Concerns Going Into The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

In another one of their RPG-related editorial pieces, Bitmob outlines some of the concerns they have with the environment approach Bethesda is taking with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. In particular, it seems like they're having a hard time diving into another fantasy world after spending so much time in the post-apocalyptic wasteland:
Reminiscing about my past lives in Oblivion only offers me a meager collection of fragmented, hazy memories of the game's world. I remember going inside a painting, exploring someone's dream, I remember the shrine of some trickster god, a unicorn with a minotaur entourage, lots of trees, castles, snowy mountains, caves, stuffy taverns, Ayleid ruins, and nirnroot. I remember the realm of Oblivion in all of its red, molten uniformity. The chalets of Bruma, the stone fortress of the Imperial Capitol, Cloudruler Temple, the sleepy rustic villages of the wilderness. Wasn't there some little cultish village in the forest?

My memory of the game is much like the sleeper's recollection of his dream, a fuzzy memory, a vague, oblique thing. After nearly 200 hours of play, only a few memorable setpieces and locales managed to avoid being drown by all of the momentarily beautiful, yet redundant chaff.


Why can't Skyrim have a small city governed by children (Fallout 3)? Why can't it have a fungus that turned men into plant monsters (New Vegas)? Why can't it have a Megaton moment, or a town like Oasis, these manifold imaginative events and places that were largely absent in Oblivion? It's not that it can't, but the magical context ascribed to them will diminish their impact and wonder.

Fallout 3 re-contextualizes the fantastical, magical, and surreal in a modern and largely unambiguous way. It gives these sights and places much more significance and distinction.

The soil of the wasteland is a lively compost of gamma rays, junk technology, and the bones of hardscrabble people, not ancient rune stones, doomstones, and the stardust of astrological signs -- human personalities instead of deities and devout, splintered societies instead of a universal righteous good or evil, manmade disaster instead of malicious magic.