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PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to 15 things we want to see in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim">



I love Oblivion, but not because it was perfect. That and the previous Elder Scrolls game Morrowind were great because they tried more than they could do flawlessly - that's what made them so liberating compared to a lot of other RPGs. Now that we know Skyrim is coming, though, it's time to take a harder look at what the Elder Scrolls games could be doing better. This is what we want from The Elder Scrolls V.



1. A better level up system

If I want to be a good swordsman in Oblivion, the last thing I should do is pick Blade as one of my specialty skills. If I avoid it completely, I can still get better with a sword through practise, and it won't raise my character level. I can become the greatest swordsman in the world for any given level.



Improving skills with practise is a cornerstone of the Elder Scrolls series, and it has potential. But TES V needs to find a smarter way to blend it with the intentionality of character customisation.



2. Content that doesn't scale

We need to feel like leveling up makes us more powerful. If the whole world levels up with us, that sense is lost. It also makes the game world too even: nowhere is particularly dangerous in Oblivion because everything is so politely level-appropriate. Morrowind had some level-scaling, but enough fixed danger to feel wild, and enough genuine progression to be compulsive.



3. Vicious combat



At level 1, hitting someone with a warhammer feels great. They just crumple. In the late game, though, you and your enemies have such a vast pool of hitpoints that every fight is a war of attrition, which makes each blow feel meaningless. It needs to be quick, vicious and deadly, whatever level you're at.



4. A bigger voice cast

Unless one of them is Billy West (Fry, Dr Zoidberg, Professor Farnsworth, Zapp Brannigan, Richard Nixon, Abraham Lincoln, Leo Wong and Humorbot 5.0 in Futurama), you can't use the same few guys for a world with hundreds of characters. You don't have to stump up for big names like Patrick Stewart and Sean Bean again - their celebrity didn't make the game better. Spend that money on a dozen more decent, varied performances.



5. Better faces

Look what you did to Patrick Stewart:







6. No face zoom

Regardless of looks, it's not polite to get up in someone's grill to quite this extent. Particularly if it involves extending your neck more than three meters.



7. NPCs who know when to shut up

Hey guys, the player's here! Let's all make canned smalltalk at the same time! Make sure your reply doesn't quite relate to what I said, and it's one he's heard three times in the last two minutes! Good day!



8. A more exciting magic system



The Destruction school of magic I inderstand. Restoration: yes. Even Illusion - invisibility and whatnot, great. Then Alteration? Spells that alter things? Don't all spells alter things? And Mysticism - as opposed to scientific magic? Some of the spells are great, but the schools themselves are well overdue for an overhaul to make them more logical, distinct and exciting.



9. Weird places

Forests are great. I have no issues with hills. I love a good lake. But I hope Skyrim has some regions that are just a little off, a little alien, a little non-Tolkeinian. That's why there are hordes of Morrowind fans who never accepted Oblivion - that and:



10. A proper PC interface

Come on, nerdy stats and inventory lists are what the PC was made for. Let us at 'em. Oblivion's interface is capable of listing between THREE and SIX items at a time before you have to scroll. Same goes for the map - if Bethesda have any idea how important a really good map can be to the sense of being in a fantasy world, the size of the damn thing in Oblivion didn't show it. These aren't huge issues, but look: modders fixed them in a day or two. If you seriously don't have anyone who can do that before release, hire those modders.



I know every cross-platform developer loves to say "All three versions are identical," to wash their hands of the platform wars, but guys: they're not. One of them is played with a mouse and keyboard from two feet away. Notice this.



11. Varied dungeons



We know you can do this now - Fallout 3 is an object lesson in filling an open world with interestingly different locations. Fantasy equivalent of that, please.



12. A main quest without the padding

The Oblivion gates themselves were the least interesting thing in Oblivion, reducing a freeform game to straight combat. So please don't ask us to fight through six of them in a row - very few players realised that they were even optional. The main quest in TES V should be as long or short as the interestingly different content you can make for it.



13. A villain we hate



It's hard to really get worked up about demons bent on destroying the world. I'd rather they didn't, but I have nothing against them personally. In Mass Effect, no-one really hated the Reapers. The guy we couldn't wait to kill was Saren, because our beef was personal. You don't have to have them kill our father/mother/brother/son/girlfriend - in fact that rarely works. They just have to be a bastard, and one who's getting away with it.



14. Modding tools



Bethesda have always been good with this - The Elder Scrolls Construction Set is a modder's dream, and the 24,000 mods it's led to demonstrates that. Almost every other niggle with Oblivion in this list was eventually addressed by the community. Unless you have a secret formula for making TES V all things to all people, please keep giving people the tools to tinker.



15. Free horse armour
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Confirmed: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will use an entirely new engine">



Bethesda Softworks community manager Nick Breckon has confirmed that the next Elder Scrolls game, Skyrim, will use an all new engine. This is contrary to a recent rumour that Bethesda's next game would still use the Gamebryo engine that powered The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Fallout 3.



The controversy around Gamebryo can be summarised as: good at trees, crap at faces. It made Oblivion's landscapes gorgeous, but led to some ugly people and odd behaviour. The way it transitioned between low and high detail scenery as you moved through the world also caused some blurry textures and suddenly appearing objects on some machines.



Since Bethesda's parent company ZeniMax now owns id Software, the second most popular theory was that Skyrim might use id Tech 5, the engine developed for their next game Rage. Apparently not - "all new" suggests this is one developed specifically for Skyrim, or at least not seen in other games yet. Here's Nick's Tweet.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim trailer, release date">



There's a new Elder Scrolls V trailer, oh yeah and the Elder Scrolls V was announced. The release date is 11th of November next year, it's set in the snowy province of Skyrim, it's called Skyrim, and oh my god:





 

Well, I think I know what I'll be watching on a loop for the next eleven months.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Rumour: The Elder Scrolls V in development">



It looks as though Bethesda are indeed hard at work on the next Elder Scrolls game, with reports saying that it will be a direct sequel to Oblivion, and that voice recording for the game is already underway.

