The suspense can now end, as the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim edition of Game Informer has blown the lid off the mystery surrounding the next game in the series. We've examined the scans, which finally shed some light on the game's story, the role of dragons in the narrative, and the cast of characters that players will come to know and love.
Those familiar with the previous titles will still be in for a new experience, as the ability to wield a weapon in one hand and use the other for spellcasting is just one facet of combat that Skyrim will be employing.
The cover of the magazine featured a message written in the dragon tongue foretelling of a prophecy that the dragons would one day rise when brothers took arms against eachother. while all might seem lost, the hope of mankind rests in the hands of the one known only as 'Dragonborn.'
In the scans of the magazine, this story is confirmed as the main plot of the game, with the player stepping in as possibly the last of the dragonborn:
"The Elder Scrolls have prophesied the return of the dragons. In fact, the signs that the dragons would be returning were clearly laid out in the predictions. The shattering of the Staff of Chaos (The Elder Scrolls: Arena), the appearance of Numidium (Daggerfall), the volcanic Red Mountain (Morrowind), and the opening of the Oblivion gates (Oblivion) all heralded their arrival. the last sign is the citizens of Skyrim turning against eachother in civil war, an event that is unfolding as Skyrim begins."
The dragons won't be a vacant threat, but a constant enemy that will have to be fought on several occasions. As the last of the dragonborn, the player will be able to use the power of the dragons themselves, to eliminate the remaining dragons before Alduin rises. Also known as the 'World Eater,' this dragon possesses godlike power, and a desire to swallow Tamriel whole.
In the journey against the dragon scourge your character will get help from some other characters, notably Esbern, one of the last of the Blades, warriors tasked with protecting the line of dragonborn. This character will be voiced by Max von Sydow, and was heard revealing the prophecy in the game's announcement trailer.
So with a guardian of your own, the one known as 'dovahkiin' will need to learn to wield the power of the dragons if victory is even possible. To do that, you will need to make your way to the home of the mystical Greybeards, atop a mountain known as 'The Throat of the World.' To do so means climbing the 7,000 steps up the slope, which we can only hope won't be achieved by alternating button presses.
The magazine isn't filled with in-game images to give an idea of what the finished product will look like, so we'll have to wait to see that spectacular new game engine in action. We can tell that the game definitely has a Norse feel to it, both in the abundance of crumbling buildings and ruins that populate Skyrim, and the look of the characters themselves.
We've already thought about the potential for multiplayer in the world of Elder Scrolls, but have to admit that the idea of all previous titles having been a prelude to the events of Skyrim is a fantastic one. Long-time fans are sure to enjoy an abundance of references to previous games, and the advances in technology since Oblivion will only improve the odds of the game becoming a hit with newcomers.
Given the emphasis on cinematic presentation when it comes to RPGs, we can assume that the script, voicing, and character design will be given even more attention than usual, which is always welcome. However the mechanics of the game end up, fans can breathe a sigh of relief now that they have a better idea of what to expect from Skyrim.
So now that Game Informer has confirmed our suspicions, are you more or less excited for Skyrim, and a chance to take on dragons with the power of steel and magic? Do the images of the new realm live up to your expectations?
Whether the game ends up soaring to new heights, or being burnt to the ground, we'll find out how the story ends - perhaps -when The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is released on November 11, 2011.