The past few weeks have been short on details concerning Bethesda's upcoming RPG The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, but luckily the latest issue of OXM has revealed some new information on the game, and clarified a few unanswered questions surrounding the developers' previous statements. Weapons, magic and even the game's dragons are still holding a few secrets, but it looks like we'll be learning more and more about Skyrim by the day.
The new information comes thanks to a post on the Bethsoft forums, where user 'Prodigybeast' detailed the new information revealed in the most recent issue of Official Xbox Magazine.
There may not be any new announcements on dragon-riding, but at this point we're happy to hear anything that Bethesda is willing to release. The protagonist of the game will be the prophesied Dragonborn, but with each new announcement it's becoming clear that Skyrim's dragons will be the true star of the game.
Skyrim's Director Todd Howard had previously explained Bethesda's approach to dragons, the creatures that will populate the harsh landscapes of the gameworld and unleash terror at totally random intervals.
Now it seems that the creatures will not only exist to pose a challenge to players, but will be given the choice to completely ignore them altogether. Dragons won't be mini-bosses or indications that the player has reached the end of a chapter, but fully-realized creatures.
Howard is quoted in the post as saying that theoretically, a player could initiate a fight with any dragon they see passing them by, but a fight that size may not be something players should walk into willingly.
Taking on fire-breathing monsters is no small task - a fact proven by Skyrim's gameplay trailer - so players will need to rely on magic just as much as weaponry. For this game in TES series, players will have the chance to use the same spell-casting and sorcery that they have in the past, as well as magic words known as dragonshouts.
The dragonshouts will need to be gathered from ancient Word Walls scattered across the lands of Skyrim, with the spells gaining potency as each new word is slowly acquired. OXM apparently got a look at the learning system in action, and fans won't be disappointed to hear how they'll be introduced to the new mechanic:
"The first strain of this new magic that we're shown is the ability to slow time. As you approach the carvings, one word in particular begins to glow. Once its been examined and equipped, a tap of RB slows the entire scene down for eight seconds, allowing you to casually plant arrows in the skulls of any surrounding enemies. Learn the rest of the phrase and you'll get even longer to play at being a medieval Max Payne."
The Dragonborn may be uniquely gifted to acquire the spells, but the magazine also teases that players may quickly learn that they're not alone:
"Also, if you think you're the only one wandering around Skyrim with the ability to turn words into magic, think again."
What that can mean is up for debate, but it isn't much of a stretch to think that the dragons themselves will be able to give 'Dovahkiin' a taste of his own medicine. Factor in the masters of shouting who will train the protagonist, and it would seem that players will find themselves on both ends of magical attacks.
Surprisingly, a land with such hostile inhabitants is going to be a much less dangerous place than previous games, according to Bethesda. Skyrim's new Creation Engine will be bringing all new levels of AI and randomness to every creature, which means the days of mindless attacks are behind us:
"Skyrim is going to be a slightly less dangerous landscape to negotiate this time around. Rather than initiating a zany chase every time you wander near the local wildlife, many of the creatures (including giants) will simply ignore you unless you give them a reason to attack. Certain breeds are permanently pissed off, though, so don't go trying to shake hands with a frost spider."
Bethesda's decision to remove player classes from Skyrim means that players will be able to decide exactly what weapons they will wield in combat, all part of an effort to bring new levels of realism to combat.
The idea could be a groundbreaking one, but Howard raised some eyebrows when he revealed that players who choose to go the magic route will be unable to block attacks, but this new batch of details sheds some light on the issue.
Wielding a broadsword will obviously occupy both hands, and players will still be able to block incoming attacks with their massive blade. But now it seems that players who would like to cast spells without putting themselves in danger won't be out of luck. Apparently, each trigger being assigned to a hand allows the player to quickly switch between casting spells and using a shield to protect themselves, not one or the other.
This could be seen as a small change, but the on-the-fly shifting from up close and personal combat to long distance spell-casting could be something special to see in the finished game.
Bethesda is still keeping a few secrets locked away from prying eyes, with OXM noting that there are aspects of the game's new faction system that the development team seems to be aching to reveal. We can only imagine what Bethesda could still be keeping secret with so many changes already made public, but it's a safe bet that it will be massive.
Whenever they choose to reveal what else they have in store for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, we'll let you know. It's already seeming like less and less of a wait until the game arrives on November 11, for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.