Chasing The Dragon: 20 Minutes Of Skyrim

By Alec Meer on September 12th, 2011 at 3:31 pm.

Aren't you a little short for a dragon?

You’ve read, potentially, thousands of words about the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, but you probably haven’t been able to see all that much of it yourself. That is because you are bad, and naughty, and not to be trusted. That’s also why we locked you in that dank cellar for so long. Now you’re too malnourished to attack us anymore, we can sit you down and show you some 20 minutes of the game in safety. Keep those hands where we can see them, and do stop trying to gnaw through your gag.

The following three videos contain mammoth-bullying, spell combination, dragon-shouting, caves, mountains, forests and puzzling. It’s very similar to the demo I saw back in April, thus offering a sort of greatest hits of Skyrim’s beasts and abilities, as opposed to the early, low level stretch of the game I saw just a few weeks back.



Oh, that poor dragon. He was only trying to help massacre all life.

Only two months until this plops onto our hard drives. Please, please, please don’t let there be another case of whatever ridiculous bullshit has been causing Bethesda and THQ games to not appear on Steam at launch in the UK for this one.

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202 Comments »

  1. Askeladd says:

    “That’s also why we locked you in that dank cellar for so long. Now you’re too malnourished to attack us anymore, we can sit you down and show you some 20 minutes of the game in safety. Keep those hands where we can see them, and do stop trying to gnaw through your gag.”

    Isn’t that what they did to some people at gamescom? I heard some were still missing.

  2. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    Am I the only one who sorta prefers the old-style parchment inventory screens? Just seemed more RPGy/Old Worldy than this.

    Seems a little too clinical and plain and not matching the game style to me.

    • Uglycat says:

      It does look a bit of a nightmare to navigate.

      Some of the best mods for Oblivion/Nehrim/Fallout seemed to be the inventory ones.

    • RizziSmoov says:

      We’ll have a mod for that

    • Reapy says:

      I can’t load the videos at the moment to see, but what you are saying sounds like, once again, the consoles win the war. Not having direct key access to each inventory screen is pure and simple laziness on the devs part for the PC port. The fact that there are probably a multitude of sub menus means, once again, the UI is developed for the lowest common denominator, and they figure that just adding in the ability to click on things somehow makes that inventory acceptable in the pc gaming scene.

      <—Bitter from being unable to tolerate fallout new vegas game engine failures. I'll be very sad to see if the 'new' engine in skyrim contains the same failures, such as being unable to move the mouse around lag free and/or timing errors which cause stuttering.

    • Durkonkell says:

      The menu system looks absolutely lovely and also rather harder to navigate than previous games.

      Shiny and pretty is good, Bethesda. Accessibility is probably more important, though. With that said, I’m more than happy to reserve further criticism until I can play it, and even then MODS. So long as the game is as modifiable as Morrowind / Oblivion, I can forgive quite a lot.

      Speaking of forgiveness, if I continue to hear the phrase “dumbing down” or “consolisation” every time any flaw is discovered in any game, someone will PAY WITH THEIR BLOOD. I have reached my maximum tolerance for that this month.

    • Advanced Assault Hippo says:

      Yeah, it just feels like they’re exiting the game and going into some options screen whenever they go to the inventory. It feels too detached.

      I don’t like it! It simply won’t do.

    • Reapy says:

      It’s always been particularly frustrating to watch what the elder scrolls has grown into since it had its beginnings on the PC and always seemed to try for very “PC” style design choices and take big risks (often falling on its face I guess but I always loved the ambition).

      Designing a UI for use with a controller in an RPG game is probably more difficult than for the PC since you can’t point and click. The control schemes are so different that it is frustrating to see that the controller will always win since it needs special consideration.

      Take fallout3 for example. Lets take quests and the map. They are both on the same main tab. Often you might want to check a quest goal, but then other times you might want to bring the local map up and down, and sometimes you want to bring up the world map to check general heading. On a pc you can just assign a key for each view. Now when I want that view, I press that key.

      Instead I can at least directly bring up the main menu, but now I have to search for the correct tab I want to view between quests and the maps. It adds just a small extra step that can be frustrating over time and slow you down.

      Now take the item lists. If you mouse over an item, the information appears on the right. On a console, this is fine, since you are directly flipping through menu items, when you provide no input, you can still read the item stats. With a mouse, just wiggling your hand for a second can change the information you might have been reading. So instead of just browsing your inventory, it takes a measure of precision to move the mouse onto the single item in the list that you want, and to take care not to disturb your mouse hand while you are reading.

      Honestly a lot of the newer UIs in games are just in general more frustrating and difficult to use than games we had 20 years ago, and primarily because they have been polished for use with a controller.

      RPS as far as I can understand is about trying to scream that PC gaming isnt dead, we still play games over here, and we are still a market force. I, like many other older readers have grown up with PC games and slowly watched them get shoved into the corner in stores and pushed off to the side. Then we watched as games were now ported from console to PC rather then the other way around, and watched the game design and technical limitations push into the PC gaming space, stagnating a lot of interesting potential.

      I watch all these indie games doing pretty amazing things and going out on a limb to shock paddle the creativity in game design, but I can’t help but be sad over the fact of what we potentially could have if a studio with a major budget took a crack at some of these things.

      I have always played and enjoyed having a console… I love gaming. But yeah. consolitus, consolitus, consolitus, consolitus!!

    • Zedo Mann says:

      I’ll assume they’ll make one for PC that’s easy for PC as well…

    • Maktaka says:

      “Now take the item lists. If you mouse over an item, the information appears on the right. On a console, this is fine, since you are directly flipping through menu items, when you provide no input, you can still read the item stats. With a mouse, just wiggling your hand for a second can change the information you might have been reading. So instead of just browsing your inventory, it takes a measure of precision to move the mouse onto the single item in the list that you want, and to take care not to disturb your mouse hand while you are reading.”

      You mean like that console port trash Diablo II?

  3. pakoito says:

    So people in Skyrim have their eyes more or less at the height of their chests?

    Also…where’s the item stats spreadsheet? Do I have to go 1 by 1 looking at their stats and remember the best ones?

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      But it’s pretty! Who cares if it’s usable?

    • db1331 says:

      It’s been told that they put a special icon on each item in your inventory that is best in class, something like a gold star if you will.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I think they are trying to get away from stats. It’s more fun if you are a warrior exploring the world and simply choosing the abilities which appeal to you work. Stats shouldn’t matter at all in the Elder Scrolls games if you ask me, and balance isn’t much of an issue in a single player game.

    • Nick says:

      Maybe RPGs aren’t for you then Gonzo.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Nick: That very much depends on what you think an rpg is. Stats are definitely not necessary for rpgs.

    • pakoito says:

      RPGs are a lineal path with choose your own adventure conversations and pointless grindy combat?

    • Davie says:

      Maybe the definition of RPG needs to change, then, Nick. There’s no reason why RPGs should be about stats and spreadsheets. The point of an RPG, at least according to its logical definition, is to make the player feel like they’re part of a living, breathing world, and honestly, fiddling with a bunch of numbers every time I level up takes me out of that.

    • caljohnston says:

      RPGs are games where stats are what determine outcomes rather than player skill (other than tactical). If you take away stats from a game what you have is an action adventure, not an RPG. RPGs have NOTHING to do with making you feel like you’re “playing a role”.

    • mejoff says:

      Really?
      Because that’s what the acronym stands for.

      The big problem with CRPGs is that they grew from Tabletop -or Pen and Paper, if you prefer- RPGs, which need to use highly visible stats to resolve challenges and conflicts. Because the first CRPGs simply ported the numbercrunching and plusones from the tabletop to the screen, an obsession has ingrained itself in the inds of some CRPG players that those numbers are the essence of roleplaying games.

      The thing is, the beauty of computer gaming is that it can take all the stuff that we need to do by hand to create the game experience on the tabletop, and hide it away from us. Yes stat progression is good, but do we have to see it? No, not any more, we certainly don’t have to obsess over it. What we need to see is the world, and our effect on it, and Bethesda have always been good and are getting better at that.

    • pantognost says:

      Oh boy. So RPGs which stands for Role Playing Games have nothing to do with playing a role. Oh dear…
      Stats were an abstraction of the the tabletop RPG simulation. Computer RPGs emulated these systems when there wasn’t any capability of moving away from it.
      The essence of the RPG from its tabletop inception was to facilitate the suspension of disbelief for playing a role.
      Stats abstracted the challenging parts that were not possible to be emulated from the player. They were neccessary ABSTRACTIONS.
      C’mon…tell me, really; how many times had your charisma 4 female (female player) wizard got all the party doing her favors…or how many times had your intelligence 7 barbarian “fell” on the correct tile sequence on the floor just because the player was witty.
      Stats are a crutch, not an end of themselves. Implementation is the important thing. So far Skyrim’s seems pleasing.

