One of the coolest new features of the The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the long-awaited introduction of Dragons into the incredibly successful fantasy RPG franchise. Not only is Bethesda introducing the flying mythical creatures, but dragons are the central focus of the story and of the "Dragonborn" protagonist.
Heck, dragons are also a source of one of the new abilities of Skyrim, that of the "Dragon Shouts," providing 20 new spells/powers to help you in your hunt of the winged beasts. So, just how many dragons are there in Skyrim, how do they differ and how do you fight them?
IGN had the opportunity to chat with Bethesda's Skyrim game director Todd Howard and in their conversation, they touched on the topic of dragons. Howard explains that he's unsure of how many dragons there are going to be, but that the number has certainly gone up since their initial planning stages.
"Some are scripted to appear at certain times, and some are completely random. We're currently messing with that number, and it also depends on how you play the game. I got randomly hunted by three of them at once in the game last week, and I assure you that's too many at once. I can guess a low number of maybe a dozen, and a high number many multiples beyond that. Theoretically it's infinite I guess, since we put them in the world like any other creature. We went into the project being very conservative about how we'd use them, but they've turned out great, so we want them to get good screen time. When you defeat a dragon, you absorb its soul, and that's all I should say about that for now."
How disappointing would it have been if the best part of the game was combating (or maybe flying?) dragons but it only occurred on rare occasions? I'm happy they've decided to make them a randomly generated, natural part of the land of Skyrim as well, even if our goal is just to kill them all...
So, when we do meet dragons, how do these action sequences play out? Is it just regular hack-and-slash-and-fireball, Elder Scrolls style, or is it purely based on the Dragon Shout abilities?
"I don't want to spoil or get into all of that, but there are a few different types, with different powers, and they use the same shout powers the player uses."
Howard confirms that there are different types of dragons and that they do have unique abilities, presumably unique features and physical characteristics I would expect as well. Absorbing the soul of a fallen dragon likely has to do with growing the player's Dragon Shout arsenal and strength.
My question is - aside hoping that the RPG elements of Skyrim are not dumbed down - do we have to kill all of the dragons? Or can we side with them and fly them around. Like so:
If you missed it, make time to watch the first Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim gameplay trailer.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim releases November 11, 2011 for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.