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Default Skyrim - Interview @ AusGamers

June 22nd, 2011, 21:53
Stephen Farelly from AusGamers talked with Todd Howard about this game. Their talk covers unscripted dragons, the plans for dlc, Creation Engine being used for this game and much more. Here's a bit on the Creation Engine:
AusGamers: Now let’s step it back a bit, I want to talk a bit about Creation Engine. You guys have been demoing the game on Xbox 360, is there any particular reason why you haven’t shown the PC version? Because clearly that would be the higher end.

Todd: Yeah it does, obviously the PC version looks better. It has higher textures, it can run much higher resolution and a lot more graphic features. We tend to show it on 360 so that it’s a good baseline for people to look at. So when they then see the PC version it’s going to go up. We’d rather do that than have people see the 360 later and it takes a step down.
Here's a bit about the possibility for user made mods making it onto consoles:
AusGamers: Is there any opportunity going forward to actually take some of the PC mod stuff and port that to console for console players?

Todd: It actually works. If you have a devkit console you can take the PC mod files, put them on your Xbox and they work. They actually worked in Oblivion, Morrowind and Fallout 3. For all of those games, I can take the PC mods and put them on my Xbox. We have one system so we just need to figure out the logistics of: How do we get it there? How do we secure it? How do we make it safe? It’s something that we would really like to do.
In other Skyrim news a German site called PSInside has given us this list of new details in the game. There's an English translation over at Media Minefield. And here's some of the new details:
Players can earn a few coins by chopping wood finding objects or forging weapons. - The highest mountain can be climbed, the higher you go the heavier the snowfall will get.
- 150 dungeons are available, which are all different. Those who are particularly interested in the backstory can collect over 300 books with information in them.
- The level system is pretty much the same, with 18 different skills to increase, including various weapon and magic skills.
More information.
Last edited by aries100; June 23rd, 2011 at 13:36.
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June 22nd, 2011, 21:53
I would guess 90% of those 300 books are from previous games. Nothing really wrong with that though, I don't want to read 300 new ones anyway. I look forward to the original content though.

Also he's right about the 360 thing. The majority of players will be on that system or the comparable one (PS3) and you want to show them what their game will look like. If you show them much better looking footage and then they get home with the game and it looks much worse they will be irritated. Mafia 2 had problems with this… their forums were booming with complaints the day the demo came out because the console versions looked like crap and they marketed with the PC version.
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June 22nd, 2011, 22:08
Those are a lot of words that pretty much amount to nothing. They have been saying 'We'd like to get mods on the consoles' for years and nothing has ever happened. Of course it's logistically possible, but the barrier is and always has been the controlled environment of the console marketplaces. Short of Google coming out with a console I don't see that changing. As they noted, mods worked even all the way back to Morrowind but they never found a way to enable users to get them and that was nearly a decade ago so I don't see them doing it now. The console users will just be stuck with a flawed, unmodded Bethesda game and most likely will happily eat it up regardless so why should they care?

As for the 'Oh we don't want to show off the game too high res and make everyone disappointed' sorry, not buying it. They are absolutely not above pre-release marketing trickery and have used pre-rendered shots and scripted mock ups that were not representative of the actual game in pre-release PR in the past. They are showing it for the 360 because that is their primary intended market, the one the game was created around and the one they are most concerned with. Simple as that.

Oh and I am certain 98% of those 300 books are the same ones that were in Oblivion and Morrowind and can be easily found in their full texts online. Just saying.

*Edited to add: DN beat me to it on the last part.
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June 23rd, 2011, 00:20
150 dungeons are available, which are all different.
Is that sort of like the 300 endings to Fallout 3?
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June 23rd, 2011, 00:48
I think it would be good for Bethesda if they put some mods on the 360 since it would increase sales of the PC version after people playing the 360 version see what they can get if they bought the PC version. There are many people that buy these games for the 360 because they think there isn't much difference and that they can just sit on their couch and play. They don't know that you get so much more by getting the PC version.

PS. It said that the 300 books are part of the back story but many of the books that have been in previous games really don't have much to do with the back story of Skyrim (other then being in the same world) so there could be more books then that.
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June 23rd, 2011, 01:02
Yeah, it is just marketspeak and a darn good example of it. That's one thing Bethesda is brilliant at. The key is to be aware of it and filter expectations accordingly. That way you (generic 'you') won't be disappointed or annoyed. It's just the way the selling game is played and that's ok.

So filtering expectations, what I expect out of Skyrim follows:

- Better AI. Not lots better, but tweaked with some extra behavior that occasionally wrings a smile from me. Nothing really earth-shattering like Galactic Civ opponents calling me out on my border military buildup, but still enjoyable and a logical improvement over the last game.

- Better tweaked leveling. It'll be a combination of scaling, non-scaling, and randomization all mixed and customized to the developers' preference and will feel reasonably organic. They've heard the "bandits with glass armor" complaints loud and clear and will design so that most absurdities won't occur. A few instances will slip through. There will be some dangerous areas and some not dangerous areas. I'm sanguine with the progress they're making on this.

