We may be learning more and more about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim with each passing day, but the fact is the details can’t come fast enough. It’s safe to say that fans have wanted to know all there is to know about Skyrim since the game’s announcement trailer, but aside from a few bits and pieces, the game is still mostly a mystery. Luckily, a new set of videos from Game Informer fill in the blanks and paint a picture of how the developers at Bethesda are going about designing the game, and how the music and voice acting are playing a major role in creating the world of Skyrim.
Fans of The Elder Scrolls know that it takes more than compelling writing and set pieces to craft a satisfying game. The devil is in the details, and from team meetings to audio tuning, the future of the game rests in the hands of a hundred designers with the weight of a franchise on their shoulders.
The first video introduces us to Todd Howard, the game’s director. Howard appeared at the Spike VGAs to unveil Skyrim, and now takes fans into the Bethesda offices to show the intricacies of the team’s approach to game design. From whiteboards to memorabilia, the video pulls back the curtain on the men and women who will be spending their days hunched over computers until the game is released in November.
The game holds a special place in a long line of Elder Scrolls titles, and according to Howard, that fact isn’t lost on the development team.
It may be instinct to picture the designers as hooded and cloaked mages, but as it turns out, they really are normal people:
Now that you’re all eager to search the internet for a wall-sized map of Tamriel for yourself, we can move on to the truly unsung heroes. You may not know their names or faces, but you hear the hard work they’ve put into the game with every swing of a sword and musical swell.
We now know that what we had initially thought of as simply background music in the game’s teaser trailer turned out to be a recitation of the game’s story in the dragon language. Skyrim‘s soundtrack will tell a story all by itself, taking the familiar themes of Oblivion and Morrowind, and injecting music as hardy and stoic as the people who populate the dragon’s lands.
Bethesda has already emphasized how Skyrim is more than just a stand-alone entry, but a culmination of all the Elder Scrolls that came before it. Mark Lampert is making sure that message is delivered with every musical influence, and transporting players into a brand new environment is his top priority:
When developing a triple-A game, it helps to have some serious voice talent to back you up. Since the first voice the developers gave us was that of legendary Max von Sydow, they’re definitely kicking things off on the right foot. In case you have yet to hear, the famous voice will be that of Esbern, the main character’s guide and mentor.
It hasn’t been clear whether the character tasked with protecting the last of the Dragonborn would be merely a wise sage or seasoned warrior, but the next video gives us some hints.
Lampert also gives some insight on his time working with von Sydow, and while it’s nice to hear such a prolific actor recognizing the quality of modern video games, fans will likely be more interested in Lampert’s hints about the wealth of player choice and repercussion in Skyrim:
Giving players the option of forming alliances or betraying allies is not extremely new to RPGs, but the fact that von Sydow had to record such dialogue options is telling. If a character that seems so pivotal to the plot and main character’s journey can be turned against or killed, who knows what other events the developers have in store?
The videos may not answer the prayers of Skyrim fans with glimpses of the game’s new engine, but at this point we’ll take anything we can get. There are assumptions and inferences to be made from the videos, but until Bethesda decides to really open up, it’s all specualtion.
We’ll keep you posted on any and all Skyrim news as it is released, and will continue to let our imaginations run wild alongside your own.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has yet to have its consoles named, but we know that it will be arriving on November 11, 2011.