem more realistic, but so far I’ve only seen that sort of thing in “finishing move” cut scenes. It’s all knee-stabbing until then. I hope this new Bethesda game has something special in the combat moves for fighting dragons, otherwise it’s just going to look silly.

  35. Westcreek says:

    All this game really needs now then is loads of catapults and giant slingshots scattered across the lands, so that you can launch yourself towards the dragon. Death from below!

  36. Songbearer says:

    Race: Dark Elf

  37. Zogtee says:

    So, we can expect this to be a modded up Oblivion, then? Also, I can’t believe you’re giving Beth praise for finally producing character art that is not sub-standard.

  38. Jakkar says:

    Oh god. Oh. God. Why it.. Okay, okay, graphics don’t matter, but.. Well. They do to Bethesda. Morrowind was a beautiful looking game for its time. Oblivion looked good when originally shown off pre-release but was nothing special by the time we had it in our hands.

    This already looks ugly. What does this indicate?

  39. Soon says:

    They need a scene where a mage using a scroll of Icarian Flight results in consumption by a dragon.

  40. Squirrelfanatic says:

    It just dawned on me that the first screenshot shows the player casting a spell while simultaneously wielding a weapon. Yes!

  41. DJ Phantoon says:

    Gents, notice the Xbox logo in the bottom right? Even if they don’t give us a list, we can always just mod it. Probably.

  42. SanguineAngel says:

    Modding is all well and good but it really REALLY shouldn’t be the first place anyone looks to ensure a game is properly optimised for its format. The first place you need to look for that should be the developers.

    Perhaps they will have a seperate UI for the PC, stranger things have happened – and it has happened before with other developers. However, past experience with Bethesda would suggest not.

  43. heretic says:

    looks awful… I thought this wasn’t gamebryo?

    • bildo says:

      It’s not….the difference is pretty clear imo. The graphics aren’t Crysis (back in the day) but they don’t look like complete shit for being on a console. I’m sure PC will look better.

      Funny, I had a similar reaction. I realized the wench in the foreground was ugly as shit and her bosoms are oddly shaped. Then, I stopped for a second to look at the rest of the screenshot. Shadows on the environment are good, same with shadows on the characters. The textures looked nicer. Let’s hope they fix the trees though :X

      At the moment, graphically, I’d say the biggest improvement is in the shadows.

  44. Oculardissonance says:

    Wow an attractiveish female in a Bethesda game?! The clothing design of oblivion really irked me, everything felt too utilitarian, there was none of teh sexy that should go hand in hand with fantasy. Glad they decided to yank off that puritan smock and show a bit of cleavage.

  45. Froibo says:

    Such cromulent pictures.

  46. Grape Flavor says:

    You know, it’s pathetically obvious that you guys are hating on the game because you WANT to hate it. No matter what information comes out, you will hate on it endlessly. The RPS staff seems to have the same mindset.

    The double standards are so unbelievably blatant. Whether it’s the setting, the graphics or whatever, you’ll snark and criticize endlessly and yet not say a word about other games that aren’t even as good as TES.

    Admit it. You have made up your mind on Skyrim and are now in the process of finding reasons to justify said negative opinion. You’re with games like most Americans are with politics – decision first, intense hating second, half-baked rationalizing later.

    God I hate you guys. It’s like sharing a room with hundreds of colicky babies who do nothing but screech and shit all over everything no matter what anyone does for them.

    • Tim Smith says:

      100% agree with this.
      Sigh.

    • Davie says:

      So ignore them. Whiny, nostalgic fanboys will be whiny nostalgic fanboys. No need to lash out at everyone.

    • Tim Smith says:

      @Davie
      I think it’s more the fact the RPS staff have joined the hating part-ay.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Grape: You tell ‘em, man. Put the world to rights.

      Or just admit it does look a bit like Oblivion.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Grape: RPS has shown considerable glee at the potential in Skyrim. I would say they have been far from hating. Perhaps I would go as far as to say that the words they have written have been favourable! Also, a lot of the people here, myself included, are pretty excited. So, no.

      PS. It DOES look quite a bit like oblivion still.

      PPS. I’m still looking forward to it.

    • mwoody says:

      So you’re saying they should stop hating on games, and upgrade to hating entire countries? Gotcha.

    • Grape Flavor says:

      @Lilliput KIng

      Yeah, it does. Sure. And so does The Witcher, Dragon Age, and every other fantasy RPG ever made. It’s called a genre.

      But no one whines and snarks about those games, do they. Not to the degree that they do with Skyrim. And yes, it looks more like Oblivion than those. Because it’s part of the same series.

      OMG “DRAGONS” SO LAME HURR HURR
      OMG LOOK A TREE. AND A SWORD. HOW GENERIC HURR HURR.
      OMG A MEDIEVAL LOOKING BUILDING. SO GENERIC. SO LAME. HURR HURR HURR.

      People even complain about the graphics? Like RPSers don’t , every day, proclaim their undying love for games much, much uglier than this?! The double standards applied to this game around here are breathtaking.

