E3 2011: Skyrim coverage

Like many of you, we’re keeping up on all the latest E3 coverage. Throughout the week, we’ll update this post with the latest on Skyrim.

  • G4TV has Todd Howard and 14 minutes of gameplay — watch it above! And if that’s not enough, they also have a pre-E3 preview here.
  • Learn more about dragons and being dragonborn in a new preview at IGN.
  • Elsewhere on IGN, Skyrim is nominated for Best Overall Game, Best Role-Playing Game, and the Most Anticipated Game Award coming out of E3.
  • PC Gamer/CVG caught up with lead producer Craig Lafferty to learn more about the game’s length and the voice actors involved. They also break down recent gameplay footage featured on GameTrailers.
  • The Guardian’s Steve Boxer shares his excitement for Skyrim

Get reading, and be on the lookout for Prey 2 and RAGE updates later this week.

Reader Comments

  1. Looks amazing. But I really hope to hear more about the combat system (besides the spells/weapons equipped in each hand) – wonder if there would be some sort of target locking.

  2. *Please* tell me you’ve gotten Jeff Baker to do the Dunmer males again. He did an outstanding job for Morrowind, on both the Dunmer and Imperials.

    But the Dunmer in particular really need that distinctive accent. The Altmer and Bosmer voices just didn’t suit the Dunmer in Oblivion, sounded far too feminine.

    I heard a tiny snippet of Dunmer voice in the G4 gameplay video, from the thief stuck in the web, but I couldn’t place the voice actor.

  3. I imagine your interested in the reaction from fans at this point to get a taste for what they like or do not like. So lets see what I can provide in that area.

    Me and the Guild users are following the Skyrim news with great interest, you can lurk and follow the Skyrim threads your self in our Elder Scrolls forum if you like.

    So far we love what we are seeing but the changes to the classes have raised some RPG concerns. Also with so much focus on the Xbox, we are starting to wonder if Skyrim is pure console game. The interface for the Xbox for example is not going to go down well for PC users.

    Reading between the lines in earlier interviews and having watched the dragon fight near the guard tower (awesome stuff btw, well done), I wonder if I am correct in assuming that the rain will stop when it hits the roof of the tower and now continue through a solid wall in to the room below ? I recall Todd mentioning snow settling on roof tops previously, hence the question.

    I ask because this opens up the possibility of housing that opens up to the world instead of being in a separate cell.

    Also I thought I saw a Ruse style map zoom from world view down to the character in Skyrim, was I imagining this ? If not, was this part of the reason for the need for the creation engine, given that sort of map is currently in vogue because its so dam cool to see in games these days and much better than the older system ?

    Thumbs up on that if its not my imagination btw, very welcome feature.

    Ii would add that Oblivion and Morrowinds RPG features kept players playing those games for over 5 years and gameplay hours is measured in 1000s of hours rather than hundreds so thats the benchmark Scroll fans are looking to beat in Skyrim.

    With that in mind, is it possible to hear more about how the new system that replaces classes works and how it effects RPG gaming since RPGers are the ones that play the Elder Scrolls the death and back again.

    There are also some concerns that Skyrim is a simple hack and slash game now and the videos show are all of spell casting warriors doing their jack of all trades thing. Which points to a lack of RPG generally. Not sure if thats the message you guys want to send, if not, if not, you might want to make some videos showing other types of characters in action.

    All the best, good work so far, lovin it:)

  4. Also you need to put in some stats on the inventory screen’s list view. You need a way to compare the damage of weapons or the armor rating of armor without looking at each item individually. If you’ve just looted a dungeon and have 20 new swords you don’t want to select each item looking for the one with the best damage, you should just be able to scan the list itself.

    (Sorry for double post, didn’t think of this till after submitting the first one)

  5. Consoles are the Lead-Plattform?

    I hope not, because this means that the Developer don’t have the desire to make a good graphics.
    Look to The Witcher 2 (Forests) what happens, when PC is the Lead-Plattform.

    Please please please give PC-Player the ability to get a better graphics, more details and more objects. You will don’t regret it.

  6. I’m big enough Elder Scrolls nerd to ask. Draugrs they aren’t just Nord warriors who were buried, weren’t they Nords who ate the flesh of their fellow warriors and got cursed?
    That’s the explanation of their origins in Morrowind’s Bloodmoon expansion.

  7. Can’t Bethesda finally answer the age old question that no one has answered and that EVERYONE is secretly asking… will there be horse armor???

