Bethesda Explains Skyrim’s Lack of Character Classes

February 8, 2011 Written by Paulmichael Contreras

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was revealed back in December during the Spike VGAs. While some small details have been slowly revealed, one of the biggest changes to the game will be the lack of a traditional class system. Bethesda has explained their choice to do away with what is typically a staple in RPGs, and you can read all about it after the break.

Speaking during a special edition podcast with GameInformer, Director Todd Howard stated that the classless system implemented in Skyrim will result in a more natural way for players to experience the game:

What we found in Oblivion – you start the game, you pick your race and you play for a while. Our intent was: you played for a while, you got to figure out some skills, and then depending on how you play… one of the characters asks you ‘okay, what kind of class do you want to be? Here’s my recommendation based on how you’ve been playing…And sort of our thought process was, what if that guy never asked that? I was perfectly happy right before then, ya know, I was just playing the game and skills were going up, so we just got rid of that. You just play, and your skills go up as you play and the higher your skill, the more it affects your leveling. So it’s a really, really nice elegant system that kind of self-balances itself.

While there are still races of characters in the game, with no set class system it may provide more freedom for what kind of skillset players utilize. Certain skills can also level up to a point where you can earn perks, which are special abilities not unlike abilities that a classful character system might contain. Howard continued his explanation, stating that with the scope of their games picking a class even after playing the game for a while is not as easy as one would think:

What we found in Oblivion is people would play, and even though they played for a half hour and then they picked their class, it’s still – in the scheme of the games we make – not enough time to really understand all the skills and how they work. So people would play, and the general pattern would be they’d play for like, three hours and then ‘oh I picked the wrong skills, I’m going to start over…’ They weren’t necessarily upset about that, but to us, someone who’s making a game you’re like… ‘is there a way we can solve that? Is there a better way of doing it?’ And we think this is it.

Time will tell if this idea will work in a series such as The Elder Scrolls, but you can stay connected with PlayStation LifeStyle for more on this game as the news develops.