With all of the news surrounding The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, it can be easy to forget that the previous four games in the series each hold their own unique place in game history. While The Elder Scrolls is seen as one of the top RPG franchises in the world today, and Skyrim is looking to keep up the tradition, Bethesda's history with the series hasn't been without a few hiccups along the way.
The latest game details from OXM shed some light on the magic and combat of Skyrim, and now the game's director Todd Howard has sat down for an interview with the magazine to give an idea of how the developers themselves view their past work. Howard shared his own ups and downs with the company, and the mindset that the team is carrying into the next Elder Scrolls release.
The looks we've had behind the scenes at Bethesda show that the team is just as committed and dedicated as they have ever been, with Howard pointing out that the franchise's mythology has become so expansive that the developer has appointed some employees 'lore masters.'
The fact that the team feels the overall story of the series is important enough to follow to the letter is a good indication of the quality of Skyrim's narrative, and the story details we've learned so far seem promising.
Howard had revealed that it didn't take long for the developers to decide that Skyrim required a brand new game engine, and the possibilities for quests and creatures that the new system makes possible is impressive. In the interview, Howard explains that it's that dedication to starting over that keeps The Elder Scrolls successful, and holds so much promise for Skyrim:
"I think there are a few things. We treat each game as its own thing. We don't necessarily treat them as a series, or sequels. Each one stands on its own as a unique game. We just try to make the best Elder Scrolls game we can for that time. We have the same goals each time, but gaming changes, our own tastes change, our fans' tastes change.
"We start over each time, we change it up each time. We're not afraid to try new things. Some of those are successful, some not, but overall we've avoided pumping out sequels that don't feel unique and special. I have always been a fan of the Ultima games, and I'm still inspired by how they evolved from Ultima 3 to Ultima 7."
While Oblivion and Morrowind met with great success due to Bethesda's constant reinvention, the team doesnn't always hit the bullseye. When Howard was asked if the development of the games was as stress-free as the high caliber result might imply, he revealed that nothing could be farther from the truth:
"We usually try to do too much, get ourselves in development trouble, and then back our way into a better game than the one we originally designed. We still push ourselves to try ideas out quickly, and not over think them on paper before we implement them. Fortunately, most of our staff has worked on the previous games too, so going through that process is just a natural state for us. We always feel like we're trying something new, seeing it work or not, and adding it, removing it, tweaking it. And then the hard decisions come, because your time is not infinite. But the staff here works incredibly hard. We want to feel like we did everything we possibly could before the game comes out."
The theme for the newest game is change, but Howard is determined to keep the developers focusing only on what's possible, not making dreams come true. Even the presence of mounts isn't being taken as a given, so we can trust that the content which does make it into Skyrim will be finely honed prior to release.
The screens of Skyrim in action are impressive to say the least, and the footage of gameplay shows that it won't be lacking any visual punch. With a development team so in touch with the roots and heart of the series, we have to wonder if Skyrim flopping is even a possibility.
So we'll continue to hope for the best, with all signs pointing to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim being a major player when it's released on November 11 for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.