- Similar quality of writing. As New Vegas demonstrated, Bethsoft internal scripting is and will remain sub-par. It's one weakness I'm inclined to agree with detractors on and something that I wish Emil would get through his head: there is much Much MUCH better writing to be had. Yes it is difficult to do on a large scale. No, that is no excuse given the performance of other massively-single-player projects such as Obsidian's effort.

-Dynamic story components will feel "cool" at first and quickly lose their luster. You'll notice it at first and then it will be "oh that's just the Radiant story randomizer randomizing. Ho hum."

- The main quest will be passable. Not great. Not a Watchmen graphic novel or a Tarantino film. Just passable summer popcorn material with high-end voice acting. S'ok.

- Somewhat better voice acting throughout. At least more variety that won't seem *quite* as irritating. Whether they bring back the cool "get away from me you swit" gravelly Dunmer male voice, I don't know. But I wish they would. The overheard conversations will still be of marginal quality.

- Much better character animations. Just plain better.

- Several Oblivion Mod features incorporated into the main game. Taking cues from popular mods in the previous game is a Bethsoft hallmark. Things like foliage and ambient sounds were one thing improved in Oblivion over Morrowind. Expect the same for Skyrim; perhaps blood and guts in combat, some crafting, better weather effects, things like that.

- Beards!

- Better texturing, but nothing that can't be improved given Qarl and others' obsessive work and the limitations of the 360.

- Better graphical appearance. HDR will work correctly this time (as it did in Fallout, more or less). I won't be blown away, but then it's hard to see PC improvements as long as we're stuck with the Xbox anchor dragging the PC community down with it.

- The Elder Scrolls "feel". Dungeons will will often feel similar. Quests will be large in number with limited depth. Players will feel overwhelmed by the sheer size of the thing.

I for one like this. The sandbox ethic of making my own fun, telling my own story is part and parcel of playing Elder Scrolls and I fully expect to do the same here whether within the vanilla game or making my own content or consuming the brilliant mods of fellow players. It's all good fun to me and I look forward to the game.
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June 23rd, 2011, 01:27
Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
I think it would be good for Bethesda if they put some mods on the 360 since it would increase sales of the PC version after people playing the 360 version see what they can get if they bought the PC version. There are many people that buy these games for the 360 because they think there isn't much difference and that they can just sit on their couch and play. They don't know that you get so much more by getting the PC version.

PS. It said that the 300 books are part of the back story but many of the books that have been in previous games really don't have much to do with the back story of Skyrim (other then being in the same world) so there could be more books then that.
What they should do is take the best mods and sell them on Xbox Live. Bethesda gets half the money and the mod creator gets half the money.
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June 23rd, 2011, 01:55
They r showing the xbox 360 version because that's what pc gamers will get a direct port with support for more resolutions. (Just my opinion not based on any facts.) I wonder if it will be like ds3 and control way better with acontroller rather than with a keyboard and mouse.

I'm now going to go make my " the end is near" signs. Goodbye pc gaming you will be missed.
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June 23rd, 2011, 02:24
The amount and quality of the Morrowind main quest related books was great.

For Oblivion I can only remember one: Mysterium Xarxes.

Luckily they are giving one of the lore (and book) writers a bigger role with Skyrim than they did with Oblivion.

Ofcourse there are books not related to the main quest, but I really like it when a good chunk of the new books does tie into the main quest.

They probably think modern gamers don't like to read so I'm not sure they would make reading them mandatory. What probably will happen is that if they tie into a quest they'd sadly let the game automatically add the next objective to the journal when you open the book.
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June 23rd, 2011, 02:26
Why would 90% of the books be from past games, MW and OB did not have even close to 90% return rate, I would expect SR to have at least 150 new books.

As to the 150 dungeons, Oblivion had over 230 and they were designed by mostly 1 person(perhaps 2), SR has 8 dungeon designers. I expect a noticeable increase in variety over MW and OB.

And SR has about 70 voice actors, OB had 14.

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Last edited by Kefka; June 23rd, 2011 at 02:40.
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June 23rd, 2011, 05:10
Originally Posted by Bedwyr View Post
- Similar quality of writing. As New Vegas demonstrated, Bethsoft internal scripting is and will remain sub-par. It's one weakness I'm inclined to agree with detractors on and something that I wish Emil would get through his head: there is much Much MUCH better writing to be had. Yes it is difficult to do on a large scale. No, that is no excuse given the performance of other massively-single-player projects such as Obsidian's effort.
I really wish they would let Obsidian do an ES game at some point, even if it's a side story like an Elder Scrolls Adventure or another Battlespire. The world itself and the background lore are interesting but Bethesda's writing always manages to be dull in spite of that. Some decent writing would do wonders.

-Dynamic story components will feel "cool" at first and quickly lose their luster. You'll notice it at first and then it will be "oh that's just the Radiant story randomizer randomizing. Ho hum."
Agreed, it's a gimmick that almost certainly will not be anything near as revolutionary or exciting as they make it out to be.