    • mejoff says:

      @pantognost
      See us both make essentially the same post at the same (probably) codexer at the same time!

    • pantognost says:

      @mejoff

      Well…that is a peak of synchronicity :)

  4. magnus says:

    You missed a potential Weedeater reference there that probably only I would have got. :( Jason The Dragon?

  5. godgoo says:

    It bothers me for some reason that there’s no enemy reaction to damage, the AI seems very basic in that sense, it’s like they just keep coming at you relentlessly regardless of the huge gash you just made across their thigh.

    • Askeladd says:

      The last three comments are all symptoms of consolitis. I guess the patient will recieve some damage that can only be cured by applying healing patches.

    • magnus says:

      Consolitis? How dare you sir! :p

    • wssw4000 says:

      Yeah. In the second video, the way he slashed that redguard across the throat and the guy not even flinching was particularly jarring.

    • djbriandamage says:

      Sure there may be no reaction to injury and gushing blood, but have you heard about those mudcrabs? Filthy, disgusting creatures!

    • Magnetude says:

      @Askeladd “I guess the patient will recieve some damage that can only be cured by applying healing patches.”

      Or hiding behind a box for 10 seconds.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      That bit where he sneak attacks on two people with a bow in a cave and the other guy just stands there: “Hey, the guy I was talking with is suddenly dead. Perhaps I should wait a minute instead of seeing who killed him” really has me worried about the AI.

      First impression so far, very positive except for that. My guess is one of the first (and most popular) mods for this will be a UI fix for inventory making it much more friendly toward PC style sorting and screen dimensions.

    • The Hammer says:

      “The last three comments are all symptoms of consolitis. I guess the patient will recieve some damage that can only be cured by applying healing patches.”

      Have you ever heard of Medal of Honor?

    • LionsPhil says:

      So what you’re saying, godgoo, is that it’s exactly like Oblivion. (And, sadly, very many other games.)

    • Wulf says:

      This is similar to the issue I have with AI being shit.

      See, Gothic III’s final player patch defined AI for me, both the AI of humanoids and non-humanoids. In G3 you have very believable behaviour. One of my favourite examples is this: In Oblivion there must be a wolf cloning factory somewhere using some amazingly high technology. There has to be. See, the wolves keep suicidally solo-charging persons in platemail, or casters who can deal out Armageddon, but they don’t stop. They die. And then there are ten more where that one was. How do they breed that fast? They don’t. Cloning factory.

      That was one of the biggest immersion breakers of all immersion breakers in any game I’ve ever played. G3 wolves, on the other hand, didn’t bother you unless you started screwing with them, if you did then they’d growl at you as fair warning, and if they were alone they might even run or try to back off. If they were in multiple numbers then you’d have multiple numbers doing the attack thing and if you didn’t move away from their territory (where they might have pups), then they may just attack.

      Instead, they hunted the deer that was in the game. They did this as a pack. I know this because I used the wolf spell in G3 to follow them around for a while. I absolutely marvelled at the incredible AI of the ecology in G3. They’d go for scavengers, deer, or whatever they could as a meal. Scavengers would also sometimes go for deer. Boars were angry little buggers who’d take on most animals to try for a meal. It was fascinating to watch. There was an actual ecology there.

      See, in Oblivion I always felt that there’s a cloning factory somewhere, they pop out animal clones. Those animal clones just stand around and do nothing, they just stand there, they might wander back and forth a bit but generally they’ll just stand there. They’ll wait for me to come along and then they’ll do a kamikaze charge. This game seems no different in the AI department, so Gothic III will always, always be better than it.

      In a sandbox RPG I have to honestly say that one of the most important, if not the most important, elements is the AI. it has to be the AI. In Gothic III (with the player patch) I saw the most impressive, reactive AI that I’ve seen in any game. But here’s the funny part: Even Champions Online, an MMORPG, tops Oblivion by miles. Why? Running away.

      See, in Bethesda games, mobs don’t run. I know this because I’ve tried dicking with the settings to make them very inclined to fleeing in Oblivion, Fallout 3, and even New Vegas, but it’s broken. It is so completely broken. So how is Champions Online better? In CO you have mobs that run when they have low health, they’ll either just run, or they’ll run for backup. This lead to one particularly amazing instance of it in Monster Island, where a damaged tank put up shields and started backing away from us, ensuring its fellow VIPER villains that it would return with aid.

      This was as annoying as it was incredible, since it had three of us in that open mission chasing it. The little sod backed into VIPER-X (a nasty power-armoured guy), and the AI says that if a mob of a fellow faction is in trouble, you attack the person causing the trouble. So suddenly we had VIPER-X on top of us, and then we had a pile of VIPER squad commanders, soldiers, and brickbusters too. AND THEN RIPPER. Somehow we managed to survive that, but the fact that a tank managed to taunt and pull players was an amazing feat.

      Champions Online has better AI than any Bethesda game you could choose (unmodded, at least).

      Oh, and wolves run if you get too close to them in CO. Wolves are smart and they realise that they don’t really have much chance against a person in power armour, or someone with the magical powers of a god, so they just bugger off. If you approach them too quickly or if there’s a battle, they’ll flee. So that’s another feather in CO’s hat versus Oblivion.

      What’s the point I’m trying to make here, though? You might be asking yourself, that.

      It’s this: It’s a sorry state of affairs when an MMORPG ran by a relatively tiny dev team has sublimely superlative AI when compared to a triple-A sandbox RPG title released by a well-funded developer that’s owned by a particularly rich publisher. They could work in proper AI, there are so many games which prove it, but they’re just being lazy and doing only the amount of work they think they need to do in order for games to sell.

      Hell, even Lugaru had better AI, and that was… what, a two-man indie dev team? Ultima VII had better AI, too, despite being stuck on a 2D plane. And let’s be honest, versus Bethesda games, what doesn’t have better AI? If there’s one area of their game they need to fix, it is this.

      (Oh, for those that might be confused: No, CO’s AI wasn’t always that way. This is something they seem to have silently dropped in in a patch four months or so back, I think. And I love it. It makes the game much more interesting to play when a mob–if seriously hurt or alone–will go and get help from their friends. It improves the game so much. It’s the best AI I’ve seen in any damn MMORPG.)

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Wow Wulf, I really want to play Gothic 3 now – wolves have always bugged me in these games, they would never attack a prey unless they thought they had a very good chance of bringing it down and the tactics they use would put West Point to shame.

    • Ateius says:

      Mobs running away in CO to get help has been in for a long, long time. In fact it was an early source of player complaints because it could (and often did) lead to insane mob-cascades, in a game where actually fighting got you very little reward (XP-wise). Perhaps they’ve pulled it out, tweaked it, and recently re-added it; I haven’t played in a long time so I couldn’t say what’s been up recently.

      Speaking of monsters running – they do run in Oblivion. Well, NPCs do (including bandits etc). I’ve had more than a few people run away begging for mercy and/or aid when I’m beating them in a fight. I was actually quite impressed the first time it happened. And then annoyed because get back here and let me kill you!

      Anyway, Sheng-ji, I would be cautious before buying Gothic 3. It does have its good points – massive open world, incredibly immersive environments, scripted NPC schedules that look a lot more realistic than what Radiant AI ever produced – but you need to know that the actual gameplay is horrendously bad and unbalanced when it comes to the combat mechanics. Wulf might be able to point you to some fan patches that fix it, but as for the base game – well, let’s just say I hope you like being mobbed and stunlocked to death.

    • LionsPhil says:

      The behaviour’s still in CO. Try to pick on a criminal in a team with mates, and he’ll have the good sense to run for as many of his own as he can.

      Criminals way below your level, even soloing, also have the good sense to not pick fights with you. You can walk straight through their groups and they’ll let you pass without the need to suicide-by-superhero.

      Oblivion mudcrabs, however, know they can take your pansy level 20 Daedric-armour-encased arse.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Just gave the gothic 3 demo a good 5 hours… it’s not for me.

  6. Astatine says:

    “Please, please, please don’t let there be another case of whatever ridiculous bullshit has been causing Bethesda and THQ games to not appear on Steam at launch in the UK for this one.”

    It can already be preordered on Steam in the UK. I have done.

    • Syra says:

      It could be in july but for the whole of august it was mysteriously absent….

      Even when they offered the special hat for TF2- listing, but no price, no date. Atleast its back now…

  7. Valdyr says:

    Yeah, it seems to have the same problem Oblivion did where an enemy charging at you gets filled with arrows until he looks like a pincushion and has no reaction to it besides going “oof”. I guess that’s to be expected in an RPG. Same as the lightsabers in Knights of the Old Republic basically being glowing baseball bats and taking a dozen hits to kill someone. Still, this looks potentially better than both Oblivion and Fallout 3. Though if it turns out to just be the Fallout 3 engine with VATS removed and all the guns taken out, I’ll have to burn down Todd Howard’s family.

