Blog: Skyrim's Story Manager Knows What You Did Last Summer

Just as the weekend was moving along for me, I came across a very intersting article over at Random Prodinc concerning Skyrim. Skyrim Director Todd Howard spoke to Edge Magazine about how the game remembers your actions, including when you killed that dragon last summer.

“The story manager is looking at everything you do and then making things happen. So if you set a chicken on fire, or you drop an item, or pickpocket somebody or if you kill a dragon in town and absorb its soul, how people react all goes through the story manager”

This is not something I had heard about before regarding Skyrim. If you were to ask me what genre I prefer, it would be RPG, hands down. The reason for this is I like stories, but I love dynamic stories, which is why I like choices in RPGs. MMO’s haven’t quite captured that yet, but I’m really looking forward to Star Wars: The Old Republic and seeing how they embrace these challenges.

The reason this caught my attention is because this means it’s not just story that effects the world, it’s your individual actions. This means the way I approach things as a mage will be different from how I play a thief, and both will show in the characters in the world. What’s not very clear to me is how the game will handle things when no one is watching, like if I stole a a coin. This is a trick to keep players honest in the world. I know when I play, I’m attached to the story and the characters so I don’t try to do bad things, but they happen and there are others who could care less. The alignment bar was a good idea, but you could ignore it. With this system, it’s much more difficult.

This won’t change the face of RPGs, but it’s a step in the direction of more dynamic gaming. The only thing I can say for sure is that I’ll hold off on whether to say this is too much like a big brother system or not. The system could be too sensitive or not sensitive enough, but I’m intrigued by the idea and hope it won’t be a cheap gimmick.

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