SKYRIM: 1 day left! ~ The Elder Scrolls: A Look Back…

11/9/2011 we are 1 day and 18 hours away from the physical launch of SKYRIM.

If you’re a Steam subscriber and have pre-ordered through their system you’ll have the game rolling on your PC 3 hours earlier than those of us who wait in line for a midnight release!

I thought it would be fitting to take a look back at the history of the Elder Scrolls game series released by Bethesda Softworks over the years.  Most of us started playing right around Morrowind, others Oblivion, but the history goes much deeper than that.  Today we will dig up the old skeleton overlords living in Bethesda’s closet and take a look back at what made Bethesda what it is today.

The Elder Scrolls: A look back

 

 

I

Arena

1994

The Elder Scrolls: Arena is a first-person role-playing game, in which you must rescue the Emperor from his dimensional prison by recovering the eight pieces of the Staff of Chaos.
It is the first chapter in the Elder Scrolls series and it is huge. There are over 400 cities, towns and villages to explore, tons of magical items and heaps of spells to create.
The CD-ROM release featured speech in cutscenes and additional rendered sequences that the floppy version did not include.

 

 

II

Daggerfall

1996

Chapter 2 of the acclaimed Elder Scrolls series of RPGs; sequel to Arena.

Daggerfall seizes the player and thrusts them into a non-linear world full of plotting, conspiracy and political intrigue.  Armed with their wits and their blade, and magic if they so wish to use it, the player is drawn into one of the most immersive worlds ever to grace the PC.

On July 9, 2009, it was made available as a free download on the Elder Scrolls website; it is the first game in the series to be rated M.

 

III

Morrowind

2002

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, often simply referred to as Morrowind, is a single-player computer role-playing game developed by Bethesda Game Studios, and published by Bethesda Softworks and Ubisoft. It is the third installment in The Elder Scrolls series of games, following The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall. It was released in North America in 2002 for Microsoft Windows and the Xbox.

Well-received publicly and critically, with over four million sales and more than 60 awards (including Game of the Year), Morrowind holds an average review score of 89% from both Metacritic and Game Rankings. The game spawned two expansion packs for the PC: Tribunal and Bloodmoon. Both were eventually repackaged into a full set containing all three, Morrowind: Game of the Year Edition, which shipped on October 30, 2003 for both PC and Xbox.

The main story takes place on Vvardenfell, an island in the Dunmer province of Morrowind, which lies in the empire of Tamriel and is far from the more civilized lands to the west and south that typified Daggerfall and Arena.

The central quests concern the deity Dagoth Ur, housed within the volcanic Red Mountain, who seeks to gain power and break Morrowind free from Imperial reign.

Morrowind was designed with an open-ended free-form style of gameplay in mind, with a lessened emphasis on the game’s main plot. This choice received mixed reviews in the gaming press, though such feelings were tempered by reviewers’ appreciation of Morrowind’s expansive and detailed game world.

 

 

IV

Oblivion

2006

Oblivion’s main story revolves around the player character’s efforts to thwart a fanatical cult that plans to open the gates to a realm called Oblivion. The game continues the open-world tradition of its predecessors by allowing the player to travel anywhere in the game world at any time and to ignore or postpone the main storyline indefinitely.

A perpetual objective for players is to improve their character’s skills, which are numerical representations of their ability in certain areas. Seven skills are selected early in the game as major skills, with the remainder termed minor. Developers opted for tighter pacing and greater plot focus than in past titles.

Development for Oblivion began in 2002, directly after the release of Morrowind.

In order to achieve their goals of designing “cutting-edge graphics” and creating a more believable environment, Bethesda made use of an improved Havok physics engine; high dynamic range lighting; procedural content generation tools that allowed developers to quickly create detailed terrains; and the Radiant A.I. system, which allows non-player characters (NPCs) to make choices and engage in behaviors more complex than in past titles. The game was developed with fully voiced dialogue—a first for the series—and features the music of BAFTA-award-winning composer Jeremy Soule. Oblivion was well received, praised for its impressive graphics at the time, expansive game world and the schedule-driven NPCs, and has won a number of industry and publication awards.

 

 V

Skyrim

 2011

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a role-playing video game developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. It is the fifth installment in The Elder Scrolls action role-playing video game series, following The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. It is scheduled to be released on November 11, 2011 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Skyrim’s main story revolves around the player character’s efforts to defeat the nordic dragon god Alduin who is prophesied to destroy the world. Set two hundred years after Oblivion, the game takes place in the land of Skyrim in the midst of a civil war after the assassination of the high king. The open world gameplay of the Elder Scrolls series is continued in Skyrim, as the player character can explore the land at will and ignore or postpone the main quest indefinitely.

Skyrim is not a direct sequel to Oblivion, but a new chapter in the Elder Scrolls series, set 200 years after the events of Oblivion. In the preamble to Skyrim, the Empire began ceding territory to the Elven nations it once ruled, because there was no heir to the Emperor’s throne. The Blades had no one to defend, and gradually died, were murdered, or secluded themselves from the rest of the world. After the king of Skyrim was assassinated, a civil war broke out amongst the native Nord race – the majority being those who wished for Skyrim to secede from the Empire, and the rest being those who wished for Skyrim to stay in the Empire.

***SPOILER ALERT! THE NEXT SECTION SPOILS THE INTRO TO SKYRIM!! DO NOT READ IF YOU WANT TO EXPERIENCE THE GAME AS BETHESDA INTENDED!***

As with previous Elder Scrolls games, Skyrim begins with the player character as an unknown prisoner, on the way to their own execution for involvement with the Stormcloaks, the group founded by the king’s assassin. According to leaked gameplay, as your character is about to be beheaded, a dragon comes, destroying the town where your execution is taking place. The player eventually learns that Skyrim’s civil war is last in a sequence of prophetic events foretold by the Elder Scrolls, which also foretell of the return of Alduin, the Nordic god of destruction. Taking the form of a gigantic dragon, Alduin is prophesied to consume the world with his servants, the Jills (a race of black dragons). The player character is the last Doväkiin (Dragonborn), a dragon hunter anointed by the gods to help fend off the threat Alduin poses to Skyrim and Tamriel. Aiding the player is Esbern (voiced by Max von Sydow), one of the last Blades.

The Elder Scrolls release timeline
1994 The Elder Scrolls: Arena
1996 The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
1997 An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire
1998 The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard
2002 The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
2002 The Elder Scrolls III: Tribunal
2003 The Elder Scrolls III: Bloodmoon
2003 The Elder Scrolls Travels: Stormhold
2004 The Elder Scrolls Travels: Dawnstar
2004 The Elder Scrolls Travels: Shadowkey
2006 The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
2006 The Elder Scrolls IV: Knights of the Nine
2007 The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles
2011 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

 

 

More articles you may enjoy:

Facebook Comments

comments

About Jonathan G. Nelson

Jonathan G. Nelson is the editor-in-chief and owner of NERD TREK. He is also owner/publisher at AAW Games / AdventureAWeek.com, a tabletop gaming company based in Snoqualmie, WA. Connect with Jonathan via Facebook.