    Also, importantly: will the horse models all have a visible anus like in Oblivion? That is immersion.

    • Rhin says:

      I do seem to remember Bethesda saying before that the rogue-type skills (archery / backstabs) would be majorly buffed compared to Oblivion. Maybe that turned out to be too much of a gameplay balance issue?

    • Wulf says:

      No, it’s not to be expected in an RPG, gods damn it! >:| Read my rant above about Gothic III, Ultima VII, and even Champions Online. All of which have superior AI to any Bethesda game you could name.

      No, this is a Bethesda thing. It shouldn’t be that way, it really shouldn’t, they’re just being lazy shits. But everyone seems to be so very scared of even thinking of criticising them. Well I am unafraid, because I’m frankly tired of their shit AI. An MMORPG has recently pushed a patch with better AI than all of their games. That has to shame someone there. I want to interview them and point this out to them. I want to point out that an MMORPG has smarter foes than any game from their back catalogue. :|

      I have officially been tanked, pulled, and kited by mobs in Champions Online when they’ve caught me off guard and I wasn’t thinking. I don’t know what they did with their AI, but if you’re playing something on Elite then it’s so impressive, never seen anything like it in an online game. It thrills me. If they can do that inn an MMORPG, then why can’t Bethesda at least match that in a single player sandbox RPG?

      I want the press asking these questions, I want anyone who can interview them asking these questions. why is their AI always so shit? What’s their excuse?

      (And if you don’t buy that CO’s AI is demonstrably better than every Bethesda game, then I invite you to create a free Silver account and run through the West Side content, which should only take you an hour or two. Whilst doing that you’ll be pulled, kited, and run around like a fool by AI that’s cleverer than I’ve ever seen in an MMORPG.)

  8. djbriandamage says:

    Bullet time and fatalities… I dunno…

    • Askeladd says:

      and a spell that tells you which way to go.
      You take almost no damage.
      Enemies didn’t look so boringly weak ever.
      Why is slaying a dragon something great if its not an enemy to fear?
      Why is there a dragon spell which does all the killing for you?

      All I can say: God thanks there is a modding tool.

    • djbriandamage says:

      One wonderful thing about Oblivion was the difficulty slider. You’re not just limited to easy\medium\hard but can drag a slider a tiny or huge amount and can even adjust it mid-battle. Although Bethesda is notorious for buggy launches and clunky interfaces saved by community mods, difficulty is one thing I’m not terribly worried about.

    • Adekan says:

      My one experience with adjusting the Oblivion difficulty slider went like this:

      Slider halfway, Enemies easy.
      Move slider right.
      Bandit one shots through block.
      Move slider back. Enjoy game.

    • J-snukk says:

      The guy playing it was probably a really high level for fear of embarassing himself while playing the demo. Or at least, that’s what it seems like to me. I’m also not worried about difficulty.

    • Wulf says:

      Bethesda games have never been difficult, though. Even with the ‘AI Cheating’ slider cranked up to full you could still use the environment to your advantage. They’d still charge you. You could even trick mobs on the highest level of ‘difficulty’ (I cannot call it such with a straight face) to charge headlong into traps.

      And no, these are not dragons. Dragons are amazing. Dragon Commander has dragons. These are flying lizards. Hell, some of them look like leathery flying squirrels.

    • Unaco says:

      No Wulf… they are Dragons. They are f*cking Dragons! They are the most Dragonny f*cking Dragons video gaming has ever seen. Get over it. They are Dragons. It might NOT be the image of Dragons you hold in that (ever so special) little mind of yours, but they are Dragons. Dragons! Dragons are represented in many cultures and fantasy settings, and they are (not suprisingly) different across many of them… there is no ‘right’ way to depict Dragons, no one owns them, or has a final say on whether a depiction is correct.

      These are Dragons, plain and simple. And I think they look damn good! I remember an interview with the Beth guys back before Oblivion was done, and they were asked would they ever do Dragons… they said if they did, they’d do a damn good job of them, and they’d be the best Dragons in video gaming. I reckon they’re pretty damn close to it. I’m also thinking the ‘communication’ mechanics with them are going to be great fun, and look forward to many ‘debates’ with them.

    • Chris D says:

      @Unaco

      Maybe try the decaf?

  9. suibriel says:

    Can’t ever demo your game properly RUN INTO WALLS CANT LOOK AT MOVING OBJECTS

    Can we please stop pretending FPS with a controller works?

    • Askeladd says:

      Well I don’t know, maybe hes just bad? Or am I in repression?

    • Valdyr says:

      He doesn’t look that great. I chuckled watching the third video when the frost dragon kept strafing him and he’d fruitlessly try to whap it with his mace whenever it flew by, too far overhead to reach. What happened to that longbow he had?

    • Felixader says:

      I have no problem with walking and looking at moving objects with a controller. Didn’t have one since Turok Dionsaur Hunter on the Nintendo 64.

      You may stop generalizing things.

    • sinister agent says:

      @Felixader

      Seriously. I went for decades without having a console. It takes a couple of hours to get used to, at most. I’m baffled when people complain that a controller is unworkable for FPS games as they type on a keyboard with about twenty times as many functions.

      If you’re unable to play FPS games – I mean actually unable to play them without having massive problems, then you really ought to speak to a doctor or something, because your hands are all fucked up.

  10. Teddy Leach says:

    “I saw a dragon the other day. Horrible creatures.”

    Admit it, that’s what you thought when she said she saw a dragon.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      I freely admit that that’s precisely what I thought, you weird mind reader.

    • Wulf says:

      Poor mudcrabs. One of the mudcrabs in Morrowind was one of my favourite NPC merchants, he had so, so much money, and he bought items for their actual value. So whenever I had some expensive junk that I needed to get rid of, I made a trip to him. I had a mark and recall system directly to him.

      Anyone remember that guy? I try to find him in every new Morrowind game I start. He’s so helpful.

    • Doesntmeananything says:

      Anyone remember that guy? I try to find him in every new Morrowind game I start. He’s so helpful.

      He and that scamp guy, Creeper, in Caldera. Although their commercial ineptitude is easily exploitable which absolutely ruins already awkward economy ‘system’ of the game. On the bright side, you could always lay out all this extra gold on the ground in obscure patterns that would form a symbol or a particularly puerile image observable only from way above with the help of the levitation spell.

  11. Zenicetus says:

    I just noticed the pre-order price on Steam USA is $59.99.

    So the full retail price will be, what, somewhere close to $70 USD? If the game is good, and long, I suppose the price is justified. It’s still interesting to see them busting the $60 price barrier for a PC game. Has any other recent general-interest title been priced like this?

    • Valdyr says:

      Pre-order price is same as retail price. It’s going to be $59.99 USD. A lot of big-name titles have been doing this lately, unfortunately. Mostly with multi-platform releases, since they think, “Hey, if we can charge 60 bucks for a game on a Blu-ray or HD-DVD, we can get away with charging the same price for the PC version even though it’s on a regular DVD.” Dragon Age 2 was $60 as well (and not at all worth that price, in my opinion; probably my last EA Bioware preorder).

    • Zenicetus says:

      Ah, that’s why they didn’t list a discount percentage next to the price. Okay, that makes sense, I guess. It does remove any incentive to pick it up early though. I probably would have bought it on a discounted pre-order. Now I’ll just wait for the first patch cycle or two.

    • Wulf says:

      I’m just going to wait for a Steam sale. By the time I buy it it might have semi-fixed AI, a new quest line where the dragons are actually dragons with their own plot that I can engage myself in, and not just ineffectual flying lizards, and where I have the choice of joining them and not fighting them. And by then the modding community will have improved some of the preset faces, too. (Some of which are almost as bad as Oblivion.) Oh, and a massive bug-fixing mod, that’ll be nice too.

      I’ll get all that just by the mere merit of patience. I’ll just retool my brain to fix the official release date of Skyrim to the point where all of these things are available, and then I’ll get Skyrim for the nice price of about $20 (if not lower), with most of its DLC and what have you, and many things having been fixed and bettered.

      I would suggest that everyone else set aside the hype and wait with me. It’s been the best approach with every other Bethesda game. Just wait for the modding community to fix Bethesda’s shit.

    • Ultra-Humanite says:

      @Wulf: I suggest you go troll somewhere else.

    • Shadram says:

      Only 60? It’s $90 (US) here in NZ on steam. So is Rage. And Space Marine.

    • Davie says:

      Goodness me Wulf, you certainly show up frequently on posts about games you don’t want to hear about.

  12. Squire says:

    “If you hold both triggers…” Sorry my keyboard triggers fell off last week.

    I understand console is the big market right now but could they at least MENTION the pc/mouse controls in this demo so us PC-players can imagine how the controls work during the inevitable delay.

