What will the Games of Tomorrow look like? Will they be virtual reality dreams designed in collaboration with J.J. Abrams? Maybe. As RPS points out, adventurous ideas were plentiful at this year's D.I.C.E. Summit. Skyrim director Todd Howard, however, told the site that good ol' fashioned graphical improvements shouldn't be undervalued.
Game director Todd Howard has already mentioned that Skyrim will have unlimited dragons, now he's said to Wired that there will be infinite quests, too.
There's a series of scripted quest lines, of course, which will follow the main plot and a number of subplots like those belonging to Skyrim's various guilds and The Dark Brotherhood, but once you've completed these, Howard says that the Radiant storytelling system will continue to generate tasks. These can involve stealing gems for the thieves guild, or assassinating NPCs for the Dark Brotherhood.
Todd Howard explains a few of his ideas behind Skyrim's grandiose soundtrack. He opens with "I hear the elder scrolls theme as sung by a barbarian choir." Months later, an army of gents gather in a studio in LA to sing heartily about dragons in dragon tongue. See it all in the new trailer above.
Todd Howard also gives us the brief that he gave to the theme's writer, which goes like this: "can you write a song that works in dragon language that rhymes in the elder scrolls theme, that when translated into English, also makes sense, and rhymes?" Instead of screaming "NO I CAN'T, TODD, WHAT THE I DON'T EVEN" the writer went home, drank warm mead and came back with it on Monday morning. So there you go, songwriters and dragon-speakers, warm mead is the key. Skyrim is out next Friday.
This interview originally appeared in PC Gamer UK issue 232. Alongside our Skyrim preview.
Playing Skyrim made me realise just how huge, fresh and exciting it really is. I asked game director Todd Howard how far it’s come from Oblivion, and what some of his favourite discoveries have been.
Todd Howard on Skyrim's toughest monsters: "the more of the main quest you do, the more dragons you'll run into"
We've been speaking to Bethesda game director, Todd Howard about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. So far we've covered small matters concerning crime reporting chickens, a disastrous marriage night and the lessons Bethesda have learned from Fallout 3, but it was only a matter of time before the conversation turned to the creatures that Bethesda have shown the most in this year's Skyrim demos, dragons! When will they appear, and how often will we fight them?
"You have to do a little bit of the main quest - just the initial stuff - for the Dragons to really start appearing, because it sits in with the story," says Howard. "After that point, the more of the main quest you do, the more Dragons you’ll run into. But it's hard to quantify it, they appear every once in a while. Not at a rate that is annoying... it still feels special."
On top of Fallout 3 influences and crime-reporting chickens, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim introduces a new concept: infidelity. Game director Todd Howard spilled all the dark secrets from his bedroom when he spoke to us about the intentional but unexpected events that Skyrim's procedural Radiant quest system can turn up.
“I had decided to marry this one woman who was my friend,” Howard begins. “I forgot that I had done this Radiant quest for this other guy, who turns out he had liked her...”
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.
Radiant Story is Skyrim's unique storytelling feature that acts as a narrator for the player. In practice, it'll look at the history of your playthrough and cater upcoming quests to your character. It might, for example, add context by switching out a kidnapped character for an NPC you've previously met.
Executive Producer at Bethesda, Todd Howard, let Tom into a secret while they discussed the feature a few weeks ago. Radiant Story was creating crime-conscious chickens.
US TV network Spike TV is covering E3 in-depth, and recently played home to Bethesda's Todd Howard as he talked about Skyrim. The video's nearly seven minutes long, and covers a range of topics: showing how the combat system works in practice, the range of environments you'll be adventuring in (spoiler: it's not just snow), and how you're expected to take down a dragon with toenails as long as your entire body.