Skyrim, 10 years of the dragon that conquered the RPG

Ten years later, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim continues to be one of the great references of the role and fantasy genre.

“I used to be an adventurer like you, but they wounded me with an arrow in the knee.” This phrase is part of video game culture as it became one of the most popular internet memes, along with the epic scream of Fus Ro Dah. And viral humor wasn’t the only thing that made Skyrim one of the most popular role-playing titles. Reissued on various platforms , and with a recent version for the new generation, this work by Bethesda enshrined the saga in the genre of sword and witchcraft. With a deep grimdark universe , a gripping story of dragons and chosen, and a progression system adapted to our gameplay decisions, immerse yourself in the icy region ofSkyrim, even 10 years after its release , is a delight for warriors, wizards and rogues.

The birth of the Dovahkiin

It was the Spike Video Game Awards when Skyrim showed its membranous wings to the world with its first announcement, after which Todd Howard, the game’s director, announced an easy-to-remember release date: 11/11/11 . The Dovahkiin would arrive to take us along an epic adventure, in which we would fulfill one of the most ancient fantasies within the fantasy genre: fighting dragons.

Bethesda had established itself as a powerful study of the role-playing genre thanks to The Elder Scrolls, a saga that had reached its peak in 2006 with Oblivion . After that, they embarked on the long-awaited sequel to another iconic role-playing saga: Fallout 3 , which would modernize the game from isometric view to first / third person and change the turn-based combat system to real-time. In the documentaryThe Elder Scrolls V: The Making of Skyrim, explores how the creative process of Fallout 3 was the starting point of a new installment of The Elder Scrolls, in whose development Bethesda would be completely overturned after launching his futuristic work. The objective was clear, according to Todd Howard: “The thing was not about creating a fifth installment, but about how to make this game different from the previous ones .”

One of the key points was the preciousness of the game itself at the level of interaction. It was a very vast and ambitious world, greater than anything the studio had created so far. The freedom of action of the player himself was calculated down to the smallest detail, and the fluidity of the animation required many calculations, synchronizations and iterations. Which objects the player could pick up, which ones could create or eat were details that, according to Todd Howard, obsessed the team: “At some point, we became obsessed with making the ultimate dragon fighting game , the best game for warriors, the best game for magicians, the best game for thieves and the best game for assassins. And all this with a different style of play ”.

Creativity as the main spell

Thus, Skyrim was presented with a very generous personalization of the protagonist, in which we not only chose gender, race and we molded the physical appearance – with a multitude of details -, but we specialized according to how we decided to face hostile encounters. We could indeed invest experience points in various branches of expertise, but Skyrim relied on practicing a discipline as a form of advancement. Thus, our expertise with stealth will increase if we decide to opt for infiltration when carrying out certain missions, while our mastery of one-handed weapons will also improve if we opt for this style of fighting. With this, creativity was opened to create a mixed class: we could execute spells with one hand and brandish our sword with the other, while other titles incline us to be faithful to a specialization. “How does the player feel in our world?” Todd Howard underlines this as the premise from which the creation of Skyrim and the role of the player within it began. “We wanted to give a space for the playerdecide who you are , rather than define your character. We focused more on how the player felt in the world, and once we set the tone, the rest followed suit ”.

This was how Skyrim presented itself with a darker perspective than Oblivion. Emil Pagliarulo, designer and scriptwriter of the game, comments in the aforementioned documentary how Skyrim was marked more towards the grimdark compared to its predecessor: “Oblivion was higher fantasy. Everything happened in the Imperial City, where all races and cultures coexist in harmony. Skyrim instead presents a more combative world ”. Thus, while Oblivion portrays the Empire as the cradle of civilization, Skyrim aspired to show us the more barbaric side of Tamriel.With this, we delved deeper into the civil war, the socio-political tensions between the Nordics and the Empire and, in turn, addressed the racism between the different cultures that lived together in Skyrim. In this way, we also met complex characters that we could not classify as kind or evil, but people shaped by their own circumstances and background, like Ulfric himself.

In addition, Skyrim was an example of how to involve the player and, at the same time, make him feel powerful, as he succeeds in his analysis Xbox Access: “First, there was the plot: if in previous The Elder Scrolls the player dedicated to helping powerful characters, in Skyrim the powerful was the protagonist, the last Dovahkiin , the hero announced in a prophecy, born with the body of a mortal and the soul of a dragon, whose destiny was to save the Empire.