    *Slapping Head Vigorously* Oops it wasn’t ready for PC yet, we just forgot! Now wait another 4 months” *Slapping Head Vigorously*

    Wankerchief.

    • Mad Hamish says:

      they said already that the demos are going to be on the Xbox only. Something about displaying the bottom line. So quit yer whining.

  13. Lazaruso says:

    I dunno guys, I watched all three and it looks pretty damn awesome.

    And the only console I own is a PSP. Is it brain fever? WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME

    *preorders*

  14. Memphis-Ahn says:

    The Codex had a really good interview with Bethesda:
    http://rpgcodex.net/content.php?id=218

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      Strange place for an interview with that company. I’m pretty sure Codex members don’t actually eat or breath, but subsist solely on their hatred of Bethesda.

    • Valdyr says:

      It’s not a real interview, it’s an attempt at satire and an extended troll.

    • Dervish says:

      I’m usually a little sympathetic to Codex-style whining, but that really wasn’t clever in the slightest.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      @Valdyr

      I didn’t actually read it, since I’m pretty sure every time I visit that site I lose 4 intelligence points and gain a +4 to virginity and a +12 to moronic ranting.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Pffft! With spelling and grammar like that how can they think of themselves as journalis…….

      Ooops

      Sorry RPS!

      (Just joking)

    • Zepp says:

      @ResonanceCascade

      Butthurt detected. I’m sorry but you have already reached statcap for virginity and moronic rating. Try your luck in next Beth game, they will increase it once more.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      @Zepp

      Ah, I see I struck a nerve with one of their spambots. Must be doing something right.

  15. BebopBraunbaer says:

    oh man there were truely some dislikes for me

    i hope there will be riding in first person, because i didnt see anything infront of the fat horse.

    i hape they change the soudn of holding breath while aimnig , because it sounded realy wierd.

    and i truly hope he was cheating some sort of because the damage he got was ridiculous small

  16. sinister agent says:

    Argh, I got logged out while editing and the universe imploded. I’ve sorted it out now though. Sorry if you got caught up in all that.

    I tried to add that it looks lovely, and moves well, certainly much better than fallout 3 and vastly better than Obliv. Some good ideas in there too that seem well-realised. I’m concerned that the combat will be the same old “Stab this unflinching man 230 times until he instantly dies” though, but at least that can be modded out, and it looks like the moves are more interesting and there’s actually a sense of weight to the sounds and animations.

    Is there no “compare items” function? That’s quite an oversight if so. I’d have to play around with the new UI to really say anything about it, but while it looks like an improvement over the last games, I really think they need a fast way to display the merits of items all at once, rather than having half the screen taken up with a pretty, but meaningless image. Otherwise you’ll have to memorise the stats of an item, then scroll through everything you have to decide what to keep or sell or etc.

    Edit: Ugh, I must sound like I do nothing but whinge about this game, but for the record I do think it looks likely to be terrific fun. The nitpicking and moaning comes from the feeling that some of Bethesda’s previous mistakes have happened across several games, so it’s quite galling to think that they might happen again. Also in a game so long-haul as Morroblirim, the little details have a tendency to really grind the player down.

    The more I rewatch these, the more fun potential the game appears to have – the magic powers were clearly fun to develop, and it’s good to see the variety of uses they have. Clairvoyance, finstance, is a clever way to have a navigation feature that you’re not obligated to use, keeping everybody happy. Passive-unless-harassed monsters! More active cities! That clever ‘the clue is on the item’ trick! I whinge about this because it really does look promising, it’s clear a tonne of work has gone into it, and it’d a be a terrible shame if it’s hamstrung by the same old mistakes.

    • Valdyr says:

      I imagine the PC inventory/UI will look a lot different than the Xbox version. I really hope so, at least. If not, well… I hate to fall into “there’s always mods”, as though it’s acceptable for developers to be lazy with the expectation that modders will fix it, but modders WILL fix it.

    • sinister agent says:

      That comparison feature is even more important on the funsquare – hours of scrolling with a mousewheel and hovering would be annoying on PC, but it will be a complete bastard on a console. I hope I’ve just got the wrong end of the stick, but it would be quite a forehead slapper if the UI makes those elementary mistakes again, especially given that there appear to be lots of other improvements and some gorgeous effects (the map/look to the sky integration thing looks very pleasing).

    • djbriandamage says:

      There is no reason to believe that the PC version will look different from the console version. This is yet another Bethesda game that will be saved by mods, but you gotta love Bethesda for allowing mods at all.

      However, as such, since there is no benefit or discount to preordering and it will take time for those mods to be written I see absolutely no benefit to preordering this nor buying it before the new year.

    • sinister agent says:

      What’s a reply fail?

    • Ultra-Humanite says:

      @djbriandamage: Well other than the fact that Oblivion looked nowhere near as good on the consoles as it did on PC, yeah there’s no reason at all to think it will look any different.

  17. Uglycat says:

    Other things of note:
    1. I will be happy if the dragon will snatch me and drop me from heights (and vigorously shake me from side to side in his mouth). If that’s a NPC only thing, I will have a sad.
    2. I really hope that was on easypeasy level, because half those mobs did virtually no damage. I’d also hope that a blast of dragon fire would be a bit more withering than it was.
    3. Bethesda will still profit from me :(

    • Valdyr says:

      He was cheating for the purposes of the demo. His max health was 999 (!) and he had a ton of spells and equipment on what was presumably a new character (based on his skills all being around 20ish).

    • Wulf says:

      You can bet the dragons won’t do that. Though that feature was in Lair, and it’s even in Minecraft via some mod about fairies.

      I expect it’ll be modded in. Personally I wouldn’t mind siding with the dragons so that I can perform surgical strikes by getting air-dropped into places. ArenaNet are planning something similar with Guild Wars 2. It’ll be in Skyrim via mods.

      I’m convinced at this point that Skyrim won’t be all that interesting, but the mods will.

  18. Renfield says:

    I think I haven’t anticipated a new game as much as Skyrim since… Morrowind?

    Bethesda makes console RPGs these days, but better RPGs than ever, if this footage is any indication. And that’s RPGs, not cRPGs. This is very much a ‘hold down both triggers’ production. Do I mind? Not if it’s a good game, and it looks like it is.

    • Wizardry says:

      So Bethesda gave up video games and are designing pen and paper RPGs now?

    • Renfield says:

      Nicely exploited! :D

      Still, the point I was trying to make with my admittedly ambiguous phrasing was that Skyrim is not a PC-style RPG, in that it seems framed in a console blockbuster aesthetic, vs. something more aggressively cerebral.

      And yet, in my view, this does not preclude it from being a good RPG, barring an extremely restrictive definition of ‘RPG’. That’s what I was trying to say.

  19. kuran says:

    Watching this footage a month ago on shaky cam did not excite me.. but that might be a problem with their presentation rather than the game.

    I am more excited about Minecraft 1.9 to be honest!

    • Wulf says:

      Same.

      I hate to be ranty about Bethesda games, but they’re supposed to be sandbox games, and yet they lack choices and great AI. Those two things are hallmarks of sandbox games. I probably won’t be able to choose to fight with the dragons, the AI will probably be of the ‘suicidally charge’ variety (where even an MMORPG has better AI than it) and… I just can’t be excited about that. I can’t. I’m sorry.

      I can be excited about a great story, choices, and fantastic AI, but I know that Bethesda won’t provide any of these things. The trailers have confirmed that for me. Mods will. I’ll buy Skyrim at some point in the distant future for the sublime mods. Really, anyone whom hasn’t yet realised how sublime and perfect mods are compared to Bethesda’s own uninspired offerings should play Ruined-Tail’s Tale for Oblivion. Or if you want to visit a really interesting area that isn’t just ‘generic foresty lands’ then you could try the Deserts of Anequina.

      Mods make these games work. The games themselves, meh. They’re showing me a construction set with a crap game tacked on, sort of like Bioware did with the original Neverwinter Nights. I hope that one day they’ll just get to the point where they’ll just give up on making games and just sell the toolset with lots and lots of assets, and sell asset packs on top of that. That way people can create their own mini-RPGs, all of which would be far more interesting.

      Sort of like what happened with Neverwinter Nights, y’know?

      Skyrim is likely going to be mind-numbingly mediocre with poor AI, a horrible plot, and limited (non-existent, probably) choices. It’ll have good lore, a great setting, and it’ll be pretty, sure. But it won’t be a good game, nor will it be a good RPG. Mods will do that.

      The most fun I’ve ever had with anything Bethesda has done is reading the lore.

    • Richard Beer says:

      @Wulf
      “I hate to be ranty about Bethesda games…”

      Liar!

  20. Valdyr says:

    Just watched the third video. I wanted to cheer at the finishing move on the dragon, even if it did look straight out of Dragon Age: Origins. Finishing off a big monster with a flashy animation is one of the little things that gives me a disproportionate amount of satisfaction in games, along with pushing enemies off very high ledges and having a house/fort/base that I can build and add to.

