‘Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim’ Menu System Will Be Completely New

Published 4 years ago by

Elder Scrolls Skyrim New Menu Systems

When it comes to slick and streamlined interfaces, Apple has used the past few years to establish itself as king. Even when massive amounts of data and applications are combined into an iPhone or iPod, the menu system is built around the idea of being intuitive, responsive, and tactile. It seems that their mastery hasn’t gone unnoticed, as Bethesda has now revealed to Game Informer that when re-designing their menu systems for The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, they took their lead from Apple’s interfaces. Aside from giving the systems a new look, Skyrim‘s new menus mean that all of the new skills and items won’t make the game even more of a headache.

Spreadsheets were at one time an absolute necessity for a successful role-playing game experience. With weaponry, item inventory, skill trees, leveling, and tools like maps and quest logs, the sheer amount of information necessary to keep at the players’ fingertips almost demands that at some point, the menu system will have no choice but to become somewhat of a slog.

Apparently, Bethesda wasn’t satisfied with the menu system used for Oblivion, and took the opportunity to change a broken system along with nearly every other aspect of the game. Detail is the name of the game, as the developers are bringing the same tech that will flesh out the game’s environments to the inventory system.

Collecting various potions, items, and plants is always more focused on the object’s effects than its appearance, but Skyrim will give players the ability to examine in three-dimensional space every single item they acquire. Attention to detail is always a plus, and Bethesda hopes that the players will appreciate the game’s story even more when they can see every root on a healing plant.

According to the game’s director Todd Howard, the development team figured out a way to make Skyrim‘s various menus and spreadsheets easier to peruse while at the same time making each bit of the game world feel that much more realistic:

”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?…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.”

With smooth and streamlined access to menus as their guiding light, Bethesda has used the console’s controllers to their full potential. The D-pad will not only grant access to various weapons, but nearly all essential menus. Simply pressing ‘up’ on the pad will bring up the player’s favorites menu, into which they can place any and all items and weapons they’ll frequently be using.

Button presses will be all that’s needed to examine maps, star constellations, and inventory in an effort to make the experience much more immersive than finding your way through endless menus. The game’s new combat system is built entirely around the idea of players being wrapped up in the moment-to-moment experience of the game, so it wouldn’t make sense to leave menus as they were. Especially considering the brand new addition of epic dragon shouts to the gameplay.

The game’s various styles of spell-casting pose one of the greatest challenges, and are perfect examples of the heavy aspects of RPGs that tend to scare off more casual players. Whether or not the skills have been simplified, Game Informer went into detail on how the upgrading and selection will work in Skyrim:

“Three prominent nebulae dominate the Skyrim heavens — the thief, the warrior, and the mage. Each of these represents one of the three master skill sets. Each nebula houses six constellations, each of which represents a skill. As in Oblivion, every player starts out with the ability to use all 18 skills — any player can use a two-handed weapon, try alchemy, or cast a destruction spell (provided you find or purchase one). As you use these skills in Skyrim, they will level up and contribute to driving your character’s overall level higher.

“Every time players rank up their overall level, they can choose a supplemental perk ability for one of the 18 skills. For instance, if you fight most of your battles with a mace, you may want to choose the perk that allows you to ignore armor while using the weapon. As in Fallout 3, several of the perks have their own leveling system as well, allowing you to choose them multiple times. Once you choose a perk, it lights up the corresponding star in the constellation, making it visible when looking up to the heavens while interacting in the world.”

The leveling of Skyrim is sure to be more similar to Fallout 3 than Oblivion, and it already seems that the developers have spent a good amount of time working out the kinks. With the better part of a year remaining until release, Bethesda has more than enough time to achieve their dream of an RPG as slick and approachable as an Apple device.

We’ll find out how close they come when The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is released for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC on November 11, 2011.

Source: Game Informer

TAGS: Bethesda, PC, PS3, Skyrim, The Elder Scrolls


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  1. I’m all for a new design, but if Skyrim dumbs down the franchise and takes away options even more than Oblivion did to Morrowind, I won’t be impressed.