Eurogamer Denmark spilled the beans on the sequel after speaking to someone involved on the game's development. Eurogamer have translated the Danish news report, and it reads like this:



"This source not only confirmed that the game is in current production, but also spoke briefly about the content - with fantasy-sounding phrases like Dragon Lord, something with The Blades - and that voice acting for the characters in the game is currently happening in the weeks to follow.



The same source confirmed, with official game documents in hand, that this will be the chronological sequel to what happened in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, which is the latest game in the now 16-years-old Elder Scrolls saga and by itself one of the better RPGs for PC and consoles."



Oblivion was released all the way back in 2006, and there has since been little word of a sequel, it might finally be time to get excited.



Update: if the information is accurate, the term 'chronological sequel' may simply mean that the game is set later than Oblivion. So far each of the four Elder Scrolls games have been set later than the last, but none have been direct sequels in the ordinary sense: very few characters appear in more than one game, the hero is always a new character, and the plots don't connect. That may still be true of The Elder Scrolls V.



Eurogamer


Bethesda Game Studios is hard at work on the fifth game in the Elder Scrolls series, according to a new report.


It's a direct sequel to 2006's stonking great fantasy role-playing game Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Eurogamer Denmark said.


We've asked the author of the story, Eurogamer Denmark Editor-in-chief Kristian West, to translate into English for us (apparently Google doesn't do it justice). Here's what he said:


"This source not only confirmed that the game is in current production, but also spoke briefly about the content - with fantasy-sounding phrases like Dragon Lord, something with The Blades - and that voice acting for the characters in the game is currently happening in the weeks to follow.


"The same source confirmed, with official game documents in hand, that this will be the chronological sequel to what happened in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, which is the latest game in the now 16-years-old Elder Scrolls saga and by itself one of the better RPGs for PC and consoles.


"The sequel to Oblivion is coming, we can hereby confirm without hesitation. It's been a while since 2006, hasn't it?"


Rumour of an Elder Scrolls sequel has been rife since Oblivion's launch.


In August Bethesda Game Studios told Eurogamer the majority of its 90 or so staff are beavering away on the new game - thought to be a new Elder Scrolls title - which has been in development for two years.


Executive producer Todd Howard said in an interview with Eurogamer at QuakeCon that the studio's current title will be announced soon, but he couldn't say exactly when. "I have a sense but we're not ready even to talk about [the timing of the announcement], because it might change. I don't want to disappoint people.


"One thing I can say is that from when you first hear about it to when it's out will be the shortest it's been for us. It's pretty far along. When we show it, we want to show a lot, because there's a lot of game there to play right now.


"You know, if [global VP of PR and marketing] Pete Hines came in and said, 'I want you to show it,' I'd be like, 'Okay, I'm ready to show it.' But we've just decided for now not to yet."


Howard wouldn't be drawn on many details about the game, but said the technology was derived from the engine that powered Fallout 3, albeit with significant modifications.


"Fallout 3 technically does a lot more than Oblivion. The new stuff is an even bigger jump from that," he said.


"I can say it is on the existing platforms, which we're really happy with. You almost feel like you have a new console when you see the game."

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor
A whole new world has arrived for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion in the much-anticipated English translation of the colossal total conversion Nehrim: At Fate's Edge, which was released over the weekend and is available from FileShack.

Described as "one of the world's most extensive total conversions" for Oblivion, Nehrim is set in an entirely new world with no connection to Oblivion or The Elder Scrolls. The new world and story boast an estimated fifty hours of playtime with over sixty quests, also including a new soundtrack and a vocal cast of 56 professional voice actors.

Unfortunately, as the mod was created by a German team, you'll have to make do with German voices and English subtitles but surely that's better than a sub par dub, yes?

Read More

Announcement - Valve
As QuakeCon 2010 rolls into its last day, Steam presents the final edition of the QuakeCon Steam Sale. Today, save 75% off QUAKE titles! Since the QUAKE titles are not available in Germany, German customers can pick up The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind® Game of the Year Edition for 75% off today only.

This is also your last chance to pick up the QuakeCon 2010 Pack and save mpre than 70% off a huge bundle of games from id Software and Bethesda Softworks.

Check out the QuakeCon Sale Page for all of today's offers.

Announcement - Valve
Can't make it to Texas for QuakeCon this year? Or maybe you're already there, playing in the largest LAN event in North America. Either way, you can take part in the partying and fun with four days of huge sales on id and Bethesda games on Steam. Come back each day for a different deal, or just go ahead and pick up the QuakeCon Pack for about 75% off all currently available id and Bethesda games.

The QuakeCon 2010 Steam Sale kicks off today with 66% off The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion® Game of the Year Edition. Also at 66% off is the The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion® Game of the Year Edition Deluxe, which includes Knights of the Nine and the Shivering Isles expansions plus Fighter's Stronghold Expansion, Spell Tome Treasures, Vile Lair, Mehrune's Razor and much more.

Don't forget to come back tomorrow for another great deal. Offers change at 9am Pacific Time.

Announcement - Valve

Act now and receive the Fallout New Vegas Caravan Pack! This special offer is available for pre-purchase only. You can also take advantage of huge savings this weekend on the following Bethesda Game of the Year titles:

  • Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition - 50% off
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion® Game of the Year Edition Deluxe - 66% off
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind® Game of the Year Edition - 75% off

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