    • Wulf says:

      I’d personally prefer riding the dragons and firebombing the hell out of Imperial fortresses.

      Having a flashy, preprogrammed animation that runs versus a leathery flying lizardsquirrel doesn’t thrill me nearly as much by comparison.

      Mods. (Again, I’m sorry. It’s just how I feel.)

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yes, we get it, you want a dragon between your legs.

      Frankly they look terrible antagonists, too. For the showpiece of the game, those sure were some dull fights. Ineffectual strafing. Ineffectual strafing. Land, sit still, make bite animation in player’s direction. Yawn fire.

      Mudcrabs with a bigger hitbox.

  21. Ultramegazord says:

    Meh… looks pretty mediocre to be honest.

  22. King Toko says:

    “Please, please, please don’t let there be another case of whatever ridiculous bullshit has been causing Bethesda and THQ games to not appear on Steam at launch in the UK for this one”

    The fact you can pre-order Skyrim on Steam means most likely it wont. If it does a lot of people are going to get refunded.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      If you’ve pre-ordered a product from somewhere and haven’t yet paid for it, no contract has been completed and either party can cancel on a whim. However if you have paid for it then you have fulfilled your side of the contract and Steam are obliged to fulfil theirs. You can refuse a refund if they try to give you one, and if they automatically refund you without your permission, they still have to fulfil their side of the contract i.e. activate your licence on the day they specified when you paid – launch day. And you will never have to return that refund!

    • King Toko says:

      I meant you can pre-purchase it on Steam and what you said was implied in my statement.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Sorry, I thought I had replied to someone who was saying that pre-orders could just be cancelled! Can’t find it anywhere on the thread, may be going slightly mad

  23. Valdyr says:

    Alec, can we get something in the original post clarifying that the demo player is cheating like mad, so the fact that he’s taking almost no damage and killing all the men (and dragons) with contemptuous wrist-flicking is probably not indicative of normal gameplay?

  24. frenz0rz says:

    Did anyone else notice that the music at the start of the third video was seemingly ripped straight from Morrowind? Dont get me wrong, its lovely music, but I’d much rather they stuck to making new music instead of using some from nearly a decade ago because a) its cheaper, and b) a significant proportion of Skyrim’s audience will not have heard it before.

    Im quite not sure what to think of all the music I’ve heard so far. Other than the main theme, and the aforementioned Morrowind piece, a lot of it sort of sounds to me like rehashed Oblivion music. Every Elder Scrolls game I’ve played to date has had very unique music that contributed significantly to it’s overall atmosphere and feel, so I’d hate for Skyrim to fail in this regard.

    Edit: Looking back through the videos, theres actually a very lovely and unique bit of exploration music toward the end of the first. More of that please.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Jeremy Soule has once again been hired and he does seem to have a fondness for remixing old songs for the latest in a series. Don’t worry though as he is an excellent composer and there will be a ton of original music in there too.

    • Eversor says:

      I was quite pleased when I heard that theme from Morrowind at the start of the third video. It gives me a sliver of hope that the world of Skyrim will retain that lovely bizzare nature that Morrowind and Shivering Isles had. I absolutely loved Michael Kirkbride’s writing, the bizzarity of the setting, the amazing Sermons of Vivec. I dearly hope they’ve let him do his magic from get go, not toss him in a quest chain and an expansion some time down the road as with Shivering Isles, while leaving rest of the world rather bland. I expect Elder Scrolls from Skyrim, not Oblivion 2. Bethesda, use that title of the series wisely now that Zenimax has been glaring at Notch for ever thinking about naming his project rolled parchments and the like.

  25. nootron says:

    +1 for the Killing Zoe reference.

    At least that’s the first time i ever heard that phrase for H.

  26. ResonanceCascade says:

    Looks pretty good. I am amazed at how many Oblivion haters I’ve talked to who seem to think they’ll like this. It’s going to just be Snowblivion, guys. Which is fine, but people shouldn’t get their hopes up.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I just hope they get rid of the characters randomly acting as if you want to talk to them as you walk past. Both Morrowind and Oblivion suffered from this and it was an absolute killer for me!

    • Wulf says:

      There’s a mod named “Shut up!” for Morrowind that fixes this in a wonderful way. They only address you now if you look directly at them (Enderman style), if your cursor isn’t in proximity to their face, they ignore you completely. I installed that mod because I was being driven insane by how I couldn’t have a quiet walk through a town without an instance of: “MAKE IT QUICK, KHAJIIT! I’m an egotistical bastard so of course you’re going to talk to me!

      Mods. Again. Mods are always there. I just still think that future Bethesda games would be better with an NWN-like setup, where we can just ignore the shitty campaign and play player created stuff, and where players can build their own world, and then that world can be modded, for an even greater gameplay experience. Leave it to the developers whom can actually develop.

      Modders have made every Bethesda game ever worthwhile, but this has nothing to do with the game itself, other than the game is simply a good enough vessel as to carry the mod.

  27. Flukie says:

    This game looks… Incredibly immersive, I could walk down the roads just enjoying the environments and amazing music by Jeremy Soule.

    This game is definately one of a kind in its sheer scope and level of well produced content available, I honestly can see myself playing the hell out of this. I mean you can call down a lightning storm in a sandbox RPG environment. Think of the possibilitys.

    • Sardukar says:

      Let’s! You can…call down lightning with no one else around! You can…call down lightning with other people OR creatures around! You can…call down lightning with lots of other people OR creatures around!
      So many possibilities!

      Does look like Oblivion mechanics: cool looking spells, nap-worthy game play. Here’s hoping the story and/or setting are something that holds my interest. Morrowind did.

      Otherwise, like Oblivion, it will be a big ol’ sandbox you can wander around in doing mildly amusing things to hapless fake people.

    • Wulf says:

      Or, if you use mods, then you can enjoy some deep, complex, mature, and well written content. You could also enjoy some content that has superior art direction as well. I really wish I could convince everyone to try stuff like the Lost Spires, Ruined-Tail’s Tale, and the Deserts of Anequina for Oblivion. Playing those just makes it clear how much Oblivion pales by comparison.

      There are mods as well for Fallout 3 and New Vegas which are similar. There was this lovely mod I played early in the life of New Vegas which was as good as Obsidian’s own content. Yes, I said that. It’s that good. Of course Obsidian is going to tell a good story and offer meaningful choices (even if they can’t do anything about the shit AI), so this mod had a lot to compete against. But regardless… it walked me through a story. There was very little combat, and I puzzled my way through it… and it revealed itself to me bit by bit. It was a very real story, and toward the end it was a bit of a tear-jerker.

      For those curious… it was by Puce Moose, a master storyteller who weaved a number of beautiful mods into existence for Fallout 3 and then proceeded on to do so for New Vegas. The mod series is known as ‘Tales of the Burning Sands.’ It’s well worth a play, as is any of Puce Moose’s stuff for New Vegas or Fallout 3.

      I just don’t think there’s enough praise for the modders who really make Bethesda’s games worthwhile. Without those modders I don’t even know if their games would sell. At least on the PC, anyway. Those mods make such a difference.

    • dogsolitude_uk says:

      @Wulf:

      “I really wish I could convince everyone to try stuff like the Lost Spires, Ruined-Tail’s Tale, and the Deserts of Anequina for Oblivion. Playing those just makes it clear how much Oblivion pales by comparison.”

      …Duly Googling and downloading now… :) Thanks for the tip! Been looking for some awesome mods for Blivion.

  28. sinister agent says:

    Dragons: Like all ancient evils, they are dumb as hell. He has an axe and shouty word powers. Don’t attack him up close, you buffoon! Drop a rock on him!

    • LionsPhil says:

      Snatch him up and drop him from a great height!

      Oh, wait, if fighting a dragon were actually dangerous and they had attacks that might actually kill you outright if they land a hit then people would cry endlessly on the Internet about how it’s “bullshit random death” and they couldn’t win flawlessly first time.

    • Wulf says:

      This shows how much games have messed with our perceptions. I could name hundreds of particularly smart dragons, even those that were actually evil. Glaurung, for one, was a particularly clever and sneaky bugger. He took a lot of effort to take down. That’s how I think it should be if dragons are the villains, like in Guild Wars 2. It shouldn’t just be a thing that happens on an hourly basis because that lessens it.

      They stop being dragons and they start being flying lizardsquirrels (I say squirrels because some of the designs are far, far too close to flying squirrels for my liking, and some of the dragons actually do look like giant, leathery flying squirrels).

      If you had an actual dragon as a foe, it would talk, barter, outwit, bargain, trick, drop heavy things, use the environment and its ability to fly, utilise magic, mind control, enthral armies, raise the dead, and do whatever was necessary to win. These fellows just sort of fvlap about a bit, occasionally shoot fire, and mostly stay within range of an idiot that wouldn’t have lasted a picosecond against Glaurung or Ancalagon.

