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Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - All News

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Box Art

Sunday - September 14, 2014

Skywind - Bitter Coast Preview Trailer

by Couchpotato, 04:42

The developers of the new Skywind mod for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrimhave released a new trailer that shows the modders progress on the Bitter Coast.

An exclusive look at the latest work on the Bitter Coast. As always, many models are placeholders and everything is subject to change. Please enjoy!

Wednesday - August 27, 2014

Enderal: Shards Of Order - Frostcliff Mountains

by Couchpotato, 06:47

The developers of Enderal: Shards Of Order have posted a new update on the Mod DB page with a new video that gives us a preview of the Frostcliff Mountains area.

The Northwind Mountains are a region situated in the far north of Enderal. Though being inhospitable due to their extreme cold and perilous fauna – Lost Ones, Frost Myrads and Glacier elementals, only to mention a few -, they used be well-travelled in the past. This fact was due to the Northwind-mines, where the valuable Northwind rocks were mined, which are rumored to be close to indestructible, thus making them a highly sought-after material for the construction of castles, treasure chambers and fortresses. After the closing of the mines, however, the region was left abandoned, leaving behind ghost villages and dangerous, semi-collapsed mineshafts, which still attract adventurers and treasure hunters.

Tuesday - August 12, 2014

Enderal: Shards Of Order - Bard System

by Couchpotato, 05:39

The developers of Enderal: Shards Of Order SureAI have posted a new update on the games Mod DB page with a new video about the bard system.

Today, we want to introduce a feature which has been in the works since the early stages of development: The bard-system. Aside from several new instrumental lute and flute-pieces, we work closely with our lector and composer, Holomay to compose bard-songs which can be heard on several occasions ingame. The objective here isn't simply to make the songs beautiful, but to also have them transport lore and the Endralean culture in general.

Wednesday - July 30, 2014

Skyrim - Named Game of The Generation

by Couchpotato, 17:39

Pixlbit has a new article that names The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Game of The Generation.

So, to address Todd Howard’s perspective, how does Skyrim make you feel? It makes you feel that the world is a massive, beautiful place that beckons you to discover and tempts you to chase the horizon. It reminds us that there is always knowledge to be learned, a tale to share, and an adventure to be had. It tells us that we write our own legend, and dares us to branch out in an effort to better know ourselves and to leave our mark in the world. Most importantly, it informs us that the answers we seek in life can often be found by simply doing what we love and immersing ourselves in a great work of art. For these reasons, and so many more, The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim stands as my undisputed Game of The Generation.

Monday - July 21, 2014

Skyrim - Hoarding Canít Stop & Wonít Stop

by Couchpotato, 13:51

Nathan Hughes of Onlysp has written a new article for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim where he talks about hoarding. and why he can't stop doing it while playing the game.

If there’s one thing that can be said about gamers everywhere, it’s that we love to hoard stuff. By having an inventory full of legendary enchanted equipment that’s just gathering dust, I admit that I, or my characters in games, have a serious case of hoarding. As a result, I decided to peel back the layers of games like Skyrim and uncover the real reason to just why I have a house full of cheese wheels and fur boots. I wish I was making this up.

Monday - July 07, 2014

Enderal: Shards Of Order - Heartland Trailer

by Couchpotato, 04:07

The  developers of Enderal: Shards Of Order have posted a new update on the Mod DB page with a new video that shows the Heartland area you will visit in the mod.

The "Heartland" is the most commonly used name to describe the densely wooded region in the middle of Enderal. It is home both to Ark, the majestic capital city of the country, as well as to several highly-travelledtrade routes connecting Enderals villages and trade-posts. Awry oaktrees and tall scot pines provide for a dense vegetation, and both small and big rivers weave their way through the winding thickets. From time to time,the daring traveller might find an old crypt or an old ruin, the latter most likely an abandoned trade post from the times of the "Isolation".

Wednesday - June 18, 2014

Skyrim - Editorial @ Spawnfirst

by Couchpotato, 05:11

Spawnfirst has a posted a new article called Games You Love and Why You Shouldn’t, and this time they take a look at The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Everyone is familiar with the mega-hit The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Transcending popularity among only gamers, the game is a major mainstream hit. Skyrim  made it cool to talk about elves and magic in public; too many times to count, I overheard people swapping stories and comparing dragon slaying strategies. The game consistently earned near perfect and perfect scores, giving it the adoration of gamers everywhere. However, I don’t fall into this category. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed playing Skyrim. But I did find some egregious errors that no one else seems to discuss. I’m sure I’m the odd man out here, but here are some reasons why Skyrim  isn’t that great.

Monday - June 09, 2014

Enderal: Shards Of Order - Mod Update

by Couchpotato, 05:39

It's been a while since I checked up on the mod Enderal: Shards Of Order, and surprise the game has a new update on the Mod DB page from last month.

As this year slowly strolls towards summer (well - in Europe, at least), we're happy to tell you that we're making quite some progress at the moment. Frankly, we haven't shown a lot of ingame-material in the past months, which is, however, apt to change pretty soon. A great part of the regions and levels are now reaching their final stage, and we're also progressing pretty well in terms of gameplay-programming and quest-implementation.

Friday - June 06, 2014

Skyrim - Editorial @ PC Gamer

by Couchpotato, 03:56

PC Gamer's Andy Kelly has posted a new article for Skyrim as part of the magazines new column called On The Level. Here is a small sample of his article.

On The Level: Skyrim, The Elder Scrolls V

Every week Andy celebrates a great map, level, or location from a classic PC game in On The Level. This week it’s the snowy land of Skyrim from the fifth Elder Scrolls game.

Journey from one corner of Skyrim to another and you’ll encounter a range of varied and atmospheric landscapes. Each hold has its own look and feel, which makes the map feel a lot bigger than it actually is. You get a sense that this is a vast country, rather than a small section of a larger world. Each area has its own history, cultures, and climate, resting in the shadow of the colossal Throat of the World—the tallest mountain in Skyrim, whose icy peak stretches far above the clouds.

Thursday - May 22, 2014

Skyrim - Podcast @ Expansive DLC

by Couchpotato, 00:28

Expansive DLC has a new podcast for Skyrim about gaming addiction, and modding.

Skyrim Addicts Podcast Interview

The Elder Scrolls series is fortunate enough to have a community that is as vast as the games themselves.  No doubt you’ve either experienced or at least read about the variety of mods constantly being developed for the various titles in the series.

The more recent titles such as Skyrim are constantly receiving updates and expanded content and even in some case complete graphical overhauls in the case of Skywind and Skyblivion. In addition to this fans of the series are constantly sharing and discussing their various experiences within the game, through forums and wikis, and of course showing their passion for the games through works of fan fiction and fan artwork.

It truly is a fanbase to be admired and one that if even if you have just a passing interest in the Elder Scrolls Series, then you should certainly consider jumping in and becoming a member yourself.

A particularly interesting corner of the The Elder Scrolls community is the Skyrim Addicts Podcast, a podcast where the host Michael David chronicles his journey through the game. I spoke to Michael we got to discuss all things Elder Scrolls and the Elder Scrolls community, it really is quite fascinating to hear how engaged and involved the Skyrim community can become with the game.

Friday - May 16, 2014

Skyrim - Interview @ Games.On.Net

by Couchpotato, 05:25

Games.On.Net intervirewed Bethesda’s Pete Hines who shares his thoughts on modding, and why he thinks Skyrim was so successful. As usual here is a small preview.

With Bethesda widely expected to announced a major new RPG at this year’s E3 conference next month, we asked the company’s Global Director of PR and Marketing what he thought made Skyrim such a breakout success for the company. While Skyrim did herald major changes to the game’s appearance and continued tweaks to the formula, Hines said that there was more to it than just simple continual upgrades.

“I also think that comes down to ‘right game, right time’,” Hines said. “At that point in the console life cycle, to have that big of a game come out, with that big of an audience already out there and ready and able to play that game, it was just… almost a perfect storm of potential for a game like that.”

Hines countered my assertion that Skyrim was the most important RPG for the company by saying that, in fact, “the most influential or game-changing Elder Scrolls game was Morrowind.”

“That was the first one that we did that was not just on PC. We did it on Xbox, and it opened up that kind of a game to a console audience, and at the time people said to us ‘That is never going to fly. Console gamers will not get a game like this, it’s too complex, blah blah blah.’ But it did awesome. It sold and sold and sold for years and years and years.”

“I think the success of that was really a big watershed moment for us as a company when we realised like, gamers are gamers, and people like fun stuff regardless of what platform they play. And that was where we felt like we really started to grow our audience out of just PC only to a much wide, broader audience that made games like Oblivion, and Fallout 3, and everything we’ve done since then a real possibility. It helped Bethesda go from being one internal studio and a dozen external ones to all these internal studios that are doing different things but that share a kind of common design philosophy.”

Wednesday - May 07, 2014

Skyrim - Honest Game Trailer

by Couchpotato, 06:47

Smosh Games released a new honest trailer for Bethesda's released open world RPG Skyrim. I found it to be the best representationof the game.

Warning: Video is meant to be humorous do not take it seriously.Wink

From the developers of everything Elder Scrolls comes a game so immersive you'll forget to eat, sleep, or make any friends at all. You'll spend countless hours trapped in a far off land; and when you finally emerge from the game, you'll only find disappointment and boredom back in the real world.

Monday - April 28, 2014

Skyrim - Editorial @ Eurogamer

by Couchpotato, 05:35

Eurogamer's Tony Coles has written a new article for Skyrim where he writes about how Bethesda's open world game remains as fresh as ever. Here is a sample.

How often have you gone back to a game you thought you'd exhausted, only to find it full of prospects and potential? In a fallow period for vast open-world RPGs, a lazy visit to see my Skyrim house opened more than furniture filled with hard-earned goodies. Nostalgia took hold and prompted a look at my open quests list, and from there I was picking up the threads of a game that had laid dormant for a good 18 months.

Monday - March 31, 2014

Skyrim - Editorial @ Hardcore Gamer

by Couchpotato, 05:29

Hardcore Gamer has a new article that takes a look at the success of Skyrim.

With Skyrim showing that mainstream success doesn’t have to come at the expense of freedom and depth, what does this mean for the future of the industry? Whether or not you like Skyrim, there’s really no arguing its success will have a positive effect on the greater gaming industry. Skyrim is a game with hundreds of hours of content, no microtransactions or payed cheats, DLC that is priced right and offers dozens of hours of content, and developer sanctioned modding tools that result in hundreds more hours of great community made content. A game that does all this and also happens to be one of the most successful games of all time can only ever be a positive influence on the industry.

Sunday - February 02, 2014

Skyrim - Full Immersion Video

by Couchpotato, 00:42

If your interested in virtual reality then Cyberith has a video you have to watch. They play Skyrim using their Cyberith Virtualizer, Oculus Rift, and a Wii Mote.

In this video, you see me as a Dovahkiin in SKYRIM with the VIRTUALIZER, the OCULUS RIFT and a WII MOTE. And again my brain decoupled from reality and i was in the world of Skyrim. It was an amazing experience to interact in that beautiful environment.

Wednesday - January 29, 2014

Skyrim - 20 Million Copies Sold

by Couchpotato, 03:22

Gamespot has news The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has been bought over 20 million times.

Bethesda Game Studios' acclaimed single-player role-playing game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has now sold more than 20 million copies since launch in November 2011.

Bethesda announced the news as part of a recent press release, but did not say if the sales figure refers to sell-in (shipped) or sell-through (sold). We've asked a Bethesda representative for comment.

 

Enderal: Shards Of Order - Concept & Realization

by Couchpotato, 02:44

The SureAI Team has a new update for Enderal: Shards Of Order with some concept art.

Some time has passed since our last update - But rest assured, this is mainly due to the fact that we're working quite a lot at the moment and are making very good progress. But enough of the words! :)

Tuesday - January 28, 2014

Skyrim - Mod Guide @ OverlordGaming

by Couchpotato, 02:12

OverlordGaming has a new article with a guide to help people mod Skyrim.

With the Elder Scrolls Online MMORPG several months away, gamers are filling the gaps between their beta session times by revisiting the last Elder Scrolls release, known as TES V: Skyrim.

Now with three official DLCs and over two years of user third party mods available, Skyrim has set a high benchmark for both ESO and the yet unconfirmed TES VI.

Today I am going to discuss various mods and tweaks that I use and have used for the majority of my Skyrim playing. Subjects to be covered are graphics, audio, game play, monster diversity, AI/Intelligence, convenience (e.g. horses that follow you while you’re on foot, and horses for companions) and much more. The guide will be broken down into three parts with the first two covering a visual overhaul.

Before we get started, lets mention where you will find the majority of the data and files, which is at the Skyrim Nexus. Here will be available to you all manner of user made mods, of which you can search by various categories or directly by name. There is also a manager for your modifications, aptly titled Nexus Mod Manager which is available from the front page. Please note that downloads of over 2mb in size require a user to be logged in. The registration is free.

Monday - January 20, 2014

Skyrim - Memory Patch

by Couchpotato, 04:19

A modder by the name of sheson has released a new memory patch that allows Skyrim to fix infinite loading screens, and other memory related CTD freezes.

Time for Skyrim Memory Patch 3.0

It has been a while since the first memory patch that fixed 4GB LAA that made it into the official game. Thanks to Boris we have the second memory patch ENBoost taking care of textures not wasting main memory anymore. In this naming tradition this third memory patch will allow Skyrim to use that available space right from the start to fix ILS (infinite loading screen) without side effects and other memory related CTD (crashes to desktop) or freezes. After many hours of peeking and poking it turns out there is a simple fix and one has to wonder why this is not something that is implemented as an option or parameter for the PC version of the game.

How it works

When tesv.exe is started it allocates two 256MB blocks of memory. When the first block gets full, the engine will allocate more blocks. This can cause the known troubles. Thankfully, by telling the engine to request a bigger block from the start it magically makes use of it without any further ado. This isn't the case with the second block. Thankfully again, the second block does not fill up as quickly and once it is full the engine does not trip over itself when allocating more blocks.

To make the engine allocate a larger block of memory it needs to be patched. This needs to happen very early in the process. This can not be done by a SKSE plugin because they are executed much later. However, SKSE loader already patches tesv.exe before the game starts and since SKSE sources are provided adding the patch is straight forward.

Sunday - January 19, 2014

Enderal: Shards Of Order - Video Interview

by Couchpotato, 04:51

Enderal: Shards Of Order was interviewed by a German site called GamersGroundDE. Now before I forget the video is in German , but you can use subtitles.


Sunday - January 12, 2014

Skyrim - Editorial @ Rock, Paper, Shotgun

by Couchpotato, 04:37

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a guest article with infomation about modding Skyrim.

An occupational risk of Christmas is that the great mead (Jaffa Cakes) hall of my in-laws’ living room will inspire me to reinstall Skyrim, post a few fancy screenshots, and sure enough get a few emails asking for some mythical mod guide. Then comes the abuse: “He doesn’t want anyone to have his secret sauce!” Or: “His Skyrim doesn’t look like that – *snort* – those are Photoshopped.” Only they don’t capitalise Photoshop because they didn’t have to sit through that publishing meeting, lucky old them.

They’re almost right about one thing: my Skyrim doesn’t look like that. Likewise, when someone asks me what English weather is like, I don’t answer: ‘It’s like that evening drive between Dorset and Wiltshire when a torrential downpour gave way to just the best sunshine that lit up the faces of distant historic buildings and cast painterly shadows across dale and field.’ What I tell them is that, nine times out of ten, ‘it’s shit.’

What posters of modded Skyrim shots fail to mention is that their game only looks like that 1 per cent of the time, from 0.01 per cent of the vantage points on the map. The numbers are only slightly better for any videogame screenshot worth a damn. Whether you’re an industry screenshot artist or a Steam Community superstar or whatever, what you’re doing is marketing. Selling. Lying by omission.

What the posters also don’t mention is that the mountainous challenge of taking those shots is precisely why many people play Skyrim now more than ever. Alduin is dead but the quest for ultimate graphics goes on… and on. The fallacy of asking ‘how to make Skyrim look like that’ is that you simply don’t know what Skyrim might look like whenever you fire it up. That’s the point.

Saturday - January 11, 2014

Skyrim - Editorial @ Think-Entertainment

by Couchpotato, 06:14

Think-Entertainment has a new article that takes a look at the design philosophy of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

The opening sequences of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim aren’t exactly Imperial propaganda material. The player has been kidnapped alongside members of the Stormcloaks, a revolutionary faction, and an Empire bigwig decides that the best policy is “execute now, ask questions later,” despite the player being conspicuously absent from her naughty list.

Although the Imperial with a mediaeval clipboard sympathises, the player is soon face-to-blade with a rather large axe; but before said axe is introduced to the player’s neck, the person wielding it is distracted by an altogether unfriendly dragon, who has turned up to rain fire on the Empire’s parade. Still, the player escapes the chopping block; it seems that even clouds hiding dragons behind them have silver linings.

My point here is that the beginning of the game actively influences the player in favour of the Stormcloaks. We naturally feel hard done by, given that the Empire has ordered our execution for no apparent reason, and it goes somewhat beyond General Tullius’ birthday present getting mysteriously lost in the post. Even if the player decides that sticking with the Imperial soldiers would increase the chances of surviving the dragon attack, we find a rather unpleasant torture chamber (and an even more unpleasant torturer) whilst looking for the back door keys to escape the town.

Wednesday - January 01, 2014

Enderal: Shards Of Order - Class System Teaser

by Couchpotato, 04:29

Sure AI has a short trailer for Enderal: Shards Of Order with a look at the class system.

It's been four month since we released the first episode of our devblog, in which we demonstrated Enderals brand new class-system with its unlockable memories. We've been working on it for quite some time now, scripting new talents, testing them (only to find out they would crush our Gamedesign completely), discarding them and rescripting them again. But it's been worth it: Our class/memory-system with all its talents, new spells and perks is now fully implemented!

The following video is a small cut-together showing some more talents in action. Of course this is only meant to whet your appetite, but hopefully you'll like it nonetheless.

Saturday - December 28, 2013

Skyrim - Population Mods

by Couchpotato, 08:02

Have you ever played Skyrim and thought the game world is barren. If you did a talented modder at the Nexus has a few mods to repopulate the game world.

Populated Cities Towns Villages

Now all cities, towns and villages have new NPCs, with their AI, daily routines and actions. Compatible with everything (I suggest you to use with Immersive Settlements and Inconsequential NPCs), this mod does not use scripts. All new NPCs are respawnable, with different aspects.

Populated Forts Towers Places

How is possible that few bandits may conquer and keep a fort? Why most of them are inside when only 4-5 bandits are patrolling the walls? Now these oddities are fixed. More bandits, more immersion, more challenge and much, much other. Without using scripts, compatible with anything.

Populated Dungeons Caves Ruins 

Now a lot of locations (mainly caves and ruins) are more populated by enemies. This mod aims to give you: surprises, more challenge, more immersion and much other. PDCR is script-free and should be compatible almost with anything.

Friday - December 27, 2013

Enderal: Shards Of Order - Development Update

by Couchpotato, 09:30

SureAI has released a new development update for Enderal: Shards Of Order. They also have a new story trailer if your interested.

It would be a lie to say that mod development is always easy, because it isn’t. Realizing the vision of a mod project of such great scale doesn’t only require creativity and a whole lot of passion, but above all a lot of stamina, reliability and an eye for the feasibility of one’s own goals. It is so easy to get lost in the invention of countless, unrealizable features!

So now the year has come to an end, and with new experiences under our belt and many miles closer to our goal, a new year is awaiting us – hopefully as productive and insightful as this one! The constant support of our fans, the commitment of our voluntary voice actors, and tokens of appreciation such as achieving the 2nd place in this years “Mod of the year”-awards (Category: Best upcoming) will help us a lot with that. The last one wouldn’t have been possible without your support, and we sincerely want to thank you for all your votes. As well with these words as with a “end of the year”-bundle we have put together to express our gratitude as well as to grant you new insights into the game Enderal will be. We were actually planning to release the second episode of our devblog, but we postponed it since we wanted to give you all something “special”, which you will find at the end of this post. We were unsure on whether to release it or not, but we did – and we hope you will all like it.

That being said, we wish you both a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2014!

Wednesday - December 04, 2013

Skyrim - Editorial @ GamerHeadlines

by Couchpotato, 01:27

Gamer Headlines has posted a new article showing off the different ways you can can improve Skyrim. Now most of us already know how to do this, but this may help some new gamers.

Closing thoughts

I’m going to stop here, since there are so many great mods that I could talk about, that my fingers would most likely fall off sooner than I would finish. The fact is, Skyrim is a great game, and has so much fun content to play with, that it can keep players busy for months. I haven’t even mentioned some of the mods that add actual new islands to the game with hundreds of new quests. The point is, modding Skyrim is a time-consuming process, but it’s well worth the investment. You can add hundreds of hours to the game for free, while making those hours even more enjoyable.

The best place to find mods for skyrim is on skyrimnexus.com, a website that not only offers a collection of mods and info on what they do, but also offers tutorials on how to properly mod Skyrim to avoid crashes and errors. You can also download the Nexus Mod Manager from their website, a small program that makes downloading and installing mods convenient. Added to that, I recommend using WryeBash, a small program that provides management and safety protocols for Skyrim modding.

So, what are you waiting for? Re-install Skyrim, get to modding, and enjoy the ride!

Tuesday - December 03, 2013

Skyrim - Editorial @ TheSixthAxis

by Couchpotato, 03:40

The Sixth Axis has posted a new article taking a look at Skyrim, and trying to put in perspective to our world. Weird I know but it's interesting.

On our planet we humans are without a doubt the most dominant species, adapting to and, more often than not, changing the very landscape to fit our wants and needs. During that process how many species have we harmed or driven to extinction with our own demands coming before any others? What if those species could rise up and start a war or even have the ability to overthrow the oppressive humans. Would we sit back and let it happen or fight for our survival and status to remain at the top?

A scenario similar to the hypothetical one I just described occurs in Skyrim, though it’s not the humans that are being overthrown, but doing the overthrowing. In this world the Dragons ruled for centuries, stepping on the humans to advance their own species, even using the humans as slaves to do their bidding.

When the slaves revolt of course the Dragons do what they must to maintain order in their kingdom. However, the slaves are strong and clever which leads the Dragons to take more and more risks to fight back. The war becomes so desperate that the humans can’t kill Alduin so they send him to a different part of time where he and his army have already lost.

Saturday - October 12, 2013

Skyrim - ENB Water Overhaul

by Couchpotato, 00:17

ENBSeries creator Boris Vorontsov has released a new video for Skyrim with some new water effects in his upcoming ENBSeries update.

Procedural caustic generated from water textures and dispersion. Upcoming effect of ENBSeries graphic enchancement for TES Skyrim

Monday - October 07, 2013

RPGWatch Feature - Enderal: Shards Of Order Interview

by Couchpotato, 00:54

As promised here is the interview were Fluent talks to the creators of the Nehrim mod about their next undertaking Enderal: Shards Of Order.

Being a big fan of Nehrim, I recently thought it would be a good idea to reach out to SureAI, the creators of Nehrim, and see if they would answer some questions about their new project, Enderal: Shards Of Order. Thankfully, they obliged (thanks, fellas!), so I typed out a few questions and sent them off.  Here is what they had to say.

As a bonus here is a new video talking about the mods class system.

Thursday - September 19, 2013

Skyrim - Editorial @ Press2Reset

by Couchpotato, 00:15

Press2Reset has a new editorial asking,"Is Skyrim the high point of this generation?"

One of the more facile comments gamers occasionally level at one another is the instruction to play the game the way the developers intended it to be played. We should resist this command when we hear it and embrace those developers who also eschew it. And no studio rejects this mantra more so than Bethesda.

The developer’s internally made RPGs (Fallout 3 and The Elder Scrolls series) are underpinned by a freedom of player choice. Go where you want, do what you want. Play the main story, or ignore it. Pursue a widening network of missions across the whole map, or while away your days in a quiet retreat. Ultimately, player agency is a core tenet of the games themselves.

And that’s before you’ve even got to the modding.

It took a PC to reveal to me the true depths of Skyrim. An unashamed console gamer for years, I had enjoyed (but no more than that) the fifth Elder Scrolls title when it released on Xbox 360. I passed a good number of hours in its company and even delved into the first DLC.

However, around this time, a minor domestic accident caused me to upgrade my bog standard laptop (damned cat). I decided to invest a few extra quid and get myself something capable of running some games. It proved to be momentous.

Saturday - August 10, 2013

Skyrim - Gifts of the Outsider Mod

by Couchpotato, 00:15

If you are a fan of Dishonred and Skyrim a mod called Gifts of the Outsider is pefecrt for you. It can be downloaded from the Nexus.

GIFTS OF THE OUTSIDER

Imagine if the worlds of Skyrim and Dishonored were merely different realities in the same universe. What if the Outsider, a being beyond worlds, could traverse across these realities? Well this mod explores that idea by bringing the Outsider, the void and Corvos abilities to Skyrim.

Features

This mod adds the six signature abilities of Dishonored into Skyrim through a quest featuring fully voice acted Outsider.

The spells are as follows:

Blink: Leap across distances instantaneously.

Void Gaze: See in darkness and detect beings through walls

Devouring Swarm: Summon a horde of rats to distract or kill your opponents

Possession: Take control of a being directly behind them once the effect has ended.

Wind Blast: Blast away your opponents with a powerful gust of wind.

Bend Time: Slow time to a crawl for everyone but yourself. Great for escaping a difficult situation.

Monday - July 29, 2013

Skyrim - How the Modders Conquered Skyrim

by Couchpotato, 12:34

IGN has a new editorial article for Skyrim were Richard Wordsworth explains how modders have vastly improved the game on the PC.

The greatest secret of the Glorious PC Master Race is that – shh - most games on PC and games on consoles are basically the same, whether you're herding it along with a keyboard or a games controller. But the PC modding communities for games like Skyrim are the exception to that rule: talented individuals (or teams) working long hours to create all manner of extra content and gameplay tweaks, while console players must wait like Dickens characters for their next serving of official DLC. The PC is an immeasurably better place to play Skyrim than on console, and its modding community is why.

The jump-off for Skyrim's legions of modders is the Creation Kit - a suite of world-building tools that let players and would-be designers play around with the game's toybox of items, characters and dungeons. The Creation Kit is free to download (as are its equivalents for other Bethesda games) and very powerful: depending on your skill level you can create anything from simple dungeons to fully-voiced, ten-hour questlines with new animations, weapons, spells and lighting effects. Or, if you're Scott Caunce, you can cover everything in palm trees.

Saturday - July 27, 2013

Skyrim - Going Beyond Skyrim

by Couchpotato, 01:19

GameInformer has a new article showcasing and interviewing the makers of a mod called Beyond Skyrim.

Beyond Skyrim is a fan-made, unofficial expansion pack for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which aims to allow players to visit every corner of Tamriel. A goal as ambitious as this is no easy undertaking, so we talked to community modder Will Hillson about how the team came together and how they’re constructing environments that have never been featured in a game before.

How did the project get started? How many people are involved?

I suppose that the idea of recreating the whole of Tamriel has existed ever since Bethesda released its first modding tool with The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind back in 2003. But Beyond Skyrim itself was started in a discussion thread on the Bethesda Forums back in 2011, during the run-up to the release of Skyrim. We originally envisioned it as a talking shop for separate projects working on building different areas of Tamriel, so that we could co-operate and avoid duplicating work. But it’s grown to become much more than that. Today, Beyond Skyrim is a full-blown collaborative effort between six autonomous teams working on different areas, all of which are housed together in a dedicated section on the Skyrim modding website Dark Creations.

When do you expect this project to be completed?

We’ll progressively release in several stages. To keep the file sizes under control, each nation is going to be released as a separate package. We are currently working on the regions, which directly border Skyrim, and once that is completed, we plan to slowly spread out from there to the rest of Tamriel. All being well, we are aiming at releasing these first slices of Tamriel in the first half of 2014.

Tuesday - July 23, 2013

Falskaar Mod - Hands-On @ RPS

by Myrthos, 12:14

Rock Paper Shotgun gave the Falskaar Mod for Skyrim a try and find it very well done given that it was created by an amateur.

The article, like this snippet contains spoilers.

If the exploration is a little bit lacking, it’s only because the quests have been obsessed over. It’s a remarkably well-crafted soap opera of men fretting over what they have and trying to defend it. It begins with a few bandit raids, but soon I was escaping from burning cities through secret passageways. Or I was raiding armouries for secrets, fighting my way though a multi-level bandit-hovel that took a few tries to get right. I don’t know if the AI has been tweaked, or if it was the fact that my character was brand new, but that dungeon was a tough fight, with multiple opponents crowding around me, and it wasn’t the only time I had to redo a dungeon. That said, they’re well designed, and most will allow you to leave without backtracking.

Even if it is just a Nordic head-butting contest, those heads are wearing crowns. A lot is at stake, and it manages that odd Skyrim trick of presenting interesting challenges through interminable speeches. But the fact that those are happening at all is proof of the ridiculous steps that have been taken to make Falskaar what it is: hours of dialogue have been recorded for the mod. Vast speeches spill out of mouths that should be silent. The writing even manages to capture Skyrim’s weary Nordic pretty acutely. Even NPC barks have been recorded, with one commenting on my Elvish appearance. This is ridiculous: a fully committed cast of hopeful amateurs very nearly catches up to Bethesda’s efforts. They should be proud, and Bethesda should be a little bit ashamed.

Sunday - July 21, 2013

Skyrim - Enderal The Shards of Order

by Couchpotato, 01:20

SureAI the makers of the best Oblivion mod called "Nehrim: At Fate’s Edge" has released the first in-game footage of their next project "Enderal The Shards of Order." The only sad thing about this newsbit is that there is no ETA yet.

Enderal is an upcoming Total Conversion for Skyrim by SureAI, the modding team who released "Nehrim: At Fate's Edge"in 2010.

Nehrim is a stand-alone TC for Oblivion with its own world, story and modified gameplay, offering a total of 80+ hours of gameplay. It was awarded Moddb.com's prestigious "Best Singleplayer Mod 2010"-award, as well as PCGamer's "Best Mod 2010".

Enderal: The Shard's of Order will be Nehrim's sucessor with it's, own world, lore and characters. It runs completely independent from Skyrim and will feature an overhauled gameplay system, a huge landmass to explore - ranging from peaceful heaths to lush forests, over sandy deserts to snowy mountains - and a mature, thought-provoking plot. The above grants is a small insight into the world of Enderal.

We just wanted to stress that this is not a real "teaser" or "trailer".

While Nehrim included only German, professional Voice-Acting, we're aiming to include a complete, English synchronization for Enderal. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlZCm...

There is no set release date yet, but the development is going fairly well.
Be excited!

http://www.sureai.de/?lang=en

http://www.moddb.com/mods/enderal

https://www.facebook.com/SureAI?fref=ts

Source: N4G

Thursday - July 18, 2013

Falskaar Mod - Interview @ PCGAMER

by Couchpotato, 03:00

PCGAMER has an interview with the mod author Alexander J. Velicky. If you recall he wants a job with Bethesda, and used his first try at modding Skyrim to get their attention.

I organized everyone involved, but the voice actors themselves recorded all the dialogue and submitted it to me,” Velicky told me. Though over 100 people contributed in some way, including composing an original soundtrack, Velicky took their contributions and plugged them into Falskaar himself. “I had some people help me out with a few models and textures, someone wrote a book or two for me… But otherwise all content was implemented, written and developed by me.”

So how does a 19-year-old take the helm of a creative project of this size? Velicky wants a job. He graduated from high school over a year ago, and instead of finding a design school, he turned Bethesda’s Creation Kit into his classroom, spending 2,000 hours over the last year building Falskaar.

“[My dad] was incredibly supportive and allowed me to live here, paying for living expenses and charging no rent,” Velicky says. “I was able to not go to school and not have a day job. Meaning, more or less, that Falskaar was my day job.”

The mod is fully voice-acted by 29 voice actors playing 54 characters (Velicky held auditions), and the quality is much higher than most community-made content. “I’m still kind of shocked at some of the talent I got on the project… and every single one of them surpassed my expectations by leaps and bounds.”

A massive dungeon, “Watervine Chasm,” may be Falskaar’s crowning achievement. It took Velicky three weeks to build and players report it takes an hour or two to complete. The community response has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Falskaar isn’t perfect,” Velicky says. “I’m not an expert who’s been crafting game experiences for the last 20 years, so I certainly still have a lot to learn, and I always will. I’m always looking to learn and improve, and Falskaar was a huge chance for me to do this.”

According to Velicky, Bethesda is aware that he’s out there, and he isn’t shy about putting his goals right out on the table. “The best way to show Bethesda Game Studios that I want a job there and should be hired is to create content that meets the standards of their incredible development team.”

Skyrim - 14 Skyrim Mods You Must Have

by Couchpotato, 01:56

GamesRadar recommends fourteen mods we must have to make the game look like a next generation game.

A whole new world

A few weeks back, we suggested that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim needs a next-gen re-release on the PS4 and Xbox One. Why? Because it's a vastly superior experience when playing on a gaming PC compared to current-gen consoles.

Whether or not you agree that Bethesda should put resources into a next-gen makeover, there's no denying that player-made mods have given us an infinite number of reasons to revisit those icy, dragon-infested lands.

In fact, if you have a decent gaming rig already--or are interested in building a gaming PC--you can find out right now what a next-gen console release could potentially look like. Just install the following mods, and voila--you're on the next-gen level. But keep in mind, the more mods you install, the harder the hit on your performance.

Sunday - July 14, 2013

Skyrim - Falskaar Mod

by Couchpotato, 00:48

It's time for another mod for Skyrim that needs attention and it's called Falskaar. The mod adds over 20+hrs to the game, and is made by a modder that wants a job at Bethesda.

It can be downloaded from Skyrim Nexus.


Falskaar is a new lands mod that adds an entirely new worldspace to the world. It's accessed by a dungeon the first time, then by boat from then on out. Falskaar's goal was to act as a DLC, adding content in almost every area. There is a new land, places, people, quests, dungeons and more for the player to experience. It adds roughly 20+ hours of content, and favors all types of characters.

Features

- An entirely new land independant of Tamriel, roughly the size of 2-3 Skyrim holds.
- 20-30+ hours of gameplay.
- 26 quests, including a 9 quest long main story, and 17 side quests! (Along with some unmarked content)
- New items including new books, recipes, weapons and armor sets. (A mix of brand new, and retextured)
- Two new spells and a new shout.
- A bard with several unique new songs.
- A soundtrack containing 14 brand new tracks composed by Adamm Khuevrr just for Falskaar, adding more than 40 minutes of new music!
- A fully voiced experience, featuring almost 30 semi-professional and professional voice actors and actresses.

Not all quests in this mod blatantly hold your hand. If you seem to be stuck, look around and think through the quest. All quests were rigorously tested for complete-ability, so it's more likely than not that you just have to figure it out without a blatant quest marker telling you what to do.

"I'm going to wait until the bugs have

 been patched."

With all due respect, prospective downloader, you are crazy! Falskaar was rigorously tested nonstop by a very dedicated quality assurance team for the entire duration of its development. This means that there are very few bugs, if any, that you will encounter. (This does not include mod compatibility issues, for which I can only test so much) Every quest was tested and ensured to function, every script should go off without a hitch, and your experience should not be marred by broken or buggy content. Granted this engine isn't exactly perfect, but this mod should provide a very polished experience, and expecting there to be bugs and waiting for them to be patched, in the case, is foolish! So get downloading, and get to adventuring!

Monday - July 08, 2013

Skyrim - Retrospective @ GameInformer

by Couchpotato, 00:32

GameInformer has a brief retrospective article on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Skyrim nicely ties its crafting, enhancements, and smithing (and I don't even dabble in cooking or mining!) with its multi-faceted skill constellations for complementary systems that not only give you a tangible object at the end of your hard work, but also improve your character. I spend hours plotting out exactly which perks I want to get on the constellations and then work backwards from there to see what I have to do to achieve them.

There's also the necessary process of decluttering your inventory from all the potions, unused weapons, and other miscellanea, which ties into another time suck for me in the game – arranging my houses. Apart from upgrading the place, it's nice to have a well-appointed storehouse of stuff – you never know when you might need a particular item that you don't necessarily want to carry around with you all the time.

None of this is revolutionary for a video game. However, Skyrim is so well constructed that the allure when you place it all in the context of the game world and your moment-to-moment existence is powerful. Legends are created through grand adventures, but scratching out a living that has an impact on the world both large and small is immeasurable.

Monday - July 01, 2013

Skyrim - Helgen Reborn Mod

by Couchpotato, 03:06

Every few weeks I come across a new mod for Skyrim I think needs some attention. The mod this time is called Helgen Reborn. It can be downloaded off the nexus.

INTRODUCTION

From the author of Fallout: New Vegas' 3rd most endorsed quest mod of all time, comes my most ambitious adventure yet! Simply put, Helgen Reborn is THE definitive quest mod for rebuilding Helgen! Learn the legend of The Keepers of Hattu as you reunite two old soldiers and are thrust into a decades old feud with a ruthless and powerful Justiciar from the Aldmeri Dominion. Recruit and train your own town guard or ask for protection from the Empire or Stormcloaks. From uncovering an underground slavery ring, to fighting for your life in exciting battles in a secret new arena, many other adventures await as the workers rebuild the town step by step! You'll be rewarded with your own private tower in Helgen which includes the most interactive and dynamic display museum in Skyrim!

If you enjoyed other Mike Hancho mods, you will be blown away by Helgen Reborn as this is my biggest project yet, and has been in development for nearly a year! And of course Helgen Reborn sets the same quality standards for a quest mod that you've grown to expect from a Mike Hancho project!

FEATURES

  • Fully voiced with 20 of some of the best actors in the community
  • Easily 4 to 6 hours of game play (that is a VERY concervative estimate)
  • Three new sets of armor
  • Mike Hancho's meticulous attention to detail
  • Great story and characters
  • Private Tower player home
  • Interactive display room that transforms as you play the game
  • HUGE cavern to display stuffed creatures
  • Completely transforms Helgen into a vibrant community

Tuesday - June 18, 2013

Skyrim - Civil War Overhaul Mod

by Couchpotato, 00:22

A talented modder called ApolloDown has restored cut content based on the civil war that was cut from Skyrim before release. The mod can be downloaded from the nexus.

I have painstakingly restored the civil war in the spirit of what Bethesda intended, before they decided to ship the game half-done. This feature restores battles for Morthal, Markarth, Falkreath, Fort Greymoor, Dawnstar, Riften, and Winterhold - and puts them all back in the game.

Skyrim's civil war is a much bigger animal than you could possibly imagine. The underlying framework of the civil war was designed to be a completely dynamic series of campaigns for holds, incorporating elements of strategy and diplomacy to bring your opponent down. In the planned version, it's my guess that the designers were going to create some kind of map menu for the player to decide which hold he wanted to hit next, and allow the enemy to counterattack as well. Regardless, each hold was to be won by doing up to TWELVE RADIANT QUESTS, as opposed to up to TWO in vanilla skyrim.

There were quest rewards, series of dialogue, and it was far more dynamic than any other kind of radiant quest in Skyrim. Dialogue was recorded, scenes were created, and scripts were set up. Somewhere along the line, likely in the last stages of development, the devs look like they ran out of time and could not complete the dynamic campaign. So what they did was hardcode the gears of this radiant masterpiece to ONLY allow a very limited set of quests that operated entirely linearly.

Just let that soak in for a sec. The civil war is nothing more than a facade.

Therefore, in order to restore the civil war, I have certain challenges that I must constantly fight off:


1) Rebuilding broken parts - Much of what is behind the civil war is epically huge and dynamic and prone to bugs. It has also NEVER been updated by Bethesda. That means I have the work of multiple patches ahead of me for every new function I use.


2)Building parts that weren't complete - Much of the coding and quests for unused material looks like one day the devs just got up, went out to get a pizza, and never came back. This is probably the easiest thing to fix, because I already know where they were headed, and am basically already there, with a few holes to fill in.


3)Building things that were referred to, but never built - This is pretty easy for me to do, as it gives me total creative license on how to use the assets that were left behind. Unfortunately, I need to get the basic framework solid first before I spend my time adding to its accouterments.


4)Tearing down the "vanilla civil war" - The vanilla civil war is a problem, because all it really is is the hardcoding of the dynamicism of the original design. To put it in car terms, Bethesda decided to only let the car go one way. A normal person would say, "Let's just use one of those U lock things to hold the steering wheel in place." However, Bethesda, wanting to make it absolutely error proof (I assume to keep the console kiddies happy), decided to BLOW TORCH THE AXLE TO THE FRAME AND TEAR OUT THE STEERING WHEEL. Then let a family of badgers nest in the hole left behind by said steering wheel, because badgers. This is the hardest thing to work against in making this mod, because while I can just flip a switch and turn on a quest, it usually breaks EVERYTHING when it runs up against the vanilla civil war.

 

Sunday - June 09, 2013

Skyrim - Writing the Legendary Edition Guide

by Couchpotato, 00:15

Bethblog has a interview with David Hodgson the maker of the Skyrim Legendary Edition Guide.

So what exactly IS the Skyrim Legendary Edition Guide, then?

Well, by now you’ve seen the frankly ludicrous (but factual) charts and statistics regarding the latest (and final) version of our strategy guide for Skyrim. This edition is designed to function as a massive and complete reference book filled with officially approved content for the Legendary game.

How difficult was it to write?

Initially panic-inducing. I remember looking at my calendar after four weeks, and realizing I hadn’t figured out where more than a tenth of everything was on the map. So I concentrated on writing the quests, of which I counted 368 (Legendary Edition).

These were instigated first, with a cavalcade of Bethesda documentation to help me figure out just what was going on (as I was working from a build where everyone was sporting the same head texture). The first time around, the quests took two months alone to complete (these were sent to each designer to double-check for accuracy), after which I concentrated on making the Training as easy to follow as possible, and Bethesda began to offer advice on character archetypes, and correct my mistakes (in the crafting section especially).

Bethesda supplied a deluge of stats for the Bestiary and Inventory, and then I checked in on Steve Stratton who was doggedly wandering through the different holds, writing up every cave, crypt, and dungeon he could find. As all of this was going on, I was approving maps, tracing the hold boundaries and numbering every map location without missing anything (correction; I was numbering every map location, missing one, cursing, renumbering, and reviewing all the interior maps that were streaming in from our cartographers).

