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Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Info Thaws Out


The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Courtesy of NeoGAF, we have some early information about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim that has appeared in one of those anachronistic print publications one sometimes hears about these days. Set 200 years after TES IV: Oblivion, TES V takes place in Skyrim, the frozen homeland of the hardy Nord race. The dragons have returned, and that's not a good thing for smaller, tastier races. The main character, in fact, is a dragonhunter, destined to hunt the scaly beasts.

The levelling system in TES V has been completely revamped. Players no longer design a class at the beginning of the game, but develop skills as they wish while playing. After levelling a certain number of skills, the player will level up, gaining extra health plus the ability to choose bonus health, stamina, or magicka. Players will also get the chance to choose a perk at every level, similar to the Fallout series. Players will be able to level to 50 in the game, though that's a soft cap, with very slow progression after level 50. There will be 18 skills in TES V, down from 21 in TES IV.

Level-scaling has changed in TES V, as well. There will be some scaling of enemy levels in the game, but it will be closer to the scaling in Fallout 3, rather than the extreme scaling of TES IV.

Alt text. Map of Skyrim

The quest system has changed significantly. TES V will feature a "radiant storytelling" system. The quests that a player is given will be at least partially determined by how the game has been played. A spellcasting character may be approached by mages with quests that a warrior-type would not receive, for example. The game will also consult a huge database of the things a player has already done, and tailor new experiences to the player. A new quest will attempt to lead the player to an area that hasn't yet been explored, and will spawn appropriately-levelled enemies to that location. Killing a shopkeeper will also no longer completely remove his quest from the game. His daughter will inherit the business, and may give the character her father's quest if the character begs her for forgiveness.

The development team is promising improved combat, and states that improving the series' combat system is a high priority. The system in TES V allows for players to assign a combat function to each hand, allowing for easy dual-wielding, sword and board combat, or magic spells.

The game world will feature five "massive" cities, as well as greater variety in underground environments. Character faces and models are supposed to be greatly improved, as well as appropriately diverse according to race. Conversations will happen in the world rather than in a zoomed in static shot, and NPCs may continue their normal activities while chatting with the player character.

Other graphical improvements involve snow that falls and builds up dynamically instead of being a pre-existing texture on the ground, trees and branches that move independently in the wind, and flowing water. The third-person view has been improved, and the first-person view has the option of turning off the HUD completely.

That's most of the information we have about TES V for now. It will be available for the PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 this November, so stay tuned for more information and assets.

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