Exploring the new Elder Scrolls website

In case you’ve been staring at the trailer for the last 24 hours (we’ve been doing that too), wanted to remind you to explore our new Elder Scrolls website. Front and center on the site is Skyrim, for which you can find the latest media, news coverage, wallpapers, and more.

The site also has plenty of cool stuff from previous games in the series. You can watch game introductions and trailers, read archived team diaries for Morrowind and Oblivion, and yes, you can once again download Arena and Daggerfall for FREE.

In the community section, be sure to check out the first team diary for Skyrim, Welcome Back Elder Scrolls, written by Todd Howard. Todd discusses the excitement of returning to Tamriel after creating Fallout 3, and how both the series and team have evolved. Here’s an excerpt…

“To do that this time, we knew, like before, we had to start over. We needed to reinvent large parts of the game and its technology. We started with the graphics renderer, and how we would bring the scale of snow covered mountains, dynamic weather systems, and massive dragons to life along with the small details of how people lived; from the forks they used, to the fish they caught, and the meat they cooked. We then rewrote all the major graphics and gameplay systems including lighting, shadows, level of detail, animation, interface, scripting, dialogue, quest systems, melee, magic, and more. All of those changes made it into our internal editor as well. So much had changed that we decided to call the engine and editor by a new name, the Creation Engine and the Creation Kit. We can’t wait to see what all the brilliant mod makers do with these tools.”

Read the rest here. The diary is accomodated by our newest team photo, which I had the privilege to snap last week. If you’re wondering why they’re smiling, there’s plenty of good reasons: 1) It was Friday, 2) our happy hour was about to begin, and 3) Like you, they’re fans of the series and can’t wait for you guys to have a chance to play it.

Between now and 11.11.11, stay tuned for new updates on the site.

OXM UK teases Skyrim cover story

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Today on OXM UK’s Facebook page, they’ve teased the Skyrim cover story that hits newsstands this Thursday. If you’re in the UK, be sure to check it out.

If you’re somewhere else in Europe/Australia, keep an eye out for these features on the game

United Kingdom

Official Xbox Magazine — on shelves February 10th

Official PlayStation Magazine — on shelves February 16th

France

PlayStation Le Magazine Officiel — available now

Germany

Computer Bild Spiele — available now

Benelux

Power Unlimited — available now

Spain

Micromania — available now

Italy

Giochi per Il Mio Computer — available now

Nordic

Gamereactor — available now

Australia

Game Informer — available now

Spread the joy with these community contests

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Wanted to share word on a few community contests that were brought to my attention.

The Nexus community sites (as in New Vegas Nexus and TESNexus) are closing in on reaching 2.5 million registered members. To celebrate the occasion, they’ve kicked off a modding competition on both site. The site’s administrator, DarkOne, details the competition’s rules here. Here’s an excerpt…

“Ergo the theme of this modding competition will be “The community we are in”. I’m hoping to see some great mods that cover users in the community that might have influenced you during your time here, the various sites of the community that you are a part of (it doesn’t just have to be the Nexus!) and what you like about the community.

The type of mod you make, be it a quest, a new landmass, a house or castle, NPCs, weapons, armour, etc. is totally up to you but I will look more favourably upon entries that have a quest in them because I’m a sucker for a good quest! That doesn’t mean a mod with a quest in is going to win, however, and if you come up with something really unique then I’ll probably love it! A Nexus defence mod, for example, where you defend fort Nexus from a horde of trolls with your fellow moderators wielding ban hammers by your side is something I’ve dreamt about… “

Elsewhere, TES Alliance has already kicked off their Salute to Skyrim contest. As the title indicates, it’s a competition where users are encouraged to pay tribute to Skyrim — whether it be a mod for Morrowind or Oblivion, artwork, poetry, etc.. For more details, check out the contest page on TES Alliance.

Let out a Dragon Shout

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In February’s issue of Game Informer, one of the new gameplay elements revealed for Skyrim was dragon shouts. Learn more about how they work, and how the language was created from scratch in Matt Miller’s new feature up at GameInformer.com. Below is an small excerpt from the article…

“It’s in the lore,” declares game director Todd Howard. “It was like the classic barbarian battle cry. I’m not sure if it showed up in a book in Daggerfall, but it’s definitely mentioned in this pocket guide to the empire that we did for Redguard. It was the idea that the Nords had these battle cries, and they would shout at their enemies.” As the team at Bethesda began to design The Elder Scrolls V, they latched onto this little piece of mythology, and the way it could tie back to the dragons – powerful creatures that had been absent from the world for thousands of years.

Read more — including how Emil Pagliarulo worked on creating the language — here. Oh, and did we mention there’s a new screenshot and concept art!?!

New Creation Kit to bring modding tools to Skyrim

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Bethesda has a long history of supporting the modding community, and for good reason. It’s a science fact that mod tools make the world a better place: they make modders happy because they can mod, they make developers happy to see modders gaining experience, and they make fans happy to see an endless stream of content they can mess around with. So today we were pretty happy to finally confirm our plans to continue that support with Skyrim.

As Game Informer confirmed on Monday, Skyrim’s new engine has been dubbed the “Creation Engine.” Accompanying that engine will be the Creation Kit, our suite of level-building tools that we’ll be releasing to the community, much like the Elder Scrolls Construction Set for Morrowind and Oblivion.

The Kit was recently mentioned in the Game Informer article on the tech behind Skyrim. While we have nothing further to announce regarding the Kit at this time, give that article a read for more details on just how powerful these tools will be.