Then Steve Stratton almost lost his mind counting up all the collectibles, traders, skill books, and other material for the Atlas. I then wrote all the Hold Capital and Secondary Location text, and took every single screenshot. Bethesda had also been approving the design for the guide, after which I started to see pages coming in.

I checked them for accuracy, made sure the text was just small enough so that anyone over the age of 40 needed to squint to read it, answered all the copyeditor’s queries, played the game for well over 700 hours, added glossaries to all my chapters so the Indexers didn’t throttle me, and then slogged through the laid-out book with the designers to fill in page number references and correct any mistakes.

What was your favorite part of the project?

Aside from the first time you come over that ridge and walk down by the White River rapids to see Whiterun for the first time? And the countless other moments of excited panic when you realize you’re out of potions and magicka, and that Giant just won’t let up with his bone club? I think in terms of seeing the guide come together, it’s when the World Map was completed, and my computer almost broke trying to open the file.

When I asked for the map to be accurate “down to the individual tree”, I didn’t expect Sonja Morris and 99 Lives to follow my request to the letter. But that’s one of the reasons why I’m so proud of this work; we treated the subject matter with an almost fanatical reverence. We wanted readers to open up the guide looking for information on (for example) Movarth’s Lair, and end up researching the entire hold of Hjaalmarch; which mimicked the way the game works, essentially.

Friday - June 07, 2013

Skyrim - Legendary Edition Available Now in Europe

by Couchpotato, 19:54

I'm sure most people by now know about this but here we go. After an early release in North America The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Legendary Edition has been released in Europe today. You can find it at retail for €49,99 (Xbox 360/PlayStation 3) and €39,99 (PC).

Tuesday - June 04, 2013

Skyrim - Legendary Edition Available Now

by Myrthos, 17:57

In a short mail Bethesda let us know that the Skyrim Legendary Edition is available now.

We’re pleased to announce that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim® Legendary Edition is now available in retail stores across North America for $59.99.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Legendary Edition includes the original critically-acclaimed game, official add-ons – Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn – and added features like combat cameras, mounted combat, Legendary difficulty mode for hardcore players, and Legendary skills – enabling you to master every perk and level up your skills infinitely.

Monday - May 20, 2013

Skyrim - Modding Interview

by Couchpotato, 00:00

The official Bethesda Softworks blog has a new interview with Scott Chaunce (aka Soolie). The interview is about his popular Tropical Skyrim mod.

Who helped with the creation of the project?

Originally I planned on creating the entire project myself. However I came across a number of assets created by other modders that were perfect for Tropical Skyrim. So rather than re-inventing the wheel I decided to use the content created by others (with permission of course). However, I did end up modifying most of this content to fit the tropical atmosphere.

You can find a complete list of people who contributed to the project on Tropical Skyrims download page. Nevertheless the main contributors were:

  • Ga-Knomboe Boy, who created most of the trees that were tweaked to fit Tropical Skyrim.
  • Tamira, who adapted a number of plants produced by Yughues to be usable in Skyrim.
  • Muppetpuppet, who allowed me to use some of assets from his Moonpath mod.
  • lookout21, who retextured some of the wild animals for me.

Any plans to continue updates for the mod? If so, can you give us a sneak peak of what you have in store?

YES, I plan to continue updating this mod until I can show it to the most hardcore Skyrim fans without them recognizing a single thing. As of right now I have changed/added the following things since the previous update.

  • Windhelm has been retextured to fit the tropical landscape.
  • Most of the foliage including trees, bushes and grass has been improved. Rather than the foliage being dense and cluttered, it is now slightly more sparse, but also a greater emphasis has been placed on making it look more tropical and lush.
  • The Reach has had a complete makeover; it now features dense cypress trees, which gives it more of a sinister feeling than the other areas.
  • A lot of the meshes and textures have been optimized to improve performance.
  • Most textures have been modified so that they blend together more realistically.
  • New high resolution rock textures.
  • The caves have now been tropicalified (Is this even a word??). They are now a lot more green and mossy. Also, some of the larger trees that block off some sections of the caves have been removed.
  • The distant trees have been significantly improved, (correct lighting, proper sizes, and they don’t look 2D anymore).
  • New high res textures for the distant terrain. In some cases, it looks even better than the close up terrain.
  • A lot of ivy and other small plants have been added to the cliffs and mountains.

Before I release the next update I would also I would also like to replace some of the common sets of armor and weapons found within the game. Let’s be honest… thick fur coats aren’t really the most appropriate apparel for the jungle.

I have also added real 3D clouds to the game which react to the weather and time of the day. Adding a whole new layer of depth and immersion to the world (and also creating some truly majestic views from the mountain tops). It definitely suits the snowy version of Skyrim well, but I’m still thinking about whether it would be as appropriate in a tropical climate. Therefore I will most likely release this as a separate mod

Thursday - May 02, 2013

Skyrim - Modular Level Design

by Couchpotato, 00:21

Well this news is a little late, but I just came across the blog last night. The whole topic gives insight to how Bethesda develops their games.

While many developers understand the basic concepts behind a modular system, and some have dabbled in it for a project or two, very few have made a career out of it.  That’s exactly what Nate and I have done, however.  Our current project will be our fifth together in the near-decade we have known and worked with each other.  Every one of these projects has taken this kit-based approach, including those we worked on before joining Bethesda.

We recently realized that there are many unspoken understandings we and our colleagues share; expectations and assumptions taken for granted as part of our process. We've struggled to explain ourselves in detail for new artists and designers who had joined our team.  This talk was a way for us to explore and articulate this accumulated knowledge.

To understand our approach, it’s useful to know where we’re coming from as developers, and where Bethesda Game Studios is coming from as a whole

The slide presentation to the topic is also available here.

 

Thursday - April 25, 2013

Skyrim - Legendary Edition Confirmed For A June Release

by Couchpotato, 16:17

Bethesda has announced that a Legendary Edition for Skyrim is currently planned for a June 4th release in US and June 7th in Europe.

     

Today we’re happy to announce plans to release the complete Skyrim collection with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim® Legendary Edition.

Coming to Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on June 4th for $59.99 (European territories will see its release on June 7th), this package includes the most up-to-date version of the original game (employing the 1.9 title update),as well as the game’s three add-ons: Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragoborn.

Friday - April 19, 2013

Skyrim - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Mod

by Couchpotato, 15:06

It's a slow day for news but I came across this mod, and I just had to share it. One modder Higeyoshi adds the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Skyrim.

The turtle shells can also be placed on normal characters too if that's your thing. Just seeing this brings back memories of watching the cartoon in my youth.

          

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!
TMNT's symbolic shell, now in armor form. Comes in a set with shell-armor and a mask. Masks are available in colors matching those of all TMNT characters, with the addition of a "Mask of Zoro"-esque black version.

 

 

 

Skyrim - Legendary Edition

by Couchpotato, 02:07

All Games Beta has a link to an image of a Polish store page that lists The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Legendary Edition.

The game was also Unearthed by Eurogamer Poland. The Legendary Edition contains all pieces of Skyrim’s DLC including Hearthfire, Dawnguard and Dragonborn. It’s apparently set for release in June this year.

A complete edition coming out soon isn't that surprising since the news that Bethesda is finished with the game. I guess the saying that good things happen to those that can wait is true.

                       

 

 

Monday - April 15, 2013

Skyrim - Moving To Our Next Adventure

by Couchpotato, 17:03

Bethesda has news on there offficial blog that their work on Skyrim is concluded, and that aside from minor patches they won't release any more content.

Skyrim has been a labor of love for us since we started designing it in 2006. We never imagined it would become the phenomenon it has. And that is because of you, the fans. It was all of you who made it a success. We can’t thank you enough for embracing the game, spreading the word, and making it your own.

For the last year and a half we’ve been working on new content for Skyrim; from the game updates, Creation Kit, Steam Workshop, Kinect support, to DLCs. Parts of our team have also been in pre-production on our next major project, and that game is at the point where it requires the studio’s full attention to make it our biggest and best work yet.

Even though we’re moving on, we’ll still have minor updates to Skyrim as needed. We’ve invested so much of ourselves into Skyrim and will never truly say goodbye to it.

We loved hearing your stories, your in-game triumphs, and your suggestions. One thing stuck out to us through those emails, letters, and postings. And that is – video games matter. They’re as important to you as they are to us. It’s not just about entertainment, it’s about your time. And you chose to spend it with our game.

Thank you again for all your support. We hope you stay engaged in the gaming community here and elsewhere. Keep spreading the word. Games are the world’s best entertainment because they can do what other forms cannot – fill you with the wonder of exploration and the pride of accomplishment. We look forward to sharing our next adventure with you.

Until next time,

Bethesda Game Studios

 

Tuesday - April 09, 2013

Skyrim - Dragonborn Review @ GameBanshee

by Myrthos, 14:31

The Dragonborn DLC for Skyrim has been reviewed by Gamebanshee.

One of the new shouts in the DLC pack also gives you the ability to ride dragons, but this feature isn't implemented especially well.  You're only given minimal control over a dragon, so you can't use it like a traditional mount, and combat while mounted isn't fun at all, as dragons still take their time circling and sweeping when attacking a target, and so battles take forever.  That being said, you can use spells and shouts while mounted on a dragon (but not bows for some reason), and so dragon riding might be a better fit for spellcasters rather than the melee specialist I was playing.

Sort of oddly, Dragonborn is mostly aimed at mid-level players.  I started the DLC using an old save from my first character, and then I took him from level 30 to 38 while exploring Solstheim.  Some of the battles were tough for him (mostly because his magic resistance was minimal), and he had to keep his weapon charged, but he died almost not at all, and the final battle against Miraak was a yawner.  If you have a character who can defeat a dragon priest, then you should be able to play the DLC without any problem.

Sunday - February 10, 2013

Skyrim - Dragonborn Review @ Rock, Paper Shotgun

by Dhruin, 21:33

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a Wot I Think for Dragonborn. The dragon riding is disappointing but it seems the DLC delivers:

Fan service abounds, but in sweeping ways that will make Dragonborn visually exciting for new as well as lore-drunk veteran players. Mushroom forests, houses inside giant crustacean shells, even a lone (sadly static) Silt Strider: it’s like Morrowind’s greatest hits out there. Perhaps it’s a little more contrived and too evidently zoned, but it brings some of the much-needed weird back to Tamriel after two games with relatively homogeneous environments. It pleases me enormously, both as a fan of Morrowind and as a fan of seeing strange new worlds on my monitor.

The weird also makes itself known in a new Daedric realm, which the ‘main’ campaign in Dragonborn weaves in and out of. We’ve previously seen the hell-plane of Oblivion and we’ve had multiple visits to the dark prince of madness’s crazyland, but this time around we’re visiting the realm of the self-proclaimed lord of knowledge. Imagine if Cthulu ran a library, essentially. Squid-faced priest-horrors patrol impossible towers of books, while pages flutter in the air like malevolent pigeons, Giger-esque corridors rotate and contract, and gruesome tentacles swipe at you if you get too close to the slime pits all over the place. Progress through these areas is all but linear, but presented in maze-like, consciously confusing style, to the accompaniment of dramatically strange vistas. It’s very different to Skyrim as we know it, and its deeply sinister, mixed-motive ruler, Hermaeus Mora, also seems as though Bethesda’s artists have finally been allowed to takes the brakes off. 

Saturday - February 09, 2013

Skyrim - Dragonborn DLC Review @ Atomic Gamer

by Aries100, 21:52

Atomic Gamer has a review of this game - the score is 8/10 and here's a quote about the nostalgia touching the feelings for Morrowind in the DLC:

Bethesda smartly tried to pull on the strings of nostalgia that are woven into some of our gaming memories, and so they've carefully slipped in music, architecture, weapons, ambient sounds and even a couple of returning storylines from the Morrowind era here....... Sure, you'll find the Skaal village, a Telvanni tower, some of the Morag Tong, that iconic Dunmer bone armor and architecture, and even an old, decrepit Silt Strider, but don't expect to get the best of both worlds at once here. The feeling's nice for a little while, but it doesn't last long......... The voice acting in this add-on is really pretty good and I thought it sounded generally better than what I usually expect from Bethesda, but it's not exactly Voice Acting of the Year material, either.

Thursday - February 07, 2013

Skyrim - Hi-Res Texture Pack Update

by Dhruin, 20:55

Remember the official Hi-Res Texture Pack for Skyrim? It's now been updated to support the released DLC packs:

In a continued effort to support our PC fanbase, we’ve released a Steam update to Skyrim’s (free) HD Texture Pack. In addition to high resolution textures in the main game, the update adds improved textures for Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and the newly-released Dragonborn.

Before you download, make sure your PC has the horsepower to support it. Make sure your system requirements exceed Skyrim’s recommended specs before attempting to install, and that your PC has Windows Vista/7, a minimum of 4GB of system RAM, and a DirectX 9.0c compatible NVIDIA or AMD ATI video card with at least 1 GB of RAM and the latest drivers.

If you already have the Skyrim texture pack, be aware that you’ll be downloading an update that’s approximately 4.7 GB in size.

Tuesday - February 05, 2013

Skyrim - Why The Reach - the most barren environment - is such an Abundant World

by Aries100, 21:52

Edge Online has an editorial about why the most barren environment in Skyrim, The Reach, is a world most bountiful.  Here's a snip from the editorial:

The Reach is arguably the most distinct locale in Skyrim. Yet it is also a microcosm of Skyrim’s identity as a nation – held together by the very tensions that threaten to destroy it. First impressions matter, and there are many first paths a new player can take into Skyrim’s expansive world. But few will find themselves venturing to The Reach before they experience Skyrim’s other regions. The nation’s contours bend the player away from its murky paths. None of its landmarks stand out on a distant horizon, hidden as they are behind the mountains.

And another snip:

In this way, The Reach makes Skyrim feel more complete, more convincing. Pushed to the edge of the game's world, The Reach stands out most for how it is unlike the rest of the nation. But instead of jarring, its different cultures and geography contribute something vital to making Skyrim's virtual world truly feel like a living nation - a mottled patchwork that forms a beautiful, improbable whole.

Source: GameBanshee

Skyrim - Dragonborn Released on Steam

by Dhruin, 21:03

Bethsoft sends word that Dragonborn for Skyrim is has been released via Steam:

We’re pleased to announce that Dragonborn is now available to PC users. The English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish versions can be downloaded from Steam for $19.99.

With this official add-on for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim®, journey off the coast of Morrowind, to the island of Solstheim. Encounter new towns, dungeons, and quests, as you traverse the ash wastes and glacial valleys of this new land. Become more powerful with shouts that bend the will of your enemies and even tame dragons. Your fate, and the fate of Solstheim, hangs in the balance as you face off against your deadliest adversary – the first Dragonborn.

For more information on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim® or Dragonborn, please visit www.elderscrolls.com.

Skyrim - DLC Release Dates for NA and English PS3 Versions

by Aries100, 20:02

The Official Bethesda Blog has been updated with the release dates for the NA and English PS versions of Dragonborn, Dawnguard, Heartfire:

 

Update (2/4): We now European release dates for the English versions of Dragonborn, Hearthfire, and Dawnguard. They are:
Dragonborn releases Wednesday, February 13,
Hearthfire releases Wednesday, February 20,Dawnguard releases Wednesday, February 27

For folks with the French, Italian, German, or Spanish release of the game, we continue to work with Sony to finalize these dates. We’ll update this post when we have the dates.

Original Post:
 Let the official countdown to Dragonborn, Dawnguard, and Hearthfire on PS3 begin. This week Dragonborn, Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and the 1.8 title update have all cleared certification with SCEA. As we speak, we’re working with Sony Europe to finalize certification for other territories. What does this mean? It means we now have the official release dates for Skyrim add on content in North America.

They are: Dragonborn releases Tuesday, February, 12,
Hearthfire releases Tuesday, February, 19,
Dawnguard releases Tuesday, February, 26,

Don’t forget: all three add-ons will be marked down to 50% during their first week of release.

Source: GameBanshee

Sunday - January 27, 2013

Skyrim - Dragonborn Preorders on Steam

by Dhruin, 22:05

You can now preorder Skyrim Dragonborn on Steam in anticipation of the February 6th release date. A reminder of the features:

 

  • Explore Beyond Skyrim – Leave the province of Skyrim and travel to the coastal island of Solstheim. Encounter the Dark Elven settlers of Raven Rock and the native Skaal, as you unravel the mystery of a Dragonborn’s return.
  • Become the Ultimate Dragonborn – Harness the power of the Voice as you face off against the first Dragonborn. Wield new shouts and spells including Dragon Aspect – allowing you to summon the inner power of a dragon to deliver colossal blows and strengthen other shouts.
  • New Powers – Discover dark powers as you journey into a new Daedric realm. Collect books of forbidden knowledge and choose new paths for your skills and abilities.
  • New dungeons, creatures, weapons, and more – Suit up in Bonemold and Chitin armors and wield Stalhrim weapons as you navigate through a myriad of dungeons. Battle formidable foes like Ash Spawn, Rieklings, and more.

Thursday - January 24, 2013

Skyrim - The Geology

by Dhruin, 11:45

This is a different slant - Geo-HeritageScience has a piece on the geology of Skyrim:

So what I want to do tonight is take you through a little tour of what I think the geology would be in Skyrim. Namely, I think looking at the process of questions a geologist asks themselves when working out the geology of an area, and applying this to something cool and accessible like Skyrim.

The first question to ask therefore is what? What kinds of rocks can you find in Skyrim? Luckily, for most of this work, there are a whole host of other people in the world who are much geekier than me who have actually taken and collated and all I have to do is ask the right questions!

Friday - January 18, 2013

Skyrim - Dragonborn - Release Date Set for PC and PS3 Version

by Aries100, 21:50

Anne G from the forums at Gameboomers tells us that Bethesda has set a release date for
the PC and PS3 version of this DLC for Skyrim. Here's the announcement:

PC: On Tuesday, February 5th, Dragonborn will be available on Steam, including the English, French, Italian, Spanish and German versions of the content. PlayStation 3: Dragonborn will be the first add-on arriving on PSN in February. Hearthfire will release next, followed by Dawnguard, and all three should be out in February. The 1.8 update will also release, just prior to Dragonborn. We'll keep you posted as release dates get finalized both on our end and with Sony for each and its various languages. Last but not least, each one will be 50% off during their launch week on PSN.

Source: GameBanshee

Friday - January 11, 2013

Skyrim - Dragonborn DLC - Quick Look @ Giant Bomb

by Aries100, 22:42

Giant Bomb has done of their commented Quick Looks for this DLC.  It features more than an hour of gameplay the DLC. The footage includes encounters with the local fauna including bull netches, the first look at Raven Rock and the people there, draugers, ash spawns and the very start of the DLC and much much more.

Source: GameBanshee

Thursday - January 10, 2013

Skyrim - Interesting NPCs Mod

by Dhruin, 20:50

This Interesting NPCs mod for Skyrim has been doing the rounds of a number of major sites, such as Kotaku and PC Gamer, and certainly looks worth a look - particularly if you like voiceovers. The mod adds 100 new characters and 20,000 lines of dialogue with 50 voice actors. From the description on Skyrim Nexus:

Of the 18 followers, 7 are being expanded to include commentary on every quest and location in the game, including bonus conversations during or after major questlines. Currently, these followers, whom I have dubbed "Super Followers" because they fly and wear capes, have approximately 500 lines each, with the ultimate goal of having thousands. However, any follower can be expanded, it simply requires a willing actor.

The size of the mod is over 1GB, and will only get larger. If anyone is interested in constructing smaller, child mods for specific followers or NPCs, you have my approval. Just beware that some NPCs are still expanding, and you will constantly have to add new content as I update.

Tuesday - January 01, 2013

Skyrim - Why Fallout: New Vegas is the Better Game

by Aries100, 22:56

Cinelinx has an 2-page editorial about why Fallout: New Vegas is the better game
compared to Skyrim.  Here's a qoute about storytelling in the two games:

The basis of Skyrim's story - for all purposely fantastical - just isn't all that interesting. A bunch of dragons died years ago...now they're back and plan to take over the world [insert overly-complicated reason why]... oh, by the way - you're the ‘chosen one', the only one who can stop them [insert almost non-existent reason why]... get to work.

Compare this with Fallout's very real threat of nuclear war and the devastating effect it would have on the planet. As a mere courier, you are instantly aware of just how expendable you are in New Vegas. The Mojave Wasteland is almost the perfect setting, as it drives home a desperate scenario of desolation. The reinvented New Vegas; overrun with gangs and thugs battling for both power and survival is almost certainly how our fickle human race would act if placed in similar circumstances. Battling your way to the top in order to save New Vegas from itself and being forced to decide who you can trust; kill or let live, all makes for gripping storytelling.

Source: GameBanshee

Thursday - December 20, 2012

Skyrim - Dragonborn DLC Review Roundup #4

by Myrthos, 13:22

More Dragonborn DLC reviews, just in case you were wondering if there were some more.

Short & Sweet Reviews, 7.75

The latest expansion features a grand new environment to explore, with loads of new content to experience.  Despite some forgettable dragon riding and a mundane main storyline, Dragonborn is still worth the hefty price tag.

Canadion Online Gamers, 90

Complaints aside, the Dragonborn DLC is really great.  There is lots of new areas to explore and items to craft and find. The main quest can take about six to eight hours to complete, but there are tons of great side quests and ruins to explore that add about twenty plus hours to your playtime. This truly is a Skyrim expansion pack, and is a great purchase for any fan of the series who’s hungry for a new adventure.

HollywoodChicago, 3.5/5

So, “Dragonborn” is more of the same. It’s not a game changer. But it’s made well and provides great value for fans of the franchise. So while it not be my cup of tea, it’s entirely possible that it’s yours.

CBS news

Dragon riding gripes aside, "Dragonborn" is another expansion worthy of your coin and your time. The story and setting are interesting and beautiful and more "Elder Scrolls" adventuring is never a bad thing.

Gamers Temple, 69%

Personally, I liked Hearthfire, and before that, Dawnguard, better than Dragonborn. The "epic" quest felt like it was cut for time and the dragon riding was nowhere near what I wanted it to be. The questing here will surely be enjoyed by tons of players, but the missed opportunities made this my least favorite Skyrim expansion yet.

My Xbox Live

The best way though is to take your time with the content. If you rush through, you will be loosing out on so many new additions, the armour, the weapons, new shouts and spells, new enemies and the rest! So if you are on the fence about buying this, I really do urge you to give it a go! If you are abit unsure because you weren’t too keen on the previous content (Dawnguard and Hearthfire) then don’t worry. This DLC blows those out of the water! Much bigger than both and much more intriguing. Please treat yourself and give your eyes and your brain the explosion of gaming goodness they need.

GamePlanet, 8.5

Skyrim players gladly pay the price of such glitches for the chance to adventure across the game’s epic landscapes, though, and Dragonborn delivers another helping of these adventures in a package that may not be entirely new material, but still has more than enough novelty to make the whole game feel fresh again.

Monday - December 17, 2012

Skyrim - Dragonborn DLC roundup #3

by Myrthos, 12:55

Here are a few more reviews of Skyrim's Dragonborn DLC.

IGN

The requisite new armor pieces and weapons look very cool – and can even benefit higher-level players – but by and large Skyrim isn’t going to wow you, visually speaking. This is still Skyrim, albeit one year later, and Dragonborn is an expansion pack in every sense of the term. But there’s enough new stuff here, highlighted by the spectacular island of Solstheim itself, to make Dragonborn the best piece of add-on content for Skyrim yet.

The Guardian

Earlier downloadable content gave you a side story about vampires and the ability to build a pre-fabricated McMansion for your character, but somehow failed to capture the essence of the game. All that changes with Dragonborn, which lets you leave Skyrim for the island of Solstheim, an entirely separate land mass. It comes with new monsters and towns - best of all, though, is the impression of virgin territory: seeing a suspicious light in the distance or ruins on a hilltop and galloping off to see what's going on. It provides a hearty slab of exploration along with an interesting mystery to unravel.

GamingBolt, 8.5

In spite of its fairly obvious limitations, Dragonborn is brilliant. To any Elder Scrolls fan with Skyrim, it is recommended. To any Morrowind fan, it is recommended. To any Skyrim fan, it is recommended. To anyone who possibly feels that Skyrim somehow needs to provide them with more value for money than it already did, Dragonborn is recommended. It is a rare example of DLC done right, and is flat out the best Skyrim DLC available at the moment.

Games.On

Long story short: if you enjoyed Skyrim, you will absolutely enjoy Dragonborn as well. It’s like taking your vanilla Skyrim cake, making a smaller cupcake out of the ingredients, and adding a pinch of ash and mushrooms (Mm-mmmm!). The main quest is interesting and engaging, as are the surrounds you explore. My only suggestion would be to perhaps wait for a patch to fix some of the bugs and crashes — or of course, wait until it comes to the PC.

Thursday - December 13, 2012

Skyrim - Two More Dragonborn DLC Reviews

by Myrthos, 14:39

Here are two more reviews for Skyrim's Dragonborn DLC.

Polygon, 7.5

Getting back into a game like Skyrim after an extended absence is something of a toll itself. You have to relearn systems, try to remember what gear you were using, what power set, etc. While "Dragonborn" is certainly a worthy addition to what I consider one of the best games of last year, the rewards don't justify a return trip for an adventurer who's already moved on.

GameInformer, 8.5

Dragonborn delivers a great adventure that rarely apes content from the core game. The dungeon designs are inventive – especially the water temple – and flow nicely from quest to quest. Solstheim is a fun island to explore, offering a wealth of side content and locales to uncover. The dragon-riding and battle against Miraak in the final act are rough, but the story stays strong and is tied to one of of Skyrim's most enjoyable quest lines.

 

Skyrim - Two More Dragonborn DLC Reviews

by Myrthos, 12:28

Here are two more reviews for Skyrim's Dragonborn DLC.

The Escapist, 4/5 stars

As well as all the exciting new stuff you get to explore, you'll also be able to return to some unfinished business as you enter Hermaeus Mora's library of forbidden knowledge. If you do manage to pass the trials he sets before you, you'll wind up with a few new abilities to choose from including an incredibly useful one that prevents companions from taking friendly fire damage. If you've ever had to explain to your would-be wife why a dead body suddenly spawned in the middle of your marriage ceremony, or even just to reload from a previous game save because you accidentally burned Aela to death with a fireball, then you'll appreciate this perk. You can now hack away with your sword indiscriminately, knowing that only your foes will feel its sting.

GameInformer, 8.5

Dragonborn delivers a great adventure that rarely apes content from the core game. The dungeon designs are inventive – especially the water temple – and flow nicely from quest to quest. Solstheim is a fun island to explore, offering a wealth of side content and locales to uncover. The dragon-riding and battle against Miraak in the final act are rough, but the story stays strong and is tied to one of of Skyrim's most enjoyable quest lines.

Tuesday - December 11, 2012

Skyrim - Dragonborn DLC roundup #2

by Myrthos, 18:09

Here is a collection of Skyrim's Dragonborn DLC reviews.

GamesRadar, with a buy-it verdict

The main quest alone is lengthy, lasting roughly five hours depending on your pace. Were it the sole reason to fork over 1,600 Microsoft points ($20), you might feel a little ripped off. But the size of the landscape, the amount of new weapons and shouts to score, and the fact that it’s almost impossible to not happen upon a laundry list of optional side quests makes Dragonborn a meaty, worthwhile expansion to the main game.

OXMOnline, 7.5

Though you’ll find plenty of side quests and new dungeons to explore, that uneven main quest (about a seven-hour jaunt) is the high point of the whole affair. Dragonborn’s supposed crown jewel — the ability to temporarily tame and ride dragons — turns out to be its most bitter disappointment. The first time you climb onto a dragon’s neck is a thrill, but best of luck getting your new slave to do anything terribly useful. Even if you can tolerate its awkward combat targeting and glitchy flight patterns, its laughably lackadaisical attack speed means you’re better off staying on your own two feet than trying to get a dragon to burn or bite your foes.

God is a Geek, 9

Dragonborn actually is the greatest Skyrim DLC to date but, while Bethesda have matched the scale and scope of Fallout 3′s Point Lookout, they have fallen a dragon’s scale short of Oblivion’s Shivering Isles in terms of personality and imagination.

Digital Spy, 4/5

While it's true that dragon riding promises so much and delivers so little, and antagonist Maarik is somewhat underdeveloped as a villain, 'Dragonborn' is exactly what Skyrim fans have been waiting for since exhausting the main campaign. Solstheim is a fantastic location, packed with interesting landmarks, challenging enemies and a wide variety of quests, and reigniting that initial sense of awe.

Joystick

But hey, this is Skyrim. The story is secondary. Dragonbon's quests might be "go there, do that, then do it again", but there's ample room for pointless tomfoolery in this massive fantasy world. Again, I didn't have to steal that cell key. I just wanted to see what was in there. That lead to a dead cop and permanent damage to my reputation in Raven Rock, but it also to the discovery of an underground lair with hidden treasure and more than a few deadly bad guys. That sheer open-endedness will entertain you for hours even if you ignore the quests. And in that regard, Dragonborn is the best of Skyrim's DLC so far, offering a significantly more substantial update than Dawnguard or Hearthfire. It's more than reason enough to return to Skyrim

GamingTruth, 9.75

Overall, Skyrim‘s new Dragonborn DLC is definitely the best add-on so far, featuring a plethora of weapons, armor, powers, shouts and a dynamic quest that arcs across the daedric realms. The return to Solsthiem is a fantastic journey that rekindles nostalgia within the seasoned Elder Scrolls gamer, and is a welcome vacation from Skyrim’s frosty expanse.

RPGFan

For those who haven't stopped playing Skyrim since its release, the Dragonborn DLC will come as a fire-warmed hovel for the starved and bereaved. This infusion of new content could probably occupy the thorough player for 15 or 20 hours. That in itself will please innumerable fans. There's an emphasis on quantity over quality, however, and the island of Solstheim is more Skyrim than Morrowind. The content just isn't very compelling, except for Apocrypha, and the Elder Scrolls V is getting old and exhausted. Let's send Skyrim to Sovngarde before the wise and venerable becomes crippled and insane.

Thursday - December 06, 2012

Skyrim - Dragonborn DLC Reviews

by Dhruin, 21:09

Also at the Bethblog is a small list of Dragonborn reviews, which I'll rip until we put together our own roundup. Bear in mind these were selected by Bethsoft:

  • Attack of the Fanboy (Loved It) – Dragonborn is the best Skyrim Expansion to date because it gets back to the roots of what made Skyrim fun in the first place.
  • Xbox 360 Achievements (9/10) – “… Bethesda have created here is exactly what Skyrim fans would have been crying out for… and that’s an experience that captures the brilliance of the main game but in a much more bitesize manner.”
  • Videogamer.com (8/10) — “After completing the main quest in 11-12 hours, I still have a lot of side quests to complete, a majority of the map lies undiscovered and I haven’t even begun gathering all the new loot.”
  • Kotaku – “Worth playing, worth exploring, worth leaping into like you’re starting Skyrim all over again.”
  • While OXM UK and CVG haven’t completed their reviews, they’re already sharing live impressions from their experience.

They also have some comments on the PC and PS3 versions and other upcoming news:

For those that are playing the content already, we hope you’re having a blast in Solstheim. And as noted in Monday’s blog post, we’re hard at work to make this content available early next year on PS3 and PC. On PS3 in particular, we turned our attention to Dragonborn, as we thought it was the best content to release first, and we didn’t want folks to wait longer. Once it’s ready to go for everyone, we’ll continue our previous work on Hearthfire and Dawnguard for PS3. Each one takes a lot of time and attention to work well in all circumstances and all combinations of DLC. Once we have a better idea of release timing and pricing, we’ll let you know.

And we also have some more stuff planned for everyone next year as well.  We do everything we can to return the support you have given us, whether it’s The Creation Kit, Steam Workshop, game updates, or DLC. Thanks for your continued support and for sharing your adventures with us!

Wednesday - December 05, 2012

Skyrim - Dragonborn DLC Review @ Eurogamer

by Dhruin, 22:09

Eurogamer has the first review of the Skyrim DLC Dragonborn we've seen, with the writer saying he has "fallen back in love" with the game, praising this package as a worthy "expansion". The score is 9/10 and here's a snip:

Just as I'd resigned myself to the thought that it was time for me and Skyrim to part ways, along comes Dragonborn and all the wonder, the thrill, the passion comes flooding back.

This isn't DLC. This is an expansion, like in the good old days. It's an entirely new area, a blank map waiting to be filled in as you roam, packed with new quests, miscellaneous tasks, dungeons, barrows, ruins and crypts. It's an absolute beast, with a main storyline that lasts a good few hours and enough supporting content to keep you playing for weeks more.

Tuesday - December 04, 2012

Skyrim - Dragonborn DLC Available

by Myrthos, 17:03

Bethsoft sent word that the Dragonborn DLC for Skyrim is now available on Xbox Live for 1600 points.

We’re pleased to announce that Dragonborn, the next official add-on for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim®, is now available worldwide for download for 1600 Microsoft Points on Xbox LIVE®.

With Dragonborn, journey off the coast of Morrowind, to the island of Solstheim. Encounter new towns, dungeons, and quests, as you traverse the ash wastes and glacial valleys of this new land. Become more powerful with shouts that bend the will of your enemies and even tame dragons. Your fate, and the fate of Solstheim, hangs in the balance as you face off against your deadliest adversary – the first Dragonborn.

For more information on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim® or Dragonborn, please visit www.elderscrolls.com.

Sunday - December 02, 2012

Skyrim - Struggling one year later @ Joystiq

by Dhruin, 08:58

Rowan Kaiser's weekly RPG column at Joystiq talks about how he can't connect with Skyrim, despite a year of trying:

And Skyrim is full of these occasions. Bethesda's latest title in the longstanding franchise has the relative beauty of Ultima VII, the magic of Daggerfall, and the emergent narrative of Far Cry 2. I get sequences in Skyrim where I'm faced with an impending dragon attack, introducing a beast much too powerful for my character. Worried about my survival, I duck into a tomb for safety only to be greeted by the most powerful undead adversary I've yet to meet. Stuck between both, and at the edge of a cliff, I fall and hope to catch tiny ledges on my way down. If I survive, the music calms and I can limp into town to lick my wounds and consider my next step.    

But as fantastic as those moments are, they're matched by problems elsewhere throughout the game. Skyrim's quest system is a constant annoyance to me, with compass arrows proving both necessary and over-deterministic, ruining the exploratory feeling that was Skyrim at its best (I wrote on the quest issue specifically before I had this column). Its characters and plot, to me, felt thin. Its character progression and crafting progress are occasionally effective, but more often the experience was lukewarm. Its world is big and beautiful but the only task I felt players could effectively accomplish was to go out and kill monsters via a combat system that lacked any kind of depth.

Monday - November 26, 2012

Skyrim - Dragonborn DLC - Preview @ Zero1Gaming

by Myrthos, 13:55

Zero1Gaming has previewed the Dragonborn DLC for Skyrim that is to be released next week for Xbox360.

The timing of Dragonborn is pretty optimal too, coming as a welcome boost to playability and new challenge to a game that, let’s be honest, has been around a while now. More than any other company it seems, Bethesda are adept at extending a game’s relevancy and lifespan beyond its traditional length. Without the DLC packages, Skyrim would most likely be relegated down many gamer’s playlists currently, but the steady stream of fresh content has helped it beat out newer titles to retain its place in disc trays and hard drives the world over. In some ways it’s a demonstration of the idiom that beauty is temporary, but class is permanent. Skyrim, while aesthetically beautiful, is already starting to look dated visually when compared to new games such as Halo 4, but under the hood its excellent mechanics and gameplay still allow it to hold its own, with regular once overs of its paintwork.

Friday - November 23, 2012

Skyrim - Dragonborn DLC - A Closer Look

by Myrthos, 23:40

All Things Xbox took a closer look into the Dragonborn DLC for Skyrim coming up with screens a video and some text.

So Dragonborn, as the name suggests focuses on the Dragonborn… but not the Dragonborn we know… a different one… in fact the first one!

We travel to the island of Solstheim, an island to the north-east of Skyrim. It was the host of a mass evacuation when the Red Mountain forced thousands of Dunmer to flee Morrowind at the beginning of the Fourth Era. It’s similar to Skyrim in climate and geography, with mountainous peaks and a bitter permanent cold.

Thursday - November 22, 2012

Skyrim - Dragonborn DLC - Nine Places OXM UK Wants to Visit

by Aries100, 20:00

OXM UK has an editorial about the nine places in the Dragonborn DLC for Skyrim they'd love
to visit
.  The Dragonborn DLC will take place in Solstheim. They would like to go to various places, including the Telvanni Tower:

5. The Telvanni Tower

The fourth icon to appear in the patch notes is a 'TelvanniTower'. House Telvanni is the richest of the Six Great Houses of Morrowind's Dark Elves. Telvanni wizard lords (often necromancers, liches or vampires) tend to live in isolation and be contemptuous of all other living creatures, even other Telvanni, explaining this lonely tower (which may have no staircase, given the Telvanni's excessive use of levitation magic). Despite these negative associations, House Telvanni was proactive in closing Oblivion gates during the Oblivion crisis.

Source: GameBanshee

Tuesday - November 20, 2012

Skyrim - v1.8 for X360 Released

by Dhruin, 21:20

Bethsoft has released Skyrim v1.8 for the X360, according to the Bethblog:

Skyrim Update 1.8 (all platforms unless specified)

BUG FIXES

  • General memory and stability improvements
  • Fixed rare crash when using vampiric grip
  • Fixed issue where Arnleif and Sons Trading Company could become permanently locked
  • Fixed issue related to duplicate NPCs
  • Fixed rare issue where exterior door would not open properly

Friday - November 16, 2012

Skyrim - Dragonborn dated for X360

by Dhruin, 20:46

Bethsoft sent over a fact sheet for Dragonborn, revealing a December 4th release date for the X360 version. Presumably the lack of a PC date means a few weeks of exclusivity, as per the previous DLC efforts:

PUBLISHER: Bethesda Softworks®

DEVELOPER: Bethesda Game Studios®

RELEASE DATE: December 4, 2012

PLATFORM: Xbox 360®

GENRE: Role-Playing

DESCRIPTION:

With this official add-on for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, journey off the coast of Morrowind, to the island of Solstheim. Encounter new towns, dungeons, and quests, as you traverse the ash wastes and glacial valleys of this new land. Become more powerful with shouts that bend the will of your enemies and even tame dragons. Your fate, and the fate of Solstheim, hangs in the balance as you face off against your deadliest adversary – the first Dragonborn. 

KEY FEATURES:

  • Explore Beyond Skyrim – Leave the province of Skyrim and travel to the coastal island of Solstheim. Encounter the Dark Elven settlers of Raven Rock and the native Skaal, as you unravel the mystery of a Dragonborn’s return.
  • Become the Ultimate Dragonborn – Harness the power of the Voice as you face off against the first Dragonborn. Wield new shouts and spells including Dragon Aspect – allowing you to summon the inner power of a dragon to deliver colossal blows and strengthen other shouts.
  • New Powers – Discover dark powers as you journey into a new Daedric realm. Collect books of forbidden knowledge and choose new paths for your skills and abilities.
  • New dungeons, creatures, weapons, and more – Suit up in Bonemold and Chitin armors and wield Stalhrim weapons as you navigate through a myriad of dungeons. Battle formidable foes like Ash Spawn, Rieklings, and more. 

Thursday - November 15, 2012

Skyrim - Dragonborn First Screens

by Dhruin, 20:16

Bethsoft has posted the first Dragonborn screenshots on their Elder Scrolls site:

Explore Beyond Skyrim
Leave the province of Skyrim and travel to the coastal island of Solstheim. Encounter the Dark Elven settlers of Raven Rock and the native Skaal, as you unravel the mystery of a Dragonborn’s return.

Become the Ultimate Dragonborn
Harness the power of the Voice as you face off against the first Dragonborn. Wield new shouts and spells including Dragon Aspect – allowing you to summon the inner power of a dragon to deliver colossal blows and strengthen other shouts.

New Powers
Discover dark powers as you journey into a new Daedric realm. Collect books of forbidden knowledge and choose new paths for your skills and abilities.

New dungeons, creatures, weapons, and more
Suit up in Bonemold and Chitin armors and wield Stalhrim weapons as you navigate through a myriad of dungeons. Battle formidable foes like Ash Spawn, Rieklings, and more.

Wednesday - November 07, 2012

Skyrim - Dragonborn Trailer Examined @ IGN

by Dhruin, 22:01

IGN's Rewind Theatre steps through the freshly released Dragonborn DLC trailer to find new elements and hints about the game.

Monday - November 05, 2012

Skyrim - Dragonborn DLC Trailer

by Myrthos, 16:38

As previously announced, Bethesda has made a trailer public today, which is the trailer for Dragonborn the new DLC for Skyrim.

Watch the trailer for Dragonborn, the next official game add-on for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. 

Dragonborn will be available for download for 1600 Microsoft Points on Xbox LIVE on December 4.

 

Sunday - November 04, 2012

Skyrim - Update 1.8 Released

by Dhruin, 00:09

Skyrim v1.8 has been officially released:

Skyrim Update 1.8 (all platforms unless specified)

BUG FIXES

  • General memory and stability improvements
  • Fixed rare crash when using vampiric grip
  • Fixed issue where Arnleif and Sons Trading Company could become permanently locked
  • Fixed issue related to duplicate NPCs
  • Fixed rare issue where exterior door would not open properly
  • Monday - October 29, 2012

    Skyrim - Premium Edition for Some EU Territories

    by Dhruin, 20:32

    A Skyrim Premium Edition containing a t-shirt, novel and post-cards has been outed on Amazon.de for the UK, Germany and Benelux. Surprisingly, none of the DLC is included. From VG247:

    VG247 received further confirmation that the game is only confirmed for release in the UK, Germany and Benelux so far. Other territories are unconfirmed as yet.

    OXM reports that Skyrim: Premium Edition has been listed on Amazon.de at 59.99 Euro, along with official box art and contents.

    Said contents include an official t-shirt with the logo of the Empire, a copy of official novel “The Infernal City”, and six concept art postcards. The PC edition comes with a 600 page eBook, soundtrack dic and more.

