The lights are on
Many aspects of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will feel familiar to longtime fans. The exploration of a vast open world, first-person combat, and interacting systems of melee, magic, and stealth are all tent pole ideas within the franchise. However, Skyrim introduces something new into the gameplay mix: dragon shouts. This special new set of powers stand apart from the existing magic system, offering a broad range of powerful effects. The ability to attain these abilities is unique to your hero in the world, and the path to attaining them is a quest in itself within the larger tale that unfolds over the course of the game. Dragon shouts give the player the same overwhelming might that drives the resurgent dragon population, and the same source of power that launched the last line of emperors. “It’s in the lore,” declares game director Todd Howard. “It was like the classic barbarian battle cry. I’m not sure if it showed up in a book in Daggerfall, but it’s definitely mentioned in this pocket guide to the empire that we did for Redguard. It was the idea that the Nords had these battle cries, and they would shout at their enemies.” As the team at Bethesda began to design The Elder Scrolls V, they latched onto this little piece of mythology, and the way it could tie back to the dragons – powerful creatures that had been absent from the world for thousands of years. Quickly, elements of the fiction began to fall into place around the dragon shouts, much of which was already firmly entrenched from previous games. The dragonborn are a unique group of mortals, gifted by the gods with the same power as the dragons. To be trained in the art of the dragon shouts, also called the Voice, dragonborn individuals travel to Skyrim in order to climb a great mountain called the Throat of the World. At its peak they reach High Hrothgar, where an ancient sect of powerful Voice users named the Greybeards train them in their art. “In the lore, Tiber Septim was the first main emperor. He could shout. His way of the Voice was unmatched,” Howard explains. “He is the original guy who walks the seven thousand steps and talks to the Greybeards. And the idea is, at that time, that they were so powerful they had to have all the villages flee for miles. This little kid is walking up this snowy mountain, and all these people are packed up and they’re walking down and away. Because they know the kid is going up to talk to these guys, and when they talk there’s going to be avalanches.”
The ability to use the dragon language already exists in the fiction, called “Thu’um.” The concept roughly translates as “The Voice.” Tiber Septim would use the dragon shouts to lead his troops into battle and unite Tamriel under one empire. Hundreds of years later, the Septim line has died out, and no other dragonborn have been seen for many years. That is, until the hero of Skyrim arrives on the scene. “There are other people in the world who can use the dragon shouts, but it’s very rare. It’s like arcane knowledge. It used to be done more in the past,” Howard explains. “The Greybeards know it. But your ability to absorb the dragon souls and do the shouts on the level that you can is beyond them.”In the game, players will guide their hero to learn ever more powerful dragon shouts, and then use these arcane powers to supplement other combat and magic skills. Upon defeating a dragon, Skyrim’s hero absorbs the soul of the fallen creature, which fuels his ability to learn a new shout. Later, players can search out long lost walls covered in dragon script. Upon these walls, individual runes stand out to the hero because he or she is dragonborn. “There are these words of power, and if you learn how to say them right, they have a powerful effect,” Howard says.Over time, players will build a vast arsenal of shouts: over 20 complete shouts in all, each with multiple words that must be gathered from different places around the world. “There are three words for each shout, and there are three levels to them. The amount of time you hold down the shout button is how many words come out,” Howard continues. “It becomes a bit of a collection mechanic – to collect all the words.” Next up: Creating the language behind the dragon shouts
Email the author Matt Miller, or follow on Game Informer.
I was hoping to actually hear what they sounded like.
Putting so much detail into one game... think what they'll be able to do in three or five years.
When i read the magazine i remember reading that characters will go about their daily tasks and stuff while you talk to them, i was expecting that to be in Oblivion and was kinda put off by how few conversation choices and how forced the conversation felt. I think this may be the game of the decade... crap its 2011, uhh... you know what i mean
Wow. That's a crazy amount of thinking that went into that lore. I can't even write an english paper, let alone do all of that stuff :P
I cant wait to get this game every new peice of news they reveal makes me want it so much more i cant wait
baaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh i want it now!!!!!
I gave up trying to translate the language fully once I found out there were 34 runes, as there were only 25 on the back cover. I thought that I had figured out some of the syntax, as it seemed 'IIN' was the equivalent of 'orn' in English, but that didn't quite add up as there was at least one other word that ended with that suffix that I couldn't find a synonym for that matched the 'orn' sound. Then there were all of the 'EIN' words that seemed to closely resemble the 'orld' or 'urled' sound, but again, there was one word that didn't hold up.
Everytime I thought I was making a breakthrough, it seemed just in those two stanzas alone, I would find an exception to dash apart my discovery. There just wasn't enough information to really get a grasp on it. I assumed that the words probably had no plural or singular form for nouns, though not pronouns. I also concluded that the words were not inflexible, but that their meaning changed somewhat depending on the context.
I could go in greater detail, and I would still like to fully decipher it, but without all of the runes, it is incredibly difficult for an average Joe like myself to figure out. I imagine someone with training in this type of activity would fare infinitely better, and might be able to solve it with so few examples.
Ah well, it was fun and frustrating trying on my own.
I like how, in a world where plain ol' magicians are a dime a dozen, Bethesda still manages to come up with a way to make something feel cool and unique.
I'm most excited for this shout "And while they’re cagey about the details, Bethesda says that one shout will let a player summon an actual dragon, calling him by name to fight." I'll be definitely trying right from the beginning to obtain this one and eventually obtain them all..
Loved Oblivion, altough it was an old game at the time I was playing it. Sometime last year, but even though this looks better, I probably will still get Two Worlds 2. Anyway, I wish there was an endgame choice at the end where you could save the dragons or kill them all. I don't see Bethesda doing things like that in Oblivion, so I was just wondering about that.
I really don't understand what's going on here, but every time I hear or see anything about this game, I get more and more excited to play it.
Lots and lots of pretty dragons!
This game is going to be Bethesda's baby.
holy *** this is the coolest thing ive ever heard