Some screenshots for Skyrim at Rock Paper Shotgun.

From what I’ve heard so far, it’s like Oblivion with upgraded graphics and more advanced combat physics. Rest assured I’ll be getting a copy; I missed the early installments of Elder Scrolls but have been a huge fan since Morrowind. My current thought tho is how they’re going to move on from Oblivion’s wonky balance system.

See, in that one the level of enemies is always matched to your own. This means weird situations like winning the Imperial Gladiatorial Arena at a lowly level 2. Or conversely at high level, common bandits running around with rare, exotic weapons and armour. A dungeon that was for a lvl2 hero populated by wimpy skeletons with rusty swords at one point, is at lv25 now full of spell-flinging liches. It sort of takes away from your sense of progressing as a hero if, whatever you do, you don’t feel a clear change in your power relative to the world around you.

I can see how Bethesda arrived at such a situation. In many RPGs your progress around the game’s world is restricted by level. You start off in the relatively friendly GreenShire Forest, if you try going into Murky Swamp or Orcish Caverns you get your ass handed to you, until you’ve killed a load of rats and goblins, bought some better armour and levelled up. A core tenet of Elder Scrolls games however is an open world where you can start exploring wherever you want from level one. So how do you stop low level guys from getting arbitrarily splatted yet keep it challenging for high-level mighty champions?

In other words, free roaming is difficult to fit with traditional RPG dynamics. Oblivion, as mentioned, had the surrounding situation alter itself to your level, sometimes to silly extents. Morrowind sort of tried that but in a half-hearted manner. So on the one hand no ludicrously over-geared bandits, but on the other you were utterly unstoppable by level 25. I’ll be interested to see how Bethesda tackle it this time.