    Thursday - October 25, 2012

    Skyrim - Patch 1.8.151 Beta Version Released

    by Aries100, 16:40

    Bethesda has released a beta version of patch 1.8.151 for this game.
    You can grab it here.

    The changelog:

    General memory and stability improvements

    Fixed rare crash when using vampiric grip

    Fixed issue where Arnleif and Sons Trading Company could become permanently locked

    Fixed issue related to duplicate NPCs

    Fixed rare issue where exterior door would not open properly

    Source: GameBanshee

    Tuesday - October 16, 2012

    Skyrim - DLC with dragon mounts, Solstheim?

    by Dhruin, 21:35

    This is firmly in rumour territory but this sort of technique has yielded accurate results in the past...Eurogamer reports a Bethsoft forum member has delved into the code from the last Skyrim patch and found:

    It's unconfirmed, but it looks like the next Skyrim DLC will be called Dragonborn and take place on the independent island of Solstheim (East of Skyrim, North of Morrowind).

    There may be dragon mounts (or it could be a scripted ride), new armour types - Bonemold, Chitin, Nordic and Stalhrim - and mounted spell casting may be on the way.

    Locations Raven Rock, Miraak Temple, Castle Karstaag and Telvanni Tower were also mentioned. As was PS3 downloadable content.

    Thanks, jhwisner!

    Monday - October 15, 2012

    Skyrim - v1.8 Beta Update

    by Dhruin, 21:29

    The Bethblog notes a v1.8 Beta Update for Skyrim is now available on Steam:

    BUG FIXES

    • General memory and stability improvements
    • Fixed rare crash when using vampiric grip
    • Fixed issue where Arnleif and Sons Trading Company could become permanently locked
    • Fixed issue related to duplicate NPCs
    • Fixed rare issue where exterior door would not open properly

    In addition to Steam, this update will later arrive on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. As we have new details on Skyrim content development, we’ll let everyone know.

    Tuesday - October 09, 2012

    Skyrim - Dawnguard Review @ GameBanshee

    by Myrthos, 13:04

    Gamebanshee reviewed the Dawnguard DLC for Skyrim. Here is a bit from the start of it:

    Dawnguard is the first DLC for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Bethesda Softworks released it in June of this year for the Xbox... and August for the PC... and perhaps someday for the PS3. The good news for PS3 owners is that you're not missing much. Dawnguard has an interesting premise involving vampires, prophecies and elder scrolls, but Bethesda doesn't do much with it other than introduce a lot of new artwork, and so the DLC only offers "more of the same." The problem for Skyrim is that it has a ton of content naturally, and so it doesn't need more of the same. It needs a DLC that changes how you play the game.

    Thursday - October 04, 2012

    Skyrim - Heartfire DLC for PC Available

    by Myrthos, 22:51

    Bethesda announced that the Heartfire DLC is now also available for the PC.

    We’re pleased to announce that Hearthfire™ is now available to PC users. The English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish versions can be downloaded from Steam for $4.99.

    With this official add-on to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim®, you can purchase land and build your own home from the ground up - from a simple one-room cottage to a sprawling compound complete with an armory, alchemy laboratory, stable, garden, and more. Use all-new tools like the drafting table and carpenter’s workbench to transform quarried stone, clay, and sawn logs into structures and furnishings.  Even transform your house into a home by adopting children.

    Friday - September 21, 2012

    Skyrim - Morrowind mod screens and video

    by Dhruin, 01:23

    PC Gamer is highlighting Skywind, a ridiculously ambitious project to port Morrowind over to Skyrim:

    And so it was foretold. Once every generation there shall be a new Elder Scrolls game, and it shall be in an updated engine. And a band of heroes every generation shall take on a great quest: to convert Morrowind into that engine. This time round, the Skywind project shall heed the call, bringing Morrowind’s combat, characters and environments to the latest version of Bethesda’s Creation Engine.

    Modder, Eloth, has been posting some lovely early shots of the project in the Morroblivion forums. It’s still a work in progress, but the mod already has already captured the giant mushrooms and weird architecture that makes Morrowind so strange and memorable. Check out the videos and screenshots below for an early look.

    Tuesday - September 11, 2012

    Skyrim - Skyrim Workshop Mod 10,000

    by Dhruin, 22:35

    CountChocula points out Bethsoft is celebrating the 10,000th Skyrim mod on Steam Workshop by interviewing the creator.

    Wednesday - September 05, 2012

    Skyrim - Hearthfire Reviews @ Eurogamer, CVG

    by Dhruin, 12:19

    Here are a couple of early Hearthfire reviews, both with similar criticisms.

    Eurogamer says Hearthfire offers "all the character and personality of an Ikea cupboard" on the way to a score of 5/10:

    What sort of Skyrim player are you? Are you there for the story and the Achievements, taking advantage of the game's loose logic to play multiple characters in one playthrough, heading up the Mage's College even as you take charge of the Thieves Guild, and saving the world while playing as an evil assassin? Or do you use Tamriel's vast canvas as a backdrop for your own adventure, setting your own limits and rules and immersing yourself in its rich milieu?

    If it's the first then you've probably got no interest in Hearthfire, the new DLC that lets you build houses. There are no quests here, with no story and no definable ending. You may have already posted a witty comment about Skyrim Sims. Congratulations. Hearthfire is not for you.

    If, on the other hand, you've already started planning which of your weapons you want to display where, whether to store gems in the same chest as jewellery, and are actually looking forward to spending hours trying to wrangle floating items into display cases so they're positioned just right, then Hearthfire is most definitely for you. It's just not that good.

    CVG doesn't have a score but they call it "more a novelty than an actual game".

    Tuesday - September 04, 2012

    Skyrim - Hearthfire DLC Available Now

    by Myrthos, 18:38

    We just recieved word that the Heartfire DLC for Skyrim is now available. Here is the official blurb:

    We’re pleased to announce Hearthfire™, the next official game add-on for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim® , is now available worldwide for download for 400 Microsoft Points on Xbox LIVE® .

    Hearthfire allows you to purchase land and build your own home from the ground up - from a simple one-room cottage to a sprawling compound complete with armory, alchemy laboratory, and more. Choose your land, customize your house, guard it from unwanted visitors, and turn your house into a home by adopting children. For more information on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim or Hearthfire please visit www.elderscrolls.com.

    Sunday - September 02, 2012

    Skyrim - PS3 version of Dawnguard in doubt

    by Dhruin, 04:06

    It seems Bethsoft is stuggling with the PS3 version of Dawnguard - possibly to the extent of not being able to resolve the issues. From Matt Grandstaff on the Bethsoft forums:

    Earlier in the month, we provided an update on Dawnguard's status for PS3.

    It's been a few weeks, and we wanted to make sure everyone knows where we're at with Dawnguard. Skyrim is a massive and dynamic game that requires a lot of resources, and things get much more complex when you're talking about sizable content like Dawnguard. We have tried a number of things, but none of them solve the issue enough to make Dawnguard good for everyone. The PS3 is a powerful system, and we're working hard to deliver the content you guys want. Dawnguard is obviously not the only DLC we’ve been working on either, so the issues of adding content get even more complicated. This is not a problem we’re positive we can solve, but we are working together with Sony to try to bring you this content.

    We wish we had a more definitive answer right now. We understand the frustration when the same content is not available on all platforms. When we have an update, we will certainly let you know. We deeply appreciate all the time and support you have given us, and we’ll keep doing our best to return that.            

    Skyrim - Hearthfire Team Diary

    by Dhruin, 04:03

    I don't think we've covered the latest Team Diary from the Skyrim team, covering off the incepton of Hearthfire from a Game Jam entry from Bruce Nesmith, Robert Wisnewski and Kurt Kuhlmann:

    In its Game Jam reveal, the house-building feature was simple – a small cabin that included a forge for players to create objects that would then become part of the house. Even in a preliminary state, the concept was lauded by the team and became a clear candidate for future Skyrim content.

    "Soon after the Game Jam, the [Skyrim] add-on ideas were being reviewed, and this was one that Todd definitely wanted to see put in the game somewhere," added Nesmith.

    As 2011 came to a close, Nesmith's focus shifted to Dawnguard, and co-lead designer, Kurt Kuhlmann took an interest in further developing the project with Wisnewski.

    "It was essentially the first thing I started working on for Skyrim after the Game Jam," recalls Kuhlmann. "I was actually working on it on my own time in December and throughout vacation. I just continued on with my own experimenting to see how elaborate we could get with this."

    Thanks, CountChocula!

    Tuesday - August 28, 2012

    Skyrim - Hearthfire DLC Officially Announced

    by Aries100, 22:09

    As we told you in this thread, rumours of a new DLC, Hearthfire, for Skyrim has been spotted on the internet. Bethesda announced today, via their Bethesda Blog,  Hearthfire as an official DLC for Skyrim, being released September 4th this year. 

    The description is below:

    With Skyrim’s newest game add-on, Hearthfire, you can purchase land and build your own home from the ground up – from a simple one-room cottage to a sprawling compound complete with an armory, alchemy laboratory, stable, garden, and more. Use all-new tools like the drafting table and carpenter’s workbench to transform quarried stone, clay, and sawn logs into structures and furnishings. Even transform your house into a home by adopting children. Hearthfire releases on Xbox LIVE next week (September 4th) for 400 Microsoft Points.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Monday - August 27, 2012

    Skyrim - "Hearthfire" DLC Rumours

    by Dhruin, 22:57

    Frozen Fireball points out a rumour about Hearthfire, a possible Skyrim DLC. The first source is a trademark application (via Gaming Illustrated):

    In May, Bethesda parent company ZeniMax filed a trademark for the name Hearthfire. The official documentation from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for Hearthfire reads: “Computer game software for use with computers and video game consoles; downloadable computer game software offered via the internet and wireless devices.” Well, that seems pretty cut and dry to me. And of course Bethesda is keeping tight-lipped dishing out the usual “we don’t comment” line.

    ...and then Reddit comes along with a description:

    Adding more fuel to the fire are rumors from Reddit user derptemp6698 (who had previously leaked correct details to Mass Effect 3 DLC). That summary is as follows: “Hearthfire, the next official game-add on for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, has arrived. For the first time in the Elder Scrolls universe, purchase land and build your own home from the ground up – from a simple one-room cottage to a sprawling compound complete with armory, alchemy laboratory, trophy room, and more! With Hearthfire, the possibilities of what you can build are endless.”

    Monday - August 13, 2012

    Skyrim - An Illusionist in Skyrim, Part 1 @ PC Gamer

    by Dhruin, 13:25

    PC Gamer's Tom Francis writes a humorous After Action Report titled An Illusionist in Skyrim, based on some strict rules:

    In Skyrim, a mage is an unstoppable storm of destruction. In real life, a mage is just an illusionist: they can’t do much except trick you. If one of them turned out to be the world’s only hope of salvation, hijinks and sudden death would inevitably ensue. Since these are my two favourite things, I’ve decided to try playing this way.

    Skyrim does have a school of magic comprised entirely of illusions, so I’m sticking strictly to this. I can’t wear any armour, hold any weapons, cast any non-Illusion spells, or ever attack anyone directly – not even with a punch. Yes. This is an excellent idea.

    Sent in by Thrasher.

    Wednesday - August 08, 2012

    Skyrim - Dawnguard Review @ RPS

    by Aries100, 22:43

    Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a review for this DLC.

    A quote about the ideas and their execution:

    Dawnguard’s tedium is not for wont of ideas – they’re there in abundance. The problem is purely one of execution, but it’s not for me to say whether that’s due to the limitations of Skyrim and the geriatric Gamebryo engine and roleplaying rules underneath it or a human failing. I visited new areas of Skyrim, I found lost, mystical glades, I explored the world beyond worlds that provides the source of Necromancers’ power, I roamed through a secret Vampire stronghold, I visited with members of one of Tamriel’s great lost races. 

    A quote on hot it is being a vampire in Dawnguard:

    In other words, being a vampire lord is only of use in the midst of combat, as for the rest of the time it blocks crucial parts of the game entirely. I appreciate that conversation with NPCs isn’t an option when I’m a creature so hated and feared, but I don’t know how that encompasses not being to use a map, where my loot vanishes to or being incapable of picking anything up. So, I increasingly avoided transformation, that much did it get in the way of playing the bally game. 

    And the conclusion:

    Dawnguard certainly doesn’t leave any deep wounds in Skyrim, and there is something to be said for simply throwing a load more toys into its big old sandbox. I’m a big fan of Skyrim (though do retract my perhaps reckless earlier assertion that it’s better than Morrowind, as it hasn’t left enduring memories or pub anecdotes in the way TES3 did) and Dawnguard hasn’t changed that. The trouble is that it’s a series of great ideas let down by what seems like half-hearted execution and, of course, that price. Take 50% off that frankly scandalous $20/£14 tag and I wouldn’t be half as cross with it. Instead, here’s Skyrim’s one true bloodsucker.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Skyrim - Consoles to get patch 1.7

    by Aries100, 22:32

    Via Twitter comes this message from Bethesda:

    1.7 title update for Skyrim expected to release this Thurs. on 360 (worldwide) and PS3 (N. America). PS3 (Europe) release next week.

    No news on the Dawnguard DLC release for the PS3 as of yet.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Friday - August 03, 2012

    Skyrim - Dawnguard Review @ Edge Online

    by Dhruin, 23:33

    The PC release of Dawnguard is a good time for a new review, with Edge Online offering their critique. The score is 6/10 and here's the summary:

    More Skyrim, then. And if you’ve doggedly exhausted every last opportunity in your character’s journal, crisscrossing the Nords’ frozen homeland until there’s nothing left to see or do, it’s come not a moment too soon. If you’re still knee-deep in your adventure, however, Dawnguard could all too easily slip unnoticed into that sprawling list of tasks. It’s not bad at all, but it’s not different. It might add to Skyrim, but it doesn’t enrich it in doing so.

    Skyrim - Dawnguard for PC Released

    by Dhruin, 11:28

    Bethsoft let us know Dawnguard for PC is now available on Steam:

    As revealed earlier today at QuakeCon 2012, we’re pleased to announce that Dawnguard™, the first official game add-on for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim®, is now available to PC users. The English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish versions can be downloaded from Steam for $19.99.

    The Vampire Lord Harkon has returned to power. Using the Elder Scrolls, he seeks to do the unthinkable - to end the sun itself. Will you join the ancient order of the Dawnguard and stop him, or will you yourself become a Vampire Lord? Featuring an all new faction questline, new locations, weapons, creatures and more; the ultimate choice will be yours.

    For more information on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim® or Dawnguard™, please visit www.elderscrolls.com.

    Thanks also to Draekros for sending in the same item.

    Thursday - August 02, 2012

    Skyrim - 50% Off Steam Sale

    by Dhruin, 22:36

    If you haven't already played Skyrim, Steam is celebrating QuakeCon with a one-day 50% off sale - 20 hours to go as I type.

    Monday - July 30, 2012

    Skyrim - 1.7 Patch Released for All Versions

    by Aries100, 21:15

    From the Bethblog comes this message:

    Skyrim’s 1.7 title update is now out of beta and available to all Steam users. Simply load up Skyrim on Steam and you’ll get the update. For those on consoles, the current plan is to submit the update to console manufacturers this week. As soon as it’s available, we’ll let you know.

    To get the update, please head here: 

    The patch notes:

    General memory and stability optimizations

    Fixed crash related to new water shaders

    Fixed rare crash related to dragon landings

    Fixed logic error with loading screens from add-ons (Xbox 360)

    Using vampiric grip and swimming no longer prevents swimming animation from playing afterwards

    Improved recognition with Kinect voice commands (Xbox 360)

    Kinect-enabled dragon language shouts for French, German, Italian and Spanish work properly (Xbox 360)

    Fixed issue with Dawnguard Kinect-enabled dragon shouts for French, German, Italian and Spanish (Xbox 360)

    Source: GameBanshee

    Tuesday - July 24, 2012

    Skyrim - Dawnguard DLC Reviews Roundup # 3

    by Aries100, 23:03

    Some more reviews for this DLC has been written. First up is GamrReview 8.3/10 
    A quote from the conclusion:

    While some aspects of Dawnguard don't quite live up to the legacy of Oblivion's Shivering Isles expansion, which added massive new locations, it's hard not to recommend Dawnguard to fans of Skyrim. Not only is the quest line offered easily the longest in the game, it's also one of the most engaging, and there's plenty of side content as well. 

    And the second one comes from Xplay who has a scoreless, yet very positive video review.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Monday - July 23, 2012

    Skyrim - v1.7 Beta

    by Dhruin, 22:47

    A new beta Skyrim patch is available on Steam, offering a handful of fixes:

    Update 1.7 (all platforms unless specified

    BUG FIXES

    • General memory and stability optimizations
    • Fixed crash related to new water shaders
    • Fixed rare crash related to dragon landings
    • Fixed logic error with loading screens from add-ons (Xbox 360)
    • Using vampiric grip and swimming no longer prevents swimming animation from playing afterwards
    • Improved recognition with Kinect voice commands (Xbox 360)
    • Kinect-enabled dragon language shouts for French, German, Italian and Spanish work properly (Xbox 360)
    • Fixed issue with Dawnguard Kinect-enabled dragon shouts for French, German, Italian and Spanish (Xbox 360)

    Monday - July 16, 2012

    Skyrim - Dawnguard DLC Reviews Roundup # 2

    by Aries100, 22:39

    More reviews for the Dawnguard DLC for Skyrim has been written on various websites.
    I'll quote from two of them and list the rest. 

    First up is Sidequesting 2/5 Warning - heavy spoilers, especially about the end game.

    A quote then about a certain companion the reviewer did like:

    The one saving grace in all of this is your companion throughout the expansion, Serana, the vampire daughter of Lord Harkon and key to that useless prophecy. More than any other NPC in the expansion or even the game proper, Serana feels like a real person is playing a character. She has more dialogue choices and responses than any other character, and also allows responses from your own hero that can add a little bit of roleplaying back story. S

    Then we have 

    1UP  B+

    A quote about Serana and what happens when you meet her - spoilers ahead, so read at your own risk:

    After meeting up with Serana, I realized I was just a stone's throw from where I had agreed (a very long time ago) to meet a guy about re-assembling the eldritch artifact Mehrune's Razor. So I dropped by and said hello, only to be told by an ominous disembodied voice to kill the dude and claim the dagger. I complied, even though I don't have any use for a dagger that doesn't fit my play style. I committed cold-blooded murder for an item that went immediately into storage. But hey, I'm one item closer to the "Daedra Walker" achievement. It's cute how the vampires think they're the amoral ones here.

     

    Piki Geek 4/5

    RPGFan, scoreless

     

    Friday - July 13, 2012

    Skyrim - 5 Five Ways to Make the Next Elder Scrolls Game Better @ Forbes

    by Aries100, 23:45

    Forbes Magazine has an editorial penned by Eric Kain on how to make the next TES game better than Skyrim. He has 5 wishes for TESVI (6) so that it can be a better game than Skyrim. Link to the article at Forbes:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/07/11/
    5-ways-to-make-the-next-elder-scrolls-game-awesome/


    One of his wishes are this:

    4) Hone character development and integrate some kind of class system.

    The open-leveling system in Skyrim has its benefits, for sure, but sometimes limits can make a game even better. I like games that give me open development paths, but I want those paths to have some logic to them and some restrictions that provide challenges in and of themselves. For instance, in Dragon’s Dogma you can switch your character class as you go, but depending on what you start out as, different skills and items will be open or closed to you.

    Another wish is this:

    #2) Better storytelling.

    Open world games present unique challenges for storytelling. Skyrim’s all in-game scenes and dialogue should delight someone like me who complains broken-record-like of the over-use of cutscenes. But Skyrim’s dialogue is too abundant, too wooden, and too full of needless exposition. Why can’t the story unfold as we play rather than in rooms where everyone is just…standing around?  Why not make storytelling just a bit more sparse and action-packed – less talking, more doing and seeing and, well, gaming. You could learn half the things you need to know while riding from one city to the next, or while fighting a pack of bandits.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Skyrim - Dawnguard DLC Reviews Roundup # 1

    by Aries100, 21:45

    Some reviews for this DLC have been written at various gaming sites.  I'll quote from one of them and list the rest:

    First we have RPGamer - the review is scoreless, but positive. A quote:

    What really pulls Dawnguard along, however, is its story. Serana is a great character with a lot of depth and true motivation to be a part of what's going on. While most of the DLC's quests will have you doing many of the same things you did during Skyrim, the reasons behind why you're doing them are engaging enough to help drive the story forward. There are some unique areas to explore in this expansion, including a rather out-of-this-world locale that even offers its own set of side quests.

    Monday - July 09, 2012

    Skyrim - What CVG wants from the next DLC

    by Dhruin, 22:36

    CVG ruminates over what the next Skyrim DLC might offer:

    Hidden within a pre-Dawnguard PC patch was a lot of evidence pointing towards a 'Snow Elf Prince'. He might sound familiar: he's the huge statue you encounter during a Thieves Guild mission in which you steal the Eyes Of The Falmer. In Skyrim lore the remains of the Snow Elf Prince are buried in Morrowind.

    Technically, Morrowind is a whole other country but there's a stonking great gate in Skyrim that leads off in that direction. Only it's blocked off by an invisible wall. Almost as it you're not meant to go that way. Yet.

    We'd love for see Bethesda' go all the way with the next expansion and let us venture into Morrowind territory. All it has to do is resurrect the Snow Prince, have him call us over and then send us off on missions. Snow Elf lore, books and history run through Skyrim for no obvious purpose - almost as if we're being prepared for their appearance, we think the time's right.

    Wednesday - July 04, 2012

    Skyrim - Dawnguard Podcast

    by Dhruin, 01:08

    The latest official Bethsoft Podcast covers Dawnguard:

    The latest episode of the Bethesda Podcast goes behind the scenes with the team at Bethesda Game Studios to learn more about the latest DLC for Skyrim, Dawnguard.

    Warning: minor story beats are discussed, so if you haven’t played Dawnguard and like to remain 100% fresh, bookmark for later listening.

    Sunday - July 01, 2012

    Skyrim - Dawnguard Review Roundup

    by Dhruin, 12:31

    Time to catch up on Dawnguard reviews with a small roundup.

    Joystiq's article is titled 'Disappointment before sunrise':

    It's telling that I played through most of Skyrim's fang-ridden DLC using my regular character, rather than transforming into the vampire lord ... creature available in Dawnguard. Playing as the vamp isn't enjoyable at all. He's locked to a third-person view, and the camera seems unable to get over the hulking beast's shoulders. When "shooting" one of his two powers (sap energy or raise the dead), I found it nearly impossible to hit my targets consistently.

    IGN, on the other hand, liked it quite a lot and awarded 8/10:

    Dawnguard is neither as meaty nor as cohesive as Shivering Isles, its Oblivion expansion pack counterpart, but then again it’s not as expensive either. The other issue, as with any Elder Scrolls add-on content, is usefulness. When you get 100-plus hours of gameplay out of the box, do you really want to spend another $20 for 20-or-so more? That’s up to you, but Dawnguard is certainly worth the investment.

    CVG also goes for 8/10:

    If you've played Skyrim to death, Dawnguard may be a little underwhelming. The new dungeons, although well designed, are mostly made up of existing assets. The quests, although well written, don't feel vastly different from those in the main game. It's just more Skyrim - for better or worse.

    There are some standout moments, though. One quest sees you visiting an illegal drug den and sampling the local Skooma. In another you awaken a vampire from a thousand year slumber and recruit her as a companion. The new legendary dragons are an impressive sight too, especially the one you fight in the Soul Cairn - who you can later recruit as an ally.

    Another 8/10 at NowGamer, despite the issues - such as the Vampire Lord form being unwieldy:

    Some may overlook the issue, but it feels like a rather poor design choice on Bethesda’s part. The worst mistake we encountered saw us entering into a new dungeon but being unable to walk down a corridor, as our Vampire Lord form was just too big to make it through. This happened more than once.

    Being forced to revert back to regular form because of silly mistakes like this severely waters down the power fantasy that comes with being a seemingly unstoppable force, and calls Bethesda’s design choices into question.

    Friday - June 29, 2012

    Skyrim - Dawnguard Review @ Kotaku

    by Dhruin, 23:34

    Kotaku has reviewed Dawnguard, recommending against the DLC and saying "boring, vast quests, boring vast areas":

    The new quests are underwhelming: other than a few cool new concepts—like murdering a civilian while wearing Dawnguard armor so everybody thinks the Dawnguard did it—you've seen everything here before. Go here; find this; kill him; get that. There's nothing here as unabashedly awesome as, say, a certain quest at the end of the original game's Dark Brotherhood plot line.

    The new areas are underwhelming: one, Soul Cairn, is just a soul-stuffed clone of Skyrim's Blackreach. It's big, purple, and completely empty. To finish its quests, you'll have to spend a lot of time walking through vast stretches of sheer nothingness. You'll have to fight a mini-boss, walk ten minutes through nothingness, fight another mini-boss, walk another ten minutes through nothingness, and so forth. This is not particularly fun, interesting, or emotionally engaging. Neither is the part where somebody asks you to hunt down ten pieces of paper and you just groan, wondering if you've accidentally stumbled into an MMORPG.

    Thursday - June 28, 2012

    Skyrim - Dawnguard DLC Quick Look @ Bitmob

    by Aries100, 22:15

    Bitmob has posted over an hour long Quick Look for this DLC.

    Gives us something to do while waiting for the PC release of this DLC.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Skyrim - Dawnguard Review @ Eurogamer

    by Dhruin, 01:04

    The first full review of the Skyrim DLC Dawnguard that we've tracked is up at Eurogamer. The score is a modest 7/10, with the author finding the story too thin and new features such as the Vampire Lord form a bit clumsy. The intro:

    Dawnguard, the first download add-on for Bethesda's world-conquering Skyrim, is a curious thing. Unlike the blockbuster ambitions of BioWare, Bethesda RPGs are more about place than plot. They're about roaming, poking around and seeing what happens, and the various quest lines are there to tug you in the direction of new places.

    That's why Bethesda downloadable content usually introduces some new, separate area to explore, away from the main map. Dawnguard, in contrast, squeezes its handful of new locations into the tiny spaces not already occupied in Tamriel. That means that a lot of its impact relies on the story, and that's not the game's strongest suit. 

    Wednesday - June 27, 2012

    Skyrim - Interview Dawnguard DLC @I.Eat.Games

    by Aries100, 18:16

    The blog I.Eat.Games has talked to Bethesda's Lead Artist Matt Carafano - they've talked about process behind creating the DLC for Skyrim, what the new consoles mean for Bethesda's development of games, and much much more. Link to the blog:
    http://eat-games.tumblr.com/post/25927693759/interview-matt-carofano-skyrim

    A quote about the creation of additional content, DLC, for Skyrim:

    Creating additional content for a AAA game like Skyrim well after it’s shipped doesn’t appear to be the norm in the industry. Does this speak to the culture at Bethesda Game Studios? Do you think future DLC is going to develop this way too?
    When we were looking to do the Dawnguard DLC we were just looking to see how we could make the game even better, how we could add to Skyrim but tell this specific story. It was something we didn’t plan when we were working on Skyrim, it actually happened afterwards. You know, we kicked around a lot of ideas so we could see what would be a good fit. For future DLC maybe we’ll do something like that again.

    And a question about if Bethesda have any plans to update their Creation Engine:

    As we transition over to a new generation of consoles, I’m curious if Bethesda Game Studios has any plans to build an entirely new engine from the ground up? Update the existing Creation engine, or perhaps utilize the latest IDTECH?
    We’re really happy with the creation engine. We remade every aspect of it for Skyrim and it’s a really good base for us to do the types of games we want to do.  So I suspect, going forward, I don’t know what we’re going to end up doing. This engine has been really good for us and [The Elder Scrolls games]. I mean everything is brand new from Fallout 3.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Tuesday - June 26, 2012

    Skyrim - Dawnguard DLC Released for X360

    by Aries100, 22:39

    Bethesda has released the first DLC, Dawnguard, for TESV: Skyrim. For the next 30 days it is only available for the X360 - link to the download for X360
    http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-US/Product/The-Elder-Scrolls-V-Skyrim-Dawnguard/8ab49c69-b2d8-4055-99c8-a941655f5de8

    Dawnguard™ is the first official game add-on for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim® - the 2011 Game of the Year. The Vampire Lord Harkon has returned to power. By using the Elder Scrolls, he seeks to do the unthinkable - to end the sun itself. Will you join the ancient order of the Dawnguard and stop him? Or will you become a Vampire Lord yourself? Featuring an all new faction questline and locations, the ultimate choice will be yours.

    In this thread at the official forums you can how to start the Dawnguard DLC - link to the thread: http://forums.bethsoft.com/topic/1387092-starting-dawnguard/

    Source: GameBanshee

    Saturday - June 23, 2012

    Skyrim - Dawnguard for X360 on Tuesday

    by Dhruin, 02:21

    Bethesda tweets that Dawnguard for the X360 will be released this Tuesday. Of course, the PC version will have to wait at least a month for the exclusivity to expire:

    Dawnguard will be out Tuesday for 360 in English. FIGS 1.6 patch for 360 coming next week and Dawnguard FIGS will be out mid-July.

    Tuesday - June 19, 2012

    Skyrim - Enderal, total conversion from the Nehrim team

    by Dhruin, 00:41

    Kostaz writes the Nehrim team is hard at work on a new total conversion - this time for Skyrim. There's no release date at this point, though presumably Enderal: The Shards of Order is still some way off. Check out the Skyrim Nexus page or the official site for details and screens:

    Enderal - The Shards of Order is a total conversion mod currently in development for Bethesda Softwork's Skyrim. The story of Enderal is not set in the Elder Scrolls world of Tamriel, but takes place in its own universe, creating a new, interesting world completely unrelated to Skyrim. Enderal is being developed by volunteers from the dedicated modding community SureAI, best known for their acclaimed Oblivion total conversion Nehrim – At Fate's Edge that was awarded “Best Singleplayer Editor's Choice” by moddb.com and “Mod of the Year 2010” by PC Gamer. Enderal bases upon the Skyrim game engine and aspires to become a role playing game comparable to professional game industry products. The continent of Enderal is the stage for an extensive, completely new and epic adventure.

    Enderal is not only the sequel to Nehrim, but also takes place in the very same universe, just a couple of years after the events of the Nehrim story line. It aims to continue the tradition of the intensive and complex storytelling introduced in Nehrim. This basically means: What we do here is fantasy for adults, it is dirty and immersive, and there are no fairies. Nehrim's storytelling had some flaws that we want to get rid of – there will be more player decisions and deeper characters. In addition, the skill system will differ a lot from the one in Skyrim. Enderal will feature the known XP based skill system from Nehrim, improved with certain aspects that will help players to specifiy their characters in a more detailed way, thus intensifying the connection between player and avatar. Long story short, Enderal will be a classic RPG with alternative storytelling features. Be excited!  

    Friday - June 15, 2012

    Skyrim - Dawnguard Preview, Tidbits

    by Dhruin, 22:47

    Gamefront has a short preview of Dawnguard, quoting Lead Artist Matt Carofano about the length of the DLC:

    “It’ll take between 10 and 20 hours to beat,” Skyrim Lead Artist Matt Carofano told Game Front during an interview at E3 2012. “It’s about as long as a faction line.” So about as long as the Mages College or Companions Guild quests.

    Meanwhile, The Official Playstation Magazine UK (catchy name) has some tidbits from the beta, including screens and descriptions of both the Vampire and Werewolf perk trees.

    Thursday - June 14, 2012

    Skyrim - Wil Wheaton Interviews Todd Howard

    by Dhruin, 23:16

    GameFront sent along Wil Wheaton (Big Bang Theory etc) as their E3 representative, who sat down with Bethsoft's Todd Howard for a video interview.

    Saturday - June 09, 2012

    Skyrim - Dawnguard Previews @ Kotaku, Destructoid

    by Dhruin, 02:12

    Here are a couple of Dawnguard articles, starting with Kotaku who use a bullet-point summary:

  • The main quest has two different tracks, one for Vampire Lord and one for Dawnguard.
  • Dawnguard will offer 10-20 hours of gameplay, depending on how you play.
  • Even though the two story tracks are separate, they'll come together at various key points in the story. "Whatever the Macguffin is," Howard told me, "both sides come together around that point, and then it diverges afterwards."
  • The demo I played was partway into the Vampire Lord track. The plot involved helping a woman vampire named Serana find her mother, Valerica, who had fled Tamriel to a plane of Oblivion called "Soul Cairn." We performed a ritual to open a portal to Soul Cairn.
  • ...and Destructoid, whose previewer proudly points out he didn't play much Skyrim:

    The third-person view of Skyrim was a vast improvement over previous Bethesda games, but you’d still be hard-pressed to find players who prefer it to first-person. It’s baffling to me, then, why the vampire form restricts the player to third-person combat. When I asked the developers about the decision-making process behind this, they sheepishly replied, “Well ... it’s what we did for the werewolf in Morrowind.” Making the same mistake twice is a defining trait of Bethesda, so maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised.

    No matter what, third-person will be less immersive than first-person, but that doesn’t mean it has to be bad. Dawnguard is bad because the animation, combat, and movement of the vampire is incredibly awkward -- a few steps back from what Bethesda achieved in Skyrim. The vampire shuffles forward with his hulking body obscuring most of your view; his hand-to-hand combat has a considerable amount of lag on it; and transforming in and out of vampire form is awkward. Then there are other annoyances, like losing the ability to check out your map or manage inventory in the form. Because, you know, vampires are just too evil to stop and read maps.

    Skyrim - v1.6 Hits X360

    Thursday - June 07, 2012

    Skyrim - Dawnguard Stage Demo Video

    by Dhruin, 14:05

    GameSpot also has a stage demo for Dawnguard with "Matt" from Bethsoft talking us through around around eght minutes of gameplay.

    Wednesday - June 06, 2012

    Skyrim - Dawnguard Video Gameplay Demo

    by Dhruin, 22:52

    G4TV has around five minutes of Dawnguard footage with input from Todd Howard. You'll get to see all the major features, such as Vampire Lord transformations, crossbows and so on.

    Skyrim - Dawnguard Previews @ GameInformer, Eurogamer

    by Dhruin, 09:56

    GameInformer has previewed Dawnguard from E3, based on some actual play time on a console. The DLC is apparently around 15 hours long and will launch on X360 in only a couple of weeks - June 26th (PC and PS3 are expected around a month later)

    Skipping the side quests for the sake of time, I put on the blinders and march steadily toward the suspected location of Serana's mother. Along the way, the occasion skeleton pops out of the ground. Dispatching these minor hindrances doesn't take more than a few shots of the crossbow (which has 31 damage), and the new Dawnguard armor provides plenty of protection. After shattering a few skeletons with the crossbow I decide to test out the vampiric abilities.

    Like being a werewolf in the Companion quests, you transform into the Nosferatu-like vampire lord by pressing the right bumper. Once you take this dastardly form, you can make devastating melee attacks or cast spells from afar. The vampires are given a few unique powers as well. Vampire Servant allows you to reanimate a low-level corpse to aid in your battle for 60 seconds, and Vampire Sight grants you night vision for 60 seconds. You can also use vampires tiny bony wings to fly for a short period of time by hitting the left bumper.

    Also at GameInformer is a look at the Vampire Perk tree after the previewer paused the game and took a screenshot and some notes.

    Heading over to Eurogamer, we find a preview based on the same demo:

    If you choose to join the Dawnguard faction and hunt the vampires, you'll gain access to the new crossbow weapon, which has a perk tree all of its own - but we didn't see this at E3. The Dawnguard are "kick-ass armoured hunters", we're told. They forge crossbows, so your new weapon can be upgraded and become powerful. Dawnguard can also have armoured trolls fight for them, plus there's a "whole new base you call your own".

    The main quest of the Dawnguard expansion lasts around 10 to 20 hours, depending on if you rush or savour. Enticingly, you'll be able to use your Vampire Lord or Dawnguard characters in the wider, original Skyrim world. But once you've made your faction choice, you won't be able to go back, unless you load an earlier save. 

    Skyrim - Dawnguard Screens @ Kotaku

    by Dhruin, 01:30

    Kotaku has screens from the freshly-announced Dawnguard DLC, though I'm not clear if some or all of these have been culled from the trailer.

    Friday - June 01, 2012

    Skyrim - Dawnguard X360 Beta

    by Dhruin, 23:32

    If you play Skyrim on the X360 and would like to get in on the Dawnguard beta, read on:

    Visit DawnguardBeta.ElderScrolls.com to apply. The process should only take a couple minutes, but make sure to fill out all the information accurately. Applicants need a registered account on our official forums and you’ll want to make sure your forum email address is updated.

    We will be selecting applicants in about a week. Players accepted into the beta will receive an Xbox LIVE code to redeem Dawnguard. The beta is the full version (complete with Xbox LIVE achievements) and those participating will not have to purchase the content.

    Thursday - May 31, 2012

    Skyrim - Dawnguard Trailer

    by Dhruin, 23:08

    The first look at Skyrim: Dawnguard is available courtesy of a trailer that confirms many of the previous rumours, such as vampires and crossbows. I'll embed it right here:

    Friday - May 25, 2012

    Skyrim - Mounted Combat in v1.6

    by Dhruin, 01:55

    The Bethblog announces Skyrim v1.6 will feature mounted combat along with a number of fixes (including several crash fixes). As usual, PC players can opt into the Steam beta:

    The team at Bethesda Game Studios is excited to announce another new feature making its way into Skyrim… Mounted Combat! Like the recently added Kinect support (360) and new kill cameras, this highly-requested feature that was seen in the Skyrim Game Jam video is arriving for free. In fact, by opting into the latest Steam Beta Update, PC users can check out the feature today. As far as release on other platforms, we’ll let you know when we have more information.

    Thanks again to all our fans, we remain committed to supporting the game through our free updates, mod tools, and more. And yes, we’re still working on our first add-on, Dawnguard – some great stuff to show you soon, stay tuned!

    Read the current 1.6 release notes below…

    1.6 Update (all platforms unless specified)

    NEW FEATURES

    • Mounted Combat - Skyrim now allows you to do melee and ranged combat while riding a horse

    BUG FIXES

    • General stability and memory optimizations
    • General AI pathfinding optimizations and bug fixes
    • Optimizations and crash fixes for data leaks
    • Fixed rare crash with lighting
    • Fixed crashes related to loading and saving games
    • Fixed crash with summoned creatures/NPCs
    • Fixed rare issue where saves would be corrupted
    • Improved logic for when ranged kill cams are played
    • Fixed issue with ranged kill cams while killing a dragon
    • Fixed rare issue with certain ranged kill cams not playing properly
    • Fixed issue with nirnroot lighting not properly cleaning up
    • Fixed issue where bow damage was being calculated incorrectly
    • Fixed rare problem with werewolf kill moves would not finish animating properly
    • In “The Break of Dawn” fixed rare issue where Meridia’s Beacon would disappear from player’s inventory
    • Fixed occasional issue where followers would disappear after player pays off a bounty after committing a crime
    • Fixed issue where certain creatures and NPCs would fail to respawn properly
    • Fixed rare issue with dialogue subtitles not displaying properly
    • Fixed issue with water appearing blurry when loading a saved game after creating a save underwater
    • Fixed issue where map cursor would occasionally disappear after closing a message box with Kinect enabled  (Xbox 360)
    • Fixed rare issue with shouts only performing the first level and not other unlocked levels with Kinect enabled  (Xbox 360)
    • Fixed issue where the shout buttons would stop working properly if users mashed LB and RB during cooldown with Kinect enabled  (Xbox 360)

    Thanks to everyone who wrote in about this!

    Tuesday - May 01, 2012

    Skyrim - Dawnguard Announced

    by Dhruin, 22:38

    Disappointingly, Bethsoft's reveal about the first Skyrim DLC is a single image and the title - Dawnguard (as we thought from months back when one of our readers spotted Dawnguard as a new trademark). Apparently the real information will come during E3. It will be released on X360 first, with other platforms after the 1-month exclusivity expires.

    Skyrim - DLC Details, Kinect Support Tomorrow

    by Dhruin, 00:12

    Bethsoft tweets the first Skyrim DLC details will be unveiled tomorrow:

    Be on the lookout for the first DLC info tomorrow

    ...and Kinect support for the X360 will also launch tomorrow.

    Saturday - April 28, 2012

    Skyrim - Snow Elves and Vampires in the first DLC?

    by Dhruin, 01:13

    Every site I visited this morning is linking to this Bethsoft forum post where a player has scanned the v1.5.26 Skyrim update file for the string "DLC01", concluding snow elves, vampires and crossbows will somehow combine for the first DLC. It's all speculation but seems based on reasonable evidence - with some information expected next week, we might not have long to wait.

    Thursday - April 26, 2012

    Skyrim - DLC Details Next Week?

    by Dhruin, 22:59

    Pete Hines tweets that he is trying to get Skyrim DLC information out soon - possibly next week. As casual as this looks, Bethsoft's PR system is meticulous and I'm sure this is part of their structured and planned reveal:

    I am working on getting a little more info out on Skyrim/DLC. Maybe next week? We'll see. Also trying to confirm Kinect release date.

    Monday - April 23, 2012

    Skyrim - Kinect Reviews

    by Dhruin, 22:49

    The Verge and VentureBeat both look at playing Skyrim with the Kinect voice commands facility. The Verge article also has some comments from Bethsoft's Matt Grandstaff about upcoming DLC, so I'll take a quote on that because it's much more interesting than using Kinect:

    During my play session, Matt Grandstaff, Senior Community Manager at Bethesda, mentioned that we haven't seen the last of the updates from that Game Jam video. "There are going to be other ideas that will be implemented," he told me. "How those are going to be deployed, whether it's downloadable content or through future updates, is still being determined." Fingers crossed for dragon riding.

    Oh, and still holding your breath waiting for honest-to-goodness Skyrim DLC? Said Grandstaff, "I think you're going to hear stuff pretty soon. It's not too far off. They are looking at sizable content that they want to do. [Fallout 3's] 'Point Lookout' was referenced as a benchmark. It might be a little bit bigger or around that size."

    Thursday - April 12, 2012

    Skyrim - Coming to Kinect

    by Dhruin, 22:45

    Bethsoft has announced Kinect control is coming to Skyrim for the X360 - hopefully this isn't the only "big announcement" for April that Pete Hines recently refered to. The presser:

    We’re pleased to announce that Kinect™ for Xbox 360® support is coming to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.  Available for free as a title update slated for release this month, Skyrim Kinect for Xbox 360 Support will feature more than 200 Voice Commands.

