THE BUZZ: Some games give you enough content to play for hours, days, weeks, or even months. For The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Bethesda is promising content you can play for infinity.
How? Thanks to the Radiant quest system, where new quests and tasks can be generated randomly and dynamically depending on what you’ve done in the game, the point that you’re at, and the factions you have connections with.
In an interview with Wired, Skyrim‘s director Todd Howard said that the Radiant engine will give players a never-ending amount of gameplay. Giving a few examples, an innkeeper might request that the player hunt down bandits in an unexplored portion of Skyrim‘s world, or an alchemist in training might request you collect a certain amount of undiscovered flowers in order to make potions.
The Radiant quest system won’t just be about performing these quests, however—it’ll also help players uncover new locations and situations that they haven’t come across yet.
EGM’s TAKE: This aspect of Skyrim seems really, really interesting to me. At this point in gaming technology, I’m sure the idea of dynamically-generated quests isn’t anywhere near as complex as I’d love to imagine it being. Still, it does point to what could be an exciting future for games—the ability for the games we love to provide us with as much extra playtime as we’d like to get out of them.
Think about what games like Minecraft are attempting to do. While itself still very primitive in this regard, Minecraft could theoretically generate locations and challenges infinitely due to the way it builds its world. While it’s hard for an extremely complex game like Skyrim to do the same now, it might not be so impossible even on the next generation of game consoles.