The games on show at E3 2011 are some of the best in living memory. So you really owe it to yourself to vote in CVG's inaugural E3 2011 Awards... in the Most Anticipated Title category.
Shortly before the show, we'll work out which of these 60 special E3 game previews have enjoyed the most page views, Facebook 'Likes', ReTweets and poll votes (see below) and crown our first victor at the Los Angeles event. Show your favourites the love!
Game: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Likelihood of E3 2011 showing: Certain
Like you, we're fans of Elder Scrolls. We simply make the game we'd love to play. The game we'd book vacation time to play. And like you, we've waited a long time to see The Elder Scrolls return."
So says Todd Howard, game director of Skyrim and veteran developer of every Elder Scrolls adventure. Perhaps more than any other studio, Bethesda love their fans and take feedback very seriously. It's why you've waited five years for the sequel to Oblivion, and why Bethesda created a new engine - no mean feat - just for Skyrim.
"We knew, like before, we had to start over," says Howard via Skyrim's official website. "We needed to reinvent large parts of the game and its tech. We started with the graphics renderer and how we would bring the scale of snow-covered mountains, dynamic weather systems and massive dragons to life, along with the small details of how people lived - from the forks they used to the fish they caught and the meat they cooked. We then rewrote all the major graphics and gameplay systems, including lighting, shadows, level of detail, animation, interface, scripting, dialogue, quest systems, melee, magic and more."
The end result has the potential to redefine what we expect from adventure game. Although far from fault-free, Oblivion's vast world remains a technical marvel. Tech that creates both far greater scale and more detailed minutiae can only add to Bethesda's world and its sense of place. Skyrim is the most rugged region of Tamriel, the continent upon which all Elder Scrolls games are set. It has the five highest peaks, and its inhabitants are mostly clustered to the west.
The first trailer showed a sniff of its scale and featured plenty of snow and icy backdrops - a far cry from Oblivion's lush forests and marshes. More than this, though, Skyrim features some breathtaking architecture, both human and natural: cities constructed precariously on sheer, rocky outcrops; temples built into caves or hewn into the summits of mountains.
The inhabitants of this land are suitably imposing and deadly. Obviously, animals such as bears and big cats (we're guessing lions
will be replaced by snow leopards and similar) make a return, but more exotic wildlife such as frost trolls, ice wraiths and wereyetis will also challenge your combat skills.
Fitting, then, that the fighting mechanics have been reworked too. Gone are the days of circle-strafing enemies and whacking them with your sword or blasting them with magic - it's heavier, more brutal stuff now, and if you start a fight you'd better make sure you can finish it.
Perhaps the biggest innovation in scrapping is two-handed combat, via a system that lets you combine weapons and magic to suit your fighting style while making the most of class-based skills. Vanilla load-outs see you packing a sword and shield, while more adventurous play could see you toting a pair of daggers or even dual wielding magic.