                             

    Adding a new dimension to Skyrim’s gameplay, the Kinect for Xbox 360 integration offers Voice Commands throughout the game including Dragon Shouts, Hotkey Equipping, Follower Commands, and all Menus (Items, Magic, Map, Barter, Container, Favorites, and Skills). With Voice Commands, quickly create and load saves during gameplay and access menus and inventories. Skyrim’s Kinect for Xbox 360 Support also adds new functionality including special map functions, additional hotkey options, and the ability to sort inventory items by name, weight, and value.

     

    For a look at some of the included Voice Commands, we have posted a video here www.elderscrolls.com and have made it available from the download link or FTP below. A full list of Voice Commands will be revealed in the coming weeks.

     

    You can also head to the Bethblog to check out a video.

    Friday - April 06, 2012

    Skyrim - v1.5 Released on Consoles

    by Dhruin, 09:54

    Word via the Bethblog that v1.5 for Skyrim has finally been released on both consoles - head over if you'd like to read the patch notes again:

    Update: Some PS3 players have reported crashing issues when entering water. If this is occurring for you, you’ll want to clear the game data for Skyrim.

    Quick update for console players. Skyrim’s 1.5 update is now available on Xbox LIVE and for PS3 users in North America (Europe should be soon).

    Sunday - April 01, 2012

    Skyrim - "Cool News" in April

    by Dhruin, 00:54

    Will we finally see the announcement of Skyrim DLC? Pete Hines tweeted about some sort of "cool" news coming April:

    Some things coming down the road in April for all you Rage and Skyrim fans. April is gonna have some cool news and surprises. Stay tuned.

    Thursday - March 29, 2012

    Skyrim - Incremental Update

    by Dhruin, 23:56

    A small Skyrim beta update is available, taking the game to v1.5.26:

    • Fixed issue with frequency of first person kill cameras
    • Underwater effects now display properly
    • Fixed crash when loading certain plugins (PC Only)
    • Fixed issue where sun would not appear properly after fast travel

    As always, console patches to come after certification.

    Monday - March 26, 2012

    Skyrim - Equipment Database

    by Dhruin, 21:04

    GameBanshee writes they have kicked up their Skyrim equipment database.

    Thursday - March 22, 2012

    Skyrim - Critique @ Grantland

    by Dhruin, 20:59

    Thrasher sends in this deconstruction of Skyrim at Grantland. It's a lengthy article but makes some good points:

    There are other things — a lot of other things — you can do in Oblivion, but most of the roughly 200 hours I spent on the game I spent doing stuff like this. No apologies. For one of the first times in my gaming life, Oblivion offered what felt like a fully realized world populated by characters with alarmingly various social schedules.1 OK, maybe it was an often inert and nonsensical world, and maybe those characters were essentially robots with do-this and do-that timers on them; that didn't make either any less fascinating. What The Legend of Zelda felt like when I was 12, Oblivion actually was. All of this is why, for a lot of console gamers my age, that moment in which Oblivion's open world first opened up has something like moon-landing significance. A massive interactive system, thoughtfully designed, that allowed for player experiences of nearly infinite variety: Here, finally, was a clear argument for what video games might actually be for.

    Except for one thing. Despite how much gripping, odd, surprising, and otherwise enjoyable content the Elder Scrolls games contain, you cannot escape the repetitive and somewhat entropic nature of the core experience, which is dozens of hours of heading into caves/dungeons/forts to kill bandits/necromancers/skeletons to find a tome/rune/amulet, after which you beeline for the nearest merchant/alchemist/blacksmith to sell/trade/repair all the picked-up crap you've arranged and rearranged your inventory to accommodate. Is this enjoyable? Of course it is. But there's a point at which this brand of enjoyableness becomes indistinguishable from compulsion, and it seems fair to ask when a game's expansiveness becomes an affable form of indentured servitude.

    Tuesday - March 20, 2012

    Skyrim - v1.5 Released, Modding Podcast

    by Dhruin, 22:55

    Skyrim v1.5 has been officially released - a reminder of the features (console versions coming):

    UPDATE 1.5 (all platforms unless noted)

    NEW FEATURES

    • New cinematic kill cameras for projectile weapons and spells
    • New kill moves and animations for melee weapons
    • Shadows on grass available (PC)
    • Smithing skill increases now factor in the created item’s value
    • Improved visual transition when going underwater
    • Improved distance LOD transition for snowy landscapes

    ...and the latest Bethsoft Podcast focuses on modding, including discussing the new Workshop Collections on Steam.

    Thursday - March 15, 2012

    Skyrim - v1.5 Beta Available, Killcam Video

    by Dhruin, 20:54

    The latest Skyrim beta is now available on Steam, offering - among other things - the new killcams. Head to the Bethblog for the full notes, plus a video but here's a snip of the new features:

    • New cinematic kill cameras for projectile weapons and spells
    • New kill moves and animations for melee weapons
    • Shadows on grass available (PC)
    • Smithing skill increases now factor in the created item’s value
    • Improved visual transition when going underwater
    • Improved distance LOD transition for snowy landscapes

    Wednesday - March 07, 2012

    Skyrim - How Bethesda Made It @ Edge Online

    by Dhruin, 20:38

    Edge Online reports on a GDC talk by Bethesda lead level designer Joel Burgess that explains their practical approach to development:

    Skyrim was made in under three years by fewer than 100 people. Just eight level designers made over 300 locations, while also working on creature design and combat balance. And yet it came out on exactly the date it was aimed.

    Joel Burgess, lead level designer on Skyrim at Bethesda, explained in his GDC 2012 session, called Pursuing Elegance, how such a tight studio created something so large and complex. The answer: balancing idealist ideas with realist action and a culture that has arisen from game director Todd Howard’s edict, “We can do anything but we can’t do everything”.

    “You have to be of two minds,” Burgess said. “The idealist’s big ideas and strong opinions about “the right way” and the realist’s consciousness of time, technology, perspective on knock-on effects and expediency.”

    Tuesday - March 06, 2012

    Skyrim - v1.5 - Ranged Killcam Confirmed?

    by Dhruin, 20:27

    It beats me why players would have this on the top of their feature request list - but there you go...apparently Just Push Start noticed the Bethblog was updated with a post about ranged and magic killcams in the next Skyrim update but the article was quickly pulled:

    Bethesda has revealed (accidentally, it seems) a new feature coming to Skyrim via update 1.5. Their blog was updated with a post revealing a new kill-cam mechanic. However, that post has now been removed.

    Skyrim’s cinematic kill-cam feature was said to now be included in ranged and magic attacks. Does this ring a bell? This is one of the features that appeared in the “Skyrim Game Jam” video that Todd Howard showed off not too long ago. The video contained various mechanics and features that the devs played around with, but none of them ever made it into the final product.

    No doubt we'll hear more soon.

    Wednesday - February 29, 2012

    Skyrim - Skyrim compared to KOA: Reckoning @ Gamespy

    by Aries100, 21:19

    Gamespy has an editorial where they compare Skyrim and KOA: Reckoning.   They've compared them in 10 gameplay categories. Reckoning wins this round:

    Round 3: Main Questlines

    Save the world, Dragonborn!

    Save the world, fateless wonder (that is, you know, if you want to)!

    Winner: Reckoning: points for at least trying to rearrange the fantasy standard

    Source: GameBanshee

    Tuesday - February 28, 2012

    Skyrim - Todd Howard Video Interview @ G4 - Patch 1.4.27 Released

    by Aries100, 21:40

    G4 has a video interview with Todd Howard in which he talks about the Creation Kit.  Other topics are why Bethesda has allowed the modding community so much space, how the dlc is going to be like and the many, many mods for the game already on Steam.

    In other Skyrim news, the 1.4.27 Patch has been released on Steam. The patch is for PC only as it fixes problems which only has been found on this platform. The changelog:

    LAUNCHER

    •Fixed issue with downloading mods when you are subscribed to more than 50 mods

    •Fixed crash when loading a subscribed mod that has been removed from Workshop by the author

    •Mod load order functionality

    BUG FIXES (PC only)

    •Fixed occasional crashes when loading a save that relies on plugins/master files that no longer exist

    •Fixed issue where controls would become unresponsive while charging an enchanted weapon

    •Fixed issue where controls would occasionally become unresponsive while switching from third to first person while using the Arcane Enchanter

    •Fixed issue where controls would become unresponsive if activating a crafting station with autorun active

    •Fixed issue where keyboard would fail if Rename Item was selected before choosing the number of charges, while using Arcane Enchanter

    •Fixed several issues with remapping buttons while using an Xbox 360 controller

    •Fixed issue where pressing Escape button after fast traveling but before the loading would cause certain menus to stop working properly

    •Followers now sneak properly when player is sneaking

    Source: GameBanshee

    Saturday - February 25, 2012

    Skyrim - Success Motivates Remedy

    by Dhruin, 21:50

    I found this one interesting because it seems to me Remedy is ignoring the context of Skyrim's structure in using it as vindication of story-heavy games. From Eurogamer:

    It is this gargantuan success that has convinced Remedy, creator of Max Payne and Alan Wake, that it's on the right track with its complex stories.

    "The Call of Dutys and the Battlefields are doing extremely well in the US," Remedy head of franchise development Oskari Hakkinen told Eurogamer. "Those are the type of games that are in popular demand, so it's really positive to see Skyrim and other RPG games that have a lot of story in be successful as well.

    "It gives us motivation to do story-driven games, because there's obviously an audience out there of people who enjoy story as well.

    "Seeing something like that being successful, we don't need to consciously try to make our stories any less than they are, not try to make them any simpler. Our stories are not necessarily complicated, but our games are very story heavy. And, just to see games like Skyrim succeed, it's like, let's not try to make it any less story-heavy." 

    Thursday - February 23, 2012

    Skyrim - 1.4.27 Beta

    by Dhruin, 20:50

    A minor update to the latest Skyrim beta on Steam:

    Update 2/23: A new version of the Beta Update, 1.4.27, is now live. It adds the following change:

  • Followers now sneak properly when player is sneaking.
  • Skyrim - 5 things DA should Learn from Skyrim and vice versa

    by Aries100, 19:36

    Venture Beat's Ron Lefebvre has penned an editorial in which he discusses which 5 things Skyrim and Dragon should learn from each other.

    A quote about the voice acting:

    Better voice acting

    First up, what is with the same five guys voicing all the parts in Skyrim? Yeah, there’s Max von Sydow, Christopher Plummer, and Joan Allen to raise the bar, but in a game as expansive and fully voice-acted as Skyrim, there have got to be hundreds of parts. I’m not suggesting that publisher/developer Bethesda hire hundreds of actors, but how about someone who can convincingly do a Norse accent without sounding like the Swedish chef? Dragon Age had Claudia Black (and who wouldn’t, right?), and Dragon Age II has Eve Myles. The supporting cast, however, really shines. I care about the side characters as much (or more at times) as the main ones. Skyrim just feels like local theater.

    Here's a quote about expansive environment:

    More expansive environments

    How many times have I had to carefully watch the minimap in Dragon Age II, so I could find my way around the twists, turns, mazes, staircases, and tiny rooms of the game? Too many, that’s how many. In Skyrim, if I see it, I can get to it. That huge mountain looks sweet, let’s go there. Ooh, can you see that weird building in the distance? Yeah, we can totally get to it right now. Skyrim kicks Dragon Age II’s ass when it comes to expansive environments, and I guess I just want it all.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Wednesday - February 22, 2012

    Skyrim - Skyrim Map App

    by Dhruin, 08:32

    Thrasher points out an official (Prima Guides) Skyrim map app for iOS - the basic app is free but you need to pay extra to get much that's useful (US only, apparently).

    Tuesday - February 21, 2012

    Skyrim - Todd Howard Interview @ Game Informer

    by Aries100, 19:55

    Game Informer talked to Todd Howard at the Las Vegas DICE summit earlier this month. They've penned an article covering the bugs that have crept up since its release, whether the title remained true to its original vision, and the game's amazing success, and much more.

    A quote about the game's succes

    Game Informer: As far as sales goes, Skyrim is the best-selling game in Bethesda history. Is there something about the game from a design standpoint that made it more popular and mainstream? The Elder Scrolls series has been typically thought of as very hardcore RPGs.

    Todd Howard: The short answer is "I don’t know." I can give you my guess, which is people underestimate how many core gamers there are; people who want a lot of depth and will play a game for a long time. There are a lot of them. If you give them something unique and good, you don’t have to dumb it down.

    And a quote about branching out into other media....

    Do you ever think about exploring the rest of Skyrim’s world through other forms of media?

    I’d like to keep the content itself in the games. For example, if people like the dragon priests and what they do, then let’s maybe get that in some downloadable content. But I’d rather it be that avenue than a comic or something like that.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Monday - February 20, 2012

    Skyrim - 1.4.26 Beta Update

    by Dhruin, 20:45

    A new beta patch is available for Skyrim:

    Today on Steam we’ve uploaded a new Beta Update (1.4.26) highlighted by some tweaks modders have requested for the Skyrim Workshop.

    Reminder: This patch is still in development. Apply the update at your own risk and only if you are affected by issues outlines below.

    UPDATE 1.4.26

    LAUNCHER

    • Fixed issue with downloading mods when you are subscribed to more than 50 mods
    • Fixed crash when loading a subscribed mod that has been removed from Workshop by the author
    • Mod load order functionality

    BUG FIXES (PC only)

    • Fixed occasional crashes when loading a save that relies on plugins/master files that no longer exist
    • Fixed issue where controls would become unresponsive while charging an enchanted weapon
    • Fixed issue where controls would occasionally become unresponsive while switching from third to first person while using the Arcane Enchanter
    • Fixed issue where controls would become unresponsive if activating a crafting station with autorun active
    • Fixed issue where keyboard would fail if Rename Item was selected before choosing the number of charges, while using Arcane Enchanter
    • Fixed several issues with remapping buttons while using an Xbox 360 controller
    • Fixed issue where pressing Escape button after fast traveling but before the loading would cause certain menus to stop working properly

    Friday - February 17, 2012

    Skyrim - "DLC will feel more like expansion packs"

    by Dhruin, 23:57

    Todd Howard has re-stated Skyrim DLC will be more like expansion packs in an interview with Kotaku that also revealed regular smaller updates in between the larger DLC packs. A couple of snips:

    "For Fallout 3 we did five DLCs," Howard told me during an interview last week at the DICE Summit. "That was a very aggressive path for us. Our plan now is to take more time, to have more meat on them [for Skyrim]. They'll feel closer to an expansion pack." [...]

    "With Fallout 3, it was, 'Ten dollars is the sweet spot for us and we know we want to put out five of them. And we had overlapping teams. We were coming off Fallout 3 and right back in." He describes that development cycle as "a real hardcore loop," but adds, "we just think we can do better content if we approach it a different way."

    In between those expansions, Howard is committed to releasing smaller pieces of content for the game.

    "Because that gap is going to be bigger, we want to put litle things out for free in between. We've already done that for PC with the high-res pack. We're trying to figure out what those things are."

    Thanks, Thrasher!

    Thursday - February 16, 2012

    Skyrim - Motivation and Meaningless Choices @ Gameranx

    by Aries100, 00:59

    A rather interesting editorial dealing with this aspect in games can be found at Gameranx. 
    The author compares the choices and the rewards for those choices in Skyrim to those of Dragon Age 2. While Skyrim definetely offers players a lot of freedom, Dragon Age 2 offers better rewards - according to the author. As to which model gives players the better game, the author has this comment:

    That said, I’ll still take the cowardly road and give the unsatisfying answer: neither model definitively delivers a better experience. In Skyrim’s wintry tundra there is a playground of choice, a high fantasy dream for a player who with a strong desire to write their own narratives over the game’s central plots. However, choices without extrinsic rewards are generally ephemeral: I can recall the few yet major choices of my Hawke more readily than the hundreds of smaller choices of my Dragonborn. Each model carves its own memory: one of a series of dramatic events, and one of an unending world.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Tuesday - February 14, 2012

    Skyrim - Creation Kit Tutorial Videos

    by Dhruin, 23:05

    Episodes 6 and 7 of Bethsoft's Creation Kit Tutorial videos for Skyrim have been released, covering "how to place enemy actors in the world and design their patrols" and traps.

    Skyrim - Workshop Press Release

    by Dhruin, 22:17

    Bethsoft sent along this press release promoting the Skyrim Workshop and announcing Skyrim as the second highest grossing title of 2011:

    THE ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM® WORKSHOP LAUNCHES WITH OVER 2 MILLION MODS DOWNLOADED

     

    WORLDWIDE DEMAND CONTINUES FOR THE SECOND HIGHEST GROSSING TITLE OF 2011

     

    NEW HONORS FOR SKYRIM AS GAME IS NAMED ‘GAME OF THE YEAR’ 
    AT 2012 INTERACTIVE ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

    February 14, 2012 (Rockville, MD) – ZeniMax® Media Inc. today announced that the Creation Kit™, a free tool that allows PC players to create their own custom content for Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, has been enthusiastically received by PC gamers who have been uploading, downloading, and installing custom content through the Skyrim Workshop on Steam. Within a week of the release of the Creation Kit, gamers have downloaded more than 2 million mods via the Skyrim Workshop. More than 2,500 mods have been published by the gaming community, all of which are available for free. 

     

    Worldwide revenues generated by Skyrim have placed it among the industry's most successful titles, and demand for the title shows no signs of slowing. Measured by revenue, Skyrim was the second best selling game of 2011, and 2012 sales remain strong, with continuing digital downloads and large shipments of units to retail. Within the first month following its release in November, Bethesda Softworks® reported it had shipped over 10 million units of Skyrim across all platforms, representing approximately $650 million in retail sales, and those results have since increased substantially.  

     

    Data from Steam, the digital download service, reveal that the average number of hours that a gamer plays Skyrim exceeds 75 hours, underscoring fan devotion to the game. The PC version of Skyrim in North America outsold all other PC games by a factor of over three to one in the month of its release, and Skyrim is the fastest selling title in Steam's history.

     

    Console versions of Skyrim reveal equally strong fan demand. The Xbox 360 version of Skyrim outsold all Xbox 360 exclusive titles in 2011 in North America, and the PS3 version of Skyrim outsold all PS3 exclusive titles on that platform.  These strong commercial results match the high scores and widespread praise of critics that the game has received. 

     

    The critically-acclaimed title was most recently honored with the ‘Game of the Year’ award at the 15th Annual 2012 Interactive Achievement Awards (IAA) held at the 2012 D.I.C.E. Summit. Skyrim also received top honors  in the ‘Outstanding Achievement in Gameplay Engineering’, ‘Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction’, ‘Role-Playing Game of the Year’, and ‘Outstanding Achievement in Story’ categories. The IAA’s focus is on peer-based voting and its awards are considered to be among the highest honors of recognition in the interactive entertainment industry.  

     

    Skyrim had already garnered dozens of ‘Game of the Year’ awards from major outlets worldwide, including winning the top honor of ‘Game of the Year’ at the 2011 Video Game Awards which are voted on by a panel of editors from the industry’s most respected magazines and websites.  To date, Skyrim has received over 200 perfect review scores worldwide, earning the highest praise from some of the industry’s most influential critics including: Wall Street Journal, USA Today, G4TV, The New York Times, GameSpy, Wired, Eurogamer, Destructoid, GamePro, Official Xbox Magazine, Joystiq, The Guardian, Famitsu and GamesRadar. G4TV describes Skyrim as “one of the greatest games ever” and Eurogamer was one of many outlets to call it a “masterpiece.”

    Skyrim - Storytelling AI - future of Gaming?

    by Aries100, 14:13

    Gamespy has penned an editorial where they ask this question:  Is Skyrim's AI Storytelling the Future of Gaming? It looks into what could become the future storytelling in games, based on Bethesda's Radiant AI-system. A quote:

    Within the Radiant AI system, Bethesda's encoded the idea of a quest which the player can pick up at inns throughout the province. One of its formulae is: "{NPC} has been captured, and is being held at {Location}." Those variables are decided by the game on the fly. This would be an easy source of the infinite gameplay that Bethesda advertised, but Skyrim takes it a step further: To add meaning -- and perhaps drama -- the system determines which NPC should be captured by examining your character's history and picking an NPC that you've actually had a relationship with in the past. Maybe an old companion, or a shop owner you've sold surplus gear to. An NPC, that is, the player knows and might care about. Secondly, the system picks a nearby location that the player hasn't explored yet.

    Do you think Bethesda's Radiant AI system has a part  in future games?

    Source: GameBanshee

    Thursday - February 09, 2012

    Skyrim - "Game Jam" Video

    by Dhruin, 20:35

    Once Skyrim was finished, Bethsoft let the team spend a week working on anything they wanted and put it in the game - a creative process they call Game Jam. A video showing some off their ideas has been released, possibly hinting at future DLC or at least providing inspiration to the community.

    Seasonal foliage, stealth enhancements such as water arrows, dungeon enhancements like hanging structures, new follower commands, spell combining, mounted combat, dragon mounts, kinect shouts, snow footprints, a lycanthropy perk tree and more were all jammed.

    Thanks Holly Avenger and KapitanUnterhosen!

    Skyrim - "Millions" of PC Players

    by Dhruin, 11:31

    Todd Howard has given his DICE 2012 keynote speech, talking about the success of Skyrim. Joystiq has some interesting snippets:

    Of the "over ten million" players, Howard says that "many million" are playing the game on PC. Based on Steam statistics Bethesda has seen, "the average playtime is 75 hours," something Howard called "amazing." Our assumption is that there are a number of players worldwide who have yet to power down their machines since the game's November 11, 2011 launch.

    Tuesday - February 07, 2012

    Skyrim - Creation Kit and High Res Pack Texture Released

    by Aries100, 21:08

    Bethesda today released the Creation Kit via Steam. An excerpt:

    Now you can easily discover, rate, and download Skyrim mods directly through Steam. The Steam Workshop makes it easy to browse the most popular, newest or highest-rated mods of all time, as well as searching for specific content via tags such as “Armor”, “Quests”, “Dungeons”, and more. You can even see what your friends have added to their favorites. Once you’ve found something awesome, click the “Subscribe” button. Be sure to check the mod description for any special instructions, such as which NPC starts a quest, or how to acquire new items. The next time you play Skyrim, the launcher will automatically install the latest version of any subscribed mods and configure Skyrim to run them.

    They've also released the High Resolution Texture Pack via Steam.
    A sample from the announcement:

    Experience The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim as you’ve never seen it before with the Skyrim High-Resolution Texture Pack. Make sure your system requirements exceed Skyrim’s recommended specs before attempting to install, including Windows Vista or 7 operating system, a minimum of 4GB of system RAM and a DirectX 9.0c compatible NVIDIA or AMD ATI video card with at least 1 GB of RAM and the latest drivers.

    A tutorial on how to make mods and upload them on the Steam Workshop for this game can be found at the Beth blog.  A sample:

    The difficult part, of course, is creating your mod. To get started modding, install the Creation Kit — free through Steam to all Skyrim owners — from the Tools section of your Steam Library. The Creation Kit is a powerful and sometimes daunting tool, but the community wiki at www.CreationKit.com is a resource for modders of all skill levels, even the total beginner. When you’re ready to share your work with the world, simply choose “Upload plugin and archive to Steam” from the File menu within the Creation Kit. Here you’ll be prompted to choose a name for your mod, as well as any description, content tags and thumbnails. The Creation Kit will notify you once the mod has successfully been uploaded to Steam.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Monday - February 06, 2012

    Skyrim - Why Winter isn't Coming in Skyrim @ Gameranx

    by Aries100, 21:08

    Gameranx's Brendan Keogh has written an opinion piece about why winter hasn't really come to Skyrim. A sample:

    “But Brendan!” I hear you cry. “What about all the snow?”

    Sure. There’s snow. There’s a lot of snow. And ice. And blizzards. And it all looks marvelous and majestic. My problem is how all the snow and ice and blizzards affect the people. Or, rather, how they do not. Nobody seems to feel cold, and that is my problem. What is lacking is any kind of reaction to the weather. No one in all of Skyrim seems to think the weather harsh. No one dresses for it. Hardly anyone comments on it. Bethesda has put in visual elements to show me it is cold (look at all the snow!) but as none of them seem to affect anyone, it hardly matters. I am not convinced that anyone in all of Skyrim actually feels cold.

    In other Skyrim news IGN has penned an editorial which deals with how Bethesda could expand the game. Titled Seven Ways to Expand Skyrim, it can be read here and here's an excerpt about crafting:

    For the Crafters

    You can make armor and weapons in Skyrim, improve their stats and, if you're into Enchanting, apply magical properties. But there's always room for more. Crafted spells, for instance, could make a return, though perhaps in a way that doesn't completely break the game. An ability to apply custom color schemes to armor might be interesting for the console crowd without access to mods, or might infuriate the artists that spent weeks or months fine tuning every bronze plate of the Dwarven set. Bethesda could also incorporate another role-playing game staple – socketing – so something more interesting can finally be done with that colossal stack of Amethyst.

     

    Saturday - February 04, 2012

    Skyrim - Creation Kit Tuesday

    by Dhruin, 22:30

    Pete Hines has tweeted the Skyrim Creation Kit is on track for release on Tuesday - plus there's a "surprise with it" it:

    For our Skyrim PC fans, the Creation Kit is on track for release on Tuesday. And, we also have a special surprise with it. #whatcoulditbe!?

    Source: Joystiq

    Wednesday - February 01, 2012

    Skyrim - 1.4 Released, Creation Kit Video and More

    by Dhruin, 22:39

    The Bethblog has news that Skyrim 1.4 has been officially released on Steam and will be sent out for consoles soon:

    Today we’ve taken Skyrim’s 1.4 update out of beta and made it available for everyone on Steam. In addition to bug and quest fixes, 1.4 adds launcher support for the Skyrim Workshop. Currently we’re putting the final touches on the Creation Kit and Skyrim Workshop and will let everyone know as soon as they’re up.

    As an update to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 users, we’re submitting 1.4 to the console manufacturers this week. When these updates are available, we’ll let everyone know.

    The big news is the first video of the Creation Kit and Steam Workshop. Hit the link to go to the Bethblog to watch the video and here's a snip from the accompanying blurb:

    The Creation Kit and Skyrim Workshop (mods.elderscrolls.com) are nearly here! To get PC players ready for its release, watch our preview video and check out a new diary from Production Director Ashley Cheng.

    Here’s Ash…

    With each game we release — Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout 3, and now Skyrim — modders continue to use our worlds as a canvas to build the most incredibly creative and fun mods in gaming. The fact that Morrowind’s modding community is still going strong 10 years after its release is a testament to how essential our community is to the success of our games.

    We’re big believers that if we go the extra mile and make our games as moddable as possible, the game will only be better for it. So the gameplay of “do whatever you want” extends to “make the game do whatever you want.” As we were building Skyrim and its tools, we made it a goal to try and keep the transition from our previous titles to Skyrim as smooth as possible for modders. More importantly, we want to make it easier for more people to enjoy mods. So we teamed up with Valve and created the Skyrim Workshop. We couldn’t be more pleased with how it’s turning out. Mods are a big part of what makes our games special, so we urge everyone to try it out. We’re going to keep looking for ways to get mods to more people, and hopefully one day to our console audience.

    With Skyrim Workshop, you can browse and search for the latest or highest rated mods, subscribe to any that interest you, rate your favorites and post feedback. Once you’ve subscribed to some mods, start the Skyrim launcher and you’ll see your subscribed mods automatically download. The launcher will even check if a mod has been updated and grab the latest version.

    If you want to try making mods (and we think everybody should), the Creation Kit will be a free download via Steam under Tools. The Creation Kit has lots of new features, including the ability to build archives. Plus you’ll want to check out the Creation Kit Wiki, our online documentation and help file, for more details.

    Of course, you’ll still be able to use popular fan-hosted mod sites like Skyrim Nexus to find great mods to play. We did not change any functionality to exclude the way mods worked previously. We even added a few features to help out — for instance, custom INI files can now be packaged into mods so you don’t need to backup your INI files anymore.

    In other random Skyrim tidbits, Jeff Vogel has Many Thoughts on Skyrim, CVG wonders if the DLC will ever top Shivering Isles and Forbes says RPGs face stiff competition in the age of Skyrim.

    Monday - January 30, 2012

    Skyrim - Beta Patch 1.4.2.1, Creation Kit Soon

    by Dhruin, 21:19

    News from the Bethblog of a minor update to the Skyrim 1.4 beta - the final version should be released this week and the Creation Kit "won’t be far behind":

    Update 1/30: A third beta update (1.4.21) is now available on Steam. The update features one new change:

    • Fixed bug related to hitching between cell boundaries.

    We really appreciate the feedback from our Steam Beta. We anticipate the 1.4 update going live this week for all on the PC and being sent to the console manufacturers. The Creation Kit won’t be far behind.

    Skyrim - Review @ Gamers Daily News

    by Aries100, 19:38

    Jeff Lindsey from Gamers Daily news has penned a review from this game.   The review titled "A different look at Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" and can be found here.  The score is 9/10 and here's a sample:

    I have spent many hours just sneaking around town stealing items for no reason other than to quench the thirst of kleptomania. On more than one occasion this caused me to be pursued by a shop keep or homeowner. One such instance had an invincible shop keep chasing me for about 45 minutes. Sure, I could have let him kill me or went to jail, but as I said, you can do anything and I wanted to enjoy the chase.

    Skyrim, though immersive and full of choices, does not carry consequences for your actions. Rather it resembles a “Choose-your-own-Adventure” book. In the books, you would be given a decision like, “Terrorists have hijacked your school bus. To wait for an opportunity to escape turn to page 42, to jump off the bus now turn to page 68.” When you turn to page 68 and the book says “The bus is going too fast and your body is splattered on the asphalt,” you immediately claim that you didn’t choose that and turn to the other option. Likewise in Skyrim, I found myself saving the game before every major decision and restoring that savegame if things didn’t go my way. In doing so, you never really face any consequences for your actions.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Friday - January 27, 2012

    Skyrim - Beta Patch 1.4.20

    by Dhruin, 21:13

    This news is a day or two old but I'm just catching up. If you've opted in to the new Steam beta patches for Skyrim, a minor update has been released:

    Update 1/26: A new version of the Beta Update (1.4.20) is now live on Steam. It addresses the following:

    • Fixed occasional audio issue that would play sound effects louder than intended
    • Master Criminal achievement/trophy unlocks properly in French, German, Spanish and Italian
    • Fixed issue where dragon priest masks would not render correctly
    • Fixed issue where player would be unable to become Thane of Riften if they purchased a home first

    Tuesday - January 24, 2012

    Skyrim - Beta patch 1.4. on Steam

    by Garrett, 07:55

    A new entry on Bethblog mentions that the long awaited patch 1.4 for Skyrim has been released as beta on Steam. Head over to learn how to activate the beta patch - on your own risk of course....

    Monday - January 23, 2012

    Skyrim - Dovahzaan Mod Interview @ RPG Italia

    by Dhruin, 20:56

    I hadn't actually heard of this before RPG Italia wrote to us but the setup is interesting - Atomic Cafe is a group of industry professionals working on a Skyrim mod titled Dohahzaan. RPG Italia has an interview and I'll start with the mod group because of the unusual circumstances:

    Johnnie Estill: First, a little bit about who I am and what The ATOMIC Café is:

    I’m a game designer and artist with 11 years of professional experience in the video game industry. The ATOMIC Cafe is a team of video game professionals that include artists, designers, sound engineers, writers and professional voice actors that are dedicated to making Great Mods for Great games.

     

    The ATOMIC  Café consists of professional game developers that have worked and or are working, in the video game industry and film for such companies as Blizzard Entertainment, Double Helix Games, id Software, inXile Entertainment, LucasArts, EA Games, Weta Digital, Sony Pictures and Activision. We are also dedicated Elder Scrolls fans that are combining our talents and experience in the video game industry to make a major add-on quest to TESV: SKYRIM based on the Lore of The Elder Scrolls. I’m  always being asked “How can you possibly be creating a mod when the game hasn’t even come out yet?”
    Because one thing that I have learned in my many years of working and in teaching college in and for the video game industry, you have to have a significant amount of time to do post production. This includes concept art, story, dialog…etc. Dovahzaan (Dragon Shout). Is a game mod by The ATOMIC Cafe that is currently in pre-production.

     

    The ATOMIC  Café consists of professional game developers that have worked and or are working, in the video game industry and film for such companies as Blizzard Entertainment, Double Helix Games, id Software, inXile Entertainment, LucasArts, EA Games, Weta Digital, Sony Pictures and Activision. We are also dedicated Elder Scrolls fans that are combining our talents and experience in the video game industry to make a major add-on quest to TESV: SKYRIM based on the Lore of The Elder Scrolls. I’m  always being asked “How can you possibly be creating a mod when the game hasn’t even come out yet?”
    Because one thing that I have learned in my many years of working and in teaching college in and for the video game industry, you have to have a significant amount of time to do post production. This includes concept art, story, dialog…etc. Dovahzaan (Dragon Shout). Is a game mod by The ATOMIC Cafe that is currently in pre-production.

     

    The ATOMIC  Café consists of professional game developers that have worked and or are working, in the video game industry and film for such companies as Blizzard Entertainment, Double Helix Games, id Software, inXile Entertainment, LucasArts, EA Games, Weta Digital, Sony Pictures and Activision. We are also dedicated Elder Scrolls fans that are combining our talents and experience in the video game industry to make a major add-on quest to TESV: SKYRIM based on the Lore of The Elder Scrolls. I’m  always being asked “How can you possibly be creating a mod when the game hasn’t even come out yet?”
    Because one thing that I have learned in my many years of working and in teaching college in and for the video game industry, you have to have a significant amount of time to do post production. This includes concept art, story, dialog…etc. Dovahzaan (Dragon Shout). Is a game mod by The ATOMIC Cafe that is currently in pre-production.

     

    The ATOMIC  Café consists of professional game developers that have worked and or are working, in the video game industry and film for such companies as Blizzard Entertainment, Double Helix Games, id Software, inXile Entertainment, LucasArts, EA Games, Weta Digital, Sony Pictures and Activision. We are also dedicated Elder Scrolls fans that are combining our talents and experience in the video game industry to make a major add-on quest to TESV: SKYRIM based on the Lore of The Elder Scrolls. I’m  always being asked “How can you possibly be creating a mod when the game hasn’t even come out yet?”
    Because one thing that I have learned in my many years of working and in teaching college in and for the video game industry, you have to have a significant amount of time to do post production. This includes concept art, story, dialog…etc. Dovahzaan (Dragon Shout). Is a game mod by The ATOMIC Cafe that is currently in pre-production.

     

    The ATOMIC  Café consists of professional game developers that have worked and or are working, in the video game industry and film for such companies as Blizzard Entertainment, Double Helix Games, id Software, inXile Entertainment, LucasArts, EA Games, Weta Digital, Sony Pictures and Activision. We are also dedicated Elder Scrolls fans that are combining our talents and experience in the video game industry to make a major add-on quest to TESV: SKYRIM based on the Lore of The Elder Scrolls. I’m  always being asked “How can you possibly be creating a mod when the game hasn’t even come out yet?”
    Because one thing that I have learned in my many years of working and in teaching college in and for the video game industry, you have to have a significant amount of time to do post production. This includes concept art, story, dialog…etc. Dovahzaan (Dragon Shout). Is a game mod by The ATOMIC Cafe that is currently in pre-production.

    The ATOMIC  Café consists of professional game developers that have worked and or are working, in the video game industry and film for such companies as Blizzard Entertainment, Double Helix Games, id Software, inXile Entertainment, LucasArts, EA Games, Weta Digital, Sony Pictures and Activision. We are also dedicated Elder Scrolls fans that are combining our talents and experience in the video game industry to make a major add-on quest to TESV: SKYRIM based on the Lore of The Elder Scrolls. I’m  always being asked “How can you possibly be creating a mod when the game hasn’t even come out yet?”

    Because one thing that I have learned in my many years of working and in teaching college in and for the video game industry, you have to have a significant amount of time to do post production. This includes concept art, story, dialog…etc. Dovahzaan (Dragon Shout). Is a game mod by The ATOMIC Cafe that is currently in pre-production.

     

    Skyrim Italia: How many people are working on this project?

    Skyrim Italia: How many people are working on this project?

    Johnnie Estill: At this point, I have 22 people that are actively working on Project Dovahzaan. This includes artists, designers, programmers and testers. Everyone on the team have been selected by me and are masters in their fields. Each one of them are personal friends of mine and are all working professionals in the video game industry.

    There are also an additional 12 talented people that have been brought onto the project as voice actors and music composers. All of which are professionals and are also friends of mine from the game industry.

     

     

    Johnnie Estill: First, a little bit about who I am and what The ATOMIC Café is:

    I’m a game designer and artist with 11 years of professional experience in the video game industry. The ATOMIC Cafe is a team of video game professionals that include artists, designers, sound engineers, writers and professional voice actors that are dedicated to making Great Mods for Great games.

    Johnnie Estill: First, a little bit about who I am and what The ATOMIC Café is:

    I’m a game designer and artist with 11 years of professional experience in the video game industry. The ATOMIC Cafe is a team of video game professionals that include artists, designers, sound engineers, writers and professional voice actors that are dedicated to making Great Mods for Great games.

    Johnnie Estill: First, a little bit about who I am and what The ATOMIC Café is:

    I’m a game designer and artist with 11 years of professional experience in the video game industry. The ATOMIC Cafe is a team of video game professionals that include artists, designers, sound engineers, writers and professional voice actors that are dedicated to making Great Mods for Great games.

    Thursday - January 19, 2012

    Skyrim - Creation Kit Update, v1.4 Patch Notes

    by Dhruin, 21:07

    There's an update on the Bethblog saying the Skyrim Creation Kit and Steam Workshop are almost ready, along with the patch notes for v1.4, which offers a raft of fixes. An excerpt:

    It’s been a few weeks since our last update on Skyrim’s status, so we wanted to share details on what we’re working on.

    The Creation Kit and Steam Workshop are nearly ready. We’re currently working with members of Valve and our modding community to do some final testing, and we’re on track for a public release near the end of the month. We think Skyrim modding is one of the game’s best features, and we have the best modders of any game. It’s been a lot of exciting work for us, and we can’t wait to unleash it.

    Skyrim’s 1.4 update is currently undergoing testing on all three platforms. The update will include fixes and optimizations for the most common issues people have been reporting (see below). We’re hoping to finalize this next week, and submit it to the console manufacturers for certification, as well as release on PC.

    Our current update plan for the PC is to first release our updates as “beta” versions through Steam. This is something you’ll be able to opt into through Steam and back-out of if needed. This is an extra safety check for everyone going forward and should expedite and improve our updating process for our PC users. We’ll have more info soon on how this will work.

    Echoing what we said back in December, we’ll continue to look into issues that are being reported and subsequent updates will follow. You have all supported Skyrim in a huge way, and we’ll be supporting all of you, and continue to make the game better.

    After the break, check out the current changelog for 1.4.

    Wednesday - January 11, 2012

    Skyrim - PS3 Issues to be addressed with v1.4

    by Dhruin, 00:54

    I'll collect a few very minor Skyrim tidbits here, starting with the news that the PS3 "issues" will be addressed with Update 1.4. Via VG247, here's a Bethsoft tweet:

    @denisvj we're addressing that in the 1.4 update planned for this month

    Moving on, Todd Howard will be a keynote speaker at D.I.C.E. 2012 and there's a livestream based on nVidia's tweak guide.

    Sunday - January 08, 2012

    Skyrim - On compass and journal and the road to nowhere

    by Aries100, 17:24

    GameRanx has written an editorial about the compass and journal in Skyrim.  They find that they affect how the player's play the game in a negative way. Here are two snips - the first one about the compass: (spoiler alert - so read your own risk).

    This has a moral element. Or rather, it has an amoral element. Skyrim's arrow will force you to be an asshole. This is most apparent when you go to Riften, the town in the far southeast of Skyrim where the Thieves' Guild is headquartered. The first quest that points you to Riften will probably occur if you pick an “unusual gem”, possibly in the temple crypts of the first major city you visit. Picking the unusual gem up immediately triggers a quest to find an appraiser. That appraiser – the only appraiser in the entirety of the province of Skyrim, apparently – lives in Riften. So, heading there and asking questions of the right people (whom you can distinguish because of, yes, the magical arrow pointing at them) leads to the quest to join the Thieves' Guild. Which involves framing someone for a theft that sends them to prison, and then extorting a bunch of local merchants for protection money.

    And the second one about the journal:

    The culprit is the journal system. When you are assigned a quest, it's added to your journal automatically. If it is set as active, an arrow is added to the map, as well as adding an arrow to the compass, both of which tell you exactly where it is. You activate the quest by selecting it from the journal. The journal is unspecific. Its words provide you with the bare minimum of information needed to know what the quest is, and not how or where to accomplish the quest.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Saturday - January 07, 2012

    Skyrim - What I Hate Most

    by Dhruin, 01:14

    The CRPG Addict writes about What I Hate Most about Skyrim, with a full (and presumably positive based on other comments) review due soon. Unkillable NPCs and un-refusable quests top his list:

    The kind of hand-holding evidenced by un-killable NPCs and un-droppable items drives me mad. Morrowind had neither of these "features" and did fine. If you killed someone that broke the main quest, you got a warning, but otherwise you could backstab anyone that offended your sense of morality. Even Oblivion, though it had a few un-killable NPCs, just told you that the quest was over because some key person had died. It didn't try to protect everyone in the game who might some day give you 150 gold pieces. (My favorite approach was in Baldur's Gate, where if you killed a crucial NPC, he'd be replaced in all his future scenes by "Biff the Understudy.") On my current Skyrim playthrough, I got so mad at the citizens of Markarth that I decided to kill every one of them (I partly justified it because I was a vampire at the time) and found that half of them just wouldn't perish, no matter how long I stood over them, swinging my blade, screaming "Why...won't...you...die?!"

    Monday - January 02, 2012

    Skyrim - Thieves Guild #5 @ Twenty Sided

    by Dhruin, 21:52

    I actually thought this was complete when I originally posted it but Twenty Sided's Shamus Young has a fifth part to his dissection of the Thieves Guild in Skyrim. No quote because I already got spoiled just getting the link.