  8. Wow, after watching the 14 minute demo I’m in awe at so many things. I really want to congratulate the team at Bethesda Softworks for all their hard work on Skyrim thus far, you’ve made an amazing work of art with this game. Everything that’s good…is REALLY good: The 3rd person animations, enemy animations(wildlife and dragons most notably), the bioshock style hand usage, dragon shouts, and combat overall just looks really good. The only thing is that there are a lot of subtle things that could fix that would really bring the game full circle in my opinion.

    One thing I noticed was that the first person animations for the game look really Oblivion-style. Which isnt too much of a big deal since that was a classic part of the game, but I feel that it would really benefit from being a bit more like the 3rd person animations. When the character blocked on the screen it looked a bit unnatural, and the sword sticks awkwardly at the side(in the early part of the demo), which doesnt match up to the 3rd person animation. I think it would be a subtle improvement if the hands were just slightly farther apart so they match up more correctly with the 3rd person(when attacking too) but I dont know how plausible that is. Another slight improvement I think would be to add a bit more camera bounce when running(again to match up to the 3rd person animations). When the character is running/walking in 3rd person, you can really feel the fluidity of the animation, but I dont feel it as much when they are running in first person. I think a slight camera bounce would help add that level of immersion a bit. But these both are slight pet peeves, and it might depend on the person to say which is correct.

    Next was the magical animations. I think the magical animations while casting, and doing different attacks looks amazing and really variates well depending on what type of attack you’re casting (thunder looks like it electrifies his hand and makes it shake before he tosses it out, or fire kind of blasts open when charging up for a large flame attack) but the animation while the magic is in your hand is the same across all the magic. Whether he’s holding fire, thunder, healing, etc it always has the same idle hand animation while holding the magic. The thing that was cool about Bioshock was how the hand reacted differently in idle depending on what magic was held. Like, the flame would occasionally burst open, or the thunder spells kept the hand shaking with the electricity through it. It’s a subtle detail, but it makes a large difference in the immersion. There was one point in the trailer where I couldn’t really tell at a glance whether lightning was in the right hand or turn undead was. I think if you change the IDLE hand animations based on what’s IN the hand, it will add another level of deep immersion. You don’t have to get as crazy as Bioshock does(though it would be nice), but it would be good to at least make different hand positioning based on what magic is being prepared.

    Third is the Combat. Combat looks great at a base level. The arrow taking out the bandit in secret looked really good. But the reaction of his partner left a bit to be desired. It would be cool if after witnessing a murder from the shadows like that, the enemies would try to either look for you, or look for cover or something. Just so he doesnt get killed too. The hand to hand combat looks really fun too, especially magic. Magic looks fantastic. The only thing about combat that I hope changes is more REACTIONS. If I strike someone in a vital area because I outsmarted them, or I timed my attack to hit them when their guard was down, it should open them up and have them react in a realistic way.
    RAGE I think does this really well. All the enemies react appropriately depending on how you hit them and where you hit them (great looking game by the way).

    For example, when you sliced the Redguard in the neck, he just stood there and put up his shield. There should be some sort of serious reaction to that, or else it doesn’t feel realistic. Also, I’ll make an exception for stuff like the Draugr since they’re undead, but it would be nice if when you use something like the flamethrower spell on enemies and it sets them ablaze, there can be a chance they’ll shake around a bit and try to put out the flames, or if you use a lightning spell they’ll get electrocuted, or have after shocks come out of them. Little stuff like that…people need to react more to getting hurt, it emphasizes the direness of the battle. The player should react more to getting hurt as well.

    Also it would be nice if there is some sort of defensive option when dual wielding. I heard you cant block with a weapon anymore, and thats no big deal honestly, but you should be able to parry or something. Like if you time your attack to parry an enemies weapon, you can open them up and do more damage, or allow for a killing strike. The downside being you cant just sit there and block, or you will be at much more risk since you have to time your attacks.

    Finally, everyone keeps asking about dismemberment, and I think I’m curious about it too. I can understand dismemberment being a bit too harsh when dealing with sword and shield, but when I think about Fallout 3, it had TONS of dismemberment. You could blast people to bits if they left themselves open. So I think there should be similar stuff in Skyrim too, when I slice at someone’s neck and its a critical strike, it should either have them react in a visceral way(grabbing their neck, stumbling back, turning their head in the direction of the strike), or cut their air supply, or lop their head off. Or if you hit someone in the arm their guard should be weaker, or their hand should show injury…stuff like that will really drive home how harsh the combat is.

