Over the past few years, The Elder Scrolls series has managed to work vampires, werewolves, and other mythological creatures into their narratives to create even more depth to gameplay. So with details on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim coming at a snail's pace, fans everywhere are dying to know how the newest game will expand on the previous installments. Will players be able to turn into werewolves this time around? Vampires? Dragons?
Todd Howard, the game's director revealed in the latest Game Informer podcast that while it's impossible to give exact answers, nothing is out of the question at this point.
Since Bethesda first released the game's announcement trailer, and later clarified the story of Skyrim, fans have been dying to know the details. While we know that the game is truly the culmination of all games before it, it's still unclear what kind of a story it seeks to tell.
The Elder Scrolls games have featured a variety of themes, tones, and plotlines that contributed to each game feeling somewhat different from the rest of the series, so merely stating that 'dragons' will be the focus this time around doesn't answer much.
When asked if Skyrim would be continuing the tradition of allowing players to change shape into werwolves or vampires, Howard wouldn't confirm or deny it. With the game's release still almost a year away, the final decisions have yet to be made, but the details he did give are sure to get fans excited:
"I can say that... we are fans of that stuff as well, and we are currently messing with all of that. So I don't want to commit to 'here are the things you can change into' and what they're like right now. Not because we're not doing it, or not attempting to, I just don't know, honestly, where that's going to end up and how deep we're going to get into that.
"If you look at the Bloodmoon expansion we did for Morrowind, which is probably the thing that we did that's closest to Skyrim in some flavor, you know, the main gist of that was you become a werewolf. So, we do have some experience doing that... not too long ago."
We're not prone to over-analyzing words and casual comments from developers, but it's clear that shape-shifting is definitely on the minds of those in Bethesda's offices. While it may surprise some to hear just how far the game is from being completed, the fact that so many issues are still up in the air could end up being to blame for many things not making the finished product.
Being able to turn into werewolves may not make it into the retail release of Skyrim, but fans can't be that upset to learn that it was considered, but ultimately cancelled in order to make the game better as a whole. But now we can move from shape-shifting, and onto the question of mounts.
In this day and age, the mere mention of dragons brings to mind images of either fighting or flying one. So when Howard first revealed that dragons would play a major role in the game's story, many wondered if that meant that they would be fulfilling their childhood dreams of soaring on the wings of giants.
While Howard told fans that they shouldn't count on riding any dragons, he did give some information about the team's approach to horses in Skyrim. Describing the horses of Oblivion as closer to "jeeps" than actual living creatures, Howard reiterated his previous sentiment that the developers were working on it, but would only follow through if they felt it could make the game better:
"We don't know where it's going to end up. There were things with the Oblivion horses- we like having them, but there are certain things... they weren't the greatest implementation of horses. And now you see games come out like Red Dead, you know, there are more horses in games that we feel like just the basic implementation we did in Oblivion isn't going to be good enough. So, we are currently attempting things with that and we don't know where it's going to end up.
"A world without them feels a little weird, without seeing them... So, we definitely want to have them... we don't know yet what you're going to be able to do with them, and to what level."
While it probably isn't the yes or no answer fans were likely hoping for, a 'maybe' seems to be the most that we can expect this far from release. The team at Bethesda is obviously intent on giving their fans a game that is improved by past mistakes, not simply bigger or prettier.
They've already revealed the major changes they've brought to the menu systems and to the combat specializations, so it would be an understatement to say that they've got their hands full. After all, are the additions of mounts and shape-shifting worth it, if the game turns out worse?
We defer to Bethesda's judgment, since nearly every bit of detail they give us only helps Skyrim climb even higher on the list of our most anticipated games.
Unfortunately the wait won't be over anytime soon, since The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim doesn't arrive until November 11, for the PS3, PC, and Xbox 360.
Source: Game Informer