    Saturday - December 31, 2011

    Skyrim - On Skyrim's NPC and On Gaming's Old School and Legend

    by Aries100, 17:20

    Two more newsbits for this game has surfaced. The first one is Positech's Cliff "Cliffski"Harris who looks at the NPCs in Skyrim, the second one is an editorial at GamaSutra who longs for how the TES game used to be in the 1980s and 1990's and thinks that Skyrim brings some of that old school feeling back.

    As usual, some excerpts, beginning with Cliff "Cliffski" Harris from Positech:

    It’s voice acting isn’t it? Lets be honest. We cannot afford to have 500 different lines fo dialog for that character, because the assumption is that all games need to be ‘fully voiced’. This is CRIPPLING to AI. I bet the AI coders on skyrim grind their teeth like maniacs, knowing that the simplest and cheapest text adventures can have twenty times more immersive character interaction that the trillion dollar AAA hit game skyrim.

    Second and last, we end with the opinion piece from Gamasutra:

    More than one of my gamer friends has told me about entirely inventing imagined endings for games they could tell others about, just to propagate legends and make others believe they'd achieved something no one else had. The enormously complex culture of myths and secrets that was part of the experience of being a gamer when we were young just doesn't exist anymore. But with Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, gamers seem to be getting a little of that cult storytelling back. Indeed, I've a hunch that therein lies much of the game's appeal: Skyrim certainly isn't successful because of its degree of polish, its cohesion or even its originality (I see it having none of the above in notable quantity).

    Skyrim - Review @ GameBanshee

    by Dhruin, 08:21

    GameBanshee's Steven Carter has penned a reasonably critical review of Skyrim (though he acknowledges some personal preferences that set him at odds to Bethesda's approach) after 100 hours of play. A sample:

    Unfortunately, the quests in the game have two major problems. First, they have almost no impact on the world. No matter what you do or don't do, nothing much will change. This is most noticeable during Skyrim's civil war, where the Imperials want the status quo and the Stormcloaks want more religious freedom. You can pick a side and end the conflict violently, but afterwards you might not be able to tell the difference. Worse, during the war itself, you're allowed to walk right up to the enemy faction leader and talk to him, and not only will nobody think to stop you, the leader will calmly exchange pleasantries with you, even if you've been cutting down all of the soldiers in his army. Other than some random comments here and there, the game just doesn't notice what you've done. 

    Thursday - December 29, 2011

    Skyrim - Thieves Guild and More

    by Dhruin, 01:08

    I'm posting this primarily for Twenty Sided's examination of the Thieves Guild quest line in Skyrim but I'll tack a couple of other things at the end.

    Shamus Young has a critical three-part look at the writing and structure of the Thieves Guild quest line in Skyrim (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), finding it poorly designed and executed. I'd argue he misses the point on a couple of things but, overall, the first piece notes a number of obvious inconsistencies. I havent read the others (haven't finished the quest line) and obviously, massive spoilers apply: this pulls apart the quest line, so you need to have finished it:

    The Thieves Guild is not the worst bit of writing in Skyrim. (I think I’d give that honor to the quest in Markarth where you have to deal with the Forsworn.) But I don’t want you to think I’m cherry-picking some halfhearted sidequest. This is a major part of Skyrim and a lot of environments, characters, and cutscenes are dedicated it This is a shame, because the Thieves Guild questline is a mess. It’s unnecessarily terrible, failing at multiple levels and attempting things that aren’t even needed. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning…

    In other Skyrim news, Jay 'Rampant Coyote' Barnson recently started playing the game and, for any Italian readers, La Maschera Riposta let us know they have their review up.

    Finally, IGN has an article on what a "Legendary" sample of developers are playing and Skyrim comes up an awful lot.

    Saturday - December 24, 2011

    Skyrim - Acceleration Layer Mod

    by Dhruin, 22:34

    I held off posting about this because early reports indicated this mod affected scripting for some players but it seems that was fixed early and all indications are this is the real deal. Arisu's TESV Acceleration Layer mod reportedly provides up to 40% framerate increases in CPU-bound situations (note: this doesn't mean everywhere!). Word across a number of forums is positive, such as Rock, Paper, Shotgun (excluding the early scripting issues). Here's the description:

    It works mostly by rewriting some x87 FPU code and inlining a whole ton of useless getter functions along the critical paths because the developers at Bethesda, for some reason, compiled the game without using any of the optimization flags for release builds.This patch will improve your frame rate by up to 40% in all CPU-dependent situations, i.e. especially in cities.

    Thanks to yllaettaevaet on our forums.

    Wednesday - December 21, 2011

    Skyrim - LAA Patch Released

    by Dhruin, 07:48

    Bethsoft has released the official Large Address Aware (LAA) patch for Skyrim. As usual, there's an automatic update on Steam and here are the simple notes from the official forums:

    An incremental update, 1.3.10, is now up on Steam that adds the following:

    • Support for 4-Gigabyte Tuning (Large Address Aware)
    • Fixed issue with accented characters not displaying properly at the end of a line

    In other Skyrim news, Thrasher writes that it has won GameSpot's Game of the Year (and, not surprisingly, RPG of the Year) and LazyAssGamer sends in Why I Love Some of Skyrim's Bugs.

    Monday - December 19, 2011

    Skyrim - SkyUI Mod

    by Dhruin, 08:15

    Understandably, Skyrim UI mods are going to be popular, so this one might be worth a look. SkyUI offers the following, with the Inventory currently done:

    The following sections give an overview of what's included so far, as well as what we plan to address next.Since improving the whole UI is a big undertaking, we release one menu at a time as we make progress.

    • Blending features in as good as possible - players shouldn't feel reminded that they're using a mod.
    • Great customization support by using a separate configuration file.
    • Easy installation and setup by providing a user-friendly installer with the Nexus Mod Manager.
    • Finding a good balance between 'dumbed down' and 'information overkill'.


    Further general objectives and design concepts are:
    It is not our goal to re-create the complete interface from scratch. Instead we try to identify and change areas that need improvement, while leaving the things that are already good alone.

    We do all that while keeping true to the style of the original UI, so new and old components are integrated seamlessly.

    SkyUI is mod that aims to improve Skyrim's User Interface by making it easier to use with mouse and keyboard, less wasteful of available screen space and nicer to look at.

    Source: Blues News

    Friday - December 16, 2011

    Skyrim - 10M Shipped

    by Dhruin, 11:12

    Bethsoft sent us the following press release, announcing 10M copies of Skyrim shipped, as well as the "fastest selling game in Steam's history". Here's most of the lengthy announcement:

    10 MILLION COPIES OF ‘GAME OF THE YEAR’ WINNER

    THE ELDER SCROLLS® V: SKYRIM™ SHIPPED

     

    Sales and Numerous ‘Game of the Year’ Awards Underscore Worldwide Popularity


    December 15, 2011 (Rockville, MD) – ZeniMax® Media Inc. today announced that 10 million units of Bethesda Softworks’® The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim have been shipped for the Xbox 360® video game entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, and PC, representing approximately $650 million in retail sales since its release on November 11. The PC version of Skyrim in North America outsold all other PC games by a factor of over three to one in the month of its release. Large retail reorders across all platforms and record-breaking digital sales reflect the ongoing global demand by consumers excited to explore this extraordinary fantasy epic.

    Bethesda Softworks’® Skyrim has already garnered over two dozen ‘Game of the Year’ awards from major outlets worldwide, including winning the top honor of Game of the Year at the 2011 Video Game Awards which are voted on by a panel of editors from the industry’s most respected magazines and websites. In addition, Skyrim has received ‘Game of the Year’ awards from numerous other game critics, which, to date include such respected media outlets as G4TV, Official Xbox Magazine and Machinima.com. Skyrim was named ‘Most -Played Game of 2011’ by Raptr, based on research data which confirms its highly popular gameplay experience. 

    “We are gratified that Skyrim continues to garner high review scores and accolades around the world,” said Robert Altman, Chairman and CEO of ZeniMax Media. “We are most grateful to our fans for their support and enthusiasm for the game, and their love of the hundreds of hours of gameplay it offers. We continue to strive to deliver the highest quality entertainment experience for everyone. 2012 will be another huge year for our fans, with the release of the Creation Kit, as well as exciting DLC which will add to the richness of this epic adventure."

    Skyrim is the fastest selling title in Steam's history” said Jason Holtman, Director of Business Development at Valve Corporation. “Bethesda’s commitment to and understanding of the PC as a gaming platform shows in the great review scores, spectacular launch, and continued high player numbers that Skyrim has received.  We are delighted that Bethesda chose to use Steamworks to support Skyrim both at retail and digitally.”

    Thursday - December 15, 2011

    Skyrim - 1.3 Released on X360

    by Dhruin, 20:31

    If you're an X360 user of Skyrim and have been waiting for v1.3 to fix your backwards flying dragons, Eurogamer reports the update is now available.

    Monday - December 12, 2011

    Skyrim - On DLC @ Eurogamer

    by Dhruin, 20:19

    Eurogamer has a short grab from Todd Howard on DLC, speaking with him at the Spike Video Game Awards after Skyrim won Game of the Year:

    Howard couldn't yet share plans for DLC, but he says it will be focused on "ways to make the game better, not just have more, because the game is so big. So we're going through ideas right now, and processing everything people are doing in the game, and trying to think of ways that we can improve it." There will be multiple releases (as with Bethesda's past games), but Howard says they "don't have a timetable. They won't be quick, and they'll have a lot of meat on them."

    Thursday - December 08, 2011

    Skyrim - Miscellaneous Roundup

    by Dhruin, 21:03

    Some miscellaneous Skyrim odds and ends.

    Over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun is Hey Bethesda, Could You Fix Skyrim?, with their wish-list of fixes and improvements. I can't say they are all on my list but some of them are spot-on:

    Clearly so many of the quests need tidying up. This cannot and should not be left to industrious modders, because that’s just plain rude. They should, for instance, have endings. And perhaps beginnings. Alec had an impressive moment when he was able to pickpocket a letter addressed to him, his name at the top, due to be given to him upon completing a quest. A quest he hadn’t yet been offered. It would also help if essential quest items could appear in people’s pockets before they’ve died – that’s an oh-so confusing thing. Do they shit out the key in their dying moments?

    The Raptr service folks have used their tracking data to announce the Most Played Game of 2011. According to their data, Skyrim wiped the floor. Looking at the RPG category, Skyrim was played 6x more than Dragon Age 2, apparently. Details via VG247.

    NVidia has released their own Tweak Guide. I haven't played with it but you'd assume nVidia should be able to give you some good tips (especially if you use one of their cards).

    Lastly, Jeff Vogel blogs about his frustration with weight limits:

    But, like all RPGs Bethesda makes, you spend sooooo much time sorting through items. Looting the dungeons takes ten times longer than killing the monsters within. And you can only carry so many pounds of treasure. So every item you find requires tiresome "Is this hide shield worth enough money to justify the weight. OK. It weighs eight pounds and is worth 20 coins, or 2.5 coins per pound, so that is an efficient piece of treasure to pick up and ... AHHHH. MY BRAINS!!!!!" And then you pick up one suit of armor too many and you have to drop two pounds of stuff so you go through your pack to find something top drop and ...

    Does anyone ever find this fun?

    Wednesday - December 07, 2011

    Skyrim - Telling Tales: Skyrim and Dark Souls

    by Dhruin, 22:48

    Eurogamer has a piece that contrasts the story-telling methods in Skyrim and Dark Souls. The upshot is author Rich Stanton considers the Skyrim methods "stale", "banal" and have "little narrative sophistication":

    It's a stale template, a thought that solidified as I picked up and threw down book after book without reading any just to see if I'd bag a skill point. Such an undercooked attempt at incentivising suggests Bethesda's designers weren't quite sure what to do about all these tomes either. It's not that the books are terribly written - some are, some aren't - but that they're a symptom of Skyrim's biggest narrative flaw. The banal attention to detail in its world building is boring. This is a universe that's constantly being fleshed-out, and one where I skip nearly every conversation.

    But perhaps you don't - and are doubtless salivating at the prospect of reading Waughin Jarth's A Dance in Fire (Chapter 4). The problem is that Skyrim is a videogame, and when it's in narrative mode it stops being one. This passive delivery is the rock on which Skyrim's lore founders - flicking through virtual pages or skipping through conversations counts as interaction, just, but it's of a rather dull variety.  

    Skyrim - v1.3 Released for PC

    by Dhruin, 22:40

    Bethsoft has released v1.3 for Skyrim on Steam. Once again, a modest list but it seems the patches will keep flowing, with an official LAA patch promised for next week:

    Update 1.3 Notes (all platforms unless specified)

    • General stability improvements
    • Optimize performance for Core 2 Duo CPUs (PC)
    • Fixed Radiant Story incorrectly filling certain roles
    • Fixed magic resistances not calculating properly
    • Fixed issue with placing books on bookshelves inside player purchased homes
    • Fixed dragon animation issues with saving and loading
    • Fixed Y-look input to scale correctly with framerate

    We’re also planning on rolling out support for 4-Gigabyte Tuning (Large Address Aware) next week for our PC users. Stay tuned!

    Console users will get updated in due course.

    On a side note, Bethsoft has denied the PS3 issues are caused by the engine design as raised by Josh Sawyer and offers some suggested fixes, including turning off auto-saves, waiting 30 days in-game and buying a new hard drive (thanks, CVG).

    Tuesday - December 06, 2011

    Skyrim - What We're Working On - Updated

    by Dhruin, 22:54

    Bethsoft has updated their recent What We're Working On post on the Bethblog, responding specifically to criticism of the PS3 version. The takeaway for most of us is v1.3  is "in final testing":

    Updated 12/6: While the 1.2 update fixed the long-term play issues for most PS3 users, we are aware that is not the case for some. We’ve been reaching out to a number of those users to collect save games, so we can take a look at their specific issues. Right now we know it’s not one thing, but a combination of smaller ones that some folks are seeing, but others are not. Some seem to be the PS3 autosaving in the background (you can turn that off), some may be SPU AI updates, and some may relate to dynamic system memory allocation. These fixes are not in the current 1.3 update that is in final testing, but will be in future ones. We understand how frustrating it can be when your game is having issues, and we thank all of you for your continued feedback and patience. Rest assured we take your gameplay experience seriously and will continue working on this until it’s resolved.

    On the PS3 "lag" issue, Josh Sawyer recently made some comments that this was related to the engine design Obsidian observed when making Fallout: New Vegas. Eurogamer explores his comments here.

    Friday - December 02, 2011

    Skyrim - What We're Working On

    by Dhruin, 08:56

    Bethsoft has posted an update on the Bethblog titled Skyrim - what we're working on. The article explains the Creation Kit should be released in January, more updates are planned with a faster turnaround - particularly for the PC - and you will be able to use Steam Workshop to manage mods. Some snips on each bit:

    Creation Kit  — Beginning in January, PC players will be able to download for free the same development tools we used at Bethesda Game Studios to create Skyrim. In tandem with the Creation Kit’s release, we will roll out a new Wiki and videos to help you get started. It also features something we think you’re going to love…

    Steam Workshop – We’re excited to share news that we’ve been working closely with Valve to integrate Steam Workshop into the Creation Kit. Using the Workshop, you’ll have free user content with the push of a button. The Creation Kit will bundle your mod and upload it to the Workshop, where everyone can browse, rate, and flag mods for download. You’ll be able to do this from any web device, including your smartphone. Like a live Netflix queue, when you fire up Skyrim, mods you flagged will be automatically downloaded and installed. Everyone here is really excited about the opportunities and possibilities this opens up for our entire community.

    Prefer to use existing modding sites? Not a problem. You’ll still be able to upload/share/access Skyrim mods on fan-created mod sites.

    Continued Game Updates – This week we released update 1.2 across all platforms, and we’ll be releasing an incremental update next week. We anticipate it will be up on PC first, and then hit PS3 and Xbox 360 later in the week. Among other things, the update will fix issues like magic resistance not calculating properly and the rare, amazing backwards flying dragon. Once the update is released, we’ll share the full release notes.

    After the holidays, we’ll continue to release regular updates for the game — through full title updates, as well as incremental “gameplay updates” to fix whatever issues come up along with rebalancing portions of the game for difficulty or exploits. We plan on having a lot of these, not just a few. Overall, you should expect updates to be hitting the PC and Steam earlier and more often, as that’s a process we control. Console updates will follow, as they must be certified and processed by those manufacturers. [...]

    Thanks Bethsoft and jhwisner for the news.

    Tuesday - November 29, 2011

    Skyrim - Five Lessons for Fallout 4

    by Dhruin, 19:59

    Five Lessons Fallout 4 Can Learn From Skyrim is a new article at IGN and covers some obvious points, though I vehemently disagree with their suggestion of including Skyrim's "organic" skill progression system:

    RPG veterans are all too familiar with the typical conventions of leveling. In many JRPGs, for instance, you earn experience in battle and level-up automatically, with all of your statistics taking some sort of boost regardless of how useful they happen to be to the character in question. A game like Bethesda's Fallout 3 stepped things up for the gamer by giving them a high degree of customization, continuing an established trend for the series with an existing formula. Leveling had its own perks, of course, but players could associate skill points to build up any statistic they wanted whether or not it was actually being used.

    This system works fine, and in its own way it's quite rewarding. The thing is, Skyrim's leveling methodology is something Bethesda should take a close look at when it develops Fallout 4. Skyrim's leveling is, at its core, rather basic. You can only upgrade one of three statistics when you level-up. But then, things get much more complicated as you associate a very finite amount of skill points to impressive skill trees that require you to choose your course carefully. You simply cannot master everything in the game. Better yet, individual skills level up as you use them, not the other way around, which feels more organic and allows you to better embody the character you're playing as.

    While we're on Skyrim, just about every site on the 'net is noting a Dragon Shout iOS app that offers a map and other features. It isn't official and I hesitate to recommend something that might just be a cash-in on someone else's work, so caveat emptor.

    Monday - November 28, 2011

    Skyrim - v1.2 Update

    by Dhruin, 20:09

    Bethsoft has posted on their blog about the Skyrim v1.2 update with the PS3 version already spotted and the PC due on Wednesday. The patch notes are fairly light - though there may be miscellaneous tweaks under the hood they haven't published - but PC interface fixes are included:

    Today we’ve begun rolling out Skyrim’s 1.2 update for PlayStation 3. The update is already available for users in Europe and we will let you know as soon as it’s up in North America. Our current ETA for Xbox 360 and PC players is this Wednesday, November 30th.

    So what does the new update cover? Details below…

    UPDATE 1.2 NOTES (all platforms unless specified)

    • Improved occasional performance issues resulting from long term play (PlayStation 3)
    • Fixed issue where textures would not properly upgrade when installed to drive (Xbox 360)
    • Fixed crash on startup when audio is set to sample rate other than 44100Hz (PC)
    • Fixed issue where projectiles did not properly fade away
    • Fixed occasional issue where a guest would arrive to the player’s wedding dead
    • Dragon corpses now clean up properly
    • Fixed rare issue where dragons would not attack
    • Fixed rare NPC sleeping animation bug
    • Fixed rare issue with dead corpses being cleared up prematurely
    • Skeleton Key will now work properly if player has no lockpicks in their inventory
    • Fixed rare issue with renaming enchanted weapons and armor
    • Fixed rare issue with dragons not properly giving souls after death
    • ESC button can now be used to exit menus (PC)
    • Fixed occasional mouse sensitivity issues (PC)
    • General functionality fixes related to remapping buttons and controls (PC)

    After releasing the 1.2 update, we will continue to monitor forums, blogs, etc. for issues you are reporting, and we will keep you updated on further updates to improve your gameplay experience.

    Skyrim - Review @ True PC Gaming

    by Myrthos, 12:45

    True PC Gamer has made their review of Skyrim available. There is no score but they are very positive:

    Skyrim, like its predecessors, is a celebration of gratuity: there’s simply an overabundance of everything. You’ll never get to know the thousands of individually named NPCs long enough to actually remember their names. You’ll never be able to read the ~300 dense, lore-heavy books deeply enough to actually remember what they say. There’s 15 square miles of outdoorsy Skyrim scenery to explore with 70 deep, long-lasting dungeons waiting to be cleared (they actually mark cleared dungeons on the map this time!) It’s enough to keep dedicated players playing for way more than any reasonable amount of time.

    Although they do have some negative things to say as well:

    Speaking of leveling up, this is actually the most whittled-down RPG experience Bethesda has offered so far. There are no classes, instead you grow into a custom class over time. Weapon degradation is gone, so is underwater combat, you can’t fail at crafting attempts and the (admittedly pretty overpowered) magic-making system has been omitted entirely. There are also fewer skills than in previous Elder Scrolls games, and the omission of an acrobatics skill really limits the options for sneaky characters. The blatantly robotic followers were not just bland, but unsettling too

    Sunday - November 27, 2011

    Skyrim - Books on the go, maps and more

    by Dhruin, 00:38

    Books in a game can be an odd thing  - they're certainly a welcome additition that contributes to the depth of the lore - but it can break the tension to stop and flip through a book in the middle of a deadly cave. Ovenall points out a nifty solution (found via Destructoid) at capane.us, where you can download all the books in Skyrim and load them up into your Kindle or e-reader, iPhone etc and read them offline. Great idea.

    GameBanshee has kicked off their Skyrim subsite, featuring a detailed map with all the locations (city, town, fort, camp, tower, statue, burrow, stone, grove, mine and dungeon), including a 9-page .pdf version you can turn into a wall poster.

    HardOCP has an .ini tweaking guide, including benchmarks of the performance impacts, while RPS has a roundup of Mods and Ends.

    On the humorous side, IGN has a 100 Ways to Die in Skyrim video and, to finish, Botchweed has a chance to win a PC copy of Skyrim for social media users but you'll have to hurry because it ends very soon.

    Wednesday - November 23, 2011

    Skyrim - Assorted Round-Up

    by Skavenhorde, 12:09

    I've tried to avoid this because everyone is talking about Skyrim and nothing else, including myself, but I know you guys are itching for some more Skyrim news so here you go:

    Kotaku: Skyrim is the Pinnicale of Short Attention Span Gaming - This is an aritcle from Kirk Hamilton about how in all the previous TES games he's been able to finish them by sticking to the main quest and finishing the game, but Skyrim has him just wandering around the game world and loving every moment of it. I can relate to his frustrations and joy of just wandering around. Many times I'll be headed to a quest area when I'll get distracted by something along the way.:

    These days, I mostly just wander around. And it's great! This isn't a complaint. But I don't believe I've ever played a game where I would forsake the story that's been written for me, or even the sidequests that can help me level my character, in favor of aimlessly wandering around.

    Skyrim drives me to distraction more perhaps than any other game I've ever played. I'm still getting my head around why this is, but the fact remains: the more I discover, the more I get distracted. I boot the game up with the intention of doing something—anything!—and find myself staring at the map for a good five minutes. I look at my frankly insane list of miscellaneous quests, blanch, and exit the quest-selection screen. I start walking again.

    Rock Paper Shotgun: Skyrole: 29% of You are Warriors - RPS did a survey on what kind of character their readers played in Skyrim and fighters came in first at 29%. Wizards 22%, Assasin 15% and Thief 14%.

    JTM Games: The Psychology of Skyrim - A slightly funny article on the different psychology aspects your character goes through while playing the game. It's better than reading another review of the game:

    Kleptomania

    Kleptomania is an impulse-control disorder characterized by an irresistible urge to steal. Kleptomaniacs feel the need to take things, usually items of little or nearly no value, but often move onto shoplifting and incidents of more significant theft. The Doväkiin seems compelled to steal almost everything he sees.

    That is troubling enough, but the province of Skyrim is altogether geared toward nurturing this unfortunate mental disorder. (I’m looking at you, Thieves’ Guild.) Furthermore, kleptomania is often categorized under the umbrella term of…

    Speaking of reviews. There are literally hundreds of them out there from every website imaginable. They basically all say the same thing. Skyrim is great. It has flaws. Buy it now:

    Strategy Informer - 9.5/10

    The Yorker - No Score: Overall impression is "With Skyrim, Bethesda has given players a world, and a full one" with some slight flaws.

    Manapool - 9.6/10: The reviewer listed the top seven things they hate about Skyrim, but in the end he had a hard time coming up with seven. Here's a protion from the conclusion:

    I struggled to get as far as seven, really, I was aiming for ten. This is a monumental game, landmark stuff, and it’s hard to think of how to actually improve it. All of my above points are thoroughly true and I stand by all of them. But as the score below reflects, my heart is not in the criticism here, I’m just being perverse. It’s really that I’m just desperate to find reasons to spend less time playing it. I wish it was worse, I really do, because it’s going to be a painful draw on my evenings for some months to come. 14 hours of play has merely scratched the surface of something utterly huge and engrossing.

    Shackbar Games - 5/5

    7outof19.co.uk - 9/10 Odd name for a website

    Gamer's Intuition - No Score: Overall impression is that it's a great fantasy RPG.

    Wanganui Chronicle - 5/5

    Comics and Gaming Monthly - 85/100

    The Gaming Review - 10/10

    God is a Geek - 9/10

    Techday - 9.5/10

    Stuff.co.nz - 5/5

    Gamefront 85/100: This reviewer tries to be edgy by saying it's the best console game he's ever played. Basically he's mad because of the UI.

    Digital hippos - 5/5

    The Oracle Online - A+/A+

    The Koalition - 10/10

    Geeky.ly - 4.5/5

    The HDRoom - 10/10

    Pixelitis - 9.5/10

    GameGrin - 10/10

    GamingSquid - 9.5/10

    Trusted Reviews - 10/10

    Tuesday - November 22, 2011

    Skyrim - Has All of Tamriel!

    by Skavenhorde, 16:05

    And now for something completely different. Kotaku is reporting that Skyrim contains all Tamriel. Morrowind is in there as well as Cryodiil complete with landmarks. You can visit Solstheim, Vvarndenfell, White Gold tower and in the middle of Cyrodiil is the Imperial City. All of these locations are there.

    The player who discovered this engaged noclip mode when at the border of Skyrim and Morrowind and soon discovered he could enter Morrowind. He's gone to Morrowind and Cyrodiil, but not to the other areas of Tamriel yet. In case you're skeptical (as I was) he has screenshots to back up everything he is reporting.

    Everything is reduced in scale and texture quality, but they are in there. Either Bethesda has some grand expansions in mind or the landmass is there for modders to take advantage of. Either way Bethesda just earned a lot of brownie points from the community.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Skyrim - Updated - but is it patched?

    by Dhruin, 11:04

    Bethsoft has patched Skyrim for the PC - but it's unclear if there were any useful changes. According to Rock, Paper, Shotgun, the update removes the ability to run Skyrim without Steam.

    Steam has updated my copy but the version number remains the same, so it certainly seems this may be a "DRM" update only. No official announcements or patch notes that I can see at this point.

    Saturday - November 19, 2011

    Skyrim - Editorials @ Gamefront, VideoGamer

    by Dhruin, 21:55

    Here are a couple of Skyrim editorials from a few days back that I'm only just getting the chance to come back to.

    Gamefront writes about 6 Things Bethesda Must Fix In TES VI, such as "boring conversations" and "lame combat":

    Even during the finishing-move animations that occasionally trigger at the end of a fight, Skyrim only gives the most rudimentary impression of a weapon connecting with its target. Fighting in first-person mode, this inert system looks even worse. You can take a running start and a two-handed swipe at someone with a battle-axe, and they won’t even flinch — your only indication that you hit them is a sound-effect and a cheesy-looking blood splatter. Couple this with the awkward collisions, comical strafing, and firehose-like spellcasting that ensue when the combat gets thick, and you end up with a distinctly lackluster system that hasn’t changed much since Oblivion.

    ...and VideoGamer argues Why Skyrim is a glimpse into the future of RPGs - lack of classes, specifically:

    It's telling that Skyrim has dropped traditional classes altogether: It's an imperfect system for anyone who wants to completely mould their character in the way they see fit.

    For a genre whose bread and butter lies in being immersive, this kind of full-on control is like watching a developer eagerly try to prove a point: Yeah, this here is role-playing. Breaking from the restrictions imposed by a game, that's role-playing. Erasing the lines between where you stop and the character starts – that's role-playing.

    This time around, the design philosophy for Bethesda has been to wave goodbye to the pre-sets it gave you at the beginning of Oblivion, and hello to the possibility of playing any class types, simultaneously, with both hands. One hand can be used for melee weapons, one hand can spellcast. The result is a system that lets players decide how they want to play at any point in time.

    Skyrim - v1.2 Patch Update

    by Dhruin, 08:33

    Bethsoft community manager Nick Breckon has posted on the Skyrim forums that the next patch is expected "the week after Thanksgiving":

    Wanted to let everyone know that the next PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 updates have been submitted for certification, and that the PC patch is coming too. The current estimate is that they will be live the week after Thanksgiving.

    Thursday - November 17, 2011

    Skyrim - The Nuttiest Glitches

    by Dhruin, 10:08

    This is a silly collection of Skyrim bug videos at IGN - but they are pretty funny.

    Wednesday - November 16, 2011

    Skyrim - Bethsoft Announces Successful Launch

    by Dhruin, 22:34

    Bethsoft sent us this press release announcing a successful launch of Skyrim, with 7M units shipped to retail and 50% sell-through so far, which means first week retail sales of over 3.5M:

    ZENIMAX MEDIA ANNOUNCES

    SUCCESSFUL LAUNCH OF THE ELDER SCROLLS® V: SKYRIM™

     

    With More Than 50 Perfect Review Scores,

    Seven Million Copies Hit Retail Shelves Worldwide  

    November 16, 2011 (Rockville, MD) –ZeniMax® Media Inc. today announced that Bethesda Softworks’® award-winning title, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, has enjoyed an enthusiastic reception by gamers across the globe. After shipping seven million units of Skyrim for the Xbox 360® video game entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, and PC, Skyrim’s launch units are expected to generate more than $450 million in global retail sales.

    With tens of thousands of fans lining up at retail outlets at midnight on 11/11/11 to purchase the game, Skyrim continued to record strong sales following its release. More than 50% of launch units were sold in the first 48 hours and Bethesda Softworks has been receiving large reorders from major retailers in  North America, and across Europe and Australia. Online activity has been notable, with Steam reporting that in the first 24 hours of its release, Skyrim set a record with over 280,000 concurrent players, far outdistancing all other titles.

    “We are grateful for the fans’ response to Skyrim,” said Robert Altman, Chairman and CEO of ZeniMax Media.  “Todd Howard and his team at Bethesda Game Studios have crafted a very special game. Anticipation for Skyrim has surpassed any game in our company’s history, and we are pleased that sales and reviews have reflected the quality and hours of amazing gameplay it provides.”

    The eagerly-awaited title has garnered more than 50 perfect review scores, earning praise from some of the industry’s most influential and respected critics including: USA Today, G4TV, GameSpy, Wired, Eurogamer, Destructoid, GamePro, Official Xbox Magazine, Joystiq, The Guardian, and GamesRadar. G4TV describes Skyrim as “one of the greatest games ever made” and Eurogamer was one of many outlets to call it a “masterpiece.”

    “Without a doubt, this has been our most ambitious project ever,” said Todd Howard, Game Director on Skyrim. “After over three years of development, we’re finally excited to get it into everyone’s hands.”

    Skyrim - Patch on the way

    by Dhruin, 06:38

    Not surprisingly, Pete Hines has tweeted they are working on patches for all versions of Skyrim, although no details on when or what is covered:

    We are continuing to work on an update for all platforms to address issues any bugs and perf issues we can.

    As I said yesterday, we are continuing to work on an update for all platforms to address issues any bugs and perf issues we can.

    We will fix as much as we can for your platform. I don't know if it will fix "your" bug. Takes a while to test/fix/regress. Hang in there.

    Tuesday - November 15, 2011

    Skyrim - Favorite Mods @ PC Gamer

    by Aries100, 21:22

    PC Gamer has made a list of their ten favourite mods for this game. Here's two of them.
    First one about removing spiders from this game and adding bears instead.

    6. No Spider Mod

    Arachnophobes like PC Gamer contributor Richard Cobbett have a hard time with games like Skyrim. Which is why No Spiders patches are so useful. This first attempt at a spider free Skyrim is particularly hilarious, as it replaces the models of the spiders with hilariously out of place bears.

    And a mod to improve the akward interface in Skyrim

    7. Interface Hard Coded key tweaks

    Skyrim’s interface can be really awkward, Hard Coded key tweaks aims to improve that. Now you can (for instance) turn lockpicks with whatever direction keys you chose, not just WASD, and many other simple improvements

    In other Skyrim news, PurpleHaze has reported in the official forums that after the savegame on the PS3 reaches around 6MB, the game becomes almost unplayable.  If you play on PS3, this might be of interest to you.

    UPDATE

    IGN brings news that Bethesda is working on patch for all platforms to fix the issues raised by members of the TES Community. Pete Hines used Twitter to say this in a tweet:

    As I said yesterday, we are continuing to work on an update for all platforms to address issues any bugs and perf issues we can.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Skyrim - 3.4M Retail Sales in 48 hours?

    by Dhruin, 09:45

    Before you comment that VGChartz is notoriously unreliable - I hear you - but all indications seem to be that Skyrim has had a massive release. CountChocula points us to this article at VGChartz that claims 3.4M retail sales (not including digital) in the first two days:

    2011 is fast becoming the year games debuted at incredible numbers, as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim sells over 3.4 million copies at retail (not including digital sales) in its first 2 days on sale.

    Up over 600% on Oblivion's modest 490k staggered opening across PS3 and X360, Skyrim will manage to outsell Oblivion as a whole in a matter of weeks. 59% of units were sold on the X360 (over 2 million copies) and 27% on the PS3, with 14% on PC.

    On the digital side, many people have noted Skyrim is trouncing CoD: Modern Warfare 3 on the Steam stats, although there are several possible explanations for this - including, of course, massive Skyrim sales.

    While we're on Skyrim, Alrik sends in an interview with Pete Hines over at Joystiq from a couple of days back.

    Monday - November 14, 2011

    Skyrim - Official Strategy Guide Blog about Maps in Skyrim

    by Aries100, 13:53

    The Bethesda Blog has a piece written by co-author of the officiel Skyrim strategy guide, David Hogson. It deals with the maps and how the game world is mapped. An excerpt:

    Fortunately, our map makers (the good folks at 99 Lives studio, with over 20 years of map-making experience) decided they didn’t need much of a summer, and stitched together every single section of the game world from about 20 feet off the ground; resulting in a messy, but workable tapestry of landscapes. While I spent my evenings checking, plotting, and referencing all the topography and locations, our cartographers painstakingly transformed the map into a gigantic, useable, and highly accurate representation of the Province of Skyrim itself. This is a map you’ll find exclusively in the guide, online map tool, and iPad app. But just how much detail is there?

    Sunday - November 13, 2011

    Skyrim - Review Roundup # 3

    by Aries100, 19:40

    More reviews for this game has been written, making this round three. I'll quote from two of them and list the others.

    Extreme Gamer - 9.6/10

    The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a role-playing fans paradise. Filled with discovery, wonder and mystery you will travel through the rocky landscapes of Skyrim uncovering a Dragon sized plot. Powered by the 'Creation Engine' things look and run even better under the new software. The size and scope of Skyrim is unparalleled making it one of the most expansive worlds we have ever visited. Falling in line with our expectations, Skyrim delivers, but doesn't surpass.

    BigPond GameArena - 10/10

    This is the most expansive, intuitive and living game world I’ve ever had the pleasure to play. Sure it may have sporadic bug or two with the random pop in here or an audio glitch there, but none of this shatters the illusion of immersion for more than a millisecond before you’re off and running at something shiny glinting off up in the distance. Skyrim is completely and utterly addictive in every aspect and quite possibly, I’ll say it, the greatest RPG of all time.

    Bit-Tech - 95%

    USA Today - 4/4

    The A.V. Club - A

    Now Gamer - 9.4/10

    G4 - 5/5

    PSX Extreme - 9.7/10

    The Sixth Axis - 9/10

    Gaming Union 9.4/10

    Game Revolution - A

    Impulse Gamer - 9.9/10

    Skyrim - Quick Look @ Bitmob

    by Aries100, 18:49

    A little bit unusual, but not unheard of, I think, there's a thread about Skyrim at Justadventure.
    In it, Lucien 21 points to a Quick Look:TESV at Giant Bomb which takes about 28 minutes. As far I can see, it covers a few of the areas with some area jumps in between.

    In other, but similar news, Niten Ruy from the Obsidian forums points to a Let's Play Skyrim video on youtube made by Costin. This video features about 20 minutes in length and is on master difficulty. It seems this let's play starts at the beginning of the game.

    Spoilers abound, so watch at your own risk.

     

    Source: Obsidian Entertainment

    Saturday - November 12, 2011

    Skyrim - PC Interface Frustration @ GamaSutra

    by Aries100, 18:06

    Eric Schwarz has penned a piece on his blog at GamaSutra dealing with his frustration on playing Skyrim with the current UI. Here's some excerpts, here's a quote about the user interface:

    Other issues, like mouse acceleration being forced on and impossible to remove without an INI tweak, or the game defaulting to "Xbox 360 Controller - On" when started, even without a controller plugged in, or needless breaks from convention ("Tab" instead of "Esc" to exit menus) show just how little thought or care was put to the PC version's interface, and how little priority was given to this version in the game, or foresight given to what its players might want and expect.

    Here's something about the hotkeys:

    After rebinding the hotkey for the Favorites menu to "F" and the auto-walk key to "Q", I found that Favorites menu didn't want to open anymore. Curious, I pulled up my inventory and tried assigning some items to the Favorites - only it didn't work......Turns out, the "F" key is holy ground - because it controls the assigning of items to the Favorites menu, rebinding it to perform another function during regular gameplay, even a related function, makes it impossible to assign items and spells to it.

    Here's something about optimization:

    A second issue I immediately ran into was an intense audio distortion - crackling, skipping and popping most commonly heard in dialogue, but also in many of the game's environmental sounds. No in-game audio options helped and there seemed to be no relevant settings in the game's INI files to help. On a lark, I went to my Windows Sound Properties page and dropped my sound card's bit rate from 96,000 Hz to 44,100 Hz. Instantly, the problem was gone - and instantly, I was frustrated at the fact that once again, it was clear Bethesda had foregone so much as basic compatibility testing.

    And here's a rather interesting quote:

    All of the preview footage for Skyrim I'd seen was for the Xbox 360 version, with the PC version only featured in screenshots. Many PC-focused web sites were reportedly denied their own review copies from Bethesda, as well, and in all those glowing 9/10 and 10/10 reviews, the PC version was either downplayed or not mentioned at all. Now it's clear why - it's because it is at best a half-functional, poorly-performing wreck of a game.

    Scwartz has an edit saying this:

    I have to at least in part take back some earlier complaints I had listed here. The game was patched today and apparently fixed some of the interface problems with unresponsive and inconsistent controls and menus. Either way, those problems shouldn't have been in the game to begin with, but it's nice to see Bethesda on the ball.

    As Scwarz mentions the game has been updated to version 1.1 - The changelog to both the bug and quest fixes can be found at the Skyrim forums - here.

    I'll list the bug fixes below:

    •General optimizations related to stability and performance.•Essential followers recover properly if player fast travels away.•Fixed rare instances of dragons flying improperly though objects after player exits an interior.•Fixed rare instance where the a music track would not stop playing properly.•Autosave message properly displays when going through a load door.•The fifth level of the Light Fingers perk correctly calculates the Pickpocket skill bonus.•Enchanting an item to improve the Sneak skill properly calculates the bonus to the player's Sneak skill.•Enchanting an item to improve the Lockpick skill properly calculates the bonus to the player's Lockpick skill. •Corpus Enchanter perk properly calculates bonuses to stats for the player’s new enchantments.

    Friday - November 11, 2011

    Skyrim - Tweak and Guides

    by Dhruin, 23:44

    Obviously the Skyrim reviews are still pouring in but I thought I'd change pace and offer some tweaks and guides. It's very early days, of course, so better guides will come along.

    Thursday - November 10, 2011

    Skyrim - Review Roundup #2

    by Dhruin, 22:17

    Here we go with a second collection. I'm going to take excerpts from a couple and then line-list the rest.

    Neoseeker, 9/10. On enemy scaling:

    As previously mentioned, human enemies won’t suddenly start wearing Glass and Ebony gear and kick your ass. The game’s difficulty is instead governed by enemy types and how often they're encountered. Difficulty correlates with rarity, so bandits and wolves, for example, will always be easy kills, while vampires and bears provide a greater challenge. Incidentally, the toughest mobs – giants and their mammoth herds – are passive creatures, and neither will attack unless provoked. 

    GameSpy, 5/5. This one is on PC, so here's a relevant snip:

    I was less than jazzed with how Skyrim handled the PC interface. I like the idea of the Favorites system, but would have preferred to be able to assign specific weapons to the number keys or to generally have a different item interface instead of scrolling through rows of item names -- if you're going to make the game for PC, you might as well find more ways to take advantage of the hardware than simply tightening up the graphics. The interface works really well if you have a gamepad but I felt it was rather cumbersome with the mouse and keyboard. 

    GameSpot, 9/10. On lore books:

    Skyrim also uses scattered books and references to enthrall you. You may not be a big fan of reading books in role-playing games, but even so, you should make an effort here. If you don't feel like reading up on Tamriel's rich history each time you find a volume, grab it and read it later--there are a lot of narrative tidbits that deserve to be read. Elder Scrolls fans will appreciate nods to events in prior games, and everyone can enjoy the bite-size tales contained therein, about vampires, noble heroes, and gods that bestow their blessings on their followers. Skyrim takes place hundreds of years after the events of Oblivion, and organizations you might remember have been restructured or are shadows of their former selves. But Tamriel's history is threaded throughout Skyrim's fabric, and some quests, such as one that begins with an invitation to a faraway museum, are great reminders of past misfortunes that the world has not forgotten. 

    1Up, A-. The Radiant Story mostly works, apparently:

    Skyrim's Radiant Story system works for the most part; in addition to what Jeremy describes, it also presents itself in ways both subtle and obvious. Pick a side in Skyrim's civil war? Radiant Story makes your allegiance obvious by notifying you that you've just failed the quest objectives for the opposing side. Elsewhere, I'm tasked with investigating a local authority figure, but before doing so I had inadvertently caused a transfer in power via some other quest so that said authority figure no longer had his job. Therefore, a side effect: No need to investigate him. 

