EDGE offers us a meaty five-page preview for Bethesda's highly anticipated The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, based on a hands-off demo played by Todd Howard. The tone of the piece is very positive, but unfortunately it doesn't really offer much in the way of new information. Here's a sampling:
Howard passes by the mill and talks to a local, who lets slip a bit of gossip about a burglary at a nearby shop. Pleasantly, and in a departure from Bethesda's RPGs thus far, talking to someone no longer forces the camera into a terrifying dolly-zoom towards their face. Conversations can now be left at any point, simply be the player tearing himself away from face-to-face contact. Less convincing are the advances in the dialogue itself: following the tip-off, Howard heads into the shop to overhear an argument between the shopkeeper and his sister about how to best chase down the perpetrators. It isn't a bravura performance, but nor is it quite as halting as Oblivion's hammily staged dramatics.
(The actors have gotten better at it over time,) says Howard. (They've done more videogames, and they understand this isn't a back- and-forth scene this is: '˜You're going to read a bunch of responses that could happen.' We're doing a lot more in Hollywood now, recording over there. Ultimately at the end of the day it's time and money, and we're spending more time and spending more money on it. It used to be an issue with disc space; on Oblivion we were literally running out of room on the disc for voice, and we've since solved that there are better compression techniques.
So we're not really limited by the physical media as much as how long it takes to record it. And the issue actually becomes. you know we're doing the games in five major languages? So the amount of time it takes to record in English and French and German and Italian and Spanish it's a pretty major undertaking.)