One of the things that made The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind so special was its sense of discovery, says Todd Howard, creative director for the upcoming Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. According to Howard, much of that sense of discovery and isolation was lost in Oblivion, a game that welcomed players and instantly made them feel at home. In regards to the upcoming game, Howard told OXM, “It should feel alien, kind of ‘stranger in a strange’ land—with familiar-looking elements only rooting you early in the game.”
Howard feels that while the overall tone of Oblivion was excellent and invited players into a wonderful world, it didn’t offer the mystique and lore that Skyrim will. Bethesda intends on putting the best of both worlds together in the upcoming game: “We sacrificed some of what made Morrowind special [with Oblivion]: the wonder of discovery. With Skyrim, we’re trying to bring some of that back and walk the line between Morrowind and Oblivion. Where it’s at first familiar-looking, but has its own unique culture and spin on it.”
Both Morrowind and Oblivion were critically praised by critics for their solid gameplay and interesting environments. By combining the initially inviting design of Oblivion with the element of discovery from Morrowind, Bethesda is clearly looking to offer a unique gameplay experience. I would love to enter a world of the unexpected—a world where I can get lost and discover secrets within the game’s environments, learn about the lore of the land, and encounter interesting items and characters. If Skyrim can give players a satisfying feeling of awe and excitement just from roaming the strange, unfamiliar land of the game, Bethesda will undoubtedly be providing a memorable experience rather than just a memorable game.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is set to launch on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. Expect it to arrive this November across all three consoles. It’s going to be very interesting to see how Bethesda incorporates “the wonder of discovery” into the next game in the series.