    Destructoid, 10/10. About combat:

    Combat is dramatically improved. Magic spells are similar to the Plasmids found in BioShock, equipped to one of the Dovahkiin's hands and readied for use whenever weapons are drawn. Players can choose to have a sword in one hand with a spell in the other, or even have two spells at once. Some spells issue a constant spray of damage, while others are projectile-based; some have instant effects, and others take a moment to charge up. As with everything in Skyrim, flexibility is the essence of the experience, and players can tailor their combat to suit any preference. A large number of "Favorites" can also be mapped to a special menu that's brought up at the touch of a button, allowing heroes to change weapons and spells and use potions on the fly. 

    For those not magically inclined, there's a huge variety of weapons with which to dispense death. One-handed and two-handed melee weapons are joined by bows and staves to create a healthy and versatile arsenal. Although combat retains the unwieldy hack-n'-slash flavor of prior games, things are slightly more refined, with blocking and counter-attacking given a greater focus. Fights feel so much more involved than they did in previous Elder Scrolls games, especially since every blow feels like it connects with a mighty impact. Those looking for intricate and graceful melee will be disappointed, but those who want brutal, manic, in-your-face engagements have come to the right game.

    Worthplaying, 9/10. Disappointingly, spellmaking is gone:

    Skyrim has also stripped out the "spellmaker" system. Visiting the Notre Dame of Magick yielded the same paltry selection of spells that's available in the rest of the game. Brawling, which seems to be a favorite Nord pastime, is covered by only one perk instead of its own skill. It's these little things that remind me of how much the series has left behind its statistics-heavy roots from Arena.

    AtomicGamer, 10/10 (white text on a white background?)

    Edge Online, 9/10

    GameTrailers, 9.3/10

    GiantBomb, 5/5

    Shacknews

    StrategyInformer, 9.5/10

    Skyrim - Released, Review Roundup #1

    by Dhruin, 14:31

    Well, it's midnight down here and Skyrim has unlocked  - and the review embargo has lifted and reviews are out. I'm going to post a selection -- and then go to bed.

    IGN calls it "amazing", with a score of 9.5/10. They note some PC interface issues and minor bugs but it's also "utterly engrossing":

    I was stacking books on a shelf in my house in Whiterun, one of Skyrim's major cities, when I noticed a weapon rack right beside it. I set a sacrificial dagger in one slot, an Orcish mace in the other. They were on display for nobody but me and my computer-controlled housecarl, Lydia, who sat at a table patiently waiting for me to ask her to go questing. The chest upstairs was reserved for excess weapons and armor, the bedside table for smithing ingots and ores, the one next to the Alchemy table for ingredients. I'd meticulously organized my owned virtual property not because I had to, but because tending to the minutia of domestic life is a comforting break from dealing with screaming frost trolls, dragons, a civil war, and job assignments that never seem to go as planned. It's even a sensible thing to do; a seemingly natural component of every day existence in Skyrim, one of the most fully-realized, easily enjoyable, and utterly engrossing role-playing games ever made.

    PC Gamer calls it "vast and gorgeous" on the way to a score of 94%. On the variety of dungeons:

    It’s hard to walk for a minute in any direction without encountering an intriguing cave, a lonely shack, some strange stones, a wandering traveller, a haunted fort. These were sparse and quickly repetitive in Oblivion, but they’re neither in Skyrim: it’s teeming with fascinating places, all distinct. It was 40 hours before I blundered into a dungeon that looked like one I’d seen before, and even then what I was doing there was drastically different.

    These places are the meat of Skyrim, and they’re what makes it feel exciting to explore. You creep through them with your heart in your mouth, your only soundtrack the dull groan of the wind outside, to discover old legends, dead heroes, weird artefacts, dark gods, forgotten depths, underground waterfalls, lost ships, hideous insects and vicious traps. It’s the best Indiana Jones game ever made.

    At CVG, they call it a "generation defining RPG" and the score is 9.5/10. On quests:

    So, you have the world, but what about the quests? As expected, there are hundreds, all offering something different. Some are brief, some span hours. You might join the Thieves Guild and make a name for yourself as a notorious criminal. You might swear an oath to the returning Dark Brotherhood and become a ruthless assassin, killing in cold blood for gold. Or perhaps you want to get involved in the civil war that's tearing Skyrim apart, siding with the invading Imperials, or the rebel Stormcloaks.

    There's so many more - like forming an uneasy alliance with a Daedric Prince and leading an army in the invasion of a city - but one of our favourites saw us leading the hunt for a serial killer. This is a game full of stories, of ways in which you can directly affect the lives of its citizens, and even the politics of its world, and the variety is astonishing and, at times, overwhelming.

    Eurogamer go straight for 10/10:

     In arcane combat, there's a tangible, almost physical sense of feedback from the hiss of a furnace just before those jets of flames engulf your enemies. Thunder echoes quietly in the aftermath of the electrical storm that flows from your fingertips. There's a tremendous sense of connection between caster and cadaver, and the effects themselves are breathtaking. Throughout one evening in the game I stood in the mountains beside a peaceful village, gleefully working through my repertoire of magic tricks while the locals slept below (uneasily, no doubt).

    The melee combat is less perfected, but has nevertheless been evolved. Those who specialise in it may not be left feeling quite as satisfied as those who prefer to dabble in the darker arts, but it's still a sweeter deal than the rote, block-and-retaliate combat of Oblivion. Enemies will circle and prod at your defences more effectively, displaying a little more intelligence when exploiting your weaknesses. A similar degree of refinement has been made to Bethesda's famously floaty third-person animations. 

    Rock, Paper, Shotgun note the engine still feels like the old one and the characters still have a way to go but say this is the best Elder Scrolls gamer ever:

    Every time Bethesda reveal a new game, one of the first queries they have to deal with is how big its world is compared to previous games, with the general onlooker sentiment being that their open worlds are shrinking with every new generation. I can promise you that Skyrim is an enormous game, perhaps Bethesda’s biggest yet in my perception of it, and that isn’t anything to do with landmass (of which there is a vast and wonderfully varied amount). It’s because there’s so damned much to do. Hours fly by, great adventures are embarked on, and it barely dents what’s on offer. The thieves’ guild questline alone, the closest thing my time with the game had to a fixed purpose, offers more than do most other big-budget games’ singleplayer modes.

    And it’s good stuff too, this thievery corporations’ tasks: long, ambitious, twisty quests that take you all over Skyrim, require lateral thinking and exploration of the outer limits of stealth, plus offer bona fide drama and intrigue whose outcome I was invested in for reasons beyond money and power. I’ve only made early inroads into the Companions arc and that seems similarly huge – add in the other guilds and factions, and the reputation quests offered by each city’s rulers, and the purportedly infinite roster of procedurally-generated favours for random NPCs, and you have something of grand magnitude, and an RPG that no sane person would consider writing a review based on a mere four days’ play. Sigh. Still- expect follow-up pieces, particularly on the main, dragon-y questline that I’ve seen nothing of, so happy was I in doing my own, primarily kleptomania-based thing.

    Joystiq scores 5/5 but I'll take a quote on technical issues:

    Sadly, I can't extend the same pass to the game's wholly unsurprising yet still pretty disappointing technical problems. I don't mind a little jank in a world this big, but five hard freezes, a mask that made my face disappear for much of the game and an entire dungeon where I inexplicably had unlimited magic? It's too much. Will it all be smoothed out eventually? Sure. (A day-one patch has already been deployed.) But is it a frequent distraction from what should be the ultimate immersive experience? You bet.

    Kotaku says you should buy it:

    But Skyrim is more than its graphics or its animations—this is a game about wanderlust. Take it from me: once you've wandered in Skyrim, you won't want to wander anyplace else.

    Hear my dragon-shout: Yes.

    Wednesday - November 09, 2011

    Skyrim - Animating Skyrim

    by Dhruin, 22:11

    A Big Mountain to Climb: Animating Skyrim is the latest dev diary at the Skyrim Community Site (thanks, CountChocula). Again, there's a podcast, video and screens on a topic that most people will have a passing interest in, given the criticism of Bethsoft's previous efforts in this area:

    Learning to Walk Again

    “We kind of reinvented the whole thing,” says lead animator Josh Jones, “and started with a brand new animation system. From there it was like, what do we do with this?

    “We have a lot of flexibility in terms of NPCs interacting with the environment, with each other. We have much more complex combat [in this game] than we had before.”

    Every area of animation was examined and marked for improvements, right down to the most basic motion “graphs” like walking and running.

    “The whole [movement] system that we have now is pretty cool,” explains animator Jeremy Bryant. “We've got directional walks in all eight directions, as well as directional runs. I'd say the motion set is probably the best we've ever had, in terms of how fluid it is.”

    I'll throw a couple more items in here. Wired has another interview snippet about the "infinite quests":

    You’ll never have to stop questing in the upcoming open-world role-playing game, to be released November 11 for Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3. Skyrim director Todd Howard told Wired.com in a phone interview Monday that the game will feature a never-ending stream of procedurally generated content, giving players an infinite number of things to do.

    “The vibe of the game is that it’s something that you can play forever,” Howard said.

    ...and GameSpy has a disappointing article with no real answers on the potential "concerns" players might have. On whether the PC version is consolised:

    Preliminary Verdict: Bethesda has already confirmed that enhanced textures, better effects, programmable keyboard controls, a PC-friendly user-interface, and mod tools will be available at launch. That's all good news. What vexes me like Commodus is knowing how good Skyrim could look and play after experiencing the eye-watering graphical goodness of DICE's Battlefield 3 – a PC first title that provides a sneak peek at the next generation in gaming. Yes Skyrim looks good. Todd Howard has even gone so far to say the PC version looks "way" better, so our fingers are crossed on this one. But the bottom line is Skyrim's potential as a PC first game is off the charts, and it's potential that will never be fully realized.

    Skyrim - The World of Skyrim

    by Dhruin, 10:53

    Welcome to SkyrimWatch...we'll resume our usual programming shortly...

    CountChocula sends word of a new Skyrim dev diary titled Reaching New Heights: The World of Skyrim, which further discusses the world design and art direction with several developers through a podcast, video (linked earlier today) and slideshow:

    Every facet of Skyrim's aesthetic was influenced by the world itself, making environment design an early priority.

    “It helps define so much of the game for us,” explained lead artist Matt Carofano. “That's sort of our main character of the game – what is the world?”

    After taking a hand-crafted approach to the world design of Fallout 3, the art team set out to double their efforts in bringing that level of detail to the more expansive and varied acreage of Skyrim.

    “We found by doing Fallout 3 that making a completely hand-done world just looks a lot better; it's more interesting, it just feels better. So we ramped up the landscape team and worked on that from the beginning.

    “Every rock, every tree, every ingredient plant, was all placed by an artist or level designer to make sure the world was well-crafted.”

    ..and I'll just toss in this short and somewhat trite Elder Scrolls series respective at Beefjack:

    Arena took absolutely no prisoners – hell, getting out of the first dungeon alive was no mean feat. Alhough earlier text-based adventures would think nothing of abruptly shredding your hapless hero with a horde of Grues, it came in the sterile, homely format of DOS text. Arena’s strength came in harnessing the real-time element. A wrong turn wouldn’t be instantly damning, but instead hurl you headlong into a desperate fight-or-flight reflex test. Survive, progress, and overcome.

    Skyrim - Steam Preloads Open

    by Dhruin, 09:41

    You can now preload Skyrim on Steam:

    Pre-Load The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim now and be ready to play when it releases!

    Battle ancient dragons like you’ve never seen. As Dragonborn, learn their secrets and harness their power for yourself.

    Thanks, Vistaer!

    Tuesday - November 08, 2011

    Skyrim - Magazine Review @ Atomic MPC

    by Aries100, 21:16

    Atomic MPC has reviewed this game in their magazine. It is not online, (sorry). But courtesy of Gamebanshee, I'll quote a snip from the review's conclusion.

    Ultimately, Skyrim is a lot like Fallout: New Vegas - there are some flaws but they pale into insignificance compared to the sheer scope of the game. Despite the many, many hours we put in, it felt like we’d barely scratched the surface at times, and our quest log was always full. It's a beautiful sprawling world that’s incredibly fun to be in, and the gameplay lets you get the most out of it. This is a very successful game that will be much loved by the RPG fans out there - and for people who've never really got the whole role-playing thing before, Skyrim might well be a great place to start. It’s a fantastic game on its own right, but also manages to be a very worthy addition to the Elder Scrolls family. A must-play.

    In other Skyrim news, in their  latest podcast, the Official Xbox Magazine offers a 45 minute interview with Todd Howard. Topics include the lessons Bethesda has learned while making Fallout 3 and Oblivion as well as if Skyrim was the place they wanted to bring alive from the very beginning and much much more. Follow the link above to listen to the interview which start around the 46 minute mark.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Skyrim - Daily Roundup

    by Dhruin, 20:25

    A small collection of Skyrim odds and ends.

    Pete Hines confirms via a tweet about 16 hours ago as I write that Steam preloads will happen (although it won't be much of a preload at this rate):

    It's a go for preload, just isn't available yet. Pinged folks tonight to find out when it gets turned on.

    Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a new trailer while you wait and the Bethblog has a preview of the 656-page strategy guide.

    Lastly for the moment, Wired has some comments from Todd Howard that the DLC for Skyrim will be "more substantial":

    “We’re not going to be doing a lot of it. Our high-level thinking is that there’ll be not as many [pieces of DLC], but they’ll be bigger and more substantial,” he said. “The goal overall is not necessarily to put out more content, but to make the game better.”

    Monday - November 07, 2011

    Skyrim - Day 1 Patch, Werewolves, More

    by Dhruin, 20:22

    A Day 1 Skyrim patch has been confirmed by Bethsoft community manager Nick Breckon:

    Yep. All platforms going to 1.1 by 11/11/11.

    (Thanks Blue's).

    Over at GameSpy is an article that did have videos of werewolves but Bethsoft has had them removed. They also have news of an interesting quest that was picked up through the British BBFC classification process. Head over if you want to reveal the surprise.

    GamingBolt compares Oblivion and Skyrim screens to ask if Bethsoft's art direction has improved and, for a humorous diversion, CountChocula sends in the Skyrim Rap.

    Friday - November 04, 2011

    Skyrim - Officially Gold

    by Dhruin, 21:12

    I suspect this is more symbolic than actual reality but the Bethblog announces Skyrim is Gold. Head over for some pictures of the team celebrating at the office with a "sweet golden mead brewed by Kurt Kuhlmann, Ryan Jenkins, and Shane Liesegang."

    Thursday - November 03, 2011

    Skyrim - Making a Dragon Sandwich and More

    by Dhruin, 20:50

    I'll collect a small handful of Skyrim items here.

    There's a new Skyrim developer diary titled Making a Dragon Sandwich: The Sound of Skyrim. THere's a podcast, a video, photo slideshow and transcription from the podcast:

    Early on in a project, the footsteps Lampert most often records are those of his wife. When they couple is on vacation, hiking through the hills of a remote country, the microphone comes along for the ride.

    “My wife has to put up with me stopping all the time. I've got a lot of recordings that begin with her footsteps walking off. You hear her walking away as I lag behind to get one minute of this bird or cricket or whatever.

    "Hang on, hang on, I've gotta record this one button, it's got a funny mechanical ping to it -- that sounds like something we could use some day, in some game, somewhere.”

    For those interested in such things, you can buy Avatar packs from XBL, and there's a rather nice "postcard" wallpaper. Finally, you can pre-order the 4-disc soundtrack (as in actual discs in a pack, not a download).

    Tuesday - November 01, 2011

    Skyrim - The Making of Skyrim Teaser and More

    by Dhruin, 22:02

    Welcome to today's Skyrim roundup.

    The Bethblog has a teaser video previewing "'Behind The Wall: The Making of Skyrim' — the extensive, behind-the-scenes look included with the Skyrim Collector’s Edition". The 2:39 video mixes some footage and behind-the-scenes shots, such as a dev talking about the 315 "spaces" within the game (all the locations).

    CountChocula sends in this preview with CVG's article covering "Solitude, the Bard's College, the Annual Burning of King Olaf's Effigy and a poetry writing mini-game" among other things:

    Solitude in this case is a city in the northern-most reaches of Skyrim; a man-made structure on a vast ridge, it juts from one of this area's many mountains like a middle finger, raised in defiance at the rest of the nation. The place has its own identity, a flavour unique to this one small part of Skyrim. Not just cosmetically - the people here seem proud to live in Solitude. They have their own festivals, myths and customs.

    Also from CountChocula is a preview/interview at the Playstation UK magazine:

    “Actually, that goes through Radiant Story,” explains Howard, talking of Skyrim’s new AI-guided quest system. “The story manager looks at everything you do. Even a chicken on fire. If you drop an item, kill a dragon, how do people react? Those events go through the story manager.”

    The idea is that this story manager will look at what you’ve done and adapt parameters to create bespoke mission conditions – the characters you meet or locations you visit, for example. You can already go anywhere and do anything, creating a narrative by exploring; discovering and interacting with whatever interests you.

    Kotaku has an unboxing of a retail Collector's Edition video and Joystiq does the same with photos, instead of a video.

    Monday - October 31, 2011

    Skyrim - Tops Franchise Engagement Ratio

    by Dhruin, 20:45

    With a bit over a week to the release of Skyrim you can't get away without some sort of related news item but I thought we'd skip the somewhat repetitive previews and look at this article at Gamasutra, which measures the Franchise Engagement Ratio according to a series of gamer surveys.

    According to the data, a lowly 19.2% of gamers surveyed were aware of The Elder Scrolls franchise (cf 62.1% for Call of Duty or 47.9% for Gears of War) - but 10.8% intended to purchase Skyrim, which makes a ratio of 0.563. Does it tell you anything? It certainly highlights the dominance of miltary shooters (according to this data).

    Skyrim - Unlocks Midnight

    by Dhruin, 09:56

    Apparently the Steam countdown for Skyrim is off for some people, so CountChocula sends in this twitter confirmation from Pete Hines they intend to unlock at 12:01:

    @Nitelust Our plan is 12:01 am est. Dunno why the clock differs. But that is our plan still. I'll check on it.

    Skyrim - Preview @ ripten

    by Dhruin, 09:50

    CountChocula sends in another 3-hour preview of Skyrim, though this eight-page one at ripten is pretty good (if annoyingly written). A sample:

    I find the companion system is very similar to that of the current Fallout games (except that you can have only one) in that you can make them carry things and they will equip what you give them.  However, there doesnt seem to be any way to make them decide whether to use ranged or melee attacks or decide which armor to put on if they are carrying lots of it.  I find all this rather frustrating.  Why can’t we just play dress up with our companions as if they were our own character?  It feels like something is sorely missing in this department and poor Faendal suffered for it.  Then again, not final build, not final features, who knows!!  Anyhow, when I sneak he sneaks, when I move he moves, when I stop to take a piss… he waits patiently ^__^

    Sunday - October 30, 2011

    Skyrim - Hunting the Dark Brotherhood @ IGN

    by Dhruin, 00:27

    IGN is Hunting Skyrim's Dark Brotherhood in a spoiler-ladden articl about joining the underground faction in Bethsoft's upcoming game. There's a bold, "major spoilers" warning on the article itself, so I've only read this first paragraph:

    Nightime. Alone. Snow crunching underboot, winter gnashing its teeth in swells through the thick air. I'm not hunting dragons or chasing butterflies, I'm tracking a guild of killers - Skyrim's Dark Brotherhood - across a continent.

    Heading up through a set of frozen peaks, I smell blood. I pause the game for a moment and turn on The Sword's "Gods of the Earth". Much better.

    Thanks, jhwisner!

    Friday - October 28, 2011

    Skyrim - Dev Diary: Completely Blue Sky and More

    by Dhruin, 23:46

    Bethsoft has posted a dev diary on the conceptualisation of Skyrim called Completely Blue Sky. Across a 16 minute podcast interview with concept artists Ray Lederer & Adam Adamowicz and game director Todd Howard, they discuss how Todd told them the game would be set in Skyrim and they wanted a "gritter, dirtier" experience and then set them free to experiment:

    “It was a reaction to what Oblivion was as a game,” said lead artist Matt Carofano. “Oblivion was a very classic medieval setting, and we felt some of that was a bit generic. We wanted to do something that showed a lot more of the culture of the people who lived there.”

    “Skyrim was all about creating a world that seemed believable.”

    Finding the perfect tone for the rugged-yet-fantastical province of Skyrim was a challenge initially. Though Skyrim’s Nords share some similarities to real-world Vikings, the likeness is superficial – the Nords have their own distinct cultural history that needed to be detailed from the ground up.

    “It was completely blue sky,” relates Adamowicz. “Todd said, ‘Sit down and draw a bunch of cool, weird shit, and we’ll look at it and decide what’s worthwhile and what’s really stupid.’”

    Early on, the artists were given freedom to explore radical concepts, with the team leaders only stepping in to provide a general direction. 

    There's also a video that compares several conceptual scenes with the in-game result and, finally, a slideshow with 40 pieces of concept art. Well worth a listen and look.

    Sticking with Skyrim, IGN has a video of an unboxing of their review copy, which appears to be a retail X360 edition. Interestingly, they only received an X360 copy - no PC or PS3. It appears you also get a (paper) map in the standard edition, which is pretty cool.

    Lastly for the moment, GameSpot has a humorous video titled Planet Skyrim that patches together a video tour with a mock Richard Attenborough voiceover.

    Skyrim - Soundtrack will take 4 CDs

    by Garrett, 16:34

    According to game-ost.com, the Skyrim Soundtrack sold through directsong.com will take 4 CDs. I couldn't find any link on directsong so far though...

    Skyrim - Videos and Previews

    by Dhruin, 00:05

    A small roundup of Skyrim stuff.

    First, G4TV has 11 minutes of new footage with two editors talking through some of their experiences from the recent 3-hour preview. Check out the spell at 1:16 that allows them to leap off a cliff, for example.

    They also have this shorter video preview, with a combination of old and new footage, including some interface and conversation snippets. Thanks to CountChocula for both of these.

    PC Gamer has an article about the Radiant Story system, which apparently ruined Todd Howard's in-game wedding night. It all sounds a bit like the setting-the-dog-on-fire from Oblivion previews, but - hey - who knows?

    “I had decided to marry this one woman who was my friend,” Howard begins. “I forgot that I had done this Radiant quest for this other guy, who turns out he had liked her…”

    Head over for the rest of the story.

    Also at PC Gamer is lessons Skyrim has learned from Fallout 3:

    Lesson one, Oblivion’s progressions system, which had creatures levelling at the same rate as the player, has been overhauled. “[Skyrim]’s a lot more like Fallout 3, where as you level up you are going to see harder things, but the easier things stay around as well.” says Howard.

    There will still be combat where it’s tougher, but these battles will be against a new or uniquely named enemy, putting an end to the boring battle-churn that dominated the later levels of Oblivion. “You’ll still run into the weaker stuff and you’ll just decimate it,” says Howard. Bad luck, mud crabs.

    ...and another about vigilante chickens:

    PC Gamer: “Can you think of anything you’ve seen Radiant Story do that’s surprised you?”

    Todd Howard: Let’s see… something that was good lately… but this was a bug – lately we realised that chickens were reporting crimes. I found that very funny. That was just last week: “Why are we getting caught?” “Oh, the CHICKENS are reporting the crimes!”

    The PC Gamer articles also have videos, so footage galore.

    Wednesday - October 26, 2011

    Skyrim - Previews @ GameInformer, OXM, PC Gamer

    by Dhruin, 23:47

    CountChocula sends in a video preview of Skyrim at GameInformer with three editors having a fairly frank discussion together and showing some (new?) footage such as an enemy hit with an ice spell and the frozen body floats down the river. It runs to 12 minutes, and is worth a look, I'd say.

    Over at OXM is a series titled How to be a complete bastard in Skyrim:

    And so, the tale of the Argonian warrior Toxic, foe to all that is friendly, erupted. I left the cave, set off into the forests with an echoing roar, fell down a waterfall and died. The water in this game looks terrific, by the way - multiple layers of froth and foam collapsing together like sheathes of lace-edged paper, spilling between planes of rock. Reborn and undeterred, I followed the path instead.

    Not far down it I met a hunter and his dog. The man approached, raising his hand in greeting, so I set him on fire. The dog didn't take this too well, so I set him on fire too. Destruction magic, I had decided, would be my calling card in the realm of the Nords. That and a dirty great battleaxe. On the way to Riverwood I discovered a beehive in a tree, which I ate, and a herd of deer, which I fired arrows at till their mournful cries reverberated from distant peaks. Time for a drawn-out muhahahaha? Soon, my precious. Soon.

    ...and Thrasher points out this one at PC Gamer, which is a decent account of the author's play experience:

    A few minutes up the hill, I find a walled-off Nordic town I’m not allowed into. I hop on a few boulders and climb in anyway. Through a pair of heavy doors, I find subterranean torture chambers, and dead adventurers rotting in tiny cages. Only one seems worth looting – a robed guy with a book in his cell – but it’s locked.

    Lockpicking is no longer a tumbler-tickling nightmare: you just swivel one pick to what you hope is a sweet spot, and try turning the lock with the other. It’ll turn a little if you’re close to the sweet spot, but turn too far in the wrong position and the pick snaps. It’s a system that works well in Fallout 3, and it feels slicker here.

    Skyrim - 6Gb HDD Space Explained

    by Dhruin, 23:19

    Bethsoft has reponded to all the commentary about the 6Gb hard drive space from yesterday's Skyrim system requirements announcement. From the Bethblog:

    We’ve seen plenty of comments relating to the game only requiring six gigs of HDD space. Don’t worry… there’s still a ton of game in there. The total HDD space relates more to the compression opitmizations we’re able to do with The Creation Engine. Not only are do we think you’ll be impressed with how the game looks, but also how much faster it runs..

    ...and the forums:

    Noticed several comments about the game size. New engine and we’re much better at compression on all things from art to voice to world data. It’s huge yet more optimized than we’ve had before.

    Skyrim - Language Clarification

    by Garrett, 07:54

    BethSoft's Pete Hines let us know, that "...You have the ability to change the language for your game on Steam. So if you buy the German version, you can still play the game in English if you want to."

    We put that question to him as it was unclear if you can do that or are forced to play a localized version...

    Tuesday - October 25, 2011

    Skyrim - System Reqs Announced

    by Dhruin, 23:49

    Here are the Skyrim system requirements, straight from the Bethblog:

    Recommended Specs

    • Windows 7/Vista/XP PC (32 or 64 bit)
    • Processor: Quad-core Intel or AMD CPU
    • 4GB System RAM
    • 6GB free HDD space
    • DirectX 9 compatible NVIDIA or AMD ATI video card with 1GB of RAM (Nvidia GeForce GTX 260 or higher; ATI Radeon 4890 or higher).
    • DirectX compatible sound card
    • Internet access for Steam activation

    Minimum Specs

    • Windows 7/Vista/XP PC (32 or 64 bit)
    • Processor: Dual Core 2.0GHz or equivalent processor
    • 2GB System RAM
    • 6GB free HDD Space
    • Direct X 9 compliant video card with 512 MB of RAM
    • DirectX compatible sound card
    • Internet access for Steam activation

    Thanks, Jeff!

    Monday - October 24, 2011

    Skyrim - Live Action Trailer

    by Dhruin, 22:26

    I've never really understood live action trailers but Bethsoft has released one for Skyrim, replete with a "real" dragon.

    While we're talking Skyrim, Alrik writes in with an interview clip from Art Director Matt Carofano that NowGamer has used to create a senationalist - but rather obvious - headline. Matt on why Skyrim is "Bound To Include Bugs":

    "We’ve started play testing the game much earlier and the entire team tests the whole game and we’re dedicated to getting rid of as many bugs as we can," Carofano told s in an interview. "At the same time we realise it’s a huge open world and there’s almost an infinite number of situations you can get into so there’s going to be some stuff we wished we could’ve fixed but we’ll be very dedicated to making sure it’s the best it can possibly be."

    Saturday - October 22, 2011

    Skyrim - New Coverage @ Gametrailers

    by Dhruin, 23:23

    Gametrailers TV has new footage from Skyrim as they visit the Bethsoft office and talk with Todd Howard. I haven't watched the whole thing but the focus seems to be on dragons and apparently new Dragon Shouts are revealed.

    Thanks, Jhwisner!

    While we're talking Skyrim, CountChocula wrote in with what is probably a hoax at Ripten, with a father supposedly sending a note to school that his daughter would miss 11.11.11 (and possibly the week after) for the Skyrim release.

    Thursday - October 20, 2011

    Skyrim - Chasing the Dragon @ IGN

    by Dhruin, 22:17

    Along with their standard Skyrim preview, IGN has a piece from their recent 3-hour play-test, titled Chasing the Dragon. This previewer followed the main quest line, rather than heading in a random direction to test the freedom:

    We began our missions in the game innocently enough, talking to a brother and sister looking to get a special item back that was stolen from them by a group of bandits known to inhabit a place called Bleak Falls Barrow. Working my way through the dungeon I find the leader has been captured by a giant spider. I rescue him in exchange for his word that he'll surrender the stolen item. Of course, he reneges, forcing me to chase him down and kill him to get it back. I continue working my way through the dungeon to find my way out, battling undead warriors, solving a few beginner-level environmental puzzles and eventually returning to the item's rightful owners.

    In vaguely related doesn't-deserve-its-own-newsbit-news, the Bethblog has a video from a GAME store in Australia unboxing their Dragonborn promo statue.

    Wednesday - October 19, 2011

    Skyrim - Video Interview @ GameSpot

    by Dhruin, 22:22

    There's a video interview at GameSpot with Pete Hines on Skyrim, talking about "dragons, Radiant Story and cooking". It runs to around 7 minutes.

    In semi-related news, the Bethblog has some more preview links and also the screens that were released for these previews, if you haven't seen them in the various articles.

    Tuesday - October 18, 2011

    Skyrim - Articles @ RPS, GamesRadar

    by Dhruin, 23:20

    Here are two more Skyrim articles. First, Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a "Chat-o-Think" roundtable conversation:

    Alec: oh! I fought a giant spider. That was pretty horrible. I mostly roasted it to death, but it charging towards me was genuinely unsettling. That was in a dungeon though. Outside, I saw another poacher – the one whose horse I nicked – but didn’t happen to bump into anyone else, bar bandits, but the poachers were chasing animals, and there were some wolves hunting something too I think. Y’know, being all wolfy. I don’t think I saw enough though, got too bogged down in crafting and stealthing. Three hours sounds like a long time, but it really wasn’t enough to entirely get Skyrim’s measure. It did feel a *lot* like Oblivion, but with more incidental stuff and polish – so it wasn’t like the jump (for good and ill) from Morrowind to Oblivion, but more a direct evolution from the last game.

    Jim: hmm! So. Is it more like Morrowind, really?
    Alec: Well, it definitely doesn’t feel as fantasy-generic as Oblivion didn’t, but it is building on what Oblivion did rather than what Morrowind did. It’s clawed some of the strangeness and randomness of Morrowind back in, and sorted out some of Oblivion’s presentation issues. I think it’s going to be more satisfying and, I think, better, than Oblivion, but maybe not as memorable as Morrowind.

    ...and GamesRadar has a bullet-point list of 63 items from their three hours. This snip has a spoiler for the start of a side-quest (but not the resolution of the quest), so be warned:

    • We witnessed a murder in a town square, where a lady called Margret was viciously stabbed to death before our very eyes.
    • We killed the assailant, and then went into a shop where people were talking about the noise outside. It was a scripted event (and that start of a side-quest), but happened in a brilliantly organic way.
    • We killed an Elk with massive antlers (obviously head of the small group he was with). When he was dead we were able to keep the antlers, which we would no doubt have displayed in our house as soon as we'd bought one in one of the cities.
    • We were able to look at characters' facial expressions without cringing at the old engine. They’re much improved, and suspicious looks from a town leader's bodyguards work brilliantly with the dialogue to set a mood that we should mind our Ps and Qs.
    • We dual-wielded magic. It's possible to have two of the same spell or even different spells mapped to the triggers.
    • We went swimming in a river and almost fell down a big waterfall, and let out an audible gasp when we climbed to safety.
    • We caught Riverbetty fish and Salmon while swimming with our bare hands.
    • We waited in the middle of a field just to see the day/night transition unfold before your very eyes. It was much like Shenmue II.
    • We went to the nearest city and took a carriage to a city that was further away. It could take us to any of the game’s cities – even the ones we hadn’t been to.  
    • We heard people shout for help in the wilderness in a fashion not dissimilar to Red Dead Redemption, except instead of needing to be defended from outlaws, they’re running from dire wolves or Orcs. Or dragons.
    • We stared in awe at the mist around mountains. It looks phenomenal. 

    Skyrim - Previews Galore

    by Dhruin, 12:28

    CountChocula sends in this big collection of Skyrim previews, following on from our earlier newsbit where press were recently afforded the opportunity to play for three hours. There are too many to quote, so pick your favourite sites and head over for a look.

    Monday - October 17, 2011

    Skyrim - Three Hours of Skyrim Previews

    by Dhruin, 22:30

    Last week Bethsoft held a press event where journalists got to play Skyrim for three hours, and a slew of previews have now been released (all X360, by the way). None of the articles reveal much and most of the journalists seemed determined to run off in a random direction, leading to a number of hunting anecdotes but not much insight into the quality of quests. Here are the ones we've spotted so far.

    Rock, Paper, Shotgun has two short parts up, starting with The Bad Vegetarian:

    I was barely out of character creation (I was playing a female Khajiit, partially because I find the see in the dark racial ability incredibly useful but mostly because I own a female cat) when I saw him. Well, I heard his dog first and thought ‘oh, a dog! How cute!’ Then I saw the dog’s owner, a poacher. I saw his bow raised aloft. I saw the hand released. I saw the arrow fly. I saw the arrow thwack into the side of an already-fleeing fox. And I saw myself, before I entirely knew what I was doing, plunge a knife into Poacher’s back.

    Why did I do that, I asked myself, already knowing the answer. I did it because I am a lily-livered, animal rights-supporting vegetarian, and my first experience of this wonderful world being someone being a bit of a dick to an animal was rather distressing. On the other hand, I was impressed that the game featured NPC poachers and animals who were frightened of NPC poachers. Still, this was going to be my world, and I wasn’t go to stand for that kind of thing. It was in my power to make it a better place, and so I would. Take that, poacher. No more poaching for you, poacher. Yes, I was aware of the irony of being a murderer in order to prevent murder. But this appeared to be the only way I could stop him. So, I felt bad about my dark deed, but good that the world was down one rotter.

    Part Two is titled Zombie Torturer.

    VG247:

    Heading through the undergrowth I switch to third-person to get a feel for how this more alien viewpoint fits the game. It’s a view that I return to several times over the period of the three hours, in order to see how those who like their action viewed from above and behind will be served. Happily, the sense of connection with the environment is much improved over Oblivion’s feeling of gliding steps and floaty jumps, though I still can’t imagine wanting to play the entire game this way.

    IGN:

    While chasing a deer near a river bank, I noticed dragonflies buzzing around my head. I tried to snatch them out of the air, failed, and realized the deer had sprinted entirely out of view. In a nearby waterfall fish jumped from bottom to top, and by standing on a rock in the midst of the rapids I was able to pluck one out. I let the moving water carry me downstream, where I found the deer again, killed it, and watched its corpse float along with the current, bumping into rocks along the way.

    You may think this type of thing is pointless, but for me it's the perfect example of why I'm so drawn to Elder Scrolls games. Skyrim feels like a real place, from the way the wind kicks up snow from the edges of rocky cliffs to the way the surface of ponds ripples under a light rain. It's packed with structured content, but also filled with plenty more reasons to explore.

    CVG:

    The talent trees themselves are represented by gorgeous, swirling constellations in the heavens above Skyrim. Proficiencies are unlocked by lighting different stars within them, and they're shaded according to ability - red for physical combat, blue for magic and green for social and crafting skills.

    They're also structured in such a way that cunningly prompts the player to explore their character's potential by offering the chance to specialise in different weapons in a certain class. If you're fond of your two-handed hammer, for example, the corresponding constellation will offer you the chance to expand your two-handed repertoire to include edged weapons, such as swords and battle-axes.

    Destructoid:

    I asked Alvor the blacksmith if he had any work for me to do, and he offered to teach me the smithing system. I was given a few iron ingots and some leather straps, and told to go play with the forge. The menu provided a long list of different weapons, armor, and jewelry I could create. I chose “iron dagger” from the menu and watched my guy hammer away at a red-hot piece of metal. After showing Alvor my cool new knife, he suggested I temper it on his grindstone. At the grindstone, a similar menu opened up that allowed me to upgrade the dagger’s condition to “fine.”

    Joystiq, who were obsessed with fighting a dragon:

    Arriving at the tower, I found one man who survived the dragon's assault. In the distance, I could see it come in for another go as it emerged from a mountain top. At first, it circled the battlefield, generously peppering the land around the tower with fire. Eventually, it landed, and I charged it, fists at the ready. I was determined to punch this thing dead. And then it ate me and everyone laughed.

    ...and Eurogamer:

    In some ways, the game doesn't look that dramatic a graphical leap forwards from Oblivion, but in moments like this the scale of what Bethesda has built is entirely apparent. All those great gobbets of world I can see are mine to explore. The game's music seemed to realise that I would likely be feeling awed at this point, with its soft, skeletal piano music bursting outwards into loud splendour. I half expected someone to leap out from behind a rock and bellow ' behold!' And behold I did, and in great admiration - if secretly wishing I was playing on PC rather than 360, so it was all bit more high-detailed and anti-aliased.

    Skyrim - Why the RPG Hate at Rampant Games

    by Aries100, 14:27

    Jay Barnson from Rampant Games has written an editorial  where all the rpg-hate seems to be coming from. Read it on his blog. He's been inspired by this article over at IGN, apparently, anti-Skyrim rpg piece. I'm putting it under Skyrim since this is where Jay Barnson got his inspiration from. An excerpt from Jay's blog:

    Which brings me to the question of the title of the article. Why is it so popular these days for journalists to bash on a subgenre that’s been an endangered species for over a decade? Why the fear and loathing of RPGs? Why the RPG hate? I don’t know if many of the folks in question have actually played an honest-to-goodness hardcore stats-heavy RPG before. Or maybe all the stats in Mass Effect taxed their patience. Or maybe they are tilting at mental windmills based on secondhand descriptions and brief encounters with older games that were unplayable without RTFMing** (a skill that seems to have been lost in the mists of time now).

    Source: GameBanshee

    Thursday - October 13, 2011

    Skyrim - Developer Speedrun

    by Dhruin, 22:09

    A bit of a fun item that doesn't provide any useful insight into the game whatsoever. The Bethblog announces they recently held their traditional developer speedrun with Bethesda Game Studios facing off against QA to complete Skyrim in a bit over two hours:

    If Fallout 3′s speed run was that close, the Skyrim contest was… well, I can’t think of something closer than that Michael Phelps race. But this one was crazier — crazy like the final minute of this year’s Michigan-Notre Dame game.

    At the beginning of the Skyrim speedrun, I asked Sam how long he anticipated it would take. He predicted two hours, fifteen minutes. He wasn’t far off. In the end, Jeff Browne finished the game first with an impressive time of minutes 2:16:30.

    Congrats to Jeff, right? WRONG! 58 minutes into the competition, Sam had to roll back to an earlier save (ruled fair by the judging committee), so we had to wait several minutes after Jeff completed the main quest to compare their final times. Despite taking a totally different route to get to the endgame (in the Fallout 3 speedrun, they had virtually the same game plan), Sam’s time was 2:16:10 — 20 seconds faster than Jeff!!

    Tuesday - October 11, 2011

    Skyrim - The RPG for the Rest of Us @ IGN

    by Dhruin, 23:23

    I'm just going to play this IGN article with a straight bat. The intro from IGN's Skyrim: The RPG for the Rest of US.

    Quasi-Medieval fantasy leaves me cold. When I trouble myself to read George R.R. Martin, my eyes roll at his absurd olde worlde lingo. I've never been tempted, not for one second, to actually play World of Warcraft. There are very few people in the world less qualified than me to write about RPGs. 

    All that leveling up, those tiresome stats, all those dreary fantasy tropes, the endless tinkering with skills and items. Yawn!

    Like millions of others, the game I'll play more than any other this year is The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The only reason this is worth mentioning is because I really, really don't like RPGs.

    Skyrim - Manual Leaked

    by Dhruin, 22:51

    Someone has leaked the X360 version of the Skyrim manual by posting photos of it to the online image service, Imgur. The shots are often blurry and always low-quality but it is readable. It's not the giant tome most of us would love - as far as I can see, you don't don't get detailed lists of spells or skills - but it's worth a look for fans.

    Thanks, Kuki!

    Monday - October 10, 2011

    Skyrim - Map Revealed

    by Dhruin, 21:17

    Russian fan site ElderScrolls.net has a map of the Skyrim gameworld with the various cities marked...in Russian. Meanwhile, VG247 has an apparently new batch of half a dozen screens.

    Source: IGN

    Wednesday - October 05, 2011

    Skyrim - 360 Achievements Revealed

    by Dhruin, 00:06

    The Achievements for Skyrim have been unveiled at Xbox360Achievements - as usual, these can be potentially spoilery, so be warned.

    Thursday - September 29, 2011

    Skyrim - Art Excerpts

    by Dhruin, 00:20

    The Bethblog has a handful of art samples from the Skyrim Collector's Edition art book (and more on Facebook).

    Wednesday - September 28, 2011

    Skyrim - Skyrim Previews

    by Dhruin, 00:53

    VG247 has another Skyrim hands-on:

    And then, the moose. He bolted the second he caught wind of my approach, but I gave chase. Eventually, I cornered him – you know, with my back to the edge of a waterfall. Damn that moose; he was a tactical genius. Or just really lucky. Regardless, he was finally fed up with my attempts to engage him in a rousing game of hide-and-go-disturb-the-wildlife. So he gave me a graceful, majestic shove, and off I went. Right over a waterfall.

    Surprisingly, I survived, and the water’s current – another new feature – yanked me about like a housecat whose curiosity guided it into a washing machine. Eventually, it deposited me at the base of the mountain, where I sighted an incredibly ominous-looking cave. “Why not?” I thought to myself.

