The core group at Bethesda Game Studios announced on the studio's blog today that they will be leaving the jagged, snowy climes of northern Tamriel behind for an unknown location. While minor updates and fixes to Skyrim will continue, the bulk of the development focus is being shifted to the next major release, which they hope will be their "biggest and best work yet."
On the strength of this trailer, we can be fairly certain that The Knife of Dunwall, the second piece of Dishonored DLC, is going to live up to its name. In fact, for a man trying to forget what he's done to the Empress, Daud seems to be going about it a in a funny way: doing what he did to her to everyone else. A guard? Stab him! A man with a top hat? Stab him! Another guard? Summon an assassin to stab him! The Outsider? Stand around while he tediously waffles about nothing.
I've never been much of a reader in the Elder Scrolls games. When coming across a stack of books, I'll drift my cursor along the spines, looking for any that are high value, either to collect and sell or to briefly crack open on the off-chance they provide me with a skill point. Today, however, I'm in the library of the College of Winterhold, opening and examining every single book I can find. This change in reading habits doesn't represent a sudden interest in lore or knowledge. I'm chasing an achievement.
This is due to a mod called Achieve That! which adds over 100 unique achievements to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. More importantly, it adds tangible rewards for achieving them in the form of small bonuses to relevant attributes.
Doom 4 will eventually emerge from development hell, but exactly when is still uncertain. Bethesda Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations Pete Hines tells Kotaku that id's Doom 4 team has started over on a "new version" of the game after being unhappy with the initial quality of the game.
At night, Dishonored's sprawling city of Dunwall looks particularly magnificent. Lit windows dot a canopy of Victorian-style architecture of angular roofs and spires, and jungles of smokestacks continuously belch out whale-oil vapor in an enduring sign of industry. It's easy to forget about Corvo Attano's errand of revenge and simply drink in Dunwall's details, but Arkane's journey of solidifying the city's theme was a far more elaborate process. At a GDC talk (via Polygon), Art Director Sebastien Mitton describes how experiencing "the life of a city" visited by the team eventually shaped Dunwall's culture and identity.
Beyond Dunwall's detailed architecture and snippets of lore spread through its cobbled streets, Dishonored racked up acclaim for its steep non-linearity and free-form areas for players to fashion their own means of completing objectives using as much subtlety as desired. During a panel at GDC yesterday (via Polygon), Arkane co-Creative Directors Raphael Colantonio and Harvey Smith embraced this concept of player agency in games, saying, "It's all about guiding and attracting, as opposed to dictating the player's path."
Like a thieving Khajit with a Sneak skill of 100, Bethesda have surreptitiously uploaded Skyrim's Legendary patch onto Steam. As revealed earlier this month, Legendary - or to give it its proper name, Skyrim v1.9 - not only adds a harder difficulty level to the game, it allows skills to be made 'Legendary', resetting them to 15 so they can be levelled up all over again. Why on Tamriel would you want to do this? Well, to increase your character level beyond Skyrim's 'soft' level cap of around 81. More details below.
If I had to pick a handful of gaming moments that will stay with me forever, three of them would be stepping into Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim for the first time. Another would be my first few days in World of Warcraft. At face value, combining Elder Scrolls with an MMO should lead to instant RPG nirvana. But the reality of the situation is much different.
While I was in the USA to see The Elder Scrolls Online I chatted to game director Matt Firor and lead gameplay designer Nick Konkle about their experience making the game, the thinking behind the class and combat systems, and why they've kept first-person mode under wraps for so long.
You can also check out my hands-on from earlier today for a detailed breakdown of all the game's biggest features.
Bethesda have released details of the second Dishonored DLC pack, The Knife of Dunwall. Where the first add-on, Dunwall City Trials, was a hodgepodge of challenge maps and time-trials, Knife of Dunwall will return to the game's story, casting you as Daud, the jerkface assassin who killed the Empress, kicking off Corvo's career as a revenge-driven murderer/magic super-troll/meticulous accident planner.
The frigid fjords of Skyrim constantly remind you that it's cold. Freezing gales howl down from ridges and sweep in fresh flurries of frost, and the arctic air means anything less than a full-blown mammoth pelt wrapped against yourself will probably cause some Seinfeldian shrinkage. It's time for an escape. It's time for a change. It's time for toucans. I can already feel the warmth blasting my face after installing the Tropical Skyrim overhaul to turn the Nords' bleak homeland into a lush jungle sprawl.
If there's a significant element The Elder Scrolls Online picks up from its predecessors, its fighting. Lots of it. That, and players completely disregarding the story and running off to some nearby ruins right after character creation. But that's an entirely different story—the latest round of answered community questions on the official website deals solely with combat and party composition, a pair of mechanics critical to most MMOs. ZeniMax studio members provide answers for both topics.
Plenty of gameplay-tweaking mods for Skyrim sparkle like Ayleid gems in our roundup, but LogRaam's Duel Combat Realism overhaul somehow evaded our stealth detection. It's one of the oldest mods around for Bethesda's RPG, restructuring enemy and weapon behavior for a more realistic level of challenge above the game's stock hack-and-slash design.
For all its overabundance of sweet rolls and murderous dragons, Skyrim is absolutely beautiful. Mods enhance the windswept plains and craggy mountain peaks of the Nord homeland into a truly spectacular vision, but it all arose from the RPG's original, bleak, Scandinavian-style landscape.
Bethesda are planning to release Skyrim's upcoming 1.9 update at the end of the month. The end of the month?! That's slightly under a month away! Fortunately, given that patience has never been among a Dragonborn's required skillset, you can test out the patch's beta version right now. With it you'll gain access to a new Legendary difficulty level, as well as Legendary Skills - a system that removes the level cap by using what sounds like a CoD-style Prestige system.
At first glance, Oblivionauts seems somewhat convoluted. It's neither a total conversion like Enderal nor a straightforward supplement of extra gear. The mod adopts more non-linearity than Skyrim in its dungeons but instead of starting with a blank slate, you pick a pre-built class for your character. After reading more of creator Far Realms' outline, I think it's one of the most ambitious projects I've seen from a mod team.
Let’s get this out of the way: you’re going to find the dragon riding in Dragonborn disappointing. You can’t steer the beast or land wherever you want, and while you can direct your dragon to attack enemies, you probably know by now that dragons aren’t that good at killing things, and you might as well dismount and do it yourself. So, that sucks, but luckily there are other rewards that make Dragonborn worth your time and money.
Things guaranteed to happen each year: incrementally improved new versions of popular products, at least one earnestly predicted end of the world scenario, and QuakeCon, id Software's mega-LAN party/PC gaming celebration. This year the BYOC event will be held August 1st - 4th at its regular stomping ground, the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas.
Using our Skyrim modding guide, you can get the home of the Nords looking pretty stunning. This video from SkyrimTuner, however, pushes the envelope just about to the limit. Using the RealVision ENB V1.3 Climates of Tamriel mod, paired with Ultra settings and some .ini tweaks, you can see the sweeping forests and soaring peaks as they should be truly appreciated—and only really can be on the PC.