      RPS is forging a tradition of hating on games they know next to nothing about. It’s all conjecture based on the most pathetic immature reasons.

      XCOM looks like a very unique and inventive FPS, sure, BUT ITS NOT THE SAME GENRE AS THE OTHER ONE SO IT SUCKS!!!!!!!! NO BUY!!!!!

      BF3 has one of the coolest FPS game engines – advanced destruction, great graphics, and everything BF2 had (which we love BTW), but better. But it’s on consoles too, and we don’t know about mods yet SO IT SUCKS!!!! IT’S SHIT!!!! NO BUY!!!!!!

      Seriously guys? How old are you?

    • Wilson says:

      @Grape Flavor – I think you may be making this out to be a bigger thing than it is. I’m not seeing that much hate for the game. I’ll agree with you that people moaning about the graphics is absurd, but I’m not sure that there’s quite the level of hatred you seem to think is there. This post does seem a little dismissive, but perhaps it’s meant to be taken a bit tongue in cheek to make the joke about how amazing the dragon is work. Also, why is this quite so important to you? If it really makes you this angry, it might be best for you to avoid the articles about the game. There are a fair few comments predicting the game will suck, but there are plenty which say neutral or positive things too.

    • Lilliput King says:

      “Yeah, it does. Sure. And so does The Witcher, Dragon Age, and every other fantasy RPG ever made. It’s called a genre.

      But no one whines and snarks about those games, do they. Not to the degree that they do with Skyrim. And yes, it looks more like Oblivion than those. Because it’s part of the same series.”

      It’s not what’s in it that makes it look like Oblivion, it’s the very similar aesthetic. They could almost be made in the same engine. Doesn’t really say anything about the quality of the game. Just that they do look a bit similar.

      The only reason I’m picking up on this point is because this is literally the only abusive thing Quinns seems to be saying about the screens. And let’s be honest, he ain’t wrong.

      Not sure what you’re on about with the rest of that post so I’ll give it a miss.

      edit: No-one whines and snarks about Dragon Age for being trad-fantasy, huh? News to me.

    • Grape Flavor says:

      @Lilliput KIng
      Yeah, and hey Geralt in the Witcher 2 looks just like Geralt in The Witcher 1. Portal 2 looks a hell of a lot like Portal. Etc, etc. I’m not sure I get your point. Plenty of games have a similar art style to their predecessors, just higher technical quality. Completely changing the art style of a series is pretty uncommon. And when they do people complain even more. See The Wind Waker.

      Let’s face it, Morrowind is in the same stylistic vein as the rest of the series only the graphics look like ass. It’s a different setting sure, but that’s part of the game and the lore, not the artists. It’s a different province. Maybe what people mean when they say Skyrim looks “generic” and “samey”, is that they just want Morrowind 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, until their brains bleed. And yet then people would complain bitterly about “milking” and the “same old setting”. Bethesda can’t win here.

      It’s not rational. It’s like when they renamed Vista “Mojave”, everyone thought it was SO much better. I guarantee you, if this same exact game changed setting to be in an “original” fantasy world, and was made by some arty-farty indie startup, a lot of Skyrim’s harshest critics would be going apeshit over this game. Again, not rational. It can’t be. We know next to nothing about this game and yet much of RPS is sure it’s shit. The only way you could possibly “know” that is if you’re totally biased in the first place.

      And that’s what irks me so much. It seems the people even willing to give Bethesda a chance are in the minority around here.

    • Grape Flavor says:

      @Wilson “If it really makes you this angry, it might be best for you to avoid the articles about the game.”

      Yeah, I’ve tried that strategy various times. I can’t, it’s a disease. The idea that there might be wrong-speakers lurking unchastened just eats me until I give in. I’m a rant-o-holic.

      im working on it tho.

    • Lilliput King says:

      “I’m not sure I get your point.”

      Sounds like you are getting a little confused here, yeah. If the idea that Skyrim looks like Oblivion doesn’t bother you, why does it bother you that Quinns says it?

    • Tim Smith says:

      I like how no one has commented on my support. Yay.

    • Grape Flavor says:

      @Tim Smith

      Thanks man. I do appreciate it. Guess I was too busy arguing. :(

    • Tim Smith says:

      Indeed, arguing is very attention-consuming.

  47. Kadayi says:

    Well it looks like they’d upped their character generator software, which is good to see. Not a comment on the ladies comeliness, more the fact that she looks human. Certainly a big improvement on both Oblivion & Fallout 3 in that respect. Here is hoping they’ve applied the same rigour to Voice work as well as ambient AI.

    *mode: moderately interested.

  48. DrazharLn says:

    I am ashamed at how long it took me to get the title reference.

  49. Grey says:

    Woohoo! Look at that dragon! Now that’s what I called a sexual arousement!

    Elder Dragon Scrolls Age! :D

  50. phenom_x8 says:

    The woman in the 2nd screenshot looks “realistic”, and I dont agree with you,Q! It doesnt looks like oblivion at all(except for the background)! I hope that she has different voices than the other women this time!

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