    ...and a summary of other previews from the Bethblog:

    • Electronic Theatre has ranked Skyrim their top game of last week’s Eurogamer Expo!
    • Read new hands-on impressions at Delta Gamer, GeekMandem, and BeefJack
    • GigJets details new info on the game revealed by Pete Hines
    • Check out Jaime Deizell’s look back at Morrowind up at Games.On.Net
    • Fans in Spain can check out the latest cover story for Skyrim in the new issue of Marca Player. See the cover here!

    Skyrim - Star Voice Cast Announced

    by Dhruin, 00:11

    Bethsoft sent us this press release announcing the star-studded voice cast for Skyrim:

    BETHESDA SOFTWORKS ANNOUNCES RENOWNED

    VOICE OVER CAST FOR THE ELDER SCROLLS® V: SKYRIM

     

    Academy Award Nominees Christopher Plummer, Max Von Sydow

    and Joan Allen Come Together for the Year’s Most Anticipated Game

              

    September 27, 2011 (Rockville, MD) – Bethesda Softworks®, a ZeniMax® Media company, today revealed the stage and screen legends lending their talents to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the next installment in the award-winning Elder Scrolls series. Skyrim will feature an ensemble cast of Academy Award nominees, including Christopher Plummer (“The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” “The Insider”), Max Von Sydow (“The Exorcist,” “Minority Report”), and Joan Allen (“The Contender,” “The Bourne Ultimatum”).

    Christopher Plummer, a two-time Emmy Award winner, two-time Tony Award winner and Academy Award nominee, takes on the role of Arngeir, a powerful Greybeard elder. An order of philosopher monks who are masters of the Way of the Voice, the Greybeards live in silent isolation atop Skyrim’s largest mountain.

    Academy Award nominee, Max Von Sydow, stars as Esbern, a chronicler and agent of the Blades who has survived in hiding. Long obsessed with the foretold return of the dragon Alduin, the World Eater, Esbern will teach you how to confront this epic evil.

    Tony Award winner and three-time Academy Award nominee, Joan Allen, will be making her videogame debut as Delphine, one of the last remaining members of the Blades – an ancient warrior society once sworn to protect the Emperor. Like you, Delphine is trying to unravel the mystery of the dragons’ return.

    In addition, iconic actress and singer, Lynda Carter (“Wonder Woman”), voices Gormlaith Golden-Hilt, one of the Nord heroes who overthrew the dragons in ancient times.

    “It’s been incredible to have all these actors together,” said Todd Howard, Game Director. “When you start a project, you always make your wish-list of actors, and to actually hear them in the game, it’s amazing. We can’t wait for everyone to experience it.”

     

    Skyrim’s cast also includes

    • ·         Michael Hogan (“Battlestar Galactica”), who plays Imperial General Tullius, in charge of crushing the Stormcloak rebellion.
    • ·         Vladimir Kulich (“The 13th Warrior,” “Smoking Aces”) portrays Hogan’s nemesis Ulfric Stormcloak, Jarl of Windhelm and charismatic leader of the Stormcloaks, who aims to make Skyrim independent of the Empire.
    • ·         Claudia Christian (“Babylon 5”) joins the cast as Legate Rikke, General Tullius’s chief lieutenant, a loyal Imperial officer as well as a Nord who firmly believes Skyrim must remain part of the Empire.
    • ·         Diane Louise Salinger (“Carnivale”), Renee Victor (“Weeds”), and Saturday Night Live-alum George Coe (“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”) round out the star-studded cast of more than 70 different voice actors delivering over 60,000 lines of dialogue.

     

    Developed by Bethesda Game Studios, the makers of the 2006 and 2008 Games of the Year, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim reimagines and revolutionizes the open-world fantasy epic, bringing to life a complete virtual world open for you to explore any way you choose. Skyrim, which will be available worldwide on November 11, 2011, has already won numerous awards including Best Console Game and Best RPG from the official Game Critics Awards at E3 2011 and Wired.com believes it will be “one of the most sprawling, almost impossibly detailed game worlds ever created.”

    For more information on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim visit http://elderscrolls.com/skyrim.

    Thanks to CountChocula, who also sent this in.

    Monday - September 26, 2011

    Skyrim - Perks and Racial Powers

    by Dhruin, 23:13

    Bethsoft forum member Sammuthegreat compiled all the info he could from a recent Skyrim hands-on experience at the Eurogamer Expo, offering the most complete list of Perks and Racial Powers currently available. There are two active threads (Part 1 and Part 2) that are well worth a look. The list of Perks is too long to post in this format but here are a couple samples:

    I started the game, fiddled as quickly as possible with the character creator. The creator tells you (briefly) about each race's abilities, so without further ado:

    - ORCS: Beserker
    - REDGUARDS: Adrenaline Rush,
    - WOOD ELF: resist poison, resisit disease, command animals
    - NORD: Battlecry
    - KHAJIIT: night-eye, claw attacks
    - IMPERIAL: Voice of the Emperor, find more coins when looting
    - HIGH ELF: regenerate Magicka more quickly
    - DARK ELF: Ancestor's Wrath (surround self in fire), resist fire
    - BRETON: Dragonskin (absorb spells), resist shock
    - ARGONIANS: Histskin (regenerate health quickly), resist disease 50%, breathe underwater

    - FIRST THING I NOTICED WAS THAT RACES HAVE DIFFERENT STATS TO START WITH. The baseline stat seems to be 15, with +5 in some stats and even +10 in others. For example:
    - Argonians start with 25 in Lockpicking, 20 in Pickpocketing, Sneak, Light Amour, Restoration, Alteration
    - Orcs start with 25 in Heavy Armour, 20 in Enchanting, Smithing (didn't see any more)
    - Bosmer start with 20s in most of the thieving skills - Sneak, Alchemy, Pickpocket, Lockpicking - and a 25 in Archery

    Thanks, CountChocula!

    Skyrim - News Tidbits

    by Dhruin, 13:10

    Here's a small handful of Skyrim tidbits from the last week or so.

    Thursday - September 22, 2011

    Skyrim - Preview @ VG247

    by Dhruin, 23:29

    Skyrim has been previewed in a short piece at VG247 that doesn't add anything of particular interest beyond the author's enthusiasm after a short play session at the Eurogamer Expo:

    I have seen Skyrim twice in the past five months, but never hands-on. I walked away from Bethesda’s pre-E3 event in Utah back in April absolutely blown aback by what I had seen. The same could be for what I seen from gamescom last month in Cologne behind closed doors. But never hands-on.

    Until today. For the first time since I first seen it in Salt Lake back in April, I went hands-on with the RPG of forever. At least that’s what it will be come November 11.

    Thursday - September 15, 2011

    Skyrim - Preview Roundup

    by Dhruin, 00:38

    There's a roundup of recent Skyrim previews, interviews and the like on the Bethblog. We've covered most of the major ones but if you want to trawl through all the material, head over and check out the list.

    Monday - September 12, 2011

    Skyrim - 20 Minutes of Footage

    by Dhruin, 23:02

    Bethsoft has released 20 minutes of Skyrim footage at the Bethblog, broken into three parts. The videos are narrated by Todd Howard, who "guides viewers through the presentation that’s been shown at E3, QuakeCon, and PAX Prime!".

    Thanks to Vurt for a similar submission.

    Saturday - September 10, 2011

    Skyrim - Preview @ Manatank

    by Dhruin, 01:46

    A site called Manatank has a hefty preview of Skyrim, covering just about every aspect. I can't see much new but it sure covers a lot of territory - here's a random snip:

    There is plenty to do within each city aside from interacting with the inhabitants. For the first time you will have access to simple jobs such as wood cutting and farming. Whatever you see an NPC doing, you can do as well. Blacksmith shops have forges you can commandeer and upgrade your weapons or you can go run the local lumber mill if you wish. Again, it’s entirely up to you.

    Your interaction with the game’s NPCs will also be drastically different than before. Rather than a static, in-your-face camera angle, Skyrim will feature a more casual, zoomed out NPC camera where the characters will continue to behave like normal humans even as you talk to them. Approach the busty waitress as she is making her rounds and she will talk to you as she continues her duties.

    Friday - September 09, 2011

    Skyrim - What's New @ GameSpy

    by Dhruin, 00:09

    GameSpy has a general summary of changes in Skyrim. I can't see anything new but it does offer a broad overview:

    The New Rogue: Poor sad, weak bow and arrow. The weapon of choice for ranged players was never very impressive in Oblivion, no matter how good one's skill. But in Skyrim, the bow has become a formidable tool of assassination. Bethesda got the idea from playing an Oblivion mod where skillful players could take down foes with a single arrow. Yes, you too can now perform a one-hit kill with a bow and arrow in Skyrim (depending on the health of your foe and if your skill and equipment – not to mention aim – are good enough). Players will still zoom in to aim, but now, the longer a bow is drawn back, the more powerful the shot will be. And we hate to burst your bubble if you're suddenly envisioning an arrow-filled inventory and a quick conquest of Skyrim, but Bethesda has made arrows expensive and rare in the game. Treat those babies like gold.
    In addition, Bethesda has tweaked the stealth system, making it more difficult for enemies to become alerted to your presence, and skillful rogues can sneak up on enemies and pull off one-hit assassinations. Oh, and the rogue's bread and butter, lock picking, has also been given an overhaul to mimic the mechanic found in Bethesda's Fallout franchise.

    Thursday - September 08, 2011

    Skyrim - Look at the size of that box!

    by Dhruin, 00:58

    Another minor item from the Bethblog where they have a photo of the Collector's Edition sitting on Senior Brand Manager Erin Losi's desk. I can tell you that part of that astronomical price for the Collector's Edition is to cover the cost of the huge box.

    Wednesday - September 07, 2011

    Skyrim - Attack of the Nords

    by Dhruin, 01:31

    This newsbit doesn't inform anything about Skyrim but I can see a few readers wanting one of the dozens of bronzed Dragonborn statues that Bethsoft has prepared for retail promos.

    Monday - September 05, 2011

    Skyrim - Five More Things I've Learned

    by Dhruin, 11:09

    Kotaku has a Skyrim preview titled Five More Things I've Learned About Murder, Encumberance and other Stuff, with input from Todd Howard. A snip on immortal NPCs:

    Who You Can Kill and Who You Can't – We may not kill everyone in the massive world of Skyrim, Howard told me, though obviously some have tried such slaughters in previous games made or overseen by his studio. "Central" characters in Skyrim will not die. If defeated in combat, these people will drop to their knees. Rare "Protected" characters can be killed by you, but not by non-player characters who do have the ability to murder their fellow Skyrim dwellers during the kind of unplanned, dynamic chaos Bethesda players enjoy igniting. Those Skyrimians who are neither Central nor Protected may die by your or others' hands—to be clear, those "others' hands" are computer-controlled, as this is as single-player a game as it gets.

    The man to whom I aggressively delivered a few arrows, I'm sad to report, had friends who proved to me that my character was neither Central nor Protected. Hey, but at least I'm the hero. I can respawn.

    Thanks, MMA!

    Thursday - September 01, 2011

    Skyrim - A Realistic Hour @ RPS

    by Dhruin, 23:13

    Alec Meer writes at Rock, Paper, Shotgun about watching an hour-long Skyrim demo back at Gamescom. The "realistic" bit in the title refers to the demo being natural gameplay, rather than an epic, scripted event - and this aspect has impressed Alec:

    So, in fact, seeing Skyrim at its quietest and most inward-looking is a huge relief. While Skyrim has looked mighty impressive from afar, there was a fear that the nuts and bolts of Elder Scrolling had been subsumed by all that impossibly epic combat and shouting at sky-lizards. In fact, there’s plenty of the number-watching and cave-exploring that we so yearn for. In many ways, it seems incredibly familiar – there’d be no mistaking it for any other game series. On the other hand, the spit and polish on top of it is wonderful. Most especially in the inventory.

    Oh! The menus. Oh! With every single pick-uppable item rendered as a full, 3D, rotable object, everything tiered into neat categories and smart features such as tagging favourites for instant access, right-clicking stuff in a looting screen to immediately equip it and a tiny, discrete icon denoting which item is the best of its sort in your bags, it seems to have kept all the good stuff of inventory management while making it far more efficient and look exactly 17 times better. Maybe even 18.

    Wednesday - August 31, 2011

    Skyrim - Perfect World and Big Enough

    by Dhruin, 23:13

    Here's a pair of Skyrim articles.

    IGN has a piece titled Skyrim's Perfect World and discussing "how crafting, alchemy and well-constructed mythology could make Skyrim one of the most impressively cohesive worlds in gaming":

    It's an incredibly enticing prospect for the natural gaming hunter-gatherer when every collectible thing has its uses. You can even swim in Skyrim's rivers, plucking fish out of the water and roasting them on a campfire spit later. A familiar alchemy lab, meanwhile, lets you magic things like bonemeal and plants into potions to help you or hurt your enemies, experimenting with different combinations of ingredients to negate or catalyse their negative effects.

    Smithing is rather more complicated. You can mine ore from deposits all over the place – from the tops of mountains to underground caves – which then has to be turned into ingots before you can use it for a helmet or a sword or a breastplate at a forge using hammer and bellows. There are grindstones for improving blades as you develop your skills. Meanwhile, all those wolf pelts that you inevitably accumulate on your adventures can be cured and made into useful, wearable, smithable leather for use at a workbench. As well as treasure and secret nuggets of Elder Scrolls mythology, you'll now be searching for rare ores and ingredients in Skyrim's hidden places. It's yet another reason to explore, and another natural way of immersing you in the game's fiction.

    Over at Joystiq are some PAX comments from Todd Howard about the world size:

    Though the theme of Skyrim is obviously "bigger and more," some aspects of Oblivion have had to be scaled back in the sequel. But Howard said that those decisions were motivated less by time and budget and more by a desire to present the richest overall experience.

    "In Oblivion, we did ... maybe nine big cities? And here, we decided 'let's do five, and make them more unique.' There are fewer of the really large cities, but the ones we have here ... there's more to them," he said.

    Tuesday - August 30, 2011

    Skyrim - Interview @ Kotaku

    by Aries100, 20:25

    Todd Howard also talked to Kotaku during PAX and he told them about Bethesda's bug squashing plans:

    With Skyrim, Bethesda will adopt a special direct connection to their game—on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360—that will let them update the game on the fly, similarly to how EA is able to tweak the rosters of their sports games without going through the standard multi-day or multi-week waits to update most games on consoles. They are also running new and better processes to catch bugs before the game launches.

    Before launch, Howard said, Bethesda is testing Skyrim rigorously and more heavily using a system that runs automated versions of the game overnight, searching for bugs and helping the team squash them. "We're getting better at it," Howard said.

    They are also adopting this new EA Sports-style "live update" system that will let Bethesda tweak the data in their game almost immediately. If a quest isn't triggering because players are doing some unforeseen combination of actions, that might be addressable by tweaking the data tables that dictate the flow of events in the game.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Skyrim - Todd Howard Video Interview @ Gamer Live TV

    by Aries100, 20:19

    Gamer Live TV has a video interview with Todd Howard about this game.  They talk about how important graphics are for a game of this type, 3D in gaming, about the scale of the game, the inspirations for the title - and then some.

     

     

    Source: GameBanshee

    Monday - August 29, 2011

    Skyrim - Video Interview @ Destructoid

    by Dhruin, 23:06

    Destructoid has a PAX video conversation with Skyrim artist Matt Carofano. Word from Blue's is the conversation covers "the number of fish in the game, and less pressing topics like vampires, werewolves, same-sex marriages, inter-species marriages, dragons, and much more".

    Source: Blues News

    Saturday - August 27, 2011

    Skyrim - Preview @ CVG

    by Dhruin, 23:40

    CVG has a preview of Skyrim from their PS3 magazine, PSM3. It doesn't reveal anything new but does give some first-hand descriptions of dragon fighting and dungeon-delving. One thing some people will like is the intent to make bigger DLCs:

    "For us, I'd like to do bigger things. Some of the bigger ones we did for Fallout 3 I thought were better. I like the Rockstar model too, where it feels more like an expansion pack. I don't know what we're going to do yet, but we want to do something that costs a bit more but is going to be more of a complete package. Quality over quantity... we're thinking bigger than with Fallout 3."

    Source: Blues News

    Skyrim - X360 Timed Exclusive For Two DLCs

    by Dhruin, 00:15

    The first two Skyrim DLCs will be timed X360 exclusives according to Eurogamer. The exclusivity only lasts 30 days and for the first two releases, apparently:

    The first two downloadable add-ons for fantasy role-playing game The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim will be exclusive to the Xbox 360 for 30 days after release, Microsoft has announced.

    After that exclusivity window the DLC is free to go live on PC and PlayStation Network.

    Tip from Frozen Fireball.

    Friday - August 26, 2011

    Skyrim - One Hour With Skyrim Finally Made Me a True Believer

    by Dhruin, 00:44

    Ripten has a hands-on Skyrim preview titled One Hour With Skyrim Finally Me Me a True Believer. The author is a self-professed "PC RPGamer and an old school Elder Scrolls fan", who was apparently disappointed with the E3 demo but converted after this hands-on. Pesonally, I didn't see anything that would really convert the non-believer but here's a snip (language warning for the those offended by such and bad spelling warning for the rest of us):

    I pressed the map button and the camera shot up into the heavens.  Talk about an in-game map!  The map of the game is actually the game world itself!  You will actually look down upon all of Skyrim in real time from the clouds.  Talk about draw distance!  It was gorgeous to say the least, and really conveyed a grand sense of scale.  You are small, Skyrim… is enourmous.  I saw a town nearby and decided to head off in that direction.  However, it wasn’t long before I was approached by a woman who was trying to escape from yet another group of bandits.

    She ran to me and asked for my help.  I accepted as the bandits came toward me.  It was too late to draw my bow so as I meant to draw my axe, I instead hit the wrong button (damned consoles) and ended up in 3rd person perspective.  “Shit!” I thought.  “This wont do at all, I’m fucked!”  But there was no time.  I side stepped one bandit and hacked at another.  Before long they were all brought down as I circled my camera around to survey the damage I’d done.  I jumped around in celebration.  “…Hey” I thought. “The jumping animation isn’t terrible anymore and… holy shit I just played the game in 3rd person and it worked!”  Not only that but it was damn near enjoyable.  Dare I say that Skyrim is playable and outright fun in a 3rd person perspective?!  Could such a thing be true?!  Did Bethesda actually live up to the promise of making an Elder Scrolls game that was playable in something other than a first person perspective?!  It had appeared so.  I was impressed.

    Thanks, Count Chocula!

    Thursday - August 25, 2011

    Skyrim - Video Interview @ CVG

    by Dhruin, 00:59

    CVG has a video interview with Todd Howard with plenty of footage spliced between some existing trailer shots.

    Skyrim - The Races and Faces

    by Dhruin, 00:57

    The Bethblog has kicked up shots of every preset face for every race in Skyrim. Of course, you can customise your own but it's fascinating to look at and they are so much better than Oblivion.

    Thanks, jhwisner!

    Sunday - August 21, 2011

    Skyrim - Hands-on Video @ G4TV

    by Dhruin, 00:18

    From a couple of days back, G4TV has a video interview/preview on Skyrim with input from Todd Howard. It's only a three-minute general overview article but there might be some different footage in the background here and there.

    Friday - August 19, 2011

    Skyrim - GamesCom Preview @ GameSpot

    by Dhruin, 21:39

    GameSpot has A Few Thoughts about Skyrim after another look at the game at GamesCom:

    Dungeon Designs

    You remember Oblivion's dungeons, right? Those underground stone labyrinths or dirt tunnels that you'd sometimes, maybe, feel tempted to go exploring on the off chance you might find some neat loot inside? They were fine for what they were, but they don't exactly cling to your memory as one of the better parts of the game. According to Bethesda's Pete Hines, the development staff has taken quite a different approach with Skyrim's dungeon designs. Literally. Whereas Oblivion's dungeons were largely drawn up by the staff's artists, now dungeons are in the hands of a team of full-time level designers. The aim is to make each dungeon stand out, serve a purpose, and feel like its own unique chunk of the world with its own backstory. Hopefully, that will mean more incentive to explore dungeons you'd otherwise pass by during your overland adventuring.

    They also have some (new?) screens to accompany the piece.

    Thanks, Thrasher!

    Wednesday - August 17, 2011

    Skyrim - Uses Steamworks

    by Myrthos, 23:16

    Today Bethesda confirmed in a tweet that they will be using Steamworks for Skyrim.

    Saturday - August 13, 2011

    Skyrim - Journalist Character Screens

    by Dhruin, 02:00

    When the 20 or so journalists who played Skyrim at QuakeCon recently, Bethesda sent them off with a screen of the character they created for their play test. Those screens are starting to pop up - here's a small list from the Bethblog:

    G4TV (Nord)
    Eurogamer (Khajit)
    Game Informer (Khajit)
    Epic Battle Axe (Nord?)
    Ripten (Bosmer)
    Kotaku (Orc)

    Count Chocula also sends this news in, with a couple of additional bits - a comparison of the Khajit characters we've seen, and Destructoid's Argonian.

    Thursday - August 11, 2011

    Skyrim - Dunmer Thief Screenshot

    by Dhruin, 00:44

    Bethsoft has released a screenshot of a Dunmer thief, in response to a Facebook poll.

    Thanks to Alrik for a similar submission.

    Monday - August 08, 2011

    Skyrim - Quakecon Preview Overload

    by Dhruin, 10:51

    Now that the site is back up, it's time to catch up on Skyrim previews from QuakeCon. We're a bit behind, so I'll highlight a few major previews and line-list a bunch of others (thanks crpgnut and CountChocula!).

    IGN has Stomping Across the Snows of Skyrim:

    The feel of combat is still far from that of an action game, but doesn't feel quite as floaty as Elder Scrolls games past. Weapon strikes rebound off of enemy shields with a noticeable springiness, and because of how the camera moves when readying a heavier weapon strike, it feels as though there's more force behind each swing. Magic in the demo area was limited to three spells at the start, but each had cool effects, particularly the flame spell that shot a jet of fire forward, capable of setting the ground and trees alight or cooking bandits before they even had a chance to land a hit.

    While some of the adventuring resulted in random combat, and some directed me through easy to follow labels on the world map and compass to quest goals, at other times I wound up discovering the bizarre and unexpected. Take for example the black door adorned with a skull I found near a frigid pond in a rocky recess. When I approached the subdued soundtrack of a tranquil forest was joined by a faint, menacing drum beat. The door spoke to me in an otherworldly whisper while shimmering faintly, and asked if I knew the music of life. I ran through the conversation tree to exhaust all options, answering drums, screaming, some kind of choir. The door promptly declared me to be unworthy and refused to open. I don't know what the correct course of action was, but knowing that oddities like this exist in Skyrim is just as exciting as the knowledge that I'll eventually be able to fight dragons.

    Eurogamer, who point out 60 minutes isn't a lot to "make sense" out of a game like Skyrim:

    I've kind of been here before – in my haste to just pick a direction and explore, I've wound up following a similar path to the one Todd Howard chose when I saw Skyrim in April. But whereas Howard showed us what he tells me was "a greatest hits of that dungeon", I get to examine it in detail.

    If it's representative of the average quest, the Bleak Falls Barrow is hugely promising, rich in varied combat, booby traps, puzzles and lore.

    There are bandits to eavesdrop on and sneak around – the Khajiit are especially good sneakers, so I huddle in shadow and draw a longbow on the nattering bad guys from a few feet away. Later there are the skeletal draguar, who employ magic as well as swords and axes, and there's a mini boss fight with a giant spider.

    There are door switches rigged to banks of arrows that need to be disarmed by observing your surroundings and rotating totems like tumblers in a lock, and there are pressure plates and levers that activate spike doors and swinging blades, which are great for making short work of draguar as their numbers increase.

    Destructoid:

    My favorite weapon has to be the bow. The revamped physics and controls made me feel responsible for every arrow shot. The trajectory of the arrows is realistic and not randomly determined by stats, but the damage is. A stealth arrow to the head is something I don’t think I will grow tired of during the many hours I plan to spend with Skyrim. If you aren’t a natural Legolas like me, unlockable skills will help you perfect your bow-and-arrow skills by slowing down time or providing a closer zoom.

    The cavern itself was rather impressive for being such a hum-drum locale. The elements of Skyrim’s new Creation Engine are displayed to great effect. The lighting generates a haunting atmosphere, and a waterfall coming down the multi-tiered levels of the cave presents a spectacle that interiors in Fallout 3 and Oblivion lacked.

    Fans of Fallout 3 will be happy to hear that lockpicking, NPC followers that you can direct and weapon crafting will return in Skyrim with subtle improvements. For example, NPCs will follow you based on their perception of you -- a mix of your karma, dialogue choices and quest favors all brought together through the new Radiant AI system.

    The first GameInformer article:

    Once players exited the character creator, they found themselves with their hands bound wearing tattered rags for clothing, and limping through a gloomy cave. For the sake of the demo, however, the players were freed from their chains and given a healthy selection of gear, including iron armor, several swords, and a bow. On the magic front, players had access to a healing spell and a destructive fireball spell.

    Emerging from the cave gave everyone a new breathtaking view of Skyrim's expansive world. The environment immediately outside of the cave is a lush forest. The attention to detail in this region is staggering; both the high canopies and dense foliage make you truly feel like you are in a giant forest. Some players chose to interact with the flora, raiding a beehive for honey combs and picking mushrooms. Others moved straight into combat.

    ...and the second, featuring a Khajit play-test:

    Heading north again, I ran into another farm. This was a much bigger plot of land, with several gardens. In the middle of this farm a group of three humans were battling a massive giant. Rather than joining the fray, I decided to just sit back and watch. The battle raged back and forth, but eventually the humans prevailed. Afterwards I met Alea the huntress and her sidekicks Farkas and Ria. My first interaction with her was a statement about the battle – I could say "You don't look like you need any help," or "I tried to help." When I chose the flattering option, she thanked me and explained that her band was a part of the Shield-Brothers. I was then prompted to inquire about joining the group or wryly responding "Sounds like a waste of time." Alea told me that if I wanted to join the group I would have to ask the leader of the Companions.

    Here's a shakycam video of the public demo - this is a Mediafire link (167Mb - be warned), unfortunately, but videos I've seen on Youtube or other sites have been taken down. Hopefully, this one will last a little while.

    A few more:

    CountChocula also wrote out some highlights:

    1. - joinable Rebel faction (the Stormcloaks)

    2. - pickpocket skill provides greater RP opportunities and much more realistic thievery for thieves

    3. - myriad options for facepaint

    4. - char gen remembers your settings when switching to different races

    5. - even minor NPCs have much more complexity and depth compared with Oblivion

    6. - you can persuade various random NPCs to accompany you and they feel like fleshed out, interesting companions

    7. - there are six different stages to crafting items (refining crude ore, assembling materials, not sure what the other 4 stages are but it sounds a hell of a lot more complex than Oblivion and Morrowind crafting)

    8. - more realistic alchemy labs instead of spamming health potions in the middle of a dungeon

    9. - in addition to alchemy ingredients there are also reagents (more complex alchemy system than Oblivion)

    10. - some spells you find as spell tomes and others you purchase from merchants, but spells definitely not perks

    11. - hand to hand attacks have a much improved gravity and physicality

    12. - the first encounter with Rebel soldiers (Stormcloaks) escorting a prisoner sounds AWESOME - you can choose various options, like setting the prisoner free, giving him a sword, etc. Quests in general sound like there are more ways to complete them

    13. - Bosmer look better than in Oblivion

    14. - traveling merchants camp beside rivers

    15. - you can learn Alchemy by trial and error, tasting unknown ingredients or making potions with unknown effects

    16. - lockpicking mini-game improved

    17. - Bards confirmed in Falkreath

    18. - MYSTERIOUS BLACK DOOR!!!!

    19. - you can hold onto your perk slots instead of choosing a perk at each level up

    20. - you can add laugh lines in character generator

    21. - you can give a Dunmer one red and one gray eye in the character generator

    22. - loading screens look cool

    23. - after murdering innocents in Falkreath Hold, the PC in one of the demos crossed the border into White Hold and no one bothered him

    24. - there is a Two-Handed perk called "Barbarian"

    25. - "DOZENS" of sliders for character creation

    26. - using fast travel now costs money 

    Friday - August 05, 2011

    Skyrim - Collector's Edition Announced

    by Dhruin, 23:20

    Bethsoft has announced the Collector's Edition for Skyrim on the Bethblog. It's quite a nice pack, though the price of your first-born and $149.99 US or Euro and $199.99 AUD is pretty steep. Here we go:

    • Alduin Statue: Created in conjunction with the IP Factory, this collector’s only statue stands 12” tall and is made of high quality PVC. Modeled from actual in-game 3D digital files, it showcases Alduin, the World Eater. He stands perched atop one the game’s many dragon walls that teach the player the lethal language of dragons.
    • ‘The Art of Skyrim’ Official Art Book: Featuring over 200 pages of striking, full-color illustrations, sketches and models, this stunning 9 3/8” x 12 1/8” coffee table book showcases the characters, creatures, environments, and weaponry of Skyrim. With a foreword by game director Todd Howard and commentary from Bethesda Game Studios artists, readers will be guided through the game’s iconic visual style.
    • ‘The Making of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’ DVD This documentary DVD contains exclusive, behind-the-scenes footage, including interviews with the Bethesda Game Studios team as they take you from concept to creation and provide insights into the story, gameplay, setting, legacy of the Elder Scrolls franchise, and much more.

    Thanks, crpgnut!

    Monday - August 01, 2011

    Skyrim - Help Create an Elder Council Character

    by Dhruin, 23:21

    From the Bethblog:

    Skyrim is the home of the Nords, and as such, all of our key art key art and gameplay demos have shown your character as one. As cool as he looks, we realize when November rolls around, many of you will be playing as a different race (or several different races). With that in mind, we wanted to give you guys a chance to see what another character race looks like.

    To accomplish this, today we’re putting up a couple polls on our Facebook page for The Elder Scrolls: The Elder Council. Voting will go through 9 am est tomorrow morning, and later in the week, we’ll be sharing a character screenshot with you guys.

    Sunday - July 31, 2011

    Skyrim - First Look @ WSJ

    by Dhruin, 00:32

    The Wall Street Journal has a First Look at Skyrim, covering the basics:

    But Skyrim is a subtle step forward in other ways. The demo still has bugs, but it feels aesthetically precise. An animation-blending system makes moving bodies look alive and muscular. A swung axe lands with a terrible, momentous thud on a troll’s forehead. Magic powers pop and crackle, frightening and forceful like oil in a cauldron. The game’s engine simulates weather and cloud movement, and one spell actually changes the weather as far as the camera can see, bringing down storm-clouds and rain and thunder on a now-harried dragon. And there are cinematic “kill moves,” in which the action slows down or the camera pulls back to show you finishing off a monster with a flourish.

    Source: Blues News

    Friday - July 29, 2011

    Skyrim - Setting Out @ Edge Online

    by Dhruin, 00:38

    There's a preview at Edge Online titled Setting Out in Skyrim that describes a demo they received with Todd Howard:

    The freedom to define your character’s abilities is matched by the freedom to choose where you go and what you do there. Although Skyrim offers an explorable area much the same size as Oblivion’s, its degree of simulation has been considerably expanded. Everything you see a character do, you can do as well, Howard explains, as he stands beside a lumber mill in the town of Riverwood, where a man is busily piling logs. These professions are part of a simulated economy, too. Sabotage the lumber mill and wooden items, like arrows, will become scarce. The degree to which the player will be able to plunge the province into financial crisis is yet undetermined, however.

    Friday - July 22, 2011

    Skyrim - 10 Things That Might Suck @ The Geekly News

    by Dhruin, 22:29

    The Geekly News sends in this one titled 10 Things About Skyrim That Might Suck. A sample:

    The dumbing down of my RPG

    27 skills in Morrowind. 21 skills in Oblivion. 18 skills in Skyrim. Let me jump over a house, goddammit! This is a disturbing trend that is evident in most big RPG franchises nowadays. Less skills, less customization, less… everything… in the ungodly name of ‘streamlining’. Now, I’m all for cutting to make a game better. Which this may do. It might be that they have ferreted out the exact skills that were pointless in Oblivion and kept in all the ones that are useful and fun and made sense in your character progression.

    But I guarantee people are still gonna bitch that they can’t jump over a house with their acrobatics maxed. Or beat the tar out of everyone in the game with Hand to Hand. I might not notice they’re missing, but I’m sure some people will.

    Monday - July 18, 2011

    Skyrim - 5 Reasons @ IGN

    by Dhruin, 22:13

    IGN has a fluff piece titled 5 Reasons Skyrim Will Make You Its Bitch, with producer Craig Lafferty offering comments about some obvious sections:

    2. There's an insane amount of things to do and see

    One of the best aspects of Oblivion was its abundance of water-cooler moments – because there was so much to see and do off the beaten path, there was always plenty to talk about with friends who were playing the same game at the same time but in an entirely different way. Like that time you became a vampire, or when your friend happened upon a body floating in a stream with a suicide note tucked into his pocket. Then there was that quest – 'A Brush With Death' - that transported you into a painting in search of a missing artist. It was a watercolour water-cooler moment!

    "There's definitely lots more stuff like that," says Lafferty. "We don't want to give anything specific away to spoil it, but we've got a big open world to go anywhere and do whatever you want, on top of the main quest which is about 30 hours long. We still have the guilds – so the mage's guild, the thieves' guild, the fighters' guild, those are back. The mage's guild takes place in the College of Winterhold. So we have that as well as 150 handcrafted dungeons, and probably over 500 individual activities to do in the world so there's a lot of that as well as the main focus of the story."

    Skyrim - Todd Howard Interview @ EDGE

    by Aries100, 20:34

    Todd Howard talks to EDGE about various Elder Scrolls things.   Topics covered are how much adjustment it took to move back to Tamriel after developing a Fallout game, if we ever get to se an Elder Scrolls game developed by an external studio, if Skyrim will have some of Morrowind's "idiosyncratic otherness" and more.

    Here's a sample:

    Was Oblivion’s setting weird enough? Will Skyrim reintroduce some of Morrowind’s idiosyncratic otherness?

    I think some people, when they go to explore the world, want to be surprised more. I don't know that I'd categorise it as weird per se, but more culturally different. Skyrim has a much more unique sense of culture to it than we did in Oblivion, where one was relatively the same as another, whereas here they're vastly different. If you've seen the trailer, that first city shot, that big stone city is actually an ancient dwarven ruin carved into this mountain. It's one of the main five cities. We wanted Morrowind to feel alien, like you were a stranger in a strange land. Whereas this we want to feel instantly familiar but that it does have it's own unique culture. We kind of walk that line in between the two games, if that makes sense.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Skyrim - Video Interview @ Gamespot

    by Aries100, 20:23

    Lead Producer Craig Lafferty talked to Gamespot about the amount of lore they're injecting via in-game books, the enhancements they've made to third-person adventuring, how time continues to pass during dialogue, and more.

    Thursday - July 14, 2011

    Skyrim - No Demo Planned

    by Dhruin, 22:11

    Several sites are reporting the completely unsurprising news there won't be a demo for Skyrim, following a late video interview with Bethsoft senior producer Craig Lafferty from E3 at Gameplanet. It's a general overview piece, which you can catch at Rock, Paper, Shotgun if you'd like.

    Monday - July 11, 2011

    Skyrim - Skyrim Missing Twenty Things @ OXM

    by Aries100, 20:50

    In an editorial OXM discusses twenthy things they think Skyrim is missing,  some for the worse some for the better.   Two examples:

     4. Class selection

    Perhaps Skyrim's most-lamented omission among old school Elder Scrollers, designed to avoid the get-three-hours-in-and-restart experience reportedly typical among casual users. Perks, skills and independently levelling attributes sort of fill the breach - if you focus on spells, you'll be a wizard in all but name. Bit of a departure, hopefully for the best.

    9. Key racial differences

    Divisions between the playable races have been softened in Skyrim. Choice of origin no longer affects your maximum encumbrance or speed, for example, though races still boast unique abilities and starting attribute make-ups. Orcs get the Berserk power, for instance, while Khajiit can see in the dark.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Thursday - July 07, 2011

    Skyrim - Todd Howard interview @ Gamasutra

    by Aries100, 22:17

    Gamasutra talked with Todd Howard about Skyrim, about the vision behind it all.  Here's Howard's take on design decisions:

    As a design director, is there an overarching design philosophy that you follow that has worked over the course of so many games? 

    We have one for the studio. Our motto is "Great games are played, not made," meaning you can spend a lot of time on paper coming up with great ideas, then as soon as you put it in the game, you're like, "I was thinking wrong." So we try to just bullet point things on paper, then get it in the game, play the game, and get ready to throw your ideas out.

    Abnd here's what he thinks about accessibility:

    What about accessibility -- making Skyrim a game that's inviting to people who might not play RPGs as much, and also the hardcore people who have been playing The Elder Scrolls since the beginning?

    [...]What happens in Oblivion is you start the game, play for three hours, and then think "I want to start over, I chose wrong." So we'd like to sort of alleviate some of that. I also think the controls work better [too] ... it's more elegant.

    You look at Call of Duty, the most popular game in the world, and that's actually pretty hardcore. At the end of the day, it's a hardcore game, has RPG elements in multiplayer, making classes, picking perks. I think the audiences are there, and we tend to make our game more for ourselves and other people who play a lot of games.

    Source: RPG Codex

    Tuesday - July 05, 2011

    Skyrim - Fan Interview @ Bethesda Forums

    by Aries100, 23:17

    Todd Howard, Brusce Nesmith, Matt Carafano, answered questions from fans in this interview put up by Matt Grandstaff at the Bethesda forums. A few samples:

    5) Are loot and quest rewards level scaled, like in Oblivion? Will there be any powerful un-scaled items?

    Bruce: We’re handling leveling stuff similar to how we did in Fallout 3, but with a few new twists that we hope players won’t even notice. The enemies and loot are based on the “encounter zone” you’re in, so it could be higher or lower level than your current level. We do have a new concept of epic or “special” loot that you can randomly find in many cases, regardless of the zone, and you will still get better stuff in the better zones with your level higher. Same goes for quest rewards. We try to make them appropriate for what you did. Sometimes that is random, sometimes that is a set item. There’s a lot of specific stuff that is very powerful, like the Daedric artifacts.

    Another quote:

    20) Will any sort of karma system be incorporated like there was in Fallout, or will it be the Fame/Infamy system of Oblivion?

    Bruce: We don’t provide a numeric score that you can track, but the game knows if you’ve been naughty or nice. We felt that a number really didn’t do your fame justice. Characters in the world will acknowledge the specific things you have done rather than just a generalized reputation. If you are a criminal, they’ll know that too. But if you pay your debt to society, all is forgiven.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Monday - July 04, 2011

    Skyrim - Interview @ Angry Joe

    by Aries100, 21:45

    Angry Joe talks with Bethesda's Pete Hines about Skyrim. They talk about dragon riding, exploration, dynamic questing, radiant AI, crafting.

    Source: RPG Codex

    Thursday - June 23, 2011

    Skyrim - Pre-Orders to Come With High Quality Map

    by Aries100, 18:16

     Bethesda's today announced on their official blog that

    Making real maps of our fantasy worlds is an Elder Scrolls tradition. As Todd Howard said all the way back in a Morrowind blog post, “There’s something about having a physical object in your hands that feels like it’s part of this other world, that you are that person in the game, finding your way among the hills.”

    With that in mind, today we are announcing that anyone who preorders Skyrim will automatically receive a premium quality world map with their copy as a no-extra-cost-to-you bonus.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Wednesday - June 22, 2011

    Skyrim - Interview @ AusGamers

    by Aries100, 21:44

    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.

    Tuesday - June 21, 2011

    Skyrim - Oblivion Comparison Video

    by Myrthos, 13:01

    A fan made video is available comparing some combat situations in Oblivion and Skyrim. So go ahead and spot the differences.

    Thanks CountChocula.

    Monday - June 20, 2011

    Skyrim - Video Interview @ PSX Extreme

    by Dhruin, 22:19

    Producer Ashley Cheng has been interviewed at PSX Extreme in their Coin Op TV video feature about Skyrim. It covers the usual general territory, particularly the "unscripted" dragon attacks.

    Wednesday - June 15, 2011

    Skyrim - Interview @ IGN

    by Dhruin, 23:55

    Skyrim Lead Designer Bruce Nesmith has been interviewed at IGN. It's a short conversation but Bruce provides some decent responses on Radiant Story and level scaling:

    IGN AU: Can you talk us through the way the enemies level up in relation to your character? Is this new system only related to dungeons?

    Bruce Nesmith: This is a system we continually tweak and improve. It's extremely complicated and detailed at this point. Its main goal is to make sure that the player is always finding new challenges that do not devolve into unavoidable failure or trivialize success.

    Skyrim's levelling system will feel a lot like Fallout 3's, although we have tweaked it. There are places that are always easy, usually near where the game starts, but not always. There are places that you shouldn't attempt until you are higher level. These are always in the more remote places in the world. If you leave and come back, they won't have gotten any harder while you were away. And there are lots of in-betweens. All of them do some dynamic adjusting to try and match the challenge to the player.

    Monday - June 13, 2011

    Skyrim - E3 Previews

    by Dhruin, 00:18

    Here's a small collection of Skyrim E3 previews. They all saw the same presentation, so the content is largely the same.

    A sample from the later:

    The dragons are unscripted, apparently, and battle with a variety of behaviours. They're capable of randomly appearing to lay waste to villages and towns, or simply popping up when you're walking through the wilderness, and they're the game's equivalent of epic boss fights. Some – like the one above – will breathe fire and try to strafe you down. Others might use frost attacks. Some might prefer to get up close and personal.

    One thing remains constant, however: once damaged, the dragons lose the ability to fly. Some will land and try to take you on in close quarters, while others will simply crash into the ground, throwing out a hail of dirt and stones. In this case, our protagonist opted to deal with the dragon in  a suitably gory fashion via a cinematic execution animation: after a brief continuation of the battle he clambered onto its head, leapt into the air, and drove his axe through the back of its skull. Immediately thereafter the dragon's body burst into an ethereal flame and dissolved, as he absorbed its soul.

