What I want from Bethesda’s next title

May 6, 2013

Last month Bethesda announced they would be moving on from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim to work on a new project. Unfortunately, this announcement confirms there will be no additional content for the game following the Dragonborn DLC released in December, 2012. In a post titled, “Moving to our next adventure,” the Skyrim team took the opportunity to thank their fans, while also revealing that pre-production on the next project has already commenced. It’s a bittersweet moment for Skyrim fans, but with a Legendary Edition on the way, it’s a fitting conclusion to one of the biggest games this generation.

Now with our attention turned towards the horizon, it’s not entirely unreasonable to assume that a Fallout 4 announcement could soon be on the cards (Bethesda recently hinted that 2013 will be a big year for the developer). Whether or not this is the case, gamers should expect Bethesda’s next game to cater to its usual hallmarks; an expansive-open world, dynamic quests, and the option for multiple play-styles. However, I still believe there are a number of features Bethesda could implement into Skyrim‘s follow-up which could improve upon what is already a highly successful RPG formula.


  • Encourage experimentation with different play-styles

Bethesda always allows the player to experiment with dozens of character builds, but too often I gravitate towards characters proficient with firearms (Fallout) or characters with well-rounded melee abilities (Elder Scrolls). I find these builds are invaluable when dealing with tougher enemies and so I end up creating similar characters on repeat playthroughs; sometimes unintentionally. This is a shame given that Bethesda RPG’s are largely driven by player-choice. Perhaps the reason we don’t see many builds akin to Felix the Peaceful Monk is because it limits the number of quests the gamer could successfully complete. Rewards for completing a quest with no kills, for example, could move gamers outside of their comfort zones and afford a higher degree of gameplay variation, more in line with Bethesda’s vision.

  • Make your followers more interesting

In Fallout: New Vegas, each of your potential followers were fleshed out with back-stories that made them infinitely more interesting than your standard NPC in Skyrim. In some instances, your followers would even leave your company permanently if they disagreed with your actions. This meant that each companion NPC was more than just a pack mule that you could order around, but possessed a measure of personality and emotion in holding you accountable for your decisions. Admit it though, once you leveled up, you only kept them around to carry all your crap…

  • Have enemies scale with time, not character level

This might sound unnecessarily complicated and elaborate, but hear me out. In many games as your character levels, your enemies level with you. Not only does this provide the player with a steady stream of challenges, but it also gives you the satisfaction of knowing you’re getting stronger. However, this long-standing convention has its disadvantages; it’s not unusual in Bethesda RPGs for the player to encounter incredibly tough enemies at low levels, particularly if you’re the wandering type. This was most notable to me when one of Skyrim‘s Giants launched me into the stratosphere for the first time, whereupon I quickly learned to give them a wide berth until I had leveled up considerably. Such encounters tend to discourage players from travelling off the beaten path which, in an open-world game like Skryim, is a travesty. Consider for a moment that as time in Skyrim passed, the dragon menace ramped up and more powerful enemies started to appear. Not only would this make sense in terms of level-progression and the game’s lore, but it would also allow the player to explore the game world more freely.

  • Make traversal (slightly) easier

I love exploring as much as the next person, but no-one wants to spend 20 minutes searching for a path up a mountain when the location you’re trying to reach isn’t hidden anyway. Hard-to-reach areas are fine for secret locations, but an extra map-marker here or there would help curb unnecessary frustration and could prove beneficial to those who don’t always have time for lengthy gameplay sessions.

  • Provide an undo button for looting

Bethesda generally gives gamers a wide range of items to collect and acquire for use in weapon-crafting, potion making, and much more. However, there’s just as many items lying around the game world that are simply part of the environment and have little-to-no value. Unless you’re extremely hard up for cash, nobody ever picks up a plate or empty wine bottle on purpose. I appreciate the attention to detail, but sifting through your inventory to drop that useless item you accidently grabbed quickly becomes a chore. Bethesda would do well to give gamers the option to quickly and efficiently drop the last item they picked up. Better yet, give us more weapons like Fallout 3‘s Rock-It Launcher, which turned worthless junk into ammunition.

Disagree with these suggestions? Or have ideas of your own you’d like to see implemented? Sound off in the comments below!