Just one more day and anxious Elder Scrolls fans everywhere will be able to play the most massive and complex game in the franchise's long and stellar history: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. While our own Rob Keyes has probably not slept in 3 days while he puts the finishing touches on Game Rant's review of Skyrim, there is a very big feature that we'd like to share. Big? That's an understatement. The word "big" doesn't do this justice, considering big is not limitless.
Skyrim's quests are infinite. That's right, infinite. While pondering the size of infinity and then considering that the game can be beaten in 2 hours and 16 minutes, Skyrim will have an innumerable amount of side quests that, allowing the player to literally play the game forever, with new content constantly being generated. Skyrim director Todd Howard, in an interview with Wired.com, says that "the vibe of the game is that it’s something that you can play forever."
This infinite quest engine is powered by the game's Radiant quest system, which randomly generates quests for the player based on their progress in the game. The player may be given a quest from a merchant or innkeeper to track down some bad guys, or even be tasked from others to collect alchemy ingredients (something that players could spend hours upon hours in Oblivion). According to Howard, the possibilities are endless.
There will also be additional, potentially endless tasks for the various factions in the game, such as the Thieves Guild or the Dark Brotherhood. Whereas in Oblivion a player would complete the guild's story line and essentially be done with the group (more or less), Skyrim will continually feed players new quests for the factions they belong to.
While very daunting, Howard explains that, while some players may not like the idea of side quests that never really end, he says it is important to the game because it plays into its strength: environmental storytelling. The world is full of surprises, twists, turns, and secrets, and Howard states that players will stumble across many of these while doing these endless side quests, much like their last game, Fallout 3.
"The most enjoyable part of the Radiant system won’t be completing quests, he says, it’ll be the things you discover along the way: bandit-infested fortresses, or a terrifying lighthouse. The world is probably the one thing that sets (Skyrim) apart from other games. It feels really real for what it is... it’s just fun to explore."
Still pondering infinitely? While you continue to ponder, ask yourself if this feature makes waiting until tomorrow even more daunting than understanding infinity.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim releases November 11, 2011 on the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.
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