How Is Elder Scrolls VI Gonna Improve over Skyrim?

Metagamer

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Forget about the story. Forget about the main campaign.

For as long as I’ve been playing their games, Bethesda has tried to put in an epic main quest for the player to follow, and, with the possible exception of Morrowind, they’ve never been good. These main storylines are usually fairly bland, the dialogue clichéd, the characters forgettable. Bethesda’s grand narratives give the impression of a novice Game Master aping the narratives of Dragon Age: Origins or Fallout: New Vegas without any understanding of what made those stories work.

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That being said, Bethesda’s world-building and side quests are nothing short of masterful. I may not be able to stand listening to Liam Neeson recite the blandest lines ever written, but destroying Megaton with its namesake bomb? Infiltrating a fake scavenger hunt and murdering all the participants? Defending an artist from raiders, only to discover he’s homicidally insane? These, I can get invested in.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been playing Fallout 4 or Skyrim and become entranced after walking into a random building or dungeon looking for some quick XP, only to discover that the structure contains an implied story all on its own. Bethesda’s NPCs are also marvelously complex, such as Hasathil, the Wood Elf from Oblivion who’s having an affair with her husband. She’s not in any quests, and won’t interact with the player on her own accord; it’s just something she does. Or in Fallout 3, if you destroy Megaton, you might be ambushed by survivors of the explosion who are hunting the player for revenge. They may be utterly incompetent at writing the main narrative, but Bethesda is undeniably skilled at creating a lived-in world for the player to explore.

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So the solution is simple: ditch the main story. Have a quick and easy beginning that allows players to get into the action without a long-ass introduction. Maybe have a small quest that leads off of that to give new players direction and instruction, similar to the Wasteland Survival Guide quests from Fallout 3. Otherwise, just unleash the players on the world, taking the resources that would’ve been devoted to the main quest and instead focusing on fleshing out the world, making more faction and side quests, and maybe fixing some of those bugs instead of relying on modders.

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Except for this one. You can keep this one.

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