Skyrim’s missing TES features cut “for the same reasons” as Oblivion’s

Wednesday, 6th July 2011 00:35 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Bethesda has reiterated that the winnowing down of some gameplay features over the lifespan of The Elder Scrolls series is an effort to make each game better.

“They are not in Skyrim for the same reasons we didn’t include them in Oblivion,” director Todd Howard said of removed features in an fan interview on the Bethesda forums.

Howard said spears and other removed weapons come down to “priority and development time”, but that certain spells simply had to go in order to allow good design.

“Mark and recall is one where it’s a lot of fun, but like levitation, was removed so we could design better gameplay spaces and scenarios,” he explained.

“We were really limited in Morrowind because the player could recall or levitate out of many situations and break them. There was a lot of good gameplay and level design work that we just couldn’t do and now we can.

“Back then it seemed like many good ideas we had were shot down when another designer would say ‘oh yeah, I just levitate or recall away.’ So we got rid of them.”

Another missing feature raising ire is a third armour type – medium – but Howard said even with just two kinds balancing proves difficult.

“Even now, we still have to tweak those two armour types so they feel different, while remaining fun,” he said.

In Morrowind, players had to equip each piece of armour individually, while in Oblivion, sets were broken into fewer pieces. In Skyrim, each full set of armour is one item, according to lead artist Matt Carofano.

“This helps create armour styles that have the look we needed for Skyrim,” he said.

“In most of the Nordic designs we created, the upper armour would completely cover the lower armour, making it unnecessary.

“We get much better visual results combining those pieces, and it renders a lot faster too, so we can put more people on screen, so that was an easy tradeoff for us.

“We can also make a lot more armours now, so the number and variation types are more than we’ve ever had.”

There’s loads more information through the link above. Skyrim releases for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on November 11.



  1. Shubb9

    So it’s either chainmail man-kini or full plate then? More seriously, choice in apparel and appearance is one thing an rpg should allow. One piece armour sounds restrictive and disappointing, first piece of Skyrim news that hasn’t made me happy. Hmmm.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. DarkElfa

    So may things they have to nuke to get the game on consoles. Hope its worth it.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Blandock

    “each full set of armour is one item”
    I think this information is misleading. Cuirass and greaves were merged into Armor, so you’ll still be able to equip Armor, Helmet, Gauntlets and Boot.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. NoxNoctisUmbra

    The reason they do its because of stupid PS3 and Xbox have not enough of RAM!!!

    On PC they would make everything possible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WTF!!!!!!!!!!!

    On PC they would make armor pieces to each individual stitching!

    So why not make separate game for PC to make hardcore players happy? And not drag everyone in the downward spiral.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. aleph31

    Great, no levitation… for the sake of level design?? Levitation was such an awesome feature, the sense of liberty it gave to the experience, now it’s like a game where you cannot jump. It’s sad to see how we are moving backwards.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Erthazus

    “but like levitation, was removed so we could design better gameplay spaces and scenarios,”


    the only reason why you removed it it’s because consoles can’t merge sandbox and cities together because it require a lot of resources such as RAM. With levitation spell, everything will lag as shit.

    Todd Howard, go F yourself. SKYRIM is another dumbed down TES game for consoles i see.
    Morrowind and Daggerfall that were never dumbed down, are still the best in the series.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Edo

    Lazy bastards!

    #7 4 years ago
  8. sb319

    @4 Great question, really. Why DON’T Bethesda just hugely reduce the potential audience for the game, limit it to a bunch of PC-exclusive whiners with entitlement issues who will just steal the game anyway? I just can’t figure it out. It’s almost as if they want to make games for a large audience so they can make enough back to cover development costs, or something equally ridiculous.

