Well now, this is unpleasant. Bethesda, creator of games we really love, and Notch, creator of other games we really love, have gotten into a bit of a tiff. You know, the kind with lawyers and words like “trademark infringement.” Yes, that's right: Bethesda's serving papers over, well, a word referring to a rolled up piece of paper. So, what's hat-wearing wonder Notch have to say about all this?
It’s easy for PC gamers to get disheartened at E3. As Tim mentioned to John Carmack yesterday, we don’t have our own conference to look forward to. But if we did, our conference would be about straight games. Here’s what I’d stick in our first montage. Remember, there’s still plenty of E3 we haven’t written about yet.
A few weeks ago, we took a not-so-fond look at the console portion of the grotesque, unruly mass (in some circles known as a “family”) that is the gaming world. As we often do with those with whom we share any sort of relation, we proceeded to list off all the ways they've wronged us. We find it to be a good ice-breaker. Now, though, we've been struck with some strange and debiltating malady that top scientists are calling “civility,” and we've realized there's plenty of good mixed in with the bad. No, seriously. Consoles, we may not always get along, but we'd be remiss if we didn't give you due praise for having our backs every once in a while. Now go! Jump past the break before we change our minds.
To say that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim looks glorious would be a massive understatement. To say that its giant spiders look positively massive would be, well, right on the money. Also, disgusting enough to send our mild arachnophobia into overdrive – which is what we imagine Bethesda was going for, but still. The horror. Check out that nightmarish sight after the break, and then purge your eyes with seven more thankfully spider-free screens.
For tykes weaned on the clean, orderly fantasy world depicted in Lord of the Rings (and its many immitators), The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind was a bit of a shock to the system. After all, it was really, really weird. Like, downright bizarre in some places. We'll never forget the first time we rode around the countryside in a giant bug – mostly because no amount of therapy is enough. And that's only the tip of the iceberg. There was, however, a certain appeal to it, and Bethesda freely admits that Oblivion lacked that exotic flavor.
The first in-game footage of Skyrim is out, and we have watched it several times at the loudest possible volume. It’s extraordinarily exciting. It’s also very fast, once it picks up, and crammed with interesting details it’s easy to miss. Here’s our analysis and thoughts on every shot. Except the stone mural stuff, we feel chaotic neutral about that.
Read on for the complete trailer, and our analysis of nearly 30 stills!
Oh jeez, oh man, oh wow, dragon yeti fires, golly gee. Er, we've just watched the brand new trailer for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you see, and we're (wow) having trouble (awesome) stopping ourselves from (excellent) interspersing our sentences with expressions of delight. Wait, there we go. Ok, it stopped. (Fantastic!) Damn it, never mind. Check out the (amazing) full thing after the break. Hey, it sort of made sense that time.
If you're brimming with excitement over Bethesda's next entry in the storied Elder Scrolls franchise, then head over to Facebook and say that you "Like" the official game series fan page. You'll be treated to a handful of the first screenshots of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Of course, you could also go to fellow Future site GamesRadar’s official fan page and “Like” them, because they’ve got all the new images as well.
After taking a detour into The Apocalypse, Bethesda's getting back to its roots with some good old-fashioned swords 'n' sorcery. Well, ok, that's not entirely true. See, we're not in Tamriel anymore, Toto – and also Toto's a giant 30-ton dragon. Welcome to Skyrim.
According to a recent preview, Skyrim's set to take place 200 years after Oblivion – just in time for the return of the dragons, which (in addition to sounding like an oddly amusing Bruce Lee/Star Wars mash-up) is where you come in. You're a dragonborn, so it's your duty to put an end to the dragon god and save the world from certain destruction. Which, in Elder Scrolls-ese, roughly translates to “dick around for 70 hours while ignoring humanity's grim fate in favor of 'Hey! That looks neat!'”
Sounds pretty standard so far, doesn't it? Well, Bethesda's also torn out the franchise's old guts and replaced them with something more sensibly streamlined. For one, class selection's out. Instead, you'll only be leveling skills this time around, and every skill level gained contributes to your overall level. Levels, of course, bring new and interesting perks, so there looks to be quite a bit of room for variation. The Skyrim's the limit? Oh come on; at least wait until we're done with this post to shoot us.
Skill types have also been pared back, but only a bit. This time around, you've got 18 to choose from versus Oblivion's 21. Again, though, you can mix-and-match skills whichever way you want or specialize in a couple different types, so you definitely won't be at a lack for options.
Combat, meanwhile, is set to emphasize a two-handed approach so as to create more “dynamic and tactical” battles. In other words, you'll be able to create just about any arsenal you can think of. Sword and shield? Sure. Sword and axe? Go for it. Shield and bare hand? Sounds kind of suicidal, but, er, all right.
The vaunted “Radiant AI” popularized in Oblivion has also been retooled from the ground-up, resulting in quests that take stock of your impacts on the normal workings of the world and readjust accordingly. For instance, the game might search for a dungeon you've never explored in order to dynamically generate a quest. Or you might never be approached by, say, a quest-giving mage because you're not buddy-buddy with mages in general.
In other words, Skyrim isn't aiming to be revolutionary, but it sounds like the smartest, most sensible take on Bethesda's brand of massively single-player role-playing yet. The game's out on November 11, which – not so coincidentally – is probably around the time we'll be out of a job.