    Overall though, after all those comments I really love the direction the game is going in. It might be too late in production to change too much, but hopefully it isnt and some of these additions might make it in! I can’t wait for Skyrim to release and to get to play it regardless of the end result. I just want to see you guys make the best game you possibly can make =]. Take care and see you on 11.11.11!

  9. Thrilling masterful work. SKYRIM is definitely there in fleshed out completeness. The new interface is great and a major positive evolution. Love the three dimensional inventory icons and the map. Fonts look excellent and very clean. Combat hits had me saying, “Ouch..thats gotta be headache inducing” when seeing enemies take a hit to the noggin. Blood on weapons and the eyes when getting hit looks very nice and visceral. The backstab with the weapon after freeing the fleeing enemy was pain pinching piercing shocking. I could just imagine the twist of the weapon in my mind..

    Thanks and congratulations on a fabulous showing at E3.

  10. Loved everything I was seeing on g4 tv’s coverage – with one exception, the fonts are way too small on the actions and subtitles. Please take into account that not all of your gaming fans are in the 16-20 something range, I’ve been playing video games since pong came out, and although I understand you don’t want to ruin the visuals with alot of words plastered across the screen, I’d like to be able to play it without having to stand 1ft away from my 40″ screen (even with my glasses on). Otherwise, I couldn’t have been more impressed, glad I pre-ordered.

  11. At the same time “Infinity blade” creators cleared US$10 millions in earnings, according to an Epic Games press release posted today (actually took in over $14.3 million in sales before Apple’s 30 percent cut). They’ve made this money on iOS Apple Store devices just in 6 months… Bethesda, think about that.

  12. Question for the designers: have you guys thought of a more integrated way to do DLC? For example, it’s disconcerting in Oblivion when you leave the sewers and get all the DLC announcements dumped on you. I’d love for Skyrim to have a feature that “hides” the DLC and allows you to discover it naturally as you explore the world, the same as you would anything else.

  13. Recent comments on the CVG video that revealed the primary development platform was the consoles is contradicting Todds earlier statement that said Beth primarily develop on PCs. Since Todds been talking almost exclusively about the Xbox version with very little comment on the PC version, I am inclined to believe the CVG video and not Todd.

  14. I for one am fine with the functionality of the interface overall even as someone who will play this on PC, my real problem however, is the art direction of it.

    Simply put, the font, the transparency, is all wrong. It breaks immersion and looks like something that belongs in Mass Effect or some other sci-fi world.

    I would much rather I pull up an old, massive book and flip through it to find all the information I need, kinda like a fantasy pip-boy.

    Also, the map…is…um…horrible. It isn’t even a map. It’s a satellite view. Give me a piece of parchment over this any day. I will never ever open the map in game if it stays as is. It might be all cool and neat and super-fly and slick, but it makes no sense whatsoever. I should pull up a literal map (a la Farcry 2) and look over it in real time, not zoom out to some eye-in-the-sky 3D view.

    And as others have mentioned there are some glaring things missing, like item comparison.

    Please Bethesda, we know you think that Skyrim is its own animal, but it’s not. It is still the Elder Scrolls, and this interface needs to be part of that world, not in spite of it.

  15. Just the other day while playing OBLIVION in a dungeon looking at a tomb i thought to myself wouldnt it be frigging horrifying if the casket lid all of sudden went flying off and a skeleton or lich sat up looked straight at me and gave a maniacal ghastly cackle :D Now here i am looking at the SKYRIM coverage and wonderful wonders of wonderful theres a Dragon Priest popping out of a tomb. Ultra cool indeed :D Now that i think of it i reminded a bit of the old Japanese sci fi movie GOLDEN BAT who has a certain King Of Worms ambience about him.

    The Dragon disintergrating into flaming crumbling bones when killed truly is a worthy furious death for such a mighty being.

  16. I do not like the popup interface either, none of it appeals to me as a PC player and I agree it looks like something that escaped from Mass Effect. Having Dragon Soul absorbed pop up in the middle of the screen is very distracting from the core game play I think and whilst I am sure its fun for console users, for PC users who pay a lot for their hardware to get the best out of their games, its going to be a constant in their face reminder of what they hate consoles.