    Source: Blues News

    Thursday - June 09, 2011

    Skyrim - Preview @ RPS

    by Dhruin, 23:25

    Rock, Paper, Shotgun has some first-hand impressions of Skyrim from E3:

    So what can I tell you about it? Well, it’s The Elder Scrolls, and we all want more of that (yes, you Oblivion haters, you DO – no one is the least bit fooled by your antics). It’s a beautiful frost-bitten land, and it’s one where players need never let the main quest trouble them as they play for dozens of hours.

    Of what we were shown – a trek through green fields, woods, a village, dungeons, and eventually a mountain-top dragon fight – the most exciting feature was the player’s hands. That’s not dismissive. They’re brilliant. Every single-handed weapon can be dual-wielded, meaning you can improvise your own style to some quite impressive degrees. Sword and shield combat looked especially entertaining. Holding up a shield has always been so disappointing in gaming, but here it felt like it was genuinely protective. Obscuring most your view, seeing the edge of the attacker slamming into it felt intense.

    But even more entertaining is the magic. There’s all manner of magic types, from Runes to regular spells to Shouts, each of which make your hands glow an appropriate colour. Spells are assigned to hands in the same way as weapons – in fact, this can even be done from the same menu. There’s a “favourites” option, much like a web browser, that lets you opt for your preferred tools and spells to appear in a quickly accessible pop-up menu, letting you quickly assign to each hand in an on-the-fly paused moment. If such a thing isn’t a massive contradiction.

    Wednesday - June 08, 2011

    Skyrim - News Roundup

    by Dhruin, 21:53

    Our readers on the forum pointed out 14 minutes of Skyrim footage at G4TV, in case you don't check the forums.

    The Examiner has a preview with extensive input from Todd Howard:

    Skyrim is undeniably gorgeous regardless of which view (1st or 3rd person) you prefer to play from. The environments are rich, complex, and intricately detailed.  And none of the environment is lifeless eye candy or textured backdrops. If you see an enticing forest, cave, city, or mountain peak just begging to be explored, you can travel to it and do exactly that. “Our view distances go all the way,” Howard tells us.

    You can pick plants, cook meat, and craft potions and countless other items. “Any job you see an NPC doing such as blacksmithing, you can do too.  And every NPC in the game has a life and skills that drive the local economy.”

    “For example,” Howard continues, “in this town there are trees and a lumber mill. If you wanted to, you could sabotage the lumber mill and it would have an affect the local economy of the town.”

    CVG has a video interview with lead producer Craig Lafferty.

    IGN has a piece titled It's in the Details:

    By details, I mean the finer points of the presentation. The way fish will jump up small waterfalls in swift streams, or the way clouds drift around the peaks of craggy, snow-clogged mountain peaks. I mean the way the horses animate with a noticeable sense of weight to each hoof step as you ride them up rocky passes into hostile territory. The way every spell you equip produces a different effect in your character's hand, like shards of light while the Circle of Protection spell is active and strips of electrical energy for your lightning spell.

    I know these types of things may seem minor, but I've always felt detail like this does a lot to make the world more believable. If you get attacked by a frost dragon, for instance, its frigid breath will coat your equipped axe in ice. It's an effect that's so logical it can easily be overlooked, but one that lends even more of a sense of excitement to the battle.

    The Bethblog has screens - I think we've already covered them but I'll link just in case - and also booth pics from E3.

    Skyrim - Dragon Born, 7 Minutes of Footage, Preview

    by Dhruin, 00:52

    IGN has two E3 Skyrim features. The first is seven minutes of footage - I haven't compared this with the videos from yesterday but hopefully it offers something different.

    Their second article is titled Dragon Born and looks at the role of dragons in the game:

    The language of dragons -- these shouts -- are hidden throughout Skyrim, often carved into stone in the various dungeons of the world. Each dragon shout is formed by three words, each learned separately. The more words you know in a shout, stronger the effect. Knowing all three words of the shout can be immensely powerful. Discovering a word isn't enough. You still have to unlock its power in order to shout it. The key to unlocking the power of these words is in taking the lives of dragons.

    You absorb the soul of every dragon you slay. One soul is strong enough to empower one word from any shout you've uncovered. Will you increase the potency of Fire Breath? Or Slow Time? Maybe you prefer the tornado style of Whirlwind Spirit. Just remember that this is the language of dragons, meaning that whatever you can shout, a dragon in Skyrim can shout right back at you. Good thing dragons can't hold battle axes or you might be in trouble.

    Over at GameSpot there's an updated preview:

    The demo began with some overlap with what was already covered back in April. Your character, living a renewed life after avoiding execution at the beginning of the game, faces a descending pathway leading down to a river in a heavily wooded area. Surrounding you are imposing mountaintops dusted with snow that immediately let you know that Skyrim is a different world from its predecessor. It's a harsh, northern frontier populated not only by dragons, but by giants and woolly mammoths as well.

    The revamped game engine powering Skyrim is an impressive bit of technology. Whether it's a massive view of a distant mountaintop that you can actually go off and climb--one such mountaintop houses a race of men called Greybeards, who have become masters of communicating with dragons--or the ability to wander through the woods and simply pick berries, Skyrim is a game that concerns itself with the big picture as well as the little one. "We're trying to build this complete virtual fantasy world," said Howard. "And we're all about the little details that make it a believable place."

    Monday - June 06, 2011

    Skyrim - Interview @ Xbox360Achievements

    by Aries100, 22:13

    Bruce Nesmith, Lead Designer, for this game did an interview with Xbox 360 Achievements.
    They talk about how animals will wander the world:

    When we first sat down to make the lists of creatures and encounters, we organised everything by ecologies. Every creature fits into a set of creatures so that the group makes sense as a whole. You won’t find random mixtures of monsters in a dungeon, or wandering the frozen steppes. They have defined predator/prey and ally/enemy relationships. So we have giants that keep herds of mammoths -- if you don’t disturb them, they won’t bother you. We have wolves that hunt deer. We have undead draugr that climb out of coffins to attack those that disturb their rest.

    They continue to talk about the eapons, the items, the combat, and much much more.
    Here's what he had to say about combat melee skills:

    Melee weapon skills are now distinguished by the single most important attribute they have. Can you use it with one hand, or does it take two? The differences between Blade and Blunt in Oblivion were minor. You didn’t really have a reason to choose one over the other. In Skyrim, the choice is between using a weapon and shield, or a really big two-handed weapon and no shield. The differences between swords, axes and maces comes out in the perks you choose. So you will still have a reason to choose axes over swords.

    Source: RPG Codex

    Skyrim - Sneak Peak @ E3

    by Aries100, 21:52

    Virumor at the Obsidian forums points to E3 video coverage for Skyrim on Youtube via Spike TV. The video shown features a character going to a nordic ruin high in the mountains - and a very beautifull journey this is.  Todd Howard is being interviewed by Spike TV on TESV: Skyrim. He talks about a sneak peak for Skyrim as well as gameplay, and a game

    where you can be who you want and do whatever you want...and you can play in third person...

    He continues to talk about dragons, dragons shouts and how the player has to find out why the dragons are back; he also talks about their new Radiant Story System, the factions in the game, and much much more.

    Source: Obsidian Entertainment

    Saturday - June 04, 2011

    Skyrim - Tidbits

    by Dhruin, 01:26

    The Bethblog has news that the anticipated Skyrim fan interview will be posted after E3, they've released a new wallpaper and a couple of screens on the Facebok page. Todd Howard will be showing the game for E3 at the following:

    • GameTrailers.com – In the hour following Microsoft’s Monday press conference
    • IGN Live Show – Wednesday at 5:00 pm PST
    • G4TV – Tuesday at 1 pm PST on their E3 2011 LIVE Show

    ...and Eurogamer has some snippets from PC Gamer, such as the script is 60,000 lines.

    Monday - May 16, 2011

    Skyrim - Snippets @ SegmentNext

    by Dhruin, 21:32

    Zohain sends in a couple of Skyrim items from SegmentNext. The first is titled Creatures, AI, Races, Alchemy and NPCs and offers a short summary of known information. The second has some snippets of possibly new information taken from PC Games.de:

    Recent preview of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in German Magazine PC Games revealed some obvious and some interesting tidbits. Skyrim will re-invent the way you go through the map by introducing 3D map in the inventory similar to Google Maps but you can’t add notes on the Skyrim World map.

    Traders will respond to what has been harvested. So, if a cornfield in the city gets destroyed by fire, traders will run out of corn and the prices will shoot in response to supply and demand.

    Friday - May 13, 2011

    Skyrim - Translated Interview Snippets, Preview

    by Dhruin, 22:35

    Count Chocula sends in some Skyrim translated interview snippets from Norwegian magazine Gamer.no on the Bethsoft forums. I haven't had the chance to read it in detail but word is Todd Howard does reveal a couple of new things.

    While we're on Skyrim, Zohaib sends in this preview at Gamepad Dojo that looks based on existing information:

    have been seeping out since the December release of the teaser trailer, from Game Informer’s solid month of coverage to podcast interviews and multiple accounts of a recent demo. However, the scale of the game means information is still, relatively speaking, pretty thin on the ground. Various gameplay elements are still being adjusted, and it seems that for every other question about the game, director Todd Howard gives one of two answers:  “We’d like to have that. We’re playing around and seeing if it works. If it does, we’ll put in in,” or the old classic: “We’re not talking about that yet.” 

    Perhaps what makes every snippet so enthralling is merely the five years of anticipation for a sequel to one of the industry’s most immersive and time-consuming single player experiences. Compelling though the retro-futurist dystopia of Fallout 3 was, the lack of beautiful vistas and vibrant cultures made it difficult to remain immersed for the same duration. I must have cleared 1000 hours on Oblivion across numerous save games, but only a quarter of that time traipsing through the Capitol Wasteland. Personally, I simply found it a lot harder to engage with a dead world.

    Skyrim - Why It Should Be Your GotY

    by Dhruin, 00:31

    Another link from Zohaib with Gaming Irresponsibly getting ahead of themselves and suggesting Skyrim for Game of the Year. In the end, it's the premise for a standard preview overview:

    The title speaks for itself. First off, it’s being developed by RPG powerhouse Bethesda, so thats a no-brainer. Even beyond that, every new trailer and teaser for the epic game looks like it should only bring more joy for all the gamer boys and girls.  Let me explain why:  Every Elder Scroll game released to date has had an epic story and overarching lore, and Skyrim isn’t anything new.  It’s been around since Elder Scrolls: Arena.  That’s how devoted Bethesda is to the source material.  You can spend days pouring over the lore and books scattered across Cyrodill in Oblivion–and I don’t expect Skyrim to be any different.  Forget Bioware and their take on the space epic (also forget Dragon Age, eww) because Bethesda has plans to blow them out of the water with this new title due out in the fall. 

    Monday - May 09, 2011

    Skyrim - Upcoming Fan Interview

    Monday - May 02, 2011

    Skyrim - Video Interviews @ GT.TV

    by Dhruin, 22:19

    Todd Howard has been interviewed about Skyrim at Gamertrailers TV in a two-part video. Both parts have been embedded at the Bethblog, so I'll link via that:

    If you’re looking for new details on Skyrim, don’t miss Geoff Keighley’s extended interviews with Todd Howard from our BFG press event. In the videos, you’ll learn more about dragons, how the game begins, and that yellow toboggans make great loot. 

    Wednesday - April 27, 2011

    Skyrim - Todd Howard Video Interview @ IGN

    by Dhruin, 22:21

    IGN has a video interview with Todd Howard, discussing some of the changes for Skyrim such as the Radiant Quest System, the new perk system and why they dropped some of the skills.

    For German readers, Alrik sends in a text interview at GameStar.de.

    Saturday - April 23, 2011

    Skyrim - New Thumbnails

    by Dhruin, 00:08

    CountChocula writes in to point out some thumbnail-sized Skyrim images fans have discovered, that are apparently new. Don't expect too much because of the size but links and discussion are in this thread at the Bethsoft forums.

    Tuesday - April 19, 2011

    Skyrim - Mods on Console Versions?

    by Dhruin, 22:42

    I haven't made it through the avalanche of Skyrim previews from the other day so this might already be out there but Next Gen is highlighting comments from Todd Howard about mod content on consoles. To be absolutely clear, Todd says there are barriers and it isn't likely at release but the console versions are compatible with mods - if XBL and PSN would distribute them. He also specifies consoles are "90% of our audience", for those interested in such things:

    “It works on all the consoles,” he said. “As far as the 360 and PS3, right now there’s not an avenue for us to make that available, but we’d very much like to find a way. We have talked to Microsoft and Sony, and so there's a chance it might happen one day, [but] I don't see it happening for release.

    “We'd like to see it happen, because it works, it's how we made the game. I think it's something really cool about what we do, but 90 per cent of our audience is on the consoles, so 90 per cent of our audience can't even see this thing. So if we can solve that we'd like to.”

    Monday - April 18, 2011

    Skyrim - Previews [Updated]

    by Woges, 20:52

    Tom Bramwell has a very positive preview of the early moments, and GUI, of Skyrim.

    Today Bethesda Game Studios game director Todd Howard is leading us on a magical mystery tour of the early sections of Skyrim, the fifth Elder Scrolls game. He is commenting on how his team ripped up a lot of the previous engine to accommodate the huge variations in scale.

    Howard angles the first-person camera down at a flower and explains that stuff like this needs to look good. It does. Butterflies dance around the flower's detailed leaves as they sway gently in the spring breeze.

    But stuff further away needs to look good too, Howard says. So he angles the camera upwards, past moss-covered boulders and away from the thick brush covering the ground, and settles on a mountain. Later we'll be told it's called The Throat of the World. One day you will go there, climb the 7000 steps to the top and meet the Grey Beards, who will teach you some more of the language of dragons.

    However cynical I may have become, I can't look at this game without wanting to do just that. Skyrim makes adventuring feel exciting again.

    Gamespot have their Skyrim preview up with a Todd Howard video interview.

    The Elder Scrolls series has come a long way since its humble beginnings on the PC back in the early '90s. Throughout the years, these games have gathered a loyal following enamored with their massive worlds and open-ended gameplay. At Bethesda Softworks BFG 2011 press event, located deep in the mountains of Utah, we got our first peek at what's to come for this venerable role-playing series. The hands-off demonstration, hosted by Bethesda Softworks' executive producer Todd Howard, took us through a short adventure centered on the theft of a golden dragon's claw. From combat to character customization, Skyrim is bringing a lot of tweaks and changes to the Elder Scrolls formula, so let's get right to it.

    Bethsoft has posted a list of new previews at the Bethblog - too many to take quotes from, so here's a rip of their list for you to choose the sites you like:

    Worthplaying also has eight screens, which you'll probably see in the previews.

    Friday - April 01, 2011

    Skyrim - Screens @ RPS

    by Dhruin, 23:56

    Head over to Rock, Paper, Shotgun for some Skyrim screens released yesterday by Bethsoft.

    Thursday - March 31, 2011

    Skyrim - What's New Interview @ IGN

    by Dhruin, 22:34

    Todd Howard has been interviewed at IGN about some of the new things in Skyrim. Here's a sample on the engine:

    IGN: When did development begin and how big is the team? At what point was it decided that all-new technology should be built in-house at Bethesda Game Studios for Skyrim?

    Todd Howard
    : We have a team of about 100 people. We were doing some design during Fallout 3, but the real work started when we finished that game, with our tech staff moving over to work on the new technology for Skyrim.

    We've always used a lot of our own stuff, mixed with other middleware that we liked. Coming off of Fallout 3, we made a pretty big list of what we wanted to change technically. So we redid the rendering, lighting, shadows, animation, faces, foliage, mountains, scripting, interface and more. And by the time we got through it all, it was clear the technology was new enough to give it its own name, The Creation Engine. Same with our editor, The Creation Kit. They go together as technology.

    Some of that you'll notice as a player, like shadows, mountains, and the animations; some you won't, like how scripting or pathfinding works internally. If you looked quickly at our editor, it behaves similar to our old ones; it just does a lot more, and does some old things in better ways. But we don't change things just to change them. We still use the nif file format, because it worked fine for what we're doing and our modders know it well. We still use some middleware that we like, such as Havok. We're not just using their physics this time, but their animation system, Havok Behavior. It makes a dramatic difference in how the game looks and plays. Overall though, the paradigm for how we build these huge worlds has not changed dramatically, we just want it to look better and play more smoothly.

    Wednesday - March 30, 2011

    Skyrim - Preview Roundup

    by Dhruin, 23:22

    The Bethblog has a roundup of recent previews and interviews on Skyrim from around the web. I'm pretty sure we've covered everything worthwhile but here's a straight rip just in case:

    • OXM UK brings their Skyrim coverage online with a preview, podcast interview with Pete, and an interview with Todd. And for those with Xbox LIVE in the UK, you can check out video interviews conducted with Todd Howard and Bruce Nesmith.
    • Planet Elder Scrolls interviewed me to celebrate the site’s 10th anniversary (congrats!).
    • G4TV and IGN show how far BGS have come with Skyrim in comparison to Oblivion.
    • A nice user-made piano tribute to Skyrim’s theme.
    • Rolling Stone leads off their feature on the biggest games of 2011 with Skyrim. Article also mentions RAGE.
    • NowGamer and Game Rant discuss what’s been learend about the game so far.
    • CVG discuss what they want to see in Skyrim.

    Sunday - March 20, 2011

    Skyrim - Preview @ PC Gamer

    by Aries100, 20:14

    PC Gamer has a preview of Skyrim. And the plot is about - dragons.

    Here's a snip about the start. As usual, you'll find yourself arrested and in a cell.

    You’re released. Why, we don’t know yet. But you’re released into a nation that’s tearing itself apart. It’s a land governed by nine holds, regions that are traditionally each controlled by a single ruling family. But the system hasn’t lasted – many holds are now governed by elected councils, some have been overthrown, and they’re on the brink of war with each other. And as the conflict reaches crisis point, the dragons show up.

    In Oblivion, a dragonborn showed up. Now it's dragons.

    When the Dragonborns die out 200 years later, it’s not the demons of Oblivion that break through – it’s actual dragons. They’re already ravaging the world, and they’re nothing compared to what’s next. Alduin, the biggest and baddest of the long-lost species, is coming. The Elder Scrolls foretold it, and only a Dragonborn can stop it.

    This plot does seem familar, doesn't it?

    Source: RPG Codex

    Thursday - March 10, 2011

    Skyrim - Bringing back "what made Morrowind special"

    by Dhruin, 20:50

    In an interview at OXM, Pete Hines discusses how they are building the Skyrim gameworld and saying they are bringing back "some of what made Morrowind special":

    "With Oblivion, we're dealing with the capital province, and we wanted to get back to the more classic Arena and Daggerfall feel of a fantasy world that felt more refined and welcoming," Howard reflects. "A place that you instantly understood.

    "But in that, we sacrificed some of what made Morrowind special; the wonder of discovery. With Skyrim, we're trying to bring some of that back and walk the line between Morrowind and Oblivion. Where it's at first familiar looking, but has its own unique culture and spin on it.

    The Bethesda veteran summarises Skyrim's aesthetic as "epic reality", mystical yet "grounded". The wintry province is among the more venerable of Tamriel's human civilizations, and Bethesda wants to convey the impression "that this province is the original home of men, that they built things long ago that seem fantastical, but are very real, and could be built here on earth given enough time.

    "We stay away from high fantasy elements in the art itself, and keep it grounded in whatever the reality of the world is."

    Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun

    Thursday - February 24, 2011

    Skyrim - Trailer Released

    by Dhruin, 20:42

    As expected, Bethsoft has released the first trailer for Skyrim. The ~3 mins video probably offers two minutes of footage after the logos, with glimpses of various things from confronting a dragon, to a little bit of stealth play to walking through a village. You can watch it at the Elder Scrolls site but if that's too slow, Blue's has put a copy on Youtube.

    Wednesday - February 23, 2011

    Skyrim - First "In-Game Look" Coming

    by Dhruin, 21:29

    Hmm...there's a countdown at Bethsoft's Elder Scrolls site promising "the first, in-game look at The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim".

    There's a desktop wallpaper, while you're there.

    Wednesday - February 16, 2011

    Skyrim - What The Creation Engine Really Means

    Monday - February 14, 2011

    Skyrim - A Closer Look @ IGN

    by Dhruin, 21:37

    This isn't as informative as the title sounds.  IGN compares the handful of released Skyrim screens to Oblivion but it's entirely speculative:

    Hitting someone with a fireball in Oblivion was a satisfying act. It dealt damage, made you feel like a badass, and sometimes caused the targets to fly across the landscape like victims of fatal trampoline accidents. In Skyrim, judging by this screenshot and the small flecks of flame around the impact point, it looks as though the spell effects will be much more detailed. Bethesda decided to reduce the total schools of magic from Oblivion, dropping Mysticism, but that doesn't mean there'll be less to choose from in terms of combat options. Leveling will be faster and Skyrim will include Fallout-like perks.

    Monday - February 07, 2011

    Skyrim - Hi-Res Screens

    by Dhruin, 20:16

    Hi-res versions of the Skyrim screens you might have seen in GameInformer are available at GameReactor.eu.  Thanks, r3dshift!

    Thursday - February 03, 2011

    Skyrim - Fan Q&A Podcast

    by Dhruin, 21:25

    GameInformer has a podcast that answers reader-submitted Skyrim questions.  Here are the details, taken from the Bethblog:

    Your burning Skyrim questions were taken, and now they have been cooly answered.

    Game Informer today posted the results of their fan Q&A session with Todd Howard in the form of a nearly-hour long podcast. Topics ranging from mounted travel to level balancing were covered, with a special surprise serving as a reward to those that listen all the way through.

    Head over to Game Informer to give the episode a listen.

    Saturday - January 29, 2011

    Skyrim - Inside Skyrim's Menu System Overhaul

    by Dhruin, 11:19

    GameInformer previews the new menu system in Skyrim in their latest article.  Apparently Apple's UI philosophy was used as inspiration and, unsurprisingly, it also sounds designed specifically for a gamepad:

    Rather than refine the pre-existing menu system from Oblivion or Fallout 3, Bethesda decided to toss them on the scrap heap and develop a new, streamlined interface. Searching for inspiration, the team kept coming back to Apple, and for good reason. Over the last decade the company has revolutionized how consumers interact with software and hardware moreso than any other tech outfit.

    ”You know in iTunes when you look at all your music you get to flip through it and look at the covers and it becomes tangible?” game director Todd Howard asks. “One of our goals was 'What if Apple made a fantasy game? How would this look?' It's very good at getting through lots of data quickly, which is always a struggle with our stuff.”

    Like in Oblivion, pressing the B or circle button opens up the menu system. Instead of returning you to the last page you visited as it did in Oblivion, Bethesda now presents you with a simple compass interface that offers four options.

    Wednesday - January 26, 2011

    Skyrim - The Art of Skyrim

    by Skavenhorde, 19:58

    Gameinformer has a video inteview with Matt Carofano, the Art Director of Skyrim. They talk about past Elder Scrolls games and how they wanted Skyrim to look and feel. He also talks about how they are trying to breath some life into this game. They want it to look like the creatures you meet actually live and belong there.

    Tuesday - January 25, 2011

    Skyrim - Building Better Combat

    by Dhruin, 09:05

    Building Better Combat is the latest Skyrim exclusive at GameInformer.  The article discusses the more visceral combat with a two-handed system that allows freedom to equip anything in either hand, the defense system, improved magic with inspiration from Bioshock and stronger archery.  A snip:

    A good offense must be accompanied by a good defense. To make defending a less passive activity, Bethesda has switched to a timing based blocking system that requires players to actively raise their shields to take the brunt of the attack. If you hold down the block button, your character will attempt to execute a bash move. If you catch a bandit off guard with the bash while he's attacking, it knocks him back and exposes him to a counter or power attack. Players can block and bash with two-handed weapons as well, but it isn't as effective as the shield. Warriors who prefer the sword-and-shield approach can increase their defensive capabilities with shield perks that give them elemental protection from spells.

    Bethesda also smartly changed the pace at which characters backpedal, which removes the strike-and-flee tactic frequently employed in Oblivion. In Skyrim you can't bob and weave like a medieval Muhammad Ali as you could in Oblivion. Players can still dodge attacks from slower enemies like frost trolls, but don’t expect to backpedal out of harms way against charging enemies. If you want to flee, you must turn your back to the enemy and hit the sprint button, leaving you exposed to an attack as you high tail it to safety.

    Friday - January 21, 2011

    Skyrim - Dragon Shouts @ GameInformer

    by Dhruin, 22:44

    The latest Skyrim piece at GameInformer discusses Dragon Shouts in a three page article that covers the background lore, in-game use and how Emil Pagliarulo developed the language:

    Tiber Septim would use the dragon shouts to lead his troops into battle and unite Tamriel under one empire. Hundreds of years later, the Septim line has died out, and no other dragonborn have been seen for many years. That is, until the hero of Skyrim arrives on the scene. “There are other people in the world who can use the dragon shouts, but it’s very rare. It’s like arcane knowledge. It used to be done more in the past,” Howard explains. “The Greybeards know it. But your ability to absorb the dragon souls and do the shouts on the level that you can is beyond them.”

    In the game, players will guide their hero to learn ever more powerful dragon shouts, and then use these arcane powers to supplement other combat and magic skills. Upon defeating a dragon, Skyrim’s hero absorbs the soul of the fallen creature, which fuels his ability to learn a new shout. Later, players can search out long lost walls covered in dragon script. Upon these walls, individual runes stand out to the hero because he or she is dragonborn. “There are these words of power, and if you learn how to say them right, they have a powerful effect,” Howard says.

    A new concept art and screenshot accompany the piece and you can also get two desktop wallpapers.

    Wednesday - January 19, 2011

    Skyrim - "Paint Over" Video

    by Dhruin, 22:29

    GameInformer's latest Skyrim promo is a "paint-over time-lapse" video, showing off a concept art technique:

    In addition to this approach, Bethesda employs another method to craft art for the game by completing paint-overs of existing screens to create a new piece of art. In essence, it is concept art created in the opposite direction from normal -- from a final in-game asset into a artistic visualization of the moment from the game. Bethesda was kind enough to give us a glimpse into this fascinating process, but our version is sped up so we can see the whole creation process in one brief video, complete with a new piece of music from Skyrim composed by Jeremy Soule.The concept artist creating the piece is Ray Lederer.

    Skyrim - Creation Kit Confirmed

    by Dhruin, 22:25

    Matt Grandstaff has confirmed a construction set for Skyrim with this exchange on the Bethsoft forums:

    “Do you think the ‘Kit’ refers to a Construction Set analogue, thus enabling moddability of Skyrim?”

    Yes it does. We’ve always been impressed with what the community has done with our tools. Like the Elder Scrolls Construction Set for Morrowind and Oblivion, we plan to release Creation Kit so you guys can mod Skyrim :celebration:

    Spotted by Omega on Ripten.

    Tuesday - January 18, 2011

    Skyrim - The Technology behind TES V

    by Myrthos, 00:24

    Gameinformer takes a look at the technology behind Skyrim.

    Though Skyrim's Nordic setting is a more rugged environment than the Renaissance festival feel of Oblivion's Cyrodiil, the new setting isn't lacking in breathtaking views. To create a diverse country filled with steep mountain passes and dense forests, babbling brooks and violent waterfalls, glacier coastlines and snowy tundras, Bethesda went back to the drawing board and rewrote every major system powering the gameplay experience. The result is the newly dubbed Creation Engine and Kit.

    “The big things for us were to draw a lot of stuff in the distance so we have a really sophisticated level of detail, more so than what we've had in the past for how things stream in and how detail gets added to them as they get closer to the camera,” explains Bethesda Studios creative director Todd Howard.

    Monday - January 17, 2011

    Skyrim - International Magazine Dates

    by Dhruin, 21:19

    There's a roundup of international magazine preview deals for Skyrim at the Bethblog, so if you'd rather read about it firsthand rather than searching for scans, here's the deal:

    United Kingdom

    Official Xbox Magazine — on shelves February 10th

    Official PlayStation Magazine — on shelves February 16th

    France

    PlayStation Le Magazine Officiel — on shelves January 28th

    Germany

    Computer Bild Spiele — on shelves February 2nd

    Benelux

    Power Unlimited — on shelves January 27th

    Spain

    Micromania — on shelves January 27th

    Italy

    Giochi per Il Mio Computer — on shelves January 30th

    Nordic

    Gamereactor — on shelves February 1st

    Australia

    Game Informer — on shelves January 19th

    Skyrim - The Sounds @ GameInformer

    by Dhruin, 12:06

    GameInformer has four videos on the Sounds of Skyrim, with videos on the sound effects, voiceovers and music from Jeremy Soule:

    In a sprawling role-playing epic like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, good audio can make or break the experience. An out-of-place musical theme, a poor voice actor in a key role, or a goofy sound effect can ruin the immersion, pulling players out of the excitement of the game. At the same time, strong audio work can help a game soar, deepening every level of involvement in the world of the game. We talked with Mark Lampert, audio director and sound designer at Bethesda Game Studios, and the chief architect of the aural experience players will encounter in Skyrim. He revealed details on all the sound elements players will encounter in the game, and had some fascinating examples of his work to share.

    Friday - January 14, 2011

    Skyrim - Road to Skyrim Videos @ GameInformer

    by Dhruin, 21:30

    No, no actual footage - you know they'll hold onto that until E3, right?  GameInformer has three Skyrim or Bethsoft related videos as outlined here:

    Video 1: Todd Howard tells the story of how he got into the industry, recalls his earliest gaming habits, and offers advice for those looking to follow in his footsteps.

    Video 2:
    Learn about the  evolution of the Elder Scrolls series and the lessons of the past that led the team to the creation of Skyrim.

    Video 3:
    Todd Howard reveals his favorite games of this generation, his thoughts on current trends in the gaming industry, and his perception of the difference between eastern and western role-playing games. He also discusses his impressions of Kinect, Move, and 3D technology, and whether we'll ever see an Elder Scrolls game on mobile phones. 

    Thursday - January 13, 2011

    Skyrim - Secrets of the Wall

    by Dhruin, 21:38

    The next tidbit of Skyrim info has been dribbled out at GameInformer, this time allowing you to explore the wall so prominently shown in the Skyrim teaser trailer.  They also promise details on "the in-game mechanics, combat, and technical features" later in the month:

    Last week, we revealed how the back cover of Game Informer's February issue held the keys to understanding the teaser trailer. But what about the incredibly detailed wall over which the camera pans in that video?

    The zoomed-in glimpses you see within the trailer are more than they may first appear to be. The carved images are part of Alduin's Wall, named after the powerful dragon that serves as Skyrim's central antagonist.  Alduin's Wall is an actual structure within the game world of Skyrim, and it plays a key part in the story of the game. It depicts a prophecy heralding the return Alduin to the world of the Elder Scrolls, as well as the history of the dragons and their interaction with humanity. Each section of the wall tells a different part of the story, and we'll explain every area in detail. Each of the previous games in the Elder Scrolls series play a part in the prophecy. 

    Head over to explore a Flash mockup of Alduin's Wall.

    Wednesday - January 12, 2011

    Skyrim - Tidbits @ The Dragonborn

    by Dhruin, 22:28

    The Dragonborn is a new Skyrim fansite that has collected snippets from different sources - the official forums, GamInformer and the "Behind the Scenes" video to pull together as much information as they can.  Level scaling, the map size, major cities, stealth system, crafting, looting and some concept art are all covered.  For example, here's a snip after examining a frame of the development whiteboard in the recent video:

    A sketch of the Crafting skill interface. You will see your character crafting in a 3D view (“cool workbench” and “player playing cool anims”). The notes on the left that are cut-off in this screenshot say “Can make sorted to top”, “Can’t make greyed out”. This must refer to the items you can or cannot craft.

    In the center of the sketch you can see where the item will be displayed, where recipe requirements will be displayed (presumably the resources required to make a particular item, and in this case there are four), as well as three stats with a note saying “new stats”. It’s not clear whether these stats refer to the item being crafted, or the required resources.

    Thanks, Count Chocula!

    Tuesday - January 11, 2011

    Skyrim - "Behind The Scenes" Video

    by Dhruin, 10:24

    GameInformer has a "Behind The Scenes" video for Skyrim, which is really a tour of the facilities at Bethesda Game Studios with Game Director Todd Howard.  Along the way you'll see some quick glimpses of concept art and get introduced to some of the departments but, unfortunately, no game footage.

    Source: Joystiq

    Monday - January 10, 2011

    Skyrim - GameInformer Summaries

    by Dhruin, 21:34

    A number of readers are sending us magazine scans for the GameInformer Skyrim article, which unfortunately we can't link - thanks for taking the time to submit, however.  What we can use is summaries that don't directly rip content straight from the magazine.  With that in mind, Formerly Scrawl and The Escapist have articles that summarise content from sources such as the NeoGAF and Bethsoft forums.  We can't be sure the detail is completely accurate but here's a sample:

    Quests, like combat, also boast a more dynamic feel. You’ll be assigned quests depending on how you develop your character. For example: a frequent magic user may be approached by another mage and assign you a quest. Had you been a frequent melee fighter, the mage would not have approached you.

    To better suit the player, quests will be modified depending on what you’ve done (see level scaling above, or the following example). An example: you must rescue a girl from a certain location. This location will be in an area you’ve yet to visit with enemies that are of or near your level in order to have the player visit a new location and be combatant with challenging enemies.

    Also of note: in Oblivion, if you dropped an item, it would stay there forever. Depending on where you drop items in Skyrim, different events could happen. Another example: if you drop a dagger in a town, a young boy might pick it up and find you to return. Or in a different situation: a group of men could find it and fight over who gets to keep it.

    Thanks, jhwisner and others who wrote in with scan links.

    Saturday - January 08, 2011

    Skyrim - GameInformer Tease Translated

    by Dhruin, 00:09

    For anyone who missed the translation of the GameInformer Skyrim "dragon text" in our thread about the cover, here we go courtesy of Destructoid:

    DOVAHKIIN DOVAHKIIN / NAAL OK ZIN LOS VAHRIIN / WAH DEIN VOKUL MAHFAERAAK AHST VAAL / AHRK FIN NOROK PAAL GRAAN / FOD NUST HON ZINDRO ZIN / DOVAHKIIN FAH HIN KOGAAN MU DRAAL /

    AHRK FIN KEL LOST PRODAH / DO VED VIING KO FIN KRAH / TOL FOD ZEYMAH WIN KEIN MEYZ FUNDEIN / ALDUIN FEYN DO JUN / KRUZIIK VOKUN STAADNAU / VOTH AAN BAHLOK WAH DIIVON FIN LEIN


    DRAGONBORN DRAGONBORN / BY HIS HONOR IS SWORN / TO KEEP EVIL FOREVER AT BAY / AND THE FIERCEST ROUT / WHEN THEY HEAR TRIUMPH'S HONOR / DRAGONBORN FOR YOUR BLESSING WE PRAY

    AND THE SCROLLS HAVE FORTOLD / OF BLACK WINGS IN THE COLD / THAT WHEN BROTHERS WAGE WAR COME UNFURLED / ALDUIN BANE OF KINGS / ANCIENT SHADOW UNBOUND / WITH A HUNGERY TO SWALLOW THE WORLD

    Thursday - January 06, 2011

    Skyrim - GameInformer Cover Revealed

    by Dhruin, 21:41

    GameInformer has revealed their Skyrim cover for the February edition, which is about to hit subscribers.  It doesn't reveal much, so we'll need to wait for people to get the magazine and start summarising the details toget any actual information.

    Saturday - January 01, 2011

    Skyrim - PC Gamer Wants 15 Things Changed

    by Aries100, 21:13

    PC Gamer has made a list of 15 improvements they would like to see in TES V: Skyrim.
    It ranges from a better loot system to a proper pc interface. Here's a couple of snippets:

    2. Content that doesn’t scale

    We need to feel like leveling up makes us more powerful. If the whole world levels up with us, that sense is lost. It also makes the game world too even: nowhere is particularly dangerous in Oblivion because everything is so politely level-appropriate. Morrowind had some level-scaling, but enough fixed danger to feel wild, and enough genuine progression to be compulsive.

    And then there's this, too:

    13. A villain we hate

    It’s hard to really get worked up about demons bent on destroying the world. I’d rather they didn’t, but I have nothing against them personally. In Mass Effect, no-one really hated the Reapers. The guy we couldn’t wait to kill was Saren, because our beef was personal. You don’t have to have them kill our father/mother/brother/son/girlfriend – in fact that rarely works. They just have to be a bastard, and one who’s getting away with it.

    Friday - December 31, 2010

    Skyrim - GameZone wants five things

    by Aries100, 18:27

    GameZone has put up a list of five things they want to see in this game. One of the five things is that the characters should look better:

    Better Looking Characters

    Character models in Oblivion were, for lack of a better word, bad. The game's creation tools offered sliders to adjust almost every aspect of a character's appearance, but all the tweaking in the world couldn't make your Breton, Orc or Dunmer look like it wasn't severely beaten with the ugly stick. Believe me, I tried. It also didn't help that Tamriel's emperor resembled that giant turtle in The Neverending Story.

    Almost worse than how they looked was the way in which the characters in Oblivion spoke. Not that the voice acting was bad. Far from it (see below). Instead, it was repetitive. Many NPC voices were recycled to the point of annoyance, eroding that sense of immersion game developers work so hard to create. Further adding to the disconnect were the dialogue cutscenes themselves, where the camera would slowly pan into the NPCs face and...stay there. Yawn.

    Source: GameBanshee

    Wednesday - December 22, 2010

    Skyrim - Changes and Predictions @ IGN

    by Dhruin, 22:31

    IGN takes a stab at guessing the Changes and Predictions from Oblivion to Skyrim.  This is another speculative article, so don't expect any real answers, though most of their ideas probably aren't way off base:

    Rethink Levelling
    In Oblivion, every enemy in the world levelled up alongside you. Basically, you could enter a dungeon at level 5 or level 19 and find enemies of equivalent or marginally stronger abilities regardless. The result is that you always have a challenge on your hands, which in theory is good, right? Well, not really. Not when it means never feeling you're accomplishing anything and your all-powerful weapons and armour feel completely worthless in the grand scheme.

    We predict a return to a more natural levelling system, where there are simply enemies that are vastly more powerful than you – and will take serious strategy, magic and weapons to bring down. The better the gear, the easier you'll find early, local dungeons – and the farther afield you go, the stronger the foes. Naturally, there will be balancing issues, but it's better to feel like you're able to smite your opponent in one hit with your uber-weapon than to struggle to take down a beach-crab with your glass axe!

    Sunday - December 19, 2010

    Skyrim - Why It Might Not Be Worth Your Time

    by Dhruin, 00:53

    Kombo has a piece titled Why The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Might Not Be Worth Your Time, with the argument essentially rooted in "Morrowind was better".  I didn't find much detail in their article but I'm sure many will agree with the basic premise:

    Morrowind makes you feel special at every possible opportunity, asking only that you put some work into it. Where Oblivion settles for a generic quasi-medieval setting, Morrowind's world is unlike anything you've ever seen. There are hubris-filled gods, ancient robots, mushroom-dwelling sorcerers, hidden tombs, secretive vampires, and a million other things waiting to be discovered.

    Morrowind provides no constraints save your own commitment, ingenuity and imagination. Its world reacts to your presence in ways a game like Oblivion - a game that plays it safe - couldn't possibly be capable of.

    Monday - December 13, 2010

    Skyrim - Officially Announced and More

    by Dhruin, 21:06

    So, Bethsoft sent us the official Skyrim announcement.  It doesn't say much other than confirming all the platforms and we'll see the first real details in the next Game Informer:

    Bethesda Softworks Announces The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

    Highly Anticipated Sequel to Launch 11.11.11

    December 13, 2010 (Rockville, MD) — Bethesda Softworks®, a ZeniMax® Media company, today confirmed the upcoming release of The Elder Scrolls® V: Skyrim™, the next installment in the award-winning Elder Scrolls series and follow up to the 2006 Game of the Year, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion®. 

    Developed by Bethesda Game Studios® under the direction of Todd Howard, Skyrim will be released on Xbox 360®video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, and Games for Windows® worldwide on November 11, 2011. Details on the game will be revealed in our exclusive cover story in Game Informer®’s February issue, which ships to subscribers in early January 2011.

    “It’s exciting finally to announce the game,” said Todd Howard, Game Director on Skyrim. “We’ve been working for many years on Skyrim and the technology behind it. A new Elder Scrolls game has been a long time coming, and we can’t wait to show it off.”

    If you're a Facebook user, you'll find Skyrim at the Elder Council.  If you missed the teaser trailer, check out the teaser site at Elderscrolls.com.

    The big discussion is over the engine - a topic that has been much debated on our forums.  CrunchyHemorrhoids writes in and points out the Tweets at the centre of all this, so we may as well cover it here as well.  Community Manager Nick Breckon said:

    We can now confirm that the TES V: Skyrim engine is all-new. And it looks fantastic.

    The Bethsoft feed said:

    Seeing lots of speculation about #tesv game engine. It's brand new... and it's spectacular!

    When RPS' Jim Rossignol asked for clarification, Nick Breckon replied:

    It's a new graphics/gameplay engine built internally. We'll have more details down the road.

    While this sounds pretty straight forward, I don't think it's as simple as it sounds.  Contrast against Eurogamer's interview a while back:

    Eurogamer: Is it fair to say then that it's based on existing technology?

    Todd Howard: The technology is ours and it is inspired by the technology we have. We have a lot of it. But that's our starting point - the Fallout 3 tech. It started with Morrowind, we went to Oblivion, we did a lot between Oblivion and Fallout 3 because now we had final hardware - with Oblivion we had six months on final hardware, so Fallout 3 technically does a lot more than Oblivion. The new stuff is an even bigger jump from that.

    I can say it is on the existing platforms, which we're really happy with. You almost feel like you have a new console when you see the game.

    Information about

    Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

    Developer: Bethesda Softworks

    SP/MP: Single-player
    Setting: Fantasy
    Genre: RPG
    Combat: Real-time
    Play-time: Over 60 hours
    Voice-acting: Full

    Regions & platforms
    World
    · Homepage
    · Platform: PC
    · Released at 2011-11-11
    · Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

    World
    · Homepage
    · Platform: Xbox 360
    · Released at 2011-11-11
    · Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

    World
    · Homepage
    · Platform: PS3
    · Released at 2011-11-11
    · Publisher: Bethesda Softworks