    • Wulf says:

      This shows how much games have messed with our perceptions. I could name hundreds of particularly smart dragons, even those that were actually ‘evil’. Glaurung, for one, was a particularly clever and sneaky bugger. He took a lot of effort to take down. That’s how I think it should be if dragons are the villains, like in Guild Wars 2. It shouldn’t just be a thing that happens on an hourly basis because that lessens it.

      They stop being dragons and they start being flying lizardsquirrels (I say squirrels because some of the designs are far, far too close to flying squirrels for my liking, and some of the dragons actually do look like giant, leathery flying squirrels).

      If you had an actual dragon as a foe, it would talk, barter, outwit, bargain, trick, drop heavy things, use the environment and its ability to fly, utilise magic, mind control, enthral armies, raise the dead, and do whatever was necessary to win. These fellows just sort of flap about a bit, occasionally shoot fire, and mostly stay within range of an idiot that wouldn’t have lasted a picosecond against Glaurung or Ancalagon.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Dragons aren’t real. And Nirn isn’t Faerun.

    • CMaster says:

      Hell, the classic fantasy dragon, Smaug, is describe as being pretty damn clever. Although it has to be said he doesn’t act it.

    • Hidden_7 says:

      If you asked 100 people what essential “dragoness” was, I’d reckon almost all of them would say “flying giant lizard” most of them would add “that breathes fire.” Less than ten would probably say “a crafty, cunning, fierce intelligence,” or something to that effect. Just sayin’

      Actually, probably a lot of people would look at you funny, because it’s sort of an odd question.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      All the ones we’ve seen are obviously young and young dragons are allowed to be quite feral, in my view. I’m really pleased they don’t all just breath fire though – more games could take their cue from D&D dragons, I feel.

    • sinister agent says:

      The last thing games need is to continue to ape dungeons and bloody dragons.

  29. Njordsk says:

    Fighting mammoth with a mace.

    Holy hell, THAT is insane.

    • LionsPhil says:

      But, much like the dragon, it’s just a mudcrab with a bigger hitbox. There’s absolutely no sense of bulk. It pivots on the spot and plays an attack animation at you.

      You can’t just scale up the same monster-is-a-single-cylinder-with-attacks approximations to make big things. It looks and feels naff, a kind of naff games have suffered for decades, and continues to show up worse and worse the more the graphical representation improves and widens the gap from the same old pre-DOOM-era physical behaviour. By now we really, really need to be moving into something a bit smarter and more flexible. Something a bit procedural, like Overgrowth writ large.

  30. kael13 says:

    Atmospherically it looked pretty. However, some things:

    Textures. I do hope the PC version gets all the bells and whistles of a modern PC release.
    The interface will need an overhaul to avoid being infuriating.
    The accents… I realise this one is niggly and pernickity, but there’s something highly distracting about hearing a voice you’d find more at home either in bad fantasy TV or a Western.
    Also,

    Dat FOV. *vomits*

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      Regarding the accents, I can’t believe a company as huge as Bethesda consistently fails to deliver quality voice acting in their games. They need to hire someone who knows what they’re doing to cast and direct their actors PRONTO.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Er… the voice actors have over 800 jobs between the 20 or so of them. Their experience or talent really isn’t the problem – not disagreeing with you though, just wonder if its a directing problem or perhaps the coding which drives the sound is not particularly kind to the human voice

    • Adekan says:

      As long as the guy who did Lucien Lachance still has a part he can take to Jeremy Irons levels of extreme hamminess I won’t complain about the voice acting.

    • Mollusc Infestation says:

      Well met!

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      @Sheng-ji

      There are plenty of other open-world games that use the same dozen actors for all the characters, and they sound just fine. It’s very possible to do multiple characters without making them all sound wooden and terrible. Red Dead Redemption had a pretty good, large cast — not everyone was amazing, but I rarely cringed like I do at almost every character in every Bethesda game.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I was only disagreeing with the word cast in your post, everything else was spot on – I just think often people are too quick to blame the actors when clearly most of the guys hired have done first rate work in the past, proving that they can do it.

  31. Zedo Mann says:

    Now I really need $60 to preorder this!

  32. wintermute says:

    That looks amazing. Too many whiners on here.

    • Sardukar says:

      Because if you don’t like something, you shouldn’t definitely keep your..keyboard…shut? Fan-pages only, folks!

    • dogsolitude_uk says:

      It looks amazing, but it would be a shame if the playing experience was ruined by careless UI and a shoddy port.

      That would be like buying a new Muse (or whoever your favourit band is) album only to find it was released in mono only and with most of the bass removed to cater for, say, the mobile phone market.

    • Wulf says:

      All I’ve ever wanted from Bioware and Bethesda are meaningful choices and good AI, something that neither of them has even been able to provide. Bioware has had their moments where they’ve gotten slightly better at the choices thing, but really… at the end of the day, it’s just so… on rails. What’s the point of a sandbox when every storyline in the sandbox is completely linear? What’s the point of a sandbox when the AI only knows how to react to one or two of the hundreds of things in a sandbox? What’s the point of an RPG (versus, say, just doing a shooter) if all the content is completely linear and just from point to point?

      I don’t know, I find it hard to get excited about these games any more. I still get excited about Obsidian games because, whilst often buggy messes (but no more so than any Bethesda release), they offer me story, and good voice acting, and meaningful choices, and non-linear paths, and everything I could want from an RPG. Why couldn’t you learn from that, Bethesda? Fewer dragons, meaningful battles. I want a dragon I can talk or barter with, and if I have to fight it then it’s going to be a long fight and I’m going to need a fortified location and a massive army, I’m going to need my wits, and I’m going to need to be prepared, because dragons are intelligent creatures.

      I hate infinite dragons. I would prefer one dragon if it was meaningful. I would buy their game about one dragon if it had meaningful choices, non-linear gameplay, and the critter was smart enough to have me feel as though my victory wasn’t so easily gained, no matter which path I chose. I don’t want infinite shit, I want a reasonable amount of quality.

  33. Eukatheude says:

    Not-so-related:

  34. Jonny Stutters says:

    If you’re designing a cunning puzzle to keep out grave-robbers – don’t engrave the solution on the key to the puzzle. You wouldn’t write your PIN on your credit card now would you?

  35. michal.lewtak says:

    I do not give a fuck until I see a video of this game played on proper camera aiming devices and with a field of view higher than 50 or so.

  36. Solidstate89 says:

    I love the new rendition of the ‘ole classic Morrowind theme.

  37. AmateurScience says:

    With any luck they’ll have more than the sum total of about 4 voice actors (not counting Picard and Boromir) that they used for Oblivion.

    I’ve recently been replaying both Morrowind and Oblivion (kind of as an experiment) and because they went fully voiced in Oblivion without the resources to do it properly it’s really cringeworthy at times. Morrowind gets away with it because so much of the character interaction is text (also not using two actors – one male one female – for all the different Mer races, after Morrowind this was really jarring.

    Nevertheless I absolutely love both, and I think I shall be buying this one at or shortly after release.

    The one thing I hope they rectify is the ‘unique’ levelling mechanics TES games have used. I really like the idea of levelling up a skill through use. But the way it’s implemented means that (and this was particularly true for Oblivion) if you didn’t ‘min/max’ to a certain extent instead of playing your character naturally, you ended up with a character incapable of finishing the game. Here’s hoping they can balance the system a bit better for this effort.

    Edit: terribly inconsistent capitilisation of the word Oblivion.

  38. ThinkAndGrowWitcher says:

    The first thing I noticed is how awful this looks from those videos…awfully bloody spellbinding.

    The second thing I noticed is how many miserable bastards there are commenting underneath them. Christ alive, I’m almost ashamed to be a PC-based gamer.

    From the banality of some of the ‘criticisms’, most of you whining muthers wouldn’t know how to have fun with a game even if it smacked you straight in the face with an adamantium cock.

    • dogsolitude_uk says:

      “From the banality of some of the ‘criticisms’, most of you whining muthers wouldn’t know how to have fun with a game even if it smacked you straight in the face with an adamantium cock.”
      -
      Being smacked in the face by a cock, regardless of the material it’s made of, is not my idea of fun. (indeed, my concerns about the UI would be well-founded if Skyrim did that). But each to their own of course :)

    • Sire says:

      Agreed! What’s the matter with people here? It’s like the more people get, the more they find to whine about.

      This game is going to be fucking amazing. Bethesda has improved almost all aspects from their previous games, and with a sandbox RPG of this enormous scope and ambition, that’s pretty impressive.

