|System: PC, PS3, Xbox 360|
|Dev: Bethesda Games Studios|
|Pub: Bethesda Games Studios|
|Release: November 11, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: N/A|
by Neilie Johnson
The Elder Scrolls series represents nearly twenty years of RPG excellence and is one of the most beloved and loyalty-inspiring franchises in RPG history. As dedicated defenders of the fantasy empire of Tamriel, we've lived through some crazy things: the abduction of our emperor, an attack by a malevolent deity, the search for a lost heir to the throne, and a flood of bad-mannered Daedra, to name but a few. Life in the real world just can't compare to the excitement of life in the kingdom of Tamriel, and so for fans of the series it's been a long four years waiting to return to it. This week's confirmation of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim shines a light at the end of a long Elder Scrolls-less tunnel, and the new teaser trailer released this week offers us a glimpse of what's in store for us come next holiday season.
The trailer starts and a flickering fire illuminates a series of Geiger-like wall carvings of foot soldiers and men on horseback—the sons of Skyrim—fighting what look like dragons. A narrator (who if it's not Max von Sydow, I'll eat my hat) reveals in sonorous tones, "We should have acted. They're already here. The Elder Scrolls told of their return. Their defeat was merely a delay till the time after Oblivion opened." The view shifts and a closeup of a scaly eye anticipates the rise of a huge stone dragon that flaps its wings as it comes to life and breathes stony fire onto the men and animals. Things look grim for the residents of Skyrim until the camera pans up the body of an armored man spitting fire who the voice tells is, "the one they (the dragons) fear—the Dovahkiin—the dragon born."
Although Bethesda won't be revealing anything more about the game until early next year, this majestic cinematic suggests a number of directions the fifth Elder Scrolls title could conceivably go. Most obviously, the mention of the Skyrim (as well as the announcement by Bethesda's Todd Howard on last week's VGA Awards) implies that core to the story will be the arctic, viking-like region of the Nords. This rich, mountainous land could provide ample opportunities for amazing adventuring as well as the possibility of throwing back a few tankards of Nordic Whiskey at a local tavern. We might find ourselves employed by Jsashe, the Witch Queen of Whiterun, or the nobility of the rival cities of Solitude and Winterhold. We might be advancing our studies among scholars at the Ysmir Collective or be called upon by settlements to fend off marauding frost trolls. And that's just what we might be doing in our off time. As far as the main storyline goes, if the trailer is any indication, it looks like the Oblivion Crisis may not be as over as we'd hoped it to be.
Regardless of what happens in the story though, what it seems we can expect from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim are better graphics (fingers crossed for better looking character models!) as Bethesda's indicated that we'll see an upgrade from the company's Gamebroy engine, the engine used previously for both Oblivion and Fallout 3. Community manager Nick Breckton recently supported that assertion on Twitter by briefly mentioning a complete technical overhaul."It's a new graphics/gameplay engine built internally. We'll have more details down the road." Todd Howard, Game Director of Skyrim added to that in the company's official press release saying, "It's exciting finally to announce the game. 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."
In addition to better graphics, it's probably safe to assume that we'll still enjoy the open-ended gameplay so characteristic of the series, and we're hopeful that the development team will continue its efforts to streamline the game's skills and attributes system as well as improve character development. A little extra hot key love added to the slot-limited and occasionally awkward combat mechanics wouldn't hurt either. Whatever happens, we'll be on the edge of our seats until next fall, or at least until more information about the game surfaces. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is set for release November 11, 2011 on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
By Neilie Johnson
CCC Freelance Writer