It’s no big secret that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a big game. Boasting tons-upon-tons of quests and dungeons, Skyrim gives players so many “things” to do that it’s hard to wonder how gamers will find time to complete them all.
But Skyrim isn’t just about big quests and varied enemies; it’s also a role-playing game — one that is taking customization and menus to a new, more approachable level. For Skyrim, Bethesda has taken a more Apple-like approach in an effort to catch the eye of a more casual gamer.
Destructoid got a chance to chat with Bethesda’s Vice President Pete Hines who talked a little bit about the game’s interface, the new lock-picking mechanic, and crafting.
Obviously with a game like Skyrim that has so many layers, features, and all around “stuff” to do, it’s going to be hard to keep track of everything. To help keep gamers from getting too lost in the ancillary experiences of the game, Bethesda has streamlined those areas of the game, like item selection menus.
Some of the cool little tricks Bethesda has used to make navigating menus less of a chore include mapping skills to a star chart, where every branch of a particular constellation corresponds to a different “tree.” Items in Skyrim are also much improved with both a favorites toggle and the ability to see every nook and cranny of an item in a 360-degree view. Making it easier and much more exciting to customize your character seems to be an important part of the Skyrim development process, and it definitely shows.
Crafting is also briefly touched upon in the interview, but is not an integral component to the Skyrim experience. As Hines puts it, crafting — being able to create your own weapons or spells — is an element of the game players can spend as much or as little time with as they want. It’s there for those who love that part of the role-playing experience, but isn’t forced upon players who would rather purchase their wares from vendors.
And on one final note, Hines talks about the new, but very familiar, lock-picking mechanic that will be implemented into Skyrim. “Borrowed” from Fallout 3, this lock-picking feature will look extremely familiar to anyone who has trekked through Bethesda’s other marquee role-playing adventure, because it is ostensibly the same mechanic. Bethesda clearly saw something they liked in one of their other popular franchises, and wanted to bring it to Skyrim.
While it’s still about the overall experience, which now includes getting to slay dragons, this chapter of the Elder Scrolls has refined many of the small features to create an experience that is unobtrusive and approachable. We’ve seen enough to recognize it’s a serious game of the year contender, but will those elements that exist outside of the main quest give the game the type of length players expect.
Do you like how Bethesda is approaching their menu systems? Are there any gamers out there who have never played an Elder Scrolls title, but are interested in checking out Skyrim?
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim releases November 11, 2011 for the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.