Bethesda Says Skyrim Engine “All New”

There was some debate over what engine the new Elder Scrolls game would be using, and all signs seemed to point to GameBryo. However, writing on Twitter earlier today, Bethesda Softworks community manager Nick Breckon said: “We can now confirm that the TES V: Skyrim engine is all-new. And it looks fantastic.” I asked him what “new” means in this case, and whether it was simply a new version of the Gamebryo engine that powered Oblivion and the recent Fallout games. He responded: “It’s a new graphics/gameplay engine built internally. We’ll have more details down the road.”



  1. powerlevelz says:

    Is another engine with Shit Animation as a built-in feature? I bet it has shiny rocks, though. And horse armour.

  2. Daniel Carvalho says:

    Hmmm, I don’t know how to take this news. On one hand I’m glad, because the Morrowind, Oblivion and Fallout engines were pretty terrible. They ran poorly for what visuals you got out of it. Crashed often and were generally unstable across the board (barring the few exceptions of people that claim it ran perfectly, “well done”), memory leaks etc…

    …and on the other, I’m thinking, for a studio not having to make its own technology, the games themselves were subpar at best. Animations were ridiculously amateur, lack of fundamental sound effects, repetitive duplicated environments / assets. Yeah, most there games have been the same thing coloured differently. Bethesda make pretty stale and unpolished games. So I’m not too confident in their ability to make a full on game engine.

    I would have been a lot more pleased if they announced they were using Id Tech 5. John Carmack for the win.

    • Binho says:

      The problem with gaming on the PC is experiences vary on different machines.

      I for one had essentially flawless experiences on all three games, with only one or two crashes.

      And why does everyone think adopting id Tech 5 will solve everything? For all we know, and I have a sneaky suspicion is true, the size of the environments it will be able to handle won’t be as big as those needed for TES games.

      Not to mention any game only looks as good as it’s artists. You can make some really crap looking games out of the Unreal engine and even the Cryengine if you aren’t a good artist. Just check out ModDB if you need proof of that.

      Likewise, you can make some stunning games out of Unity or any less powerful engine if you know how to use it.

      Yes, a good engine needs a great selection of tools, but the only reason Gamebryo doesn’t look up to par is that it hasn’t been heavily developed recently.

      It has the capability of doing all the neat tricks modern engines do though, it just needs to be tweaked to do so – and modders have. Did you know you can get Screen Space ambient occlusion (SSAO),normal maps and Depth of Field in Morrowind? Did you know you can also get SSAO and god rays in Oblivion? Check out the Morrowind Graphics Extender, or Oblivion Graphics extender if you don’t believe me.

    • squirrel says:

      As PC gamers we of course understand well to ourselves that different systems with different computing power provide different performance for the very same game. We wont bother to complain that we cannot run Crysis on a system with only 128 graphic ram. However, we should not deny the fact that PC platform is actually a very perfectly uniform platform. Think I am extreme or so, but I consider PC game platform to be as uniform as game console platform. We are talking about games that run on MS Windows systems, and more importantly, run by Direct X, the very tool enabling MS to monopolies OS market for PC gamers. Besides, all those systems are centered by X86 CPU. GPUs may not be that standardized, but can you name a third supplier for GPU other than Nivida and ATI? You dont think Intel integrated GPUs are supposed to run any graphically intensive games, right?

      Bethesda does have the reputation of its failure to develop game software that run stably. No, those bugs are not just like broken quest, non-responding AI, etc. Those bugs are system bugs, that is, the whole system clashes while running some of Bethesda games! I have my most updated Fallout 3 run on my Dell XPS system run by Intel Core i7 920 CPU (not over-clocked), ATI 4870 with 1GB GDDR5 (It has 12GB system ram but forget it, games we mentioned are 32bit after all, and I recommend against building such a system just to run games); and the system just clashed randomly and failed to respond to even the classic “Ctrl+Alt+Delete” command. For several times I had to force exit my system before I finally gave up totally on the game, and god knows what damage this had done to my hard disk. If those system failures are just like CTD, fine. But a complete system failure? Games like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. also has those technical problem, and I realize that those games are made by developers to which game testing is too capital-intensive, but Bethesda? No, I dont think I can forgive them for clashing my system like that.

