If your intimately familiar with The Elder Scrolls V : Skyrim predecessor, “Oblivion” or have read much about some of the cool new technical features in Skyrim, than you might have heard of Radiant Story.
In Oblivion game creators and developers created a way to make the NPC’s you interact with more dynamic and less linear – meaning they could react to changes and needs in the environment and in different fashions. For instance, if an NPC is hungry they will act on that hunger by going to purchase food, hunting, or stealing it. If they are tired they might sleep or if they are bored they might read. This is accomplished through artificial intelligence. In Oblivion case – this term was coined Radiant AI.
So what has TESV : Skyrim done differently? Not only have they taken the current Radiant AI system in place and improved it to make the emotions and reactions of NPC’s even more realistic and unique, but they have overhauled the way the entire story of the game evolves based on the way you choose to play your character.
Bethesda has promised more NPC interaction and a more dynamic gameplay experience as a result of the Radiant Story system implementation. Radiant story is designed to follow the player throughout his adventure creating unique instances and quests based on player experiences and actions. An official press release from Bethesda has stated that Radiant Story will generate quests solely as a result of the player’s choices – good or evil.
It sounds as if the main story can only take minor course corrections but Radiant Story is planned to generate enough content for immerse replayability. Game Director and Executive Produce Todd Howard has said:
‘The other thing it does is give the game a more organic feel than scripting could. NPC’s won’t always be standing there doing the exact same thing at the same time. The fact that your experience and what’s going on in the world around you in your game is a bit different than other people is pretty cool. The conversations you’ll overhear and subsequent quests you’ll be able to get as a result will vary. It makes the world feel much more realistic and alive.’
How alive and realistic of a world can we expect? Only Todd Howard and his design team knows. We will have to find out ourselves come 11/11/11.