Friday, 25 February 2011

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim

This game isn't out until November. It's something like 9 months until we are all able to play this game (except those of us who are dick journalists and get all their games for free and don't even enjoy playing them, I bet).

So why has the trailer already been released? A teaser trailer a week ago, and now a loosely titled "gameplay trailer", which features the gameplay of walking around, then sneaking around, throwing some spells around and being around some monsters you're throwing spells at. And you nearly see a wolf, or something, get shot in the face by an arrow.

Hype is perhaps the answer. Obvlivion, the precursor to Skyrim, was an ok game. For all the stale voice acting and characters who looked like old potatoes, it was very compelling, almost entirely because of the world within it.

But Skyrim is set some 200 years after the events of Oblivion. This might be an excellent call, since the events in Oblivion will have passed into legend, and whilst that will lose a lot of the dynamism created by those events (how great is it in Mass Effect 2, or Knights of the Old Republic 2, to be reminded of characters and events in the first game?), everything in Oblivion was overblown and ridiculous, the way legends tend to be, so that is fitting with the vibe of the game.

But where is the trust in that world? There's a heritage there, to some extent. I spent so much time playing that game, all because of the scale of the world. Even though I hated Fallout 3, basically, and when I think about it Oblivion was very boring, I still believe I will enjoy Skyrim.

I would buy it if it was out tomorrow, and I would probably love it, because I haven't been told how amazing it is. When it finally comes out, in nine months time, the time it takes to gestate a baby, a human baby, imagine all the shit we will have been told about it. People will be writing fucking fan fiction by then, for fuck's sake. And the game will only disappoint.

Perhaps this symbolises the dire problems of the games industry. Is it so expensive to make games you need to hedge your bets almost an entire year in advance, trying to get everyone so amped up they're writing "Skyrim" on the walls of their bedroom in their own blood, to ensure sales?

Yeah, well, it's already happened, in this article:

Games Journalist "Rob" writes: "We reckon this points to a more robust morality system than the simple ‘Notoriety’ meter from Oblivion..."

It's speculation, and hope, from the journalists which sets us up for the fall. So when Skyrim comes out and it's morality system is as robust as a pile of something not at all robust, perhaps buttons, or dry sand, we will shrug and not give a shit because of dragons.

Now, without wanting to pick on the writers, have they been hired by Bethesda to shine the shoes of Skyrim wherever it walks?

"It’s coming! The brand new Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim trailer with in-game footage! We can’t wait, and are excitedly counting down the seconds until we get a peek at what Bethesda have in store for us come November, when our most hotly anticipated RPG of 2011 hits the shelves."

- Rob, again, writes that. They are counting down the seconds, excitedly, until they get a peek, much as a curious teenager waits by the hole in his fence hoping his middle aged neighbours start having sex in their backgarden. Rob, who are you, man?

In their third post about Skyrim, the writers, personified in this instance by Rob, tell us what the new creation engine, created by Bethesda, means for Skyrim. It means it will look nicer than Obvlivion. That is ALL THAT IT MEANS, but thanks for trying to sell me a game it is your job to critique.

Previews should be only pictures, gameplay footage (from random moments in the game) and maybe an interview with the developer, basically as close to a wikipedia entry as you can get. Then, maybe, if games journalists had any balls at all they could write an actually honest review of the game, when it came out, based on its merits and flaws.

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is out on 11/11/11.

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