On the other hand, Skyrim presented a very vivid and deep world, in which the graphics and the richness of settings were exemplary at the time. Impact Nottingham highlights how the interactions with other characters made the game more immersive, despite the fact that some aspects have become obsolete today: “The dialogue , even 10 years later, continues to be excellent, worthy of the quality of Game of the Year that Skyrim was at the time. Each of the phrases was doubled, which is vital for a game where you want to feel like you’re in command. However, I have to get the but that some of the phrases repeated by the NPCs are orthopedic. But what do you expect from a game from 10 years ago?

The inexhaustible magic of replayability

Bethesda’s obsession with detail led to the creation of 315 different zones, through which we better understood the diverse social ecosystems that converged in the northern lands. The toughness of the Norse, the refinement of the high elves, and the vestiges of dwarven engineering were examples. On the other hand, the dungeon design benefited a lot from Fallout 3, as The Gamer points out : “When you return to Oblivion, something that hits a lot is how very similar the dungeons are to each other. Each ruin, with its variations, is very similar to the previous one. What did Skyrim change? Well, with Fallout 3, Bethesda stopped using what are known as ‘warehouse cells’ in dungeon design. Instead, he got a new team of designers who, armed with better tools, made themore varied and interesting dungeons than before. This trend continued in Skyrim, which offers a variety of dungeons that you can experience in the frozen north. ”

The replayability of Skyrim is another of the elements of Skyrim most praised by the media. The game invites you to live a new experience in each game, since the race itself alters how we are perceived, and the specialization of the character is shaping our way of playing and living the game. Also, we have a subtle moral system , although not guided by good and evil, as we find in Fallout and as Todd Howard explains in Game Watch.: We do not make the judgment that ‘you are a good person / a bad person’ as in Fallout 3. As in Oblivion, the NPCs have a neutral impression towards the player, and each faction has a favorable impression or hostility towards the player ”. Todd Howard, in this aforementioned interview, is aware that Skyrim has a political aspect: the Dovahkiin is presented with the choice to position himself in favor of the Empire or the Stormcloaks, and this will alter the vision that the various commands have in he. On the other hand, certain malicious acts have direct consequences if we are caught, such as robbery, murder, or cannibalism.

Another mainstay of replayability in Skyrim is the plethora of side quests, enhanced by astonishing freedom of exploration. Impact Notthingham looks at how the secondary ones even end up being more attractive than a main mission that, although epic, follows a fairly traditional narrative in terms of the conventions of the fantasy genre: “The mission is probably the weakest of the main missions in Skyrim, and This is not a criticism of the game, but a massive compliment to the other missions.For example, you can end an entire civil war if you want, or you can become the greatest assassin in the history of Skyrim where the overwhelming quality of each mission leaves you feeling satisfying at the end. The multitude of side quests stays fresh, with quests focused on mythical beings like the Daedric Princes, each with their own personalities. As a result, we get a highly boosted team at the end of each mission, and that makes it even more special. There are tons of NPC-based side quests across the map, each telling its own story or the rich legends of Skyrim. ”

The mystery behind the dragon

Another objective of Skyrim, according to the documentary The Elder Scrolls V: The Making of Skyrim, was to give special attention to one of the greatest protagonists of its lore : the dragons. “We wanted to make dragons like you’ve never seen them in an RPG,” says producer Ashley Cheng. In the saga, the presence of dragons had been scarce and it was precisely the mystery around themwhich led Bethesda to create a very special staging. Dragons have disappeared from the world, they had been exterminated many years ago, and at the beginning of our game there begin to be sightings of these majestic and dangerous creatures. It is during our imminent execution that we must face one, and with that we discover that we are a Dragon Blood, that is, a legendary being that is capable of absorbing the soul of dragons and mastering the Thu’um, the power with which Manifest spells through an overwhelming scream.

After this return of the dragons is Alduin, a Norse god that Todd Howard himself prefers to define as “dark, not evil.” And this is where the moral ambiguity in Skyrim re-enters the picture. Although our role is clear in the conflict with Alduin, we will get to know the dragons beyond their role as destroyers, and Paarthunax’s mission, one of the most memorable, poses a harrowing moral dilemma.

Skyrim’s success was undeniable. On its launch day, it reached 250,000 simultaneous players on Steam, and was nominated for Game of the Year by outlets such as IGN and GameSpot, while Spike selected it as RPG of the year. Years later, it is included in Edge’s list of the 100 best games ever. With a new life with Skyrim Anniversary Edition, we have a new opportunity to live a similar adventure between beautiful and dangerous dragons.

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