    • Daniel Carvalho says:

      @Binho Like @squirrel says and I somewhat agree, is that yes, I realize the PC platform does vary, but that still does not excuse poor, buggy software. Reports of Bethesda games being unstable are not restricted to edge cases and a handful of gamers. There’s a lot of people having fundamental issues with their software. Developing a stable PC title across the hardware spectrum, contrary to what console pundits claim, is not impossible and is done often.

      You’re a hundred percent right, going to Id Tech 5 won’t solve everything, but it certainly will narrow the margin of error. It’s great that their games using the Gamebryo engine can be modded with new advanced features, but this is irrelevant as I’m talking about the games themselves. It is very sad that it takes several mods to finish and polish what Bethesda’s game should have been straight out the box.

  3. squirrel says:

    Surprised to see that GameBryo is received so poorly here. Some developers do buy this engine. I am currently waiting for a Shanghai developed RPG, “Gu Jian Qi Tan” (, which is run by this engine. Don’t scare me, guys.

    • Doesntmeananything says:

      Yes, the examples of games that use the engine well (resulting in stability, proper animation and non-blocky faces) have been pointed out. Even though Gamebryo is quite outdated and all that, it’s more a Bethesda problem with it, rather than it being a faulty engine.

  4. bill says:

    What is with all the Gamebryo hate? It makes no sense. The engine isn’t responsible for how it’s used.

    Gamebryo has been used in a wide range of genres on a wide range of platforms. Whether they use gamebryo or not isn’t going to affect the story, writing, animation or how the game is designed. It’s not going to change whether it resembles Oblivion or not. (and knowing Bethesda it’s not going to reduce the number of bugs.).

    Morrowind had pretty amazing graphics when it came out, and really helped to revive RPGs as a genre. Oblivion also had great graphics when it came out.

    • Ajh says:

      True, and I don’t blame the people who made the engine of oblivion for the crashes. I blame the fact that there were still known bugs in the game when they decided they didn’t need to patch it anymore. Oblivion was a fantastic game, but Bethesda could have worked more on the bugs before they dropped support.

  5. suibhne says:

    Hey, maybe this one will have an honest-to-god-adapted-for-PC interface! That would be cool and all. I mean, for a PC game.

  6. Ajh says:

    I got Oblivion just this year, and traded out higher textures and lighting and such to make the game look, well, NEW.

    Screenshot of my mods in progress..all aesthetic mods.

    The only thing that held it back was it’s random tendency to crash, even when unmodded.

    I hope that this new engine is more stable than that.

  7. Basilicus says:

    I still don’t get the hate. The Oblivion variant of the Gamebryo engine still looks better than most other contiguous world games. Two Worlds gets the scope down, but doesn’t even begin to compare for realism of environment. Gothic 3’s got beautiful landscape, the characters are animated well but look horrible to start, and the Land-Over-Distance approach is atrocious. Gothic 4 is on rails and shouldn’t count. Risen compares very well, but still has dopey looking characters, questionable effects, and a choice between jagged, pixely distant view and can’t-see-more-than-20-feet-ahead plastic-vision. And each of those other games has come out since Oblivion, which is four years old and still the most consistently attractive contiguous world fantasy game.

    Mod Oblivion up properly, with new textures and better Land-Over-Distance programs, and it still looks like a game made in the last year or two. I won’t compare Fallout 3 and Fonvee because they’re essentially the same engine variant.

