Weapons and armor will be of the utmost importance in the newly re-designed combat engine being brought out for Skyrim, and the developers are promising that the new weapons and magic at the player’s disposal will be used as much as possible. Different enemies will test every aspect of the player’s arsenal, be it through implementing their own variety of attacks, or attacking en force to overwhelm any strategies.
But in the end, combat is only one part of a much larger role-playing experience, and in a world as fully realized and populated as that of Skyrim, the quests and NPCs show real potential of stealing the show. The developers again hinted that while there will be an abundance of side quests, the mythology and story of Skyrim will be the major motivation for the player.
Nesmith confirmed that the game is full of small changes, but “overall it’s a single story.” Combined with Todd Howard’s claim that players will “absolutely” be able to continue their progress after the campaign’s conclusion, it seem that those expecting a game more influenced by Fallout than past Elder Scrolls titles are in for a surprise.
The Dragonborn’s journey is unquestionably the heart of Skyrim, but the game is named after a country inhabited by thousands of people, so other characters will obviously be important. We got to see a few mentions of how NPCs will be playing unique roles in our E3 preview of Skyrim, but with the increased importance of romance and legitimate relationships in recent franchises like Mass Effect and The Witcher, the developers are upping their game.
Characters in the game world will be given all new abilities to shape the quests available to the player thanks to Bethesda’s new radiant story engine, but giving players the chance to act and react to computer-controlled beings means far more than just alliances or feuds. It seems that fans of the game are already thinking ahead, wondering if players will be able to form relationships with NPCs that go beyond the artificial premise of the questee/quest-giver dynamic.
According to Nesmith, those suspicions are right on track:
“Absolutely! You make friends with people by doing things for them. Friends in the game will treat you differently. Some of them will even agree to go with you into dungeons and on adventures. You can even get married. If you own a house, your spouse will move in with you.”
The idea of having NPCs become something akin to party members on certain quests is a major proposition, and something that shows even more promise in terms of the new story engine shaping a player’s own journey. Nesmith clarified that players wouldn’t be able to control the skills or perks of those secondary characters, but did hint that each would have their own strengths and abilities.
Bethesda certainly isn’t the first developer of an RPG to claim that player choices will have a lasting impact on how their story progresses, but all too often, the idea of morality doesn’t amount to much more than a few binary choices that either send one player down one predetermined path, or another.
But Bethesda isn’t planning on using a simple good/bad meter to decide how characters in the world react to a player’s character, but a much deeper system. Nesmith explained:
“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.”
With a combat engine and inventory systems that are far more streamlined and intuitive than in the past, and a seemingly clear idea of the type of story they wish to tell, the developers of Skyrim seem to have most of their ducks in a row. Some may still think that a massive scope means that Skyrim is at risk of delays, the developers themselves have maintained that the game will ship on time.
If the amount of gameplay content being hinted at does turn out to be too much to get finished in time, we already know that Bethesda has some serious plans for expansive DLC.
What are your thoughts on these confirmed details? Are you still hoping that Skyrim was more similar to Morrowind than Oblivion, or are you willing to see what the developers have learned from Fallout 3? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will be making its way onto the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 this November 11.
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Source: Bethsoft Forums