- The main quest will be passable. Not great. Not a Watchmen graphic novel or a Tarantino film. Just passable summer popcorn material with high-end voice acting. S'ok.
After Oblivion's main quest I can't see anywhere else they can go but up. Oblivion had the worst main quest of any RPG I can recall playing. Not only was it cliche and uninteresting, but the level design was atrociously repetitive and made it a chore. Those gates also irritatingly got in the way of just running off to explore and do your own thing.

Originally Posted by Kefka View Post
And SR has about 70 voice actors, OB had 14.
Is that confirmed? If that number isn't some creative trickery by counting people doing sound effects and one liners and so forth but 70 actual voice actors each doing a significant amount of dialog I will be impressed, but I'm skeptical.
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June 23rd, 2011, 07:25
70 is what Todd Howard said, so yes its confirmed.

I don't understand why ever one is so high on Obsidian, I thought FNV was no better written than FO3 matter of fact the main story was more generic and unlike FO3 there were no major surprises or turn of events in the story. And the main villains(the legion) were even more blatantly bad than the enclave, no shades of grey what so ever.

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June 23rd, 2011, 07:28
Even with all the likely failings of the vanilla game, it seems like Skyrim will be a 'must buy' for the vast majority of PC RPG players. Looking forward to it, and the mods. My feeling is that Bethesda has the potential to hit one out of the ball park, considering that they are so experienced, profitable and well staffed. They'll probably come up short of what they 'should' have done, but the community will fill in what's missing and we'll eventually get a great overall game.
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June 23rd, 2011, 07:44
I think that if they have Obsidian do an Elderscrolls game they should base it outside of Tamriel like Akivir. This would totally make sense with the Empire falling apart along with the previous invasion from Akavir. The story could be where you were on a scouting ship headed to Akavir because with the empire falling apart there is fear of another invasion.
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June 23rd, 2011, 07:53
Originally Posted by Kefka View Post
I don't understand why ever one is so high on Obsidian, I thought FNV was no better written than FO3 matter of fact the main story was more generic and unlike FO3 there were no major surprises or turn of events in the story. And the main villains(the legion) were even more blatantly bad than the enclave, no shades of grey what so ever.
I disagree with everything you just said about as much as anyone can disagree with anything.
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June 23rd, 2011, 08:25
Originally Posted by DoctorNarrative View Post
What they should do is take the best mods and sell them on Xbox Live. Bethesda gets half the money and the mod creator gets half the money.
Thats not that simple as you make it to be. Except Beth and moder there are other licences, software and etc that would need to credited/payed for the use of them.

Not to mention that the best and the biggest mods for all Beth games use an external script features (FOSE, OBSE etc etc) that simply cant be executed on consoles, so i doubt it will happen, atleast not on this gen consoles …

English is not my Home language so excuse me if i make some gramer mistakes or write sometimes bit conffusing
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June 23rd, 2011, 08:25
The gates certainly were extremely dull. I don't think Ovlivions main quest was entirely uninteresting, though. I liked the whole idea that you helped another (unwilling) hero fulfill his destiny. It was not you who saved the world for once. I thought the plot had its moments, but I agree that good writing could have brought it to a whole different level.
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June 23rd, 2011, 11:00
Your right about the 360 DoctorNarrative, they had to take notice after all the grief they received about console condition of the PC game (cue UI, menu and map). I'm almost willing to bet they never show the PC version before release.

Originally Posted by Motoki View Post
…….. Short of Google coming out with a console I don't see that changing. ………
Damn it, Motoki now I can't stop thinking about the look on m$ face if Google did it and suddenly find myself full of hope! Muhwaaaaaa!

Nice write up, Bedwyr!
They really do have sub par writing and that's being polite about it. Also I was so sick of hearing the 5 or 6 of the same voice artists used, not sure I could stand to ever hear them again. Most everything really did improve in F3 (err except the writing), so I'm hopeful.

Kefka, there were at least 4 different MAJOR ending paths, with a multitude of possible solutions for each path. Not to mention the multitude of minor and undocumented, which most all have an effect on the final ending. How is that Generic or even more how the hell is the story, where have you played this story?
Not to mention you can't tell the difference in writing quality, are you serious? Almost every NPC has a different personality, acted differently and for the most part voiced differently. Obsidian didn't have the 4 or 5 years or much less half the budget Bethesda had, so it's even more of an accomplishment to me. No clue what your talking about, of course you gave no real examples, afaik.

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June 23rd, 2011, 11:13
A long time ago, computer gamers boasted a superiority over console gamers through refined content. Candy eyes graphics was the territory of console games which lacks the content depth of computer games.

Times've changed indeed. First thing PC gamers can boast about is graphics. Graphics being a priority for RPGs of course.
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June 23rd, 2011, 12:10
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
A long time ago, computer gamers boasted a superiority over console gamers through refined content. Candy eyes graphics was the territory of console games which lacks the content depth of computer games.

Times've changed indeed. First thing PC gamers can boast about is graphics. Graphics being a priority for RPGs of course.
Nah, been like that for as long as I can remember. Consoles maybe held gfx superiority for half a year a few time, but overall, the Gfx race has defined PC gaming for a long time.
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