So I saw the trailer.....

#1 Posted by Thanatos3 (84 posts) -

And thought it was Dragon Age for a bit before thinking oh wait the other one was Elder Scrolls (I know DA:III is still a while off). But why does all medevil fantasy have to seem the same. A human, elf, and dwarf races facing off. Is there some law that says that all medevil fantasy has to do its darndest to go "Yeah its basically alot like Middle Earth but hey there are more people saying "fuck" here and the design of the orcs is different you see". Why cant games (which rely on gameplay to engage players as well as story, well sometimes story) come up with a more varied palette of races and cultures to explore like Guild Wars II did somewhat with some big cat people and those asura things that seemed borrowed from FF XI but still it seemed like more than what these always give: "We read LOTR and thought it would be cooler with this!"

#2 Posted by JohnSublime (55 posts) -

Because it's easier to market Elder Scrolls and the like to people who just want to play Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones.

Fantasy does need to become broader in games. It doesn't feel so much like stepping into a new world as it used. Less of the Fantasy and more of the Fantastical is required

#3 Posted by xyzygy (10030 posts) -

I really hate how in the trailer they focused on characters who all look like humans. I realize one was a Nord, one was a Altmer and one was a Bosmer but they literally had no differentiation and all looked human.

And then you have the races who look nothing like human and they were hardly even shown - Argonian, Khajiit, Dunmer, Orc, etc.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but... that trailer DID have a Altmer, Nord and Bosmer as the three main guys circling each other right? The only thing elven about the Altmer was her ears - she literally looks like a shitty elf from WoW. Altmer are supposed to be really tall, have yellow skin, with elongated faces and thinner frames. Bosmer are supposed to be small. The only race that actually looked like a race from Elder Scrolls was the Nord and that was only because they're basically human.

#4 Posted by EchoEcho (830 posts) -

@Thanatos3 said:

And thought it was Dragon Age for a bit before thinking oh wait the other one was Elder Scrolls (I know DA:III is still a while off). But why does all medevil fantasy have to seem the same. A human, elf, and dwarf races facing off. Is there some law that says that all medevil fantasy has to do its darndest to go "Yeah its basically alot like Middle Earth but hey there are more people saying "fuck" here and the design of the orcs is different you see". Why cant games (which rely on gameplay to engage players as well as story, well sometimes story) come up with a more varied palette of races and cultures to explore like Guild Wars II did somewhat with some big cat people and those asura things that seemed borrowed from FF XI but still it seemed like more than what these always give: "We read LOTR and thought it would be cooler with this!"

The Elder Scrolls does have cat people, and lizard people -- in that trailer you actually see a couple Argonians in the background when the Nord fellow is leading his troupe into those catacombs, though granted that's the only glimpse of them you get. TES also has no dwarves -- at least not in the classical sense; people refer to the Dwemer, a race of elves, as "dwarves" within the game world, but it's considered uneducated and incorrect. Compared to most made-for-video-games fantasy worlds, TES also has rather rich and interesting lore. Sure, it has some of the typical tropes (there are high, wood, and dark elves, for example), but it changes things up just enough to remain -- at least I feel -- fairly unique among its peers, and without going off into wildly outlandish territory to accomplish that goal.

I also don't think that being different for the mere sake of it is necessarily any better than sticking with well-known tropes. The typical fantasy races are used because they're iconic, and if you want to set your fantasy world apart from another, I think you can still use those iconic races as a base foundation -- it's in the subtleties that things can often end up being quite different, and can end up changing the entire feel of a world. Elves in Middle-Earth are not elves in D&D are not elves in Warhammer are not elves in Elder Scrolls are not elves in Dragon Age. Sure, there are threads of similarity between all the above, especially when only examined at a surface level, but in the details there are significant differences. I would never confuse one of those fantasy universes for any of the others in that list, even though they all have elves that -- at a glance -- seem fairly similar to each other.

A new and inventive race or a drastic reimagining of an existing one isn't going to make me care about a fantasy world more than if it were, on the surface, made of the classic fantasy tropes. It's the world building, the culture, the history and lore behind it all -- how well realized and believable that universe is -- that's going to make me invest in it. I'm not saying people shouldn't try to be inventive, or that nobody has succeeded (the Qunari from Dragon Age being an example of something new and interesting that isn't just a reskin of a typical fantasy race misleadingly labeled as "new") -- just that how inventive they are shouldn't be judged by what surface-level tropes their fantasy realm seems to be using. In a good number of cases, all it takes is digging a little past the surface to see what sets one fantasy IP apart from another.

...I may have gotten way off track the further I went with this, so sorry if I come off as really argumentative. I do actually get the point you're making and agree to some extent, I think it was just the part where I don't agree that TES fits into the category of a fantasy IP that does nothing but regurgitate Tolkien or D&D that got me off on a tangent.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.