May 12, 2021

world magazine 2020

After Oblivion

I can get behind pretty much anything that opens with the irony-free opening salvo of “In a time after oblivion…” nothing but sheer awesomeness can come of a braggadocio boast like that, surely? Actually yeah, you’re pretty much right in that assumption. So begins elderscrolls 5: Skyrim, the latest in the venerated fantasy game series, before warning us of an ancient prophecy contained within the titular scrolls and then having a massive dragon come to life and go looking to incinerate a bloke in a silly helmet. So far so good, then…

elderscrolls 5: Skyrim, we’re told, is targeting a new audience by relying less heavily on continuity and choppy plot hangovers from previous games. This might alienate the more hardcore fans of the series, but I suspect that, if successful, elderscrolls 5: Skyrim will not only crack open a huge market for their own future titles, but also the fantasy genre in general.

Lets be clear about this, people like fantasy. People like Sci Fi, there’s something about both that offers escapism, fun and the promise of unbridled adventure. I have yet to meet a single person who didn’t enjoy some form of escapist storytelling, whether it was pulp novels, super heroes, space ships or joker gamimg dragons. It’s only really the obsessives who spoil it for the rest of us. I’m talking about the guys who dress as The Joker or Harley Quinn at the San Diego Comic Con to protest the DC comics reboot whilst pretending to be the characters themselves, the web-forum warriors who argue against any and all new development in long-running series, yet conversely complain that the continuity has become ‘stale’, or the vacuous trendy kids with an interest only in ironic piss-taking before moving on to the next big thing.

As an unapologetic, lifelong geek (who was a comic book devotee long before it became Hollywood-approved and has a list of reasons as long as your arm to boycott J.J Abrams’ Star Trek reboot/abomination) its nice to see stuff like Elderscrolls finally going overground. With imagery that picks up where the massive cinema success of Lord Of The Rings left off (despite the fact that those flicks were, lets face it, a bit sh*t), it’s clear that elderscrolls 5: Skyrim is tapping into an audience already primed for fantasy and adventure. You want dragons? Warriors? Villagers on the run, Golden Axe chutzpah and drop-dead gorgeous fantasy landscapes, then look no further, the power of the scrolls compels you. And, if not that, then they leave it to the endless appeal of dragons to do the job…