    @6 Slow down there with all the technical mumbo jumbo, I can barely keep up! Apparently your point is that consoles can’t manage open-world games. A point well-made, and I cannot think of a single counter argument. You obviously speak from a position of great knowledge and authority regarding game development and Skyrim’s codebase.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. someguy2

    @8 He used to be lead levitation designer for the TES series but he got fired as you can tell by his anger.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. MadFingerz

    @5 & 6
    You guys are being short-sighted or don’t understand shit about level design. For me it’s no surprise that they had to remove levitation, especially in a open world game. There are already plenty of level bugs to detect on a ground level without having to add the plenty more you would find if you could levitate. Also, many aresa would lose relevance if you could just fly through them.

    It’s probably the same reason why in GOW3 they limited the walls you could use Hermes’ boots on.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. StolenGlory

    “Great, no levitation… for the sake of level design?? Levitation was such an awesome feature, the sense of liberty it gave to the experience, now it’s like a game where you cannot jump. It’s sad to see how we are moving backwards.”

    Moving backwards? What would be moving forwards in your opinion then?

    Being able to ‘fly’ through the graphics engine like you could in certain sections of Daggerfall?


    #11 4 years ago
  12. aleph31

    @8: I think Erth is right, levitation brings additional headaches to the developers and increases the requirements:

    – They are trying to make the character cinematic much more realistic. Levitation would made things a lot more complicated. In Morrowind, it was implemented basically the same way as walking and running. Also, combat mechanics would need to take into account this. This extra animation info would need to be stored in RAM during all the game session.

    – The level design can be scrapped down without levitation, as users may not reach to see some parts of the scene. With levitation, every place is accessible, therefore need to be decorated with the same amount of LOD and improve the lighting for these regions of the map.

    – Finally, levitation may allow you to circumvent some combat tactics of the NPCs, so the AI would need improvement, and then again the footprint in RAM would suffer.

    But at the end of the day, the feature rocks so much… I hope they suffer some penalty from the user base, so that they think twice next time trying to make profit using minimum-effort law…

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Moonwalker1982

    I wasn’t sure what levitation meant so i searched it on google, we can still jump though, right?

    #13 4 years ago
  14. The_Red

    Yeah but if Morrowind we could create or buy super powerful spells / potions to levitate above the skies and really feel like Superman. God I miss that gem. Skyrim looks good but nowhere near as awesome as Morro.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. Erthazus

    it’s the same thing like with Oblivion. The only real reason to this is because cities are not open. Cities in Oblivion were basically huge dungeons. Here it’s going to be the same thing. With 256-512 Mb Ram you can’t make everything open wise and you get dumbed down spells, world, weaponry.

    You can’t jump above the city. The only way to get out is through the door with loading session.

    Oblivion was a dumbed down experience in everything. From gameplay, to dialogs. Every aspect of it even compared to Morrowind sucked ass, except for maybe combat (you can’t expect from the next TES a combat that is worse then in the previous game)

    It’s just a shame. No spears, no knives or shurikens, loading cities (Morrowind had every city without loading)… Where is the gameplay? Same as in Oblivion?

    NO. Thank. You. Oblivion was boring trash and it was barely open world… Just trees all over the place with copy pasted dungeons.

    #15 4 years ago
  16. Erthazus

    It’s probably going to be the same thing on the PC for every PC gamer:

    Lots of mods to play SKYRIM.

    I could not play Oblivion without 40-45 decent mods that fixed and improved my experience.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. YoungZer0

    So why are you bitching again? Stfu, get the mods and stfu again.

    #17 4 years ago
  18. Deinsleaf

    And that’s why we PC gamers have modding tools.

    #18 4 years ago
  19. stretch215

    I feel bad for the sane PC gamers on this site :)

    #19 4 years ago
  20. DSB

    We have those?!

    #20 4 years ago
  21. Phoenixblight

    Its funny how Erth thinks the industry owes him something. Console’s are where the money is at. You knew this was coming with Oblivion and Fallout were good examples that games weren’t going to be PC first then console. Time to move on accept what the industry is doing. I know this hard thing to do but times are ch-ch-changing. Well actually times have already change. PC is past its prime.

    You can bitch all you want but the industry only understands money if you don’t buy the game then you are telling them you don’t like it.

    #21 4 years ago

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