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Picking The Brains Of Bethesda On Skyrim’s Second Expansion, Hearthfire

September 1, 2012

Rather than being the second expansion where you can transform your character into a randomly-generated mythicial character from the Middle Ages, Hearthfire allows you to create your own housing, adopt children, live with your spouse and partake in a spot of gardening.

That’s right, it’s The DovahSims!

On a serious note, the second expansion for Bethesda’s epic fantasy game TES: Skyrim is ambitious for its departure from its traditional quest-based, extra-weapon toting DLC.

Priced at 400 MS Points, Hearthfire provides the tools for making a house from the very first stages of buying a plot of land, all the way to hiring your own bards, merchants and defending your abode from giants and the like.

Homes Under The Battlehammer

Bethesda posted a diary blog of their experiences when coming up with the DLC idea here. Interestingly, they list Minecraft as an inspiration for the new content:

“It started as a small idea to expand on the crafting element of the game because alchemy, smithing and enchanting were things I was interested in when we were playtesting the game,” said Robert Wisnewski, an environmental artist for Skyrim.

Meanwhile Bruce Nesmith [lead designer], a fan of the popular game Minecraft, wanted players to have more ways to create content in the game. “Being a fan of [Minecraft], I asked, ‘Why can’t I build things in our game?'”

Of course, Minecraft doesn’t stray anywhere near adopting children. What did the team say about this?

“The idea of adoption came to me after the Dark Brotherhood questline was presented,” level designer Steve Cornett recalled. “After first seeing the [Innocence Lost] questline, I asked, ‘what happens to the kids? What happens to the orphanage after the quest is completed?'”

Hearthfire provided an opportunity to answer these questions, as the concept of adoption seemed a natural fit with the idea of creating a household.

“Building your own house lets you make a house and adoption lets you make it a home,” explained Cornett.

It all sounds very engaging and innovative. Naturally, PC gamers will be lauding the amount of mods already available for the game, but this sounds like a step in the right direction for expanding content for console gamers.

No creepers here, but expect giants

“FUS RO DAH,” I hear the PS3 owners shout, “WHAT ABOUT DAWNGUARD?”

Well, Bethesda have already said that their work on Hearthfire is not detracting at all from their work on Dawnguard‘s adaption for Sony’s console, though that is unlikely to placate the gamers who have been waiting for the first DLC for over two months.

To say that they are a little annoyed would be a huge understatement. Bethesda had better hurry up if they still expect their PS3 fanbase to pay even half price for the content. Currently, nobody stands to win here: the gamers don’t have their DLC, and the company isn’t getting its revenue stream.

As far as Hearthfire is concerned, however, it is a timed exclusive to the 360, like Dawnguard. It will be out for the 360 on September 4th for 400 MS Points.

Original Sources: Eurogamer: Skyrim: Hearthfire DLC allