The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Preview and Interview

Today's Skyrim coverage continues with a new three-page interview with Bethesda's Pete Hines on and a new preview on Kotaku that breaks down some of the information they gleaned during their most recent presentation with Todd Howard. First, a snip from the interview, which covers a lot of non-Skyrim topics as well:
Q: You're currently sustaining multiple game engines, considering id Software has id Tech 5 and Skyrim has its own engine. I would imagine the ZeniMax MMO probably isn't running on either of those -

Pete Hines: Correct.

Q: Do you have any ambition to unite the strands under one banner, or are you happy this way?

Pete Hines: Well, you've seen from some of the announcements we've made that there other folks using id Tech. Skyrim is such a completely different kind of game that when you're talking about big, open, go-anywhere-you-want do-anything-you-want games, the id Tech engine isn't... The id guys would be the first to tell you that that's not the kind of game that engine was made for. The inverse of that is that the kind of engine we [Bethesda Game Studios] make for what we do is not the kind of engine you use for a fast-paced first-person shooter with multiplayer, nor for an MMO that's server-based.

So I think in the case that we had something that works that a similar product would want to use, then we'd do that. If not, then we're not going to force a round peg into a square hole.

Q: If you're not looking at diversifying into other consoles and social, would you consider pushing into other genres besides the core things you typically go into, if it felt right or the partnership felt right?

Pete Hines: It's not as much about a genre for us as it is, like, "What are you trying to do?" I say that with some hesitance, because I don't think you would see a rugby game from us any time soon. But that doesn't mean we say we don't do adventure or horror.

And then we'll dive into the preview:
Difficulty Levels We Won't Hate Even the biggest proponents of Oblivion sometimes speak unkind things about that game's scaling difficulty, which made enemies in any of its regions tougher as the player became more powerful, sort of the way math tests became harder every time you advanced a year in grade school. The new game, as has been reported before, doesn't work like that. It works like Fallout 3, Howard told me. I, not being the sort who can see under the hood of a game's difficulty engine while driving the action, requested clarification. Each area of Skyrim has its own level of difficulty, which the game might raise or lower a tad depending on how powerful the player's character is, populating the zone with tougher or easier enemies,. These areas will maintain their characteristic level of challenge, but will basically offer a relatively wimpy a player a figurative cheek at which to aim a first punch and will slug the more powerful player first.

There is much more loot to get in this game, Howard told me, and the brave player who ventures into areas too hard for him or her to have sensibly entered, will at least be rewarded with rare and special loot. If they survive their dangerous excursion, of course. "If you're in over your head, we want to reward you for that," Howard said.

DLC Yeah, there will be DLC for Skyrim, just as there have been bushels of it for all of the recent grand Bethesda RPGs. It's even coming to the Xbox 360 first. But what will it be? Howard said he honestly doesn't know. It's not been nailed down yet, though he promised it will be big. We played comparison. So, not the size of that Alaska DLC for Fallout 3? Nope. More like that Point Lookout one that was a whole extra island? Yup.