In the same way the combat has been streamlined to make it as accessible as possible (without sacrificing any depth), so the interface has also been prettied up. "We've tried to move away from classic, spreadsheety, looking at numbers," says Howard. The result is thousands of perfectly-rendered 3D objects which you can rotate, Resident Evil-style, partly because it looks nice, but also for practical purposes. Example: the reward for completing the Bleakfalls Barrow quest is a golden claw.
Examine it carefully and you'll (hopefully) notice the claw features the same symbols found on a previously locked door elsewhere. Because it's actually a key. And if anything, the skill tree used to upgrade your abilities is even easier on the eye. When acquiring new abilities the hero looks up to the sky at the heavens, moving from one skill to the next by drawing lines between stars to form constellations. It's a bit like Final Fantasy XIII's Crystarium, although Lafferty told us that Apple's user interfaces have been a bigger influence.
It's probably going to be game of the year
Because other than Uncharted 3, it's hard to see anything stopping Skyrim right now. Bethesda properly blew us away with their demo, and to be honest it's made a lot of stuff we've seen afterwards seem pretty pale in comparison. Skyrim looks as exciting as being dropped straight into the swords and sex world of HBO's Game Of Thrones. Only without the sex. But nevermind, it's got magic instead. In fact we'll say this: Skyrim is magic full stop.