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.