    Just Cause 2, Far Cry 2, and Assassin’s Creed (1, 2, Bro’hood) are the only contiguous world games I can think of that look on a whole other visual level than Oblivion. The first two are shooters that contain far fewer features than Oblivion (Far Cry 2 is one of the most brilliant, poignant, vastly underrated games ever btw), and the Assassin’s Creeds are, admittedly, brilliant accomplishments in engine design that put every other contiguous world design to bed without supper. But Oblivion has remained the best looking open world fantasy on the market for the past four years, even despite dopey character animations, which is an essentially mind boggling accomplishment.

    • malkav11 says:

      I don’t know. The technical quality of Oblivion’s graphics are offset sharply by their decision to avoid doing anything interesting with them. I think that, for example, World of Warcraft is a strikingly better looking game much of the time, and it was hardly a technical powerhouse even in 2004. The art design is loads better, though, especially in areas like the new Vashj’ir underwater zone.

    • Basilicus says:

      I don’t know about that. Spending a night on Gnoll Mountain in the Jerall Range, watching the stars pass over your camp…seeing a sunset in the West Weald north of Skingrad…going awestruck into Vahtacen and solving the pillar…Shetcombe Farm…the climb up in the Fingers of the Mountain quest, especially when a violent storm blows in…the creepiness of Hackdirt…. And that doesn’t even include Shivering Isles, which is one of my favorite worlds to inhabit in gaming history.

      I’ve easily had more stop-and-stare moments in Oblivion than any other pair of games I’ve ever played. There’s just so much opportunity to catch the right moment while adventuring and exploring, the right light as the forest hums around you, to get caught in the rain during an especially dangerous quest. To me, it’s a beautiful game (with, yes, admittedly gummy character animations), but I guess I’m truly in the minority when I say that.

      Could they improve the engine? Absolutely. Did they really drop the ball on Oblivion? Not at all.

    • Impossible says:

      Just a heads up… The acronym LOD means “Level Of Detail”, not “Land-Over-Distance”

    • Basilicus says:

      Huh, thanks. Don’t know how I got Land Over Distance stuck in my head. I just googled the term and found nothing. The LOD mods in Oblivion (or at least the ones I have) are primarily used to make distant objects and land look better, so it must be one of those things I made up in my head for lack of a better place-filler. Thank you for the correction.

  8. Ricotta says:

    Jeese guys, who cares if it meets the definition of an RPG. I just want game-makers to make a good game….

  9. Rickard says:

    Understand that generally people are hating on Bethesda’s tech, not Gamebryo itself.

    The confusion stems from never having an official label for their engines so people always end up referring to them as “gamebryo” because that was some of the middleware they licensed. The name stuck with the community as no one was actively trying to correct them.

  10. Pijama says:

    Hearts if you are repeatedly watching it for the viking epicness of the music

    (I am willing to forgive Oblivion’s lack of emotion if the soundtrack keeps that level all-around)

  11. The Anus Of Discontent says:

    “We can now confirm that the TES V: Skyrim engine is all-new.”

    Oh GOD YES!!!

    “It’s a new graphics/gameplay engine built internally.”

    Oh GOD NO!!!

    • Ninja_Sword says:

      Actually, they have three new engines for Skyrim, the Havok animation and physics engine(also used in Portal and Portal 2), the Radiant A.I. engine, so everyone will have a unique personality (seen in Fallout 3, but improved in Skyrim) and the Creation/random-izer engine, so that every tree is unique, even every leaf is unique (also seen in Fallout 3, improved upon) and it’s a good thing that the creation engine (not the graphics and gamelay engine like u said) is created in the game, it will asure that nothing is the same, even if they used this same engine, only built it outside the game, they wud have made errors.

  12. saturos says:

    Skyrim will be the best thing since sliced bread.

  13. Ninja_Sword says:

    TES V: Skyrim has confirmed that mods will be available for this, but this is only for the PC, due to the X-Box and PS3’s lack of memory and storage and overall capacity for compete game-changing modifyers.