Skyrim turns 10 years old this week, and despite being a bit long in the tooth, it’s still arguably the best Bethesda Game Studios RPG of the century. The wait for its follow-up – known only as The Elder Scrolls 6 at this stage – is still a long way off: from June it was still in its “design phase and besides, Starfield will be released in November next year.
A new one IGN interview with director Todd Howard giving some little hints about studio priorities to advance their RPG design, and it’s not just prettier graphics and more mountains you can actually visit: Howard wants to make them more complex.
“There are a number of parts of it where we do not go deep enough, where it is a veneer in terms of its interactivity,” Howard said when asked what the studio could have done better when they developed Skyrim. “Look, you can say that about everything, but I think when we think about games and what we want to do in the future, ok, whatever that system is, how deep can we do it? The second part is the way AI and NPCs really respond to you – I think we have a long way to go [that]. That’s probably the most important thing. “
Given Starfield’s long gestation period – the studio started it in 2015 – it’s likely that many of these ambitions will show up in the space RPG. Howard says that after Fallout 4 aired, the studio chose to work at Starfield instead of the Elder Scrolls game because “if we did not then, ‘when’ could be ‘never’.”
Ten years and counting is a hell of a long time for a major game series that sells several million to lie dormant, and when asked about this unusual situation, Howard admits it is not ideal, even though it points to the continued success of Elder Scrolls Online (it helps that Skyrim has launched countless times on pretty much every platform known to mankind).
Howard also praised Skyrim’s modding community during the interview and expressed feelings that suggest modding for Starfield and the next Elder Scrolls will be as welcome as ever. As for his favorite Skyrim mods? “There’s one I like where someone added quick travel tags when buying a house,” he said. “It would have taken [us] one hour.”
Skyrim’s 10th anniversary will be celebrated with this week’s release of Skyrim Anniversary Edition. Here’s what it actually includes.