  2. yeah i know what u mean. Despite the graphics, morrowind had far more depth to the world than oblivion ever had. It just had that indescribable feel to it which oblivion lacked.

    to be honest, i don’t mind them streamlining the skills, as long as they have a good reason for doing it, like when they combined heavy armor and medium armor (the weight/protection ratio of medium armor was useless in morrowind), or shortblade and longblade. What i don’t like is when they simply remove skills without reintegrating them back into the game, like when they took spears out of the game, or like when they ditched the much needed climbing skill from daggerfall (how the hell am i supposed to murder that cliffracer when there’s a huge ass mountain in the way?!).

    • Finally some people who understand what we want from the game. We don’t want it to be so simple to play that a 2 year old could beat it. Bring back some of the complexity from Morrowind and Daggerfall, and they could make an amazing game.

      Also, who wants a file system that takes forever to find the skill you want when it could just be in a simple alphabetical text list like in Morrowind, or even Daggerfall?

  3. I can’t wait! Shame it’s another 10 months away! There must be lots more to do. I think if they like using Apple as an example they should bring this out for Mac too! It’s happening a lot on Steam now so hopefully that happens at some point.

  4. I am a huge tes fan and as such am completely excited to play Skyrim. However I do have some concerns. I agree with the posts above, Oblivion was fun but it was way too dumbed down: fast travel, red arrow showing you exactly where to go next, leveling, etc. Obviously my concern for Skyrim is that it will continue these errors. For example, they say leveling has been totally reworked so that whenever you enter a dungeon, that dungeon’s creatures become fixed at the players current level. But what happens when I eventually enter all the dungeons? Furthermore, wouldn’t that mean there will never be an encounter with a much higher leveled npc that’l require multiple attempts and all the potion one could buy to defeat? Such encounters made Morrowind great, the satisfaction was great as was the loot and improved xp. The same idea goes for fast travel, why not at least incorporate it with some kind of spell that allows for telliportation? They could even make an option that gives the players some chance at the outset to turn these things off.

    Dispite these concerns, I do think Skyrim sounds like a huge improvement over Oblivion, which was still an awesome game. I’m already to vote Skrim as GOTY.

  5. Jeez.. games just seem to dumb down with every generation. I can imagine kids of this generation growing up and playing Elderscrolls XX saying its dumb down vs Skyrim or TES6 or 7. They want to cater all of the crowd, making such design decisions and labelling it as ‘approachable for everyone even grandma’ design. destroying the genre division inch by inch.

    Heck Ive been seeing people playing d*mb ipod games or facebook crap games and labeling themselves as ‘gamers’. Frakin posers.

    I remember playing Fallout 1 and 2, and how overly simplistic Fallout 3 is. There was once a time when you encounter a SuperMutant with a minigun, it would instill a sense of fear. Now you can just kill one with your rusty old chinese pistol wearing your leather armor. WTF.

  6. @psamathos you’re an idiot if u don’t want to use these things that make it easier than just don’t use them its not that complicated just turn the difficulty up and never fast travel its not that hard to understand

  7. ARE YOU GUYS KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW OBLIVION AND MORROWIND HAD THE MOST UNIQUE LEVELING SYSTEM IV EVER SEEN IN VIDEO GAMES YOU HAD TO THINK AND REALLY PUT TIME AND THOUGHT INTO YOUR CHARACTER is not like every RPG where all you do is kill enemies gain XP and level up NO!!! you have to wright your sh*t down and keep track of your majors and minors YOU HAVE TO DO MATH BUDDIE the leveling SYSTEM WAS SMART to get +5+5+5 on your main attributes EVERY TIME YOU LEVEL UP TOOK SKILL AND WAS ONLY FOR THE PROS I HAVE ALL MY MAIN ATTRIBUTES Like SPEED or STRENGTH at 100 befor i hit level 50!! i have a pad and pen next to me when im playing ELDER SCROLLS i ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE LEVELING SYSTEM… ps IF MORROWIND AND OBLIVION WOULD HAVE BEEN ONLINE YOU WOULD HAVE EASILY BEEN ABEL TO TELL THE PROS FROM THE NOOBS cuz sooooo many people think thay know elder scrolls when thay dont..WHAT ARE PEOPLE GUNNA ASK BETHESDA NEXT TO DUM DOWN THE ENCHANTING AND THE ALCHEMY CUZ PEOPLE DONT KNOW HOW TO WORK THE MAGNITUDE and DURATION AND BLAST THERE INTELLIGENCE to 1000 by drinking a potion or makeing spells that fortify speed 700 come on bethesda keep that UNIQUE LEVELING SYSTEM dont be like every other RPG PEOPLE LOVE YOUR GAMES

