After Skyrim was finished, Bethesda had an extra internal week of development with one rule only: 'anything goes'. For seven days, the development team were allowed to create anything at all and put it in the game. The results of this 'Game Jam Week' have finally been shown off and we're amazed. Firstly at how good some of this stuff would be, but also that it wasn't put in the final build. Look at this lot:
This is the big one - the ability to ride on a dragon. A certain plotline in the game seems to lead up to this point, before chickening out in the most spectacular fashion imaginable. We weren't impressed. But it's not just us who want to see it in the game - someone at Bethesda does too. Looks awesome - and we hope you can fly really high.
Above: That's already pretty high there on the left. Plus - fire attacks!
Step in, step out somewhere completely different. We're guessing that environment data could be loaded for known possible fast-travel destinations like this, meaning load times could potentially be minimal.
Above: Step in, watch the pretty flash of magic, then step out miles from where you were
This is just an extension of the melee finishing move cutaways that are already present in the game, but they look spectacular. Seeing that arrow flying through the air before sinking into the chest of a guard is awesome. Reminds us of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Imagine the new meme: I used to have melee-only cutaways... until I took a kill cam to the knee.
Above: With slow-motion added to the cutaway, it looks like Skyrim: The Matrix Edition
With a little extra time and attention, snow on the ground can melt away as spring takes over from winter and leaves spring from the boughs of the silver birch trees. This really should have been in the game anyway.
Above: We just assumed it was too difficult to implement. But no, there it is in one week
Why not? Skill trees should be easy to implement (but perhaps take a while to balance). Lycanthropic skills ftw.
Above: Savagery? Toughened Hide? Feral Mastery? Yes to all of the above, please
This one is amazing and we're a bit sad, in all honesty, that we didn't get to see its emergence while playing the game. With those huge, ground-thumping legs and formerly laughable reputation, this could have been one of the greatest gaming moments of all time (I saw a mudcrab the other day - it was as big as the college of freakin' Winterhold!) but now we'll know it might be coming. If it ever gets patched in, that is...
Above: Quite literally a giant enemy crab. Quick! Attack its weak point for massive damage!
The new purchasable houses in Skyrim are a good start and we spent far longer than was probably good for us arranging our books on the bookshelves, displaying our best enchanted weapons on the walls and trying to place a butterfly in a jar on the sideboard without it falling off. Being able to build a house yourself anywhere you like would be awesome.
Above: There is now a house where there wasn't before. What witchcraft is this?!
A simple enough weapon to implement, but this does sound mighty attractive. Use it to prod things from afar, throw as a projectile or just club people with it, melee-style.
Above: Doesn't look like much, but there's massive potential here. Imagine the skill tree!
Little touches like this are what makes the world more believable. No guard would willingly wait around in darkness when it's possible to relight an extinguished torch.
Above: That torch was totally out a few seconds ago
Fus... Ro DAH!
Guess we really are Dragonborn...
Above: Brilliant expression there, that man. Clearly the 'DAH' bit
Those are our favourites, but there are loads more small additions. Here's a YouTube video recorded from a live stream of the original keynote at D.I.C.E., which originally aired on Gamespot:
The best news? All of the above stuff is potentially free or paid-for DLC in the future. We reckon the Kinect shouts, seasonal foliage and dragon mounts are certs. What do you think?