Skyrim has a hand-crafted world, with "no two areas alike"

Tom Senior

Skyrim screenshot

More juicy Skyrim details have emerged, including details of the game's major cities, hand-crafted dungeons and stealth perks. Read on for the full lowdown, and to find out what happens when you kill a dragon and eat its soul.

The new information has come from a massive preview in the latest issue of Official XBox Magazine . The article outlines some of the major locations we'll be exploring when the game's released late this year. The city of Windhelm is the largest of Skyrim's towns. It is the home of the Imperial Guard, who protect a huge palace and monitor the path to Morrowind. There's a Bard's College in the northern regions of Solitude where a festival similar to fireworks night is celebrated, with the townspeople burning effigies of King Olaf.

Bethesda promise that the game's dungeons will be much more varied than they were in Oblivion. Where Oblivion had one dungeon designer, Skyrim has eight. The team will be working on keeping Skyrim's dungeons varied with puzzles and traps, to ensure that "no two areas are alike." An example of one such dungeon is the Bleak Falls Barrows, which features ancient Nord catacombs carved between huge tree roots and underground rivers. There will be 120 dungeons in total.

Similar care has been extended to the rest of Skyrim, the entire landscape has been hand crafted and is dusted with dynamic snow that settles realistically. The lands will play home to wildlife that should behave sensibly thanks to Skyrim's new AI system. A pack of wolves is used as an example of the new system. The wolves will leave their den several times a day to hunt. If they kill something they will stay near their kill for a while. If you interrupt them with a kill they will stay and guard their prize, instead of chasing you to the ends of the earth like Oblivion's psychotic bears.

Bethesda have also outlined a few new perks and abilities you'll have access to. Perks can be used to add extra bleeding damage to weapons in combat, but can also be used to dampen the sound of your footsteps if you're looking to get sneaky. Dragon shouts are a brand new ability in Skyrim. These can be learned from ancient scrawlings on cave walls. When uttered by your character, bad things happen to nearby enemies. The example given emits a shockwave that throws enemies to the ground. Some dragon shouts can be extended by holding down the attack button. You won't have to rely on cave writings to learn these new skills, slaying dragons and then absorbing their souls will also grant you new powers.

For more Skyrim info, check out our news feed detailing everything we've learned so far about the game.

[via Bethesda forums ]

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