Howard: "We're in our groove" on TESV

Promises to show "a lot of stuff" next month.

Bethesda Game Studios' executive game director Todd Howard is pumped for the recently announced fantasy role-playing game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - and reckons gamers should be, too.

"The team has been cranking. Really cranking," Howard said on the latest Bethesda podcast. "We're really in our groove on this game. I hope all the fans really like it."

Bethesda began work on Skyrim immediately after finishing March 2006's TESIV: Oblivion. Right now, one hundred people are busy making the game in the developer's HQ in the US state of Maryland.

"We're at a hundred," Howard said. "Probably 25, 30 people [added] since we finished Fallout. Lot of great people. That's been nice. As we get more well known, there are more people that want to work with us and we can pick the best people. We already had a big enough team, so we didn't need to fill seats. We can afford to be very, very selective."

TESV will be properly revealed next month, but with the game's launch set for 11th November 2011, only 11 months will separate announcement and release - a lot less than is normal for videogames.

"I hope everybody is surprised with how much stuff we're showing [in January]," Howard said, explaining the decision. "It's a lot. We wanted to compress the amount of time we talked about the game. It's still 11 months. It's a long time, but traditionally we're going on two years talking about a game. We start out very slow.

"We wanted to come out of the gate with a lot of stuff. So the fans will be excited."

Howard stole the show at the recent Spike Video Game Awards when, flanked by a group of hooded monks, he revealed Skyrim with what he describes as an announcement trailer.

Commenting on his appearance, Howard admitted he had concerns that Skyrim's announcement would come across as "cheesy".

"It's a mix of excitement in finally announcing the game. It's obviously a game we're excited about and the fans have been clamouring for for a long time.

"When you work on something for that long - we've been working on it for years and years and we actually started designing the game after Oblivion, a long, long time - you want to be able to say, 'This is what we're working on.'

"It's a mix of that with trying to keep it secret. The VGAs, it was less about getting on TV and showing a trailer and more about, is this going to be kept a secret for another 24 hours? We have kept this a secret for years. Is it going to stay bottled up for another 24 hours? It did.

"We wanted it to be a surprise. The trailer, I don't even call it a teaser trailer. It's an announcement trailer. It only really works if you know zero, including the name and the date. So if people already knew, I didn't feel what we were going to show would be that interesting. But it was all designed to be even when the thing starts, you don't know what it is.

"My biggest worry was people finding out beforehand, which would have completely ruined it. Or it would be cheesy in some way. Having been to the VGAs a bunch, there are many things that come across cheesy. I wanted to make sure it had the right tone.

"The Spike guys wanted to make it a production thing. They did the monks. We gave them the background art. But until I got there I had no idea what it was going to look like. So, 'Oh, you're going to walk through hooded monks.' I was like, 'er, I don't know.'

"10 minutes beforehand, when I knew it hadn't been Tweeted yet, I was feeling good. I was like, okay, this won't get ruined."

Howard finished by thanking the fans. "The support we get from the fans and keeping Elder Scrolls alive during those periods where we're not releasing anything or showing stuff between Daggerfall to Morrowind and Morrowind to Oblivion and Oblivion to now, we really, really appreciate it. It keeps everybody motivated."

Curtain lifted on Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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