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Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Discovering a dangerous new world

The last game you'll ever need...

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As well as Guilds, you'll be able to start relationships with certain non-player characters. Howard confirms you'll be able to make friends, recruit companions and - in some cases - actually marry the game's buxom wenches. Bigamy? It'd be rude not to.

The race you choose will have a major effect on your Skyrim experience. Races react to each other, with allegiances and prejudices running deep. Combined with the Radiant Story system, this tribal quirk could - potentially - be reason enough for a second playthrough. You've got 600 hours to spare, right? It almost seems churlish to ask Howard about DLC and how the game will develop after release, but he gladly volunteers information.

"For us, I'd like to do bigger things. Some of the bigger ones we did for Fallout 3 I thought were better. I like the Rockstar model too, where it feels more like an expansion pack. I don't know what we're going to do yet, but we want to do something that costs a bit more but is going to be more of a complete package. Quality over quantity... we're thinking bigger than with Fallout 3."

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There are echoes here of the Shivering Isles DLC from Oblivion, which added another 30 hours via a whole new island set in an alternative dimension. Perhaps we'll see something similar, although Skyrim has already been split into seven regions. Sensible speculation says we'll see one of Tamriel's neighbouring areas. High Rock? Don't bet against it.

As we're ushered out of the demo and away from Skyrim, it all seems so close - yet so far away. Now nearing completion, the game is already bursting with life and potential. To see it so close to its November 11 release, after so long waiting, is torture. There's still so much we don't know, but then the joy of Elder Scrolls is in discovery, the hours exploring the world Bethesda dreamt into existence. 300 hours, to be precise...

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