    • relax man, I’m sure we still gonna have some fun

  8. You are quite clearly an idiot.

  9. @grimple your suggestion is a good one, but it still leaves a lot to be desired. Exemplia Gratia: in Morrowind there was no fast travel yet there were a variety of ways to get from place to place rather quickly. In my opinion, this found the perfect balance between the two extremes of having the laborious task of walking everywhere, verses the supremely easy fast travel. It’s not so much of a problem except that it takes away from immersion aspect of the game. Why not at least incorporate it as some kind of a spell?

    In regards to the mission guiding red arrow, how is that to be avoided? Apart of what made Morrowind great was the challenge of first getting the mission, then finding someone who knows how to get where you need to go, then memorizing the info and trying to judge by the lay of the land rather or not you are close to the mission. I know that such things aren’t meant for the unintelligent or lighthearted gamers, but the elder scrolls, up until Oblivion, were always geared towards such gamers. I seem to recall the venerable Todd Howard expressing this change in focus on the intended audience at Oblivion’s release. And this is what I meant to call into question. Oblivion was unquestionably a great game, but I do think it should have been more complex. From everything i’v read so far, Skyrim seems to be a sort of compromise between the difficulty of Morrowind and the ease of Oblivion. My post is only a small voice hoping it will be on the more challenging side of the issue.

  10. Skyrim looks CRAZY!! I’m sure you all want to build a time machine and head to that Nov.11 release date, like myself haha. Oblivion is 1 of the greatest games ever, but I’m betting that Skyrim will be the best elder scrolls game ever. Untill ES6 of course . The technology and craftsmanship of Skyrim is top notch and it will help set the bar for all games in the near future. But who knows,.. I haven’t even played it yet. That being said, I’ve heard that when this game comes out, that it will be very glitchy and full of bugs, much like Oblivion when it first came out. Untill the patches came of course. Can we expect the same? I’m betting yes.
    Also, I’ve heard some talk about the console version of Skyrim, will be ”dumbed” down, or not as good as the PC version. Anyone know, or have any thoughts about any of this??

    PS for all the die-hard elder scrolls fans who cant sleep until November, check this website out.Lots of videos and screenshots abut Skyrim http://www.gameinformer.com/p/esv/asp

  11. is it just me or the nebula is actually looked like a wizard?

  12. hello bethasda can you please put a new enounter a bear lake monster their about 40 foot long and their fast and very extremely aggressive their look like walrus or a dragon they live under water and they crawl out of lake’s like crocadile their long like a school bus that would be outstanding if you do this and have it like versus against dragon’s that would be awsome.

  13. And have chupacabra’s in the game to have
    them atack against goat’s they suck on
    blood their modern vampire’s or do this
    for next console’s to for next series
    instead for ps4 when you make the new
    outline 3d hd rpg maker game series their
    really aggresive their change if they grow
    they turn out like a huge bat more they grow
    more they will be they turn out be El chupacapra.

  14. That would be outstanding if you put the zoom out
    and zoom in by using R2 to zoom in and L2 to zoom
    out and have the map in 3d.

  15. I just want to point something out real quick. For those that failed to notice from the picture in the article, the character is a Dark Elf. So I’m guess that you can chose your starting character’s race. I’ve read a couple of people worrying about that on a few other pages, and felt the need to point that out. :)

  16. Hey skyrim plaese don’t forget put dragon’s in the elder scrolls 5 skyrim.

    • They have a ton of dragons, with the possibility of fighting multiple dragons at once, so don’t worry.

  17. Dragonslayer dont forget put Barbecue sauce when you cook goat meat and dog meat in The Elder Scrolls 5 skyrim because im a good good cook here.

  18. Im prety confuse about this game is it really has more map’s then skyrim
    beside i see raods goes out of skyrim i try it said you cannot go that way
    something or when i get to go out of like morrowind or hammerfell do i get to
    do this are or which quest i gotto get done first.

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