    • Wulf says:

      Typical fanboys. Insult the persons, ignore the arguments. Hey, that sandpit there is actually quite deep, how far down into it do you think you’d be able to get your head? :p

      I know that the arguments I made with Bethesda games versus games by other developers regarding meaningful choices, decent AI, non-linear content paths, mature storylines, and so on were entirely valid. I’d take a game that offered a small amount of the aforementioned rather than infinite shit. Quality > Quantity. Less is often more.

      But indeed, we’re all just whiners, grumps, and terrible people. Let’s use insults instead of falsifiable counter-arguments.

    • Shadram says:

      And you, Wulf, are a typical hater. We’ve all seen your opinions, you don’t need to post them in reply to every comment. I’m sure someone will mod in your Khajit/dragon sex simulation within a week of release to keep you happy, so just chill out and stop whining. It’s terribly boring.

    • Sardukar says:

      Yeaaah. Although I feel Wulf is often over-the-top in his expectations, (“All I ever wanted was meaningful choices and a good AI”. Those are pretty high expectations in this market and are really subjective to boot), I often enjoy his coherently-written arguments.

      The purpose of a forum – which this is, albeit a somewhat deformed one – is to express your views. Many of those views will be dissenting from both the mainstream and you as a reader. Perhaps I find your complaining about his complaining not only boring, but hypocritical.

      You are still welcome to express them, however. Differing or not. That’s why the button down there reads, “Opinion, Away!”

    • Mr. Icarus says:

      @Sardukar

      Your complaint about the complaining about Wulf’s complaint on the complaining regarding his prior complaints has failed to bring a satisfactory end to this issue. Be assured that I will now be sending a formal letter of complaint to you regarding this matter, which I expect to be rectified at the soonest possible opportunity.

    • Shadram says:

      The first time he posted his opinion, it was interesting to hear his views. By the 10th time of posting exactly the same complaints in the same thread, I was bored. I posted a trollish reply to this post because he went further than complaining about what he doesn’t like about the game, but called those who say they are looking forward to it childish names. I responded in kind.

    • Sire says:

      Of course there will always be stuff that can be improved, but somewhere you need to prioritize hard to even get the game out. Especially a game of this enormous scope. Remember that Fallout and Skyrim are different from 99% of the games out there in terms of complexity and scope, not just in content.

      This does not mean they should get away with lower quality however, and this is the most impressive stunt. They manage to pull off both quality, quantity and extreme complexity. And this is not just my guessing, read what the journalists are saying about their playthroughs.

      Perhaps I’m ruined by working in the software industry myself, but it’s baffling to me that peoples FIRST reactions to this game is complaining about tiny details.

  39. dogsolitude_uk says:

    If that UI makes its way on to the PC version vithout keyboard shortcuts, I figure we’re going to end up with a serious interface fail.

    I’ve been replaying Oblivion (with the OOO mod) and the mapping of the Everything-Ever-On-One-Tabbed-Window function to one key was a Royal PITA, because then you had to select whether you wanted to look at your character stats, the map, your quest log or whatever. Mapping these to F1-F4 was annoying, because then the F keys couldn’t be used for anything else.

    I have no problems with using ‘I’ for inventory, ‘M’ for map, ‘C’ for character stat screen etc. I’d rather have loads of info on one screen (the list of inventory items with stats) than have to hunt around through sub-menus, select one item and view it.

    The stars are pretty, but why the hell can’t I just bring up a screen with my character stats on it by pressing ‘C’ (or whatever)? I want to see them, at a glance, not as part of some blasted 3D carousel where I have to scroll around, find something, zoom in etc. etc. It’s ironic that they wanted to get away from stats and number crunching: if that’s the case then why not have them all conveniently in one damned place?

    When robbing a corpse, why can’t I have my inventory displayed at the same time as the corpse’s, with item stats, for comparison purposes? Again, this ‘hunt-and-peck’ type of interface is excusable for consoles with their limited controls, but on the PC it’s jarring and unnecessarily fiddly.

    I have a mouse, which allows free cursor movement in two dimensions, why restrict my interface to up-down scrolling?

    The game looks amazing, but I really hope the PC has a decent interface… Rar.

  40. Spider Jerusalem says:

    I feel like I’ve seen this footage 5 times already.

  41. WeltEnSTurm says:

    I’ve seen pretty much everything of that before. Twice. Thanks, RPS.

  42. Cerebulon says:

    When the exploration music from Morrowind started playing in the third video it me feel funny in my underpants.

  43. kobzon says:

    Mobs approaching the player still have all the elegance of a wielding robot. Sprint, pause, crab walk for a bit. Running out of things to complain about this demo. That stats constellation thing is awful, imagine something like that in business software. And that’s supposed to be a game, entertainment.

  44. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Looks pretty good. A few things I would have liked to see:

    1) No name tags for npcs.. or at least, knowledge dependant nametags
    2) Not necessarily having to attack everything all the time. I like the mammoth herd with their giant shepherds. Also, conversation/negotiation. Of course some people/creatures are likely to attack if you come near their place of hiding/fort/whatever but not most, surely.
    3) Intelligent dragons. Moreso, if there are such, then they should be able to make decisions which can vary per individual. Like attacking you or leaving you be. Or perhaps having a conversation. Or kidnapping you. Or just help you out for whatever reason (boredom?) or fleeing. Or cooperation.

    Well, okay, it’s far easier to make them just big, dumb and powerful.

    • Valdyr says:

      1. Interesting idea, but what games do this these days?

      2. There’s supposed to be a wider variety of non-hostile life this time around. Which is a bit odd given the arctic, vicious, ultraviking hellscape of Skyrim the land, but it’s good they’re responding to player feedback like that.

      3. I may be inventing things in my head, but I seem to remember interviews with Bethesda folks hinting cryptically at the possibility of not all dragons being evil. I doubt any of them will be voiced by Sean Connery, though.

    • Wulf says:

      Indeed. I frankly would have taken a few (or even just one) intelligent dragons over infinite flying lizards that look too much like flying squirrels, and are far, far less intelligent than the aforementioned mammals.

      I would take one dragon with moods, and thoughts, and ways to approach, where I could end up with a powerful ally or enemy, over infinite ‘dragons.’ I just wish they hadn’t called them dragons. I suppose that’s what I’m hung up on. Glaurung is a dragon, Smaug is a dragon, Smrgol is a dragon, Onysablet is a dragon, Arokh is a dragon, Pythras is a dragon, and these are just some that have stuck in my head as great examples thereof. But … … blargh.

      I don’t know.

      Don’t use ‘dragon’ in something unless you’re actually going to try to capture what a dragon is. Dragon Age is as guilty of this sin as Skyrim is. I’m a bit tired of it, to be honest. Books, and films, and even some games (and some indie games) have been getting dragons right for a while, now. Dragon Commander does them justice, too. But these… these are not dragons.

      I don’t know what they are, but they do not deserve to be called ‘dragon.’

      Could we just demand that everyone at Bethesda play Choice of Dragon to teach them what they should be doing, and then to delay Skyrim another two or three years whilst they actually make this worth playing?

    • Valdyr says:

      What’s with the dragon purism? Surely there are multiple definitions and iterations of “dragon” just as there are “vampire” (and no, I’m not thinking of Twilight here; those definitely don’t count, you shut your mouth right now). I think a brutish dragon can be cool if done right. Take the Witcher 2′s for example–snub-headed, almost alien in appearance, all arm-length fangs and thrashing fury. I didn’t find myself wishing I could chat it up. I found it a very effective monster.

      I think the overall difference in archetypes, be it dragons, vampires, werewolves, or what have you, is characters vs. monsters. I wouldn’t expect dragons as characters from the Elder Scrolls games, which have typically had very, very sparse characterization in general. And allow me to end this by soapboxing a bit about how Elder Scrolls vampires straddle the line between characters and monsters while failing at both. Rather than being sexy, sensual predators with human appeal but inhuman motives, or slavering, deformed blood-guzzlers from the crypt, they try to blend in with human society like, say, a Camarilla vampire from VTM, while also being really weirdly hideous-looking and limited in what they can do. And what’s the deal with their powers getting stronger the LESS they feed? That’s like a werewolf that only transforms at the new moon. Really old school Elder Scrolls lore (which I’m sure will be binned for this release) talks about Skyrim vampires as being of the sexy infiltrator predator type, but also having lairs beneath haunted, frozen lakes.

      You have no idea how badly I want to be a vampire with a Deepscorn Hollow-style lair beneath a haunted lake. Almost as badly as I want to be any kind of vampire without my eyes turning pink and my skin getting chalk white and wrinkly while my cheeks recede into my skull like my uvula is a black hole. Either make my vampires super-sexy and sleek, or make them badass hideous zombiemonsters. Trying to do both gets us neither.

    • Soon says:

      Maybe consider the reasons behind their aggression and perceived dumbness. Maybe that’s a big part of the story.

      Valdyr. Excellently, you learn much more about that particular dragon depending on the path you take.

