The new Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim may be the Never Ending Story of video games, according to the game's director Todd Howard.
Bethesda's Skyrim is the latest entry of the open-world fantasy role playing game franchise The Elder Scrolls. Howard told Wired Magazine there will be an infinite amount of quests to perform that will be randomly generated based on where the player has been and what they have done.
The vibe of the game is that it's something that you can play forever, Howard told the magazine.
The game relies on the Radiant Story system. The system records every action the player takes and everywhere they have been and changes the game world according to the player's past. If the player drops a sword in the forest and a non-player character comes across the loot, he might try to return it to the player. If the player murders someone, that person's family might find out and react to the player accordingly, if they ever cross paths.
The Radiant system also tracks what dungeons have been explored and where the player has been. If he or she receives a quest to rescue a kidnapping victim, the system will send the player to a dungeon they have yet to encounter.
The game also tailors experiences to the strengths and weaknesses of the player. It will build a profile on how skilled the player is and generate enemies to provide challenging and interesting battles for the player.
The Radiant system also has an effect on the game's AI. Townsfolk won't be aimlessly milling about the village having random conversations. NPC are actually given tasks to perform and fit into the town's economy. Every town has some economic engine such as mills, farms or mines that keeps the NPC's busy during the day. Players can also have long-term effects on those towns' economies.
NPCs are also more aware of the player's actions in the game. If a player terrorizes a village, the townspeople will react negatively. They also won't take kindly to a player barging into their home during the night, knocking over items and taking whatever they like. But if a player has helped the NPC in the past, it might offer a place to stay that night and a few helpful items.
Though there are plenty of scripted quest chains, the Radiant system provides many side quests after those Bethesda-created quests are complete. The Dark Brotherhood may have more targets for the player to assassinate. Or the Mages Guild may ask the player to hunt for some Alchemic ingredients.
Howard said the point of the system was to send players to places they have never been before, and explore areas they might not find on their own.
The game launches Nov. 11 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. Make sure to say goodbye to your loved ones before then.