It’s no surprise that with the re-release of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition that it’s distracted me from Battlefield 1, Gears of War 4 and even Titanfall II. It’s a bit sad that there is no AAA title out this year that is grabbing me with this much attention as a 5-year-old game with a new coat of paint, but it happens. Skyrim set a bar for fantasy RPG gaming for last gen consoles that very few could surpass. With this current generation of consoles, I would have to say that The Witcher III in many ways surpassed what Skyrim had to offer and has set its own bar for the next big fantasy RPG. With the re-release of Skyrim, fans have not only gone back to the well to play it, but we are wondering what’s next for The Elder Scrolls games.
According to Pete Hines in a recent tweet, Bethesda does not have any new Elder Scrolls games in development and not to expect anything next year. While eventually one will be made, I would like to hope that something is in the works already and it’s just not far enough along to reveal anything.
Which brings us to the thought of if and when the next Elder Scrolls game does come along, how will it top what Witcher III gave to gamers? Don’t get me wrong, I love both games but I think in many ways the Witcher game had an edge on Skyrim mainly from a technical point of view so, let’s examine how Bethesda can make the next game great.
Without a doubt even after 5 years, Skyrim is one of the most beautiful games you will ever play. The fauna, the dungeons, the creatures, heck, the environment itself is a joy to look at. The Special Edition on console makes it look a little better but not by much for me as I played it on PC. With a few mods, you can improve the visuals and while results may vary, it can make an already good looking game even better. But I do have two issues: One, the NPCs were not the best looking in this game. Even after five years it really does show and with the stunning amount of mods people have added, there is still only some marginal improvement to the look of the game.
With these new consoles it shouldn’t be hard for Bethesda to get NPCs looking much more lifelike than what they had to work with 5 years ago, so I am not even worried about that as I am sure that this shouldn’t be an issue. No way that Bethesda will drop the ball now especially with 4K consoles coming along! Along with the faces being fixed, I would like to see the AI characters look a lot less stiff and robotic. It’s kind of hard to do in some games, but some of the NPCs in Witcher looked a lot more fluid and I am sure that Bethesda can work that same magic. Also, it would really be nice to see more crowd density in cities and towns that way the gaming world doesn’t feel quite as empty.
The other issue I had is with playing in the province of Skyrim,;you get different degrees of cold, wintry weather. Again, no problem if that’s the game story setting. But with the Witcher III, gamers got varying environments all through the game. We had everything from small villages to large bustling towns with various climates and if you want an area akin to Skyrim go to Skellige. But this is what happens when you have a game on a much more powerful console. Also one would have to consider the fact that Witcher III’s base map is 3.5 times the size of Skyrim’s as well. Bigger doesn’t always mean better, meaning that Bethesda doesn’t have to try and compete with the Witcher III to have an even larger map but it would nice to see some change in the land as we travel through whatever region of Tamriel we are put into.
To summarize, with the assets that are available now, while I am sure that Bethesda can create a beautiful environment, let’s not only get a diverse set of places in the next TES game, but let’s also make sure that the NPC models look great as well.
While I felt like both games had excellent controls, I think Skyrim’s only fault was that hand-to-hand combat was a bit bland. Even now, I still feel like that hand-to-hand combat is hit or miss (almost literally) when fighting enemies. If you are not directly facing your foes, and swing a sword…most of the time it misses. If you are a mage however, aim your magic and let loose. Also, I felt that horse riding was better handled in Witcher to a point that as long as you knew your destination, Roach was practically on autopilot. I feel that the next TES game could benefit by improving horses as well as maybe giving a better idea where your destination was.
Improving load times
The one thing I do not miss with playing any Bethesda game is the insane amount of loading their games have. It’s probably one of the reasons why I never finished Fallout 4. I have to be honest and say, it would be nice if Bethesda can really rip a page out of CD Projekt RED’s notebook and make the next TES game front-load an area that way you don’t have to worry about load times every time you went inside a building. With Witcher III, every time you went to a new land, it may have taken a minute or two…or three … to load up but once loaded, there was very little that could happen to break the immersion from town to town and building to building. So, if you entered the wrong building, you didn’t have to wait while the game put you back outside. Heck I was hoping that with the Skyrim Special edition there would be some improvement to the load times but it’s not much. Also I would advise, if you can download it and if it doesn’t break your game, get this Skyrim mod.
This was the one thing that gave Skyrim a huge heads up over Witcher III. The ability to bring companions along made questing feel a bit more natural. This could be done even if your companion was a pack mule or dragon fodder. With mod support you could also bring along multiple followers. I think it would be cool if not only Bethesda brought this back but also allowed for players to bring along multiple followers in a D&D style adventure. In my opinion, I think it’s really simple as the closest we have had recently was Dragon Age: Inquisition which worked really well.
As I said, I love both games. Both have their pluses and minuses but playing both has given me insight on what I would like to see Bethesda do for the next Elder Scrolls game. Hopefully within the next year or two we can hear more but until then, it’s still a lot of fun running through Skyrim wonder what the future may hold.
What are you looking to see come out of the next Elder Scrolls game? Tell us in the comments below.