  45. Hidden_7 says:

    I’m rather disappointed to see that the armour system has no separate greaves slot. As far as I can tell you’ve got a body slot, a gloves slot, foot spot, and head spot. The reduction of number of armour slots is probably my biggest issue with the progression of Bethesda games. It’s just silly! It reduces the character customization efficiency of your content creation, which is surely something you don’t want to do? One of my main issues with the Fallout games is that you’d end up dressed exactly the same as several NPCs in the world, as well as NPCS all ending up dressed alike.

    I read in the FO3 art book that their justification for reducing the number of armour slots was that “while it may be less fun for the player, it’s more fun for the artist.” I don’t know if this is typical gamer entitlement or not, so correct me if I’m missing the point a bit, but your artist is your employee, and the player is your customer. Does it not seem like the correct decision to serve the interests of your customer rather than your employee? They’re the ones who are paying you rather than taking money from you.

    • Valdyr says:

      Is it really such a big deal to have the leggy pant-bits be part of the chestpiece? Is there such a thronging demand for mismatched trouser- and shirt combos?

    • Hidden_7 says:

      With my sample of one, yes, a huge demand! I mismatched fairly constantly in Oblivion, as an aesthetics as well as role-playing things. Further, it means that characters like Cauis Cossaides (spelling?) from Morrowind, fellows hanging out without a shirt on, can’t be in this game. Also, it means the Curiass of the Saviour’s Hide also isn’t in this game. What are they going to do for Hircine’s quest? The Hircine ring?! Are there werewolves in this game? Because that’d be awesome.

      Ultimately it’s not a huge deal, but it does reduce diversity of visual character concepts, which is a bit of a shame, as well as making all the NPCs look a bit samey. I got on very well with the Fallouts, so I’m sure I’ll manage, but when we’ve gone from 10 slots in Morrowind down to 5 in Oblivion, down to 4 in Skyrim, it’s hard not to be annoyed at the constant progress in the wrong direction.

    • Valdyr says:

      We’ll see how it works in practice, I suppose. I find it hard to imagine that they’d make it so shirtlessness was impossible without pantslessness, as that’s just… weird. Me, my clothing-related wishlist demand has always been clothing under armor.

    • Hidden_7 says:

      Clothing under armour was another sorely missing feature in Oblivion. To be perfectly fair, I’ve not seen how it plays. This is based on the character having equipped Iron boots, gloves and “armor.” The sneaky character who tried to steal the treasure was wearing “Hide armor,” and had in his inventory “farm clothes.”

      The thing I find oddest about this decision, is that it doesn’t seem to make sense from a content creation standpoint. It drastically cuts down on the number of outfits people can wear without really reducing work that much for the artist. If the artist has to make an iron armour outfit and a leather armour outfit, she’s doing two outfits worth of work. If you don’t split legs and torso, then that two outfits worth of work results in two different ways of being dressed. If you DO split them, then it results in four different ways of being dressed, but notably doesn’t really require twice as much work from the artist. She doesn’t have to design and build entirely new outfits, she just has constraints on her that these outfits need to be designed so they can be split easily. It’s maybe more work, but doesn’t scale with the output.

      Really, the issue strikes me as one of uncreative artists. It’s no doubt harder to make designs when you’ve got certain constraints in place. I imagine you probably can’t do as much fancy stuff with the waist if you’re designing the outfits to be split. You’ll have to come up with some creative solutions to have the outfits look visually interesting, while still being modular enough to mix-n-match. The thing is, coming up with creative solutions is what you’re being paid for!

      I was so annoyed with the Shivering Isles expansion because almost all the clothing in it was one piece. Sure, it let those one pieces be fairly elaborate, but at the cost of customizability. Further, it resulted in a rather uniform looking populace that was supposed to be comprised of mad people! The individual outfits may have been zany or crazy, but the result was everyone dressed uniformly zany.

      Likewise, in Fallout, the single clothing let invidiual outfits have that scavenged, piecemeal wasteland look, but they were all the same scavenged piecemeal. It also meant that what the player was actually doing was the furthest thing from assembling an outfit out of whichever parts they could find.

      It all just strikes me as a little indulgent. The artists get to go wild without constraints, but at the cost of the players being allowed even a sliver of inventiveness, and the end result may be individual outfits that are more visually interesting, but overall the world becomes more homogeneous.

      The artists of Morrowind were able to create some very distinct, interesting pieces of clothing, despite the fact that armour would be split into boots, greaves, curiass, right and left pauldron and right and left glove, as well as being able to be mixed and matched with bits of clothing. I don’t know why the artists on these later games can’t produce similar results under similar constraints.

    • Valdyr says:

      As I understand it, no clothing under armor in Oblivion was a hard-coded limitation of the engine. I hope that’s no longer the case. We don’t see anything in the demo videos that would let us make a determination either way, though. NPCs in Oblivion had clothing in their inventory, too, as they had “casual outfits” for when they were at home and not out adventuring. In the video, the character’s “Farm Clothes” don’t have the “equipped” icon next to them the way the armor does, but I suppose that doesn’t prove it’s not possible.

    • Hidden_7 says:

      My point about the farm clothes was that it’s clearly an entire outfit, rather than being split in any way. I can’t imagine if they can’t even be bothered to split the body items that they would add clothing under armour, which is a lot more complicated.

  46. Valdyr says:

    “Show the same bit of gameplay for months on end” seems to be the standard procedure. I remember seeing the same damned section of the Tai Yong Medical building in DX:HR in all the videos up to release. When I got to that part in the actual game, I was already tired of it. I’ll probably feel the same about Bleak Falls Barrow and that dude in Riverwood sharpening an axe when I play Skyrim.

  47. Jimbo says:

    Wun Wun! Noooooo!

  48. adammtlx says:

    Bethesda’s my abusive partner. They always hurt me and I always take them back.

    Lots of good. Some concerns:

    1. Combat looks very similar to Oblivion. Which wasn’t all that great. I want to see more physical, action-reaction combat, not this stand there and trade blows stuff. And I didn’t like that when he was fighting big stuff like the dragon and the giant in the 3rd video, it looked like he’d swing when the enemy was 10 feet away and still hit it. Some generous hit boxing there. Looked goofy. Why not an accurate physics calculation that brings range into play? Makes for much deeper combat. See: Demon’s Souls.

    2. Yeah, the wolves. More bloodthirsty wolves that kamikaze as soon as they see you. Doesn’t bode well for an immersive wildlife experience. I remember being so excited about the “hunting side game” that got hyped by the Oblivion devs during its development. Instead, the first deer I saw didn’t start running from me until I was 6 feet away and ran so slowly I caught up to him and beat him to death on the ass with my club. So much for that.

    3. NPC conversations that trigger when you get into earshot. “Quick, the player is here! Start talking about dragons!” This is an immersion breaker for me.

    4. The guy in the demo was cheating, but I just want to say that I hope the actual game is nowhere near easy out of the box (you know, like Oblivion’s silly difficulty). And I just hope so hard they did away with the world-leveling-with-you nonsense. That was just the worst.

    5. Skyrim Dragons = Oblivion portals? Fun the first few times, then a chore. And they had a bad habit of showing up EVERYWHERE. And Bethesda is boasting about there being “infinite dragons.” I don’t like the sound of that. Seems like dragons should be few and far between, and an extremely tough fight. Not just another monster that happens to fly and shows up every 15 minutes.

    Still. 95% I’ll buy it on release day. If I’m unsatisfied, I’ll shelve it until the modders fix it, as usual.

  49. Jason Moyer says:

    I saw a dragon the other day. Horrible creatures, I steer well clear of them.

  50. BurningPet says:

    i am a HUGE bethesda fan, obviously i loved morrowind, every bit of it, i even liked oblivion. but now, in hind sight, when i try to remember locations in oblivion, i only remember that circular imperial city and that cloud temple i was just forced to keep coming back to despite being a boring place.

    Oblivion setting was so boring i didnt even feel like exploring, i actually finished the game, something i didnt do with morrowind despite playing it about a double more hours. i hardly remember any guilds quests except that great dark brotherhood one, i was beginning to actually hate the game after the 10th or so oblivion gate i had to close, damn those boring gates, i never got any awe inspiring moments like i got in morrowind and i sure hated the fact that martin wasent the bad guy after all, as i really just wanted to “legaly” kill him.

    so thats how i see oblivion in hind sight. a boring game with a boring combat system in a boring place with a boring story. and now when i actually get to see skyrim for “real” for the first time, i get this strong oblivion vibe, not morrowind’s.

    • BurningPet says:

      I just realised something. i know why i am a little disappointed about Skyrim dragons.

      i subconsciously really wished they were more like in Shadow of the Colossus than just glorified cliff hangers. huge, individual beasts that had weaknesses you had to discover before even thinking about killing them.

      that is how tolkien pictured them in LotR.

      game developers should learn to steal great designs.

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