Todd Howard on the lessons Skyrim has learned from Fallout 3

Henry Winchester at

The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim - Orc trouble

We've been speaking to game director Todd Howard about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Previously, he told us about Bethesda's problem with vigilante chickens reporting crimes, but he also discussed the changes that Bethesda have made since Oblivion, and many of them are inspired by Bethesda's work on Fallout 3.

Lesson one, Oblivion's progressions system, which had creatures levelling at the same rate as the player, has been overhauled. “[Skyrim]’s a lot more like Fallout 3, where as you level up you are going to see harder things, but the easier things stay around as well.” says Howard.

There will still be combat where it’s tougher, but these battles will be against a new or uniquely named enemy, putting an end to the boring battle-churn that dominated the later levels of Oblivion. “You’ll still run into the weaker stuff and you’ll just decimate it,” says Howard. Bad luck, mud crabs.

Lesson two, Oblivion’s stilted random conversation system is gone. “There’s very few completely random conversations,” says Howard. “We’ve gone more towards a system, like we did in Fallout 3, where they have a specific conversation with a specific person about various topics.”

Thirdly, the environment has been made more interesting, taking another queue from Fallout 3’s rich tapestry of American wasteland. “We realised in Fallout 3 that that kind of environmental storytelling, where you come upon a little scene, is really good,” says Howard. “And so we’ve tried to do it a lot more.”

“Just about” every dungeon will have something unique in it, Howard says.

Tom Francis found many of those unique things, and killed them with lightning in our Skyrim preview.