Todd Howard talks Skyrim numbers, dragon mounts

The seventh annual DICE 2012 summit is on at the moment, and games industry veterans are normally invited to give keynote presentations to the attendees. Bethesda Game Studios director Todd Howard is one of those veterans, and as can be expected, his keynote focused on Skyrim.

Howard revealed that more than 10 million people have been playing Skyrim since it launched in November last year. “Millions” of those players are on the PC, and thanks to Steam’s statistic tracking facilities, Bethesda knows that the average playtime is 75 hours. I wonder how many hours of that average are thanks to game-extending mods from the community? Now, with Steam Workshop support and the official Creation Kit out, the mod quantity and quality is only set to increase. During his keynote, Howard admitted that the Creation Kit is “something we’d like to see come to consoles one day”.

Another topic of discussion was an annual Bethesda tradition: a Game Jam. Bethesda’s Game Jams are week-long sessions during which employees can create anything they want to while at work. This year’s only rule was that they had to make things in Skyrim. What kind of things were made? Hit the jump for a video as well as a full list courtesy of Joystiq.

  • Seasonal foliage
  • Flow based water shader
  • Spears as weapons with a new animation system
  • Kill cams for ranged combat and magic
  • New stealth options like water arrows and assassinations
  • Guards relight areas
  • Paralysis runes
  • Moving platforms and hanging structures in dungeons
  • Water current in dungeons
  • Dark dungeons, requiring you to light your path as you progress
  • New companion options like switching combat style, getting them to train and even craft for you
  • List favorite followers in the game’s menu
  • Build your own home from scratch
  • Adopt children
  • Combine magic to create new attacks
  • Goblin enemies
  • ‘Way Gate’ fast travel
  • Epic mounts like a flaming horse
  • Mounted combat on horses
  • Dragon mounts
  • ‘Soul bug’ familiar
  • Kinect-enabled ‘shouts’
  • Enhanced water effects
  • Footprints in the snow
  • Better animations for fabrics
  • Varied enemies, like fat giants
  • Ice and fire arrows
  • Werebears
  • Lycanthropy-specific (werewolf) skill tree
  • Become a flying Vampire Lord
  • New Vampire imp minions
  • New Mudcrab animations
  • Giant Mudcrab enemy

All of these were shown off in a video clip during Howard’s keynote. You can check it out below and hopefully it won’t be removed from YouTube any time soon.


After showing off some of these awesome ideas, Howard said: “How much of this stuff sees the light of day? To be determined. Could it be in a future DLC? We don’t know. Could various parts of it just be released for free? We don’t know.”

Of course, with the Creation Kit now out, every one of these created by Bethesda employees could theoretically be made by modders. It would, however, be quite awesome if Bethesda released a “Skyrim Game Jam 2011 Mod Pack” as DLC via the Steam Workshop. Let’s hold thumbs because a dragon mount would be the coolest thing after a skeletal butler.

Source: Joystiq article 1 and article 2