  17. Sorry to bring this up again, I realise I’m repeating myself but I really have to bring this too attention. Todd Howard in a gamespot interview said, and I quote:

    “We have designed an interface–even on the consoles that shows a lot of information…”

    The inventory list is just a list of names when browsing. No information besides names is given unless you select an item. How is that “a lot of information”? Oblivion at least showed the four most relevant stats for each item AND allowed you to sort by each stat.

    I realise you want to get away from excel style spread sheets but this information is simply useful. It’s something that any player, veteran, hardcore or casual, would want to see. If you’re carrying too much weight you want to quickly locate the heaviest item in your inventory. If you’re carry hundreds of objects that means scrolling through EVERY ONE to try and find the heavy ones. The interface you’ve designed has plenty of room for these numbers; you’ve been very sparing with the graphics and it looks gorgeous, but if you’ve freed up so much screen real estate why hide information? There’s loads of room for it, why hide something the player wants to see?

  18. I saw in the Playstation magazine article that armor is going to be more fallout style, as in body and head rather than individual areas of the body, which I really hope isn’t going to be the case. I understand that type of thing for clothing, like the red, blue and black outfits in Oblivion, but please do not limit the way armor is worn. In Oblivion I never wore a full suit of a specific armor type, instead favoring several different style pieces of armor that had different enchanments on each piece.

  19. Love the video, the favorites menu isn’t as nearly as immersion breaking and clunky as I thought it would be but I still would prefer being able to switch without stopping the flow of the game.And please tell me I can toggle the compass off, if you can make that then you could have the cleanest HUD ever made for an Elder Scrolls game and quite possibly for an RPG.It wouldn’t hurt just to put it in an option to toggle it off similar to how you can toggle the crosshair off in Oblivion and Fallout 3.

  20. To balance some of the comments here and (especially) on the PC Gamer blog, let me just say that I for one LOVE the fact that Skyrim is primarily a console game. Sorry, PC gamers. I’m not trying to troll, I am just voicing a preference. I used to be one of you, and originally bought Oblivion on PC. But then I got older and lazier, and now I only play on my plasma with 7.1 surround sound on a comfy couch in my family room, and I have neither the time nor the patience to keep up to date with Nvidia drivers or tweak .ini files. (It doesn’t help that I no longer even own a Windows PC and Macs aren’t exactly gamer-friendly.)

    I wanted to like Dragon Age: Origins, but the console version was a sorry excuse of a port of what I’m told was a superior PC game. I’m glad Skyrim won’t have this problem.

    Again, I am not trying to offend or upset anyone, just stating a preference and expressing my happiness that Skyrim is designed for gamers like me.

  21. Bode

    I agree mostly except im shocked its being dev’d on the console. But speaking of the windows tweaks and drivers i adopted the “if it aint broken” approach and only updated when i had too. Worked like a charm for me.

  22. To “The Bode”:
    You’re wrong, Macs are very game-friendly especially considering this reasons: 1) Macs are only ones which sales year over year is rising (PC sales declining now); 2) they have now the same hardware and Intel proc’s as usual modern PC’s; 3) there are not so many competitors – if you bring there Fallout 3 – you can release enormous DLC’s for the old game and users will purchase them because you’re will be the one class A game publisher on the platform – this platform is not so differentiated as Xbox360 there are tens identical shooters and etc.

  23. Is it just me or did they change the interviewers mid-intervew? I guess they merged two different interviews, Howard is however wearing exactly the same clothes on both interviews, down to his shoes.

    As others have mentioned, it is very important a comparison screen can be pulled up just looking at inventory stats. It’s a nightmare when you have 20 swords or 20 staffs and you have to go through each one individually to check their stats, it’s unpractical and very frustrating.

    I love the new sat map where you can just zoom in on locations, great. I would however, due to immersion, like some old worn out parchment when you view inventory items or something (the afore mentioned stat screen).

    I love the idea of items being rotated and zoomed in with hidden clues to riddles on them. I guess that’s been borrowed from PS3′s Uncharted 2.

    I used to be a hardcore PC player but as you get older, with kids and all, you really just want to relax in your couch with your large screen tv playing on the X360. I now hate having to look for updates, whether its the game’s or drivers or whatever.

    I love how he dodged the horse armor question. So, will there be horse armor, and most importantly, will we be asked -again- to pay for it? Grrmph!

  24. The graphics, combat, AI, story, dragons, interface, animations, and freedom! WOW! This game Is for sure the best game coming out in the decade!