Tomorrow, the highly anticipated role-playing game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim debuts for Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, marking the fifth chapter in the 17-year-old saga.
Game creator Bethesda Softworks has released a series of videos over the last week detailing more of the sights and sounds of the epic experience, and we've collected some of the clips together for your enjoyment.
Aside from the rich lore that has always been a feature of the Elder Scrolls series, Skyrim has many improvements over its predecessors. A newly integrated graphics engine called Creation makes for unbelievable landscapes and visuals as seen in the video above. Be sure to check out the detailed backstory and podcast about the land of Skyrim at the official developer blog.
A completely redesigned animation system in Skyrim offers much more complex combat sequences and fluid movement experiences. There appear to be a satisfying assortment of ways to kill people and creatures, which is important in keeping players like me engaged. The montage above shows off just a few of the magic spells and combat players can see in the game.
One of the most critical parts of any video game--especially in the role-playing genre-- is sound. If the sound doesn't teleport you mentally to another place, then gameplay suffers. That certainly is not an issue with Skyrim, which has an epic sound track and ambient audio full of minor details. The lengthy video above points out one previous criticism of older Elder Scrolls games, like Oblivion, was the lack of diversity in character voices.
Bethesda integrated 70 voice actors--including big names like Christopher Plummer, Max von Sydow, Joan Allen, and Lynda Carter--who play more than 110 roles in the game. It is safe to say diversity has been achieved, Bethesda. Did I mention there's also word of the game apparently having infinite quests? Whoa.
Lastly, those who love the details will admire a fascinating video showing the transformation of Skyrim's concept art into the actual game. If you are craving more, then check out the 42 concept art sketches found in Bethesda's Flickr gallery.