Skyrim is now about 10 days away, and like many of you, we’re starting to get extremely excited. Let’s look at the things that make Skyrim such a big deal.

Generational progress

Oblivion turned the RPG world on its head when it was launched back in March of 2006. True, Morrowind did a lot to move the genre forward, and there had been a lot of other large titles released in between Oblivion and Morrowind, but Oblivion truly felt like a next-gen RPG. The depth and breadth of the world and its inhabitants, combined with some (at the time) stunning lighting and art direction were mind-boggling.

With Oblivion having been released near the beginning of the current generation, and Skyrim being released near the end of the current generation, we’ll be able to have a solid look at how much gaming has progressed in the past few years.

It’s the freakin’ Elder Scrolls

Just like arguments between Star Trek TOS and TNG, there will always be arguments over which Elder Scrolls game is the best (with the primary argument being between Morrowind and Oblivion.) Hopefully, this argument will be extended to include Skyrim. I’ve played every Elder Scrolls game as it’s been released, starting with Arena all the way back in 1994. Each subsequent entry has significantly raised the bar for the series in many different aspects, so I cannot WAIT to see what Skyrim brings us.

The Music

Every Elder Scrolls game has had a great soundtrack, one that not only matched the visual style and gameplay of each entry, but also provided an ethereal sense of being transported to another place that only music is capable of doing. Commonly a mixture of droning atmospheric textures with an overlay of bright orchestral instruments, the soundtrack is something that I eagerly look forward to with every Elder Scrolls entry. With word that Jeremy Soule would be returning once again to head up the development of the Skyrim soundtrack, I know that this one is going to have some amazing music.

Dual-wielding

With confirmation that you can dual-wield spells, weapons, or a combination of both, the combat possibilities have really opened up. Want to heft a staff in one hand with a sword in the other? You can. Want to run around paralyzing enemies, then setting them on fire? Have at it. Reacting to various situations should be easier than ever before thanks to this awesome design choice. Here’s hoping we can dual-wield shields for “kill as few people as possible” runs.

Dragons

Now matter how you look at it, the inclusion of dragons in Skyrim is an exciting prospect. The epic battles that will ensue, watching them gracefully fly through the air, and seeing all of the various cool designs are but a few of those reasons. This should also help expand the lore by quite a lot, considering dragons have been mentioned throughout much of the Elder scrolls series.

PC-specific interface

While Oblivion’s interface worked well enough with a controller in your hands, it was abysmal for PC gamers. Having a PC-specific interface not only means it will be easier for PC gamers to navigate the various menus, but it also implies there are other steps Bethesda has taken to differentiate the PC version from its console brethren beyond the visuals.

Books

The Elder Scrolls series has always been filled with books that expand the lore of the series, and Skyrim is shaping up to be no exception. Hours upon hours can be spent finding and reading said books, and nearly all of them are interesting. Whether shedding light on the main story, or telling the player of something as minor as the progression of a herder’s flock, the texts that are liberally strewn about the Elder Scrolls games are always a highlight for bookworms.

Immersion

I think the picture above says everything that needs to be said here. That sums it up for us. Skyrim comes out on 11/11/11, a day that can’t get here soon enough. We’ll be keeping a log of our exploits, and will post them periodically.