Yesterday we posted the latest batch of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim screenshots released by Bethesda which presented some of the playable races and monsters of the land you’ll face in the game. The vistas and wilderness of Skyrim looked great, but the close-up details on the characters were not as impressive.
Does a triple-A franchise game, coming off of multiple game of the year awards, need to boast the best graphics of the industry? Bethesda game producer Todd Howard explained why what we saw doesn’t stand up to to the likes of Battlefield 3 at a demo event last week.
The latest Elder Scrolls title was showcased on the Xbox 360 and when asked the hot topic question of how it looks and plays on the PC vs. the consoles, Howard responded by saying just that it acts as a normal PC game, in that you can adjust settings.
“I’d say it scales up in all the ways you’d expect. All of our art’s really high-res. There are little things we do with all of our games on PC and the PC texture sizes are going to be as big as you can make them and you can pump the resolution up obviously.”
That’s great, but with the Xbox 360 coming up on six years of age, the real question is how much better it looks on a modern high-end PC gaming machine. As it turns, it just looks the “same.”
“What we want at the end of the day is that the game looks the same. The benefit you get is when you’re playing a PC game you’re playing this far away [demonstrates a short distance], when you’re at home on your console you’re usually sitting about six feet away so the game looks the same.”
This reads to me as if the PC version simply does not look as good as can be. If it’s the best it can be on the Xbox, it by default can be better on the PC (again see: Battlefield 3) and the reality is that Skyrim’s graphics aren’t industry leading, as much as they tip toe around the issue as you can see in these quotes.
Yes, Skyrim is going to provide a beautiful looking world for players to escape to, and it’s going to be light years ahead of Fallout 3‘s graphics. Skyrim is my most anticipated game of the year and I’ve accepted the fact that its graphics may not be that much of a step up from Oblivion as some may expect in some areas. It sure looks beyond good enough to play but what’s important is the actual gameplay myself.
Are these drastic changes to the RPG elements dumbing down the game to the point of even having less details and options for gamers to explore, or are we going to get the best Elder Scrolls game the franchise has to offer with Skyrim?
We’ve not had a chance to get hands-on with Skyrim yet, but we plan to at E3.
The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim releases November 11, 2011 for the PS3, PC, and Xbox 360.
Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.