The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Interview and Preview

For those of you who are looking for more info on Bethesda's upcoming open world RPG, a user on the Bethesda forums translated an interesting Norwegian magazine interview (part one and part two). Unfortunately, the translation is far from precise, so be aware that there may be misunderstandings and inaccuracies.
What can you say about the game's cities? In Fallout 3 screenshots from different cities were very iconic. In Oblivion, they were less recognizable. Have you worked with this?

Definitely! We have five major cities, and they are very, very unique. Have you seen the trailer? There you will see a couple of them. Furthermore, we have nine different regions, each ruled by its earl. Five of these cities, also we have four with some smaller villages. It's probably eight or nine small towns combined.

When items are found, are they random or fixed?

We vary it. Sometimes we want to give you a special item that fits with the area you are in. Sometimes you get random objects that match the level of the area you are in, like in Fallout 3 The enemies will drop a corresponding amount of different items as in our other games.

You have mentioned that the dialogue system is simplified, and that players learn much of the backstory by passive calls. Can you say more about this?

One thing we've noticed is that a few people will lose something, then we will arrange it so often that you have a dialogue choices that are like "would you like to hear my life story?". Sometimes they give you the background story of such a cave, and when we feel it is better to present it as a normal conversation that you can only listen to.

Meanwhile Gamepad Dojo has put out an enthusiastic preview which appears based on existing information.
Bethesda's long-standing (start from scratch) approach is refreshing in an industry that has an unfortunate tendency to generate hundreds of virtually identical sequels for fear of upsetting players. This outing sees a complete redesign of the core systems of the Elder Scrolls, with the intention of giving far more control to the player and cutting a certain amount of redundancy. The attributes (strength, intelligence, agility etc.) are no more, making character progression a much more direct affair based around skills and perk trees, while trashing the class system allows players to determine their character's traits and specialities over time as opposed to a single snap decision. There's a distinct possibility that the shift to a less number-heavy system will enrage the twenty-sided dice brigade, but it's a necessary departure from tradition if a truly immersive experience is to be achieved. The gratification of improving a character cannot and should not be solely attained by staring at a spreadsheet of steadily increasing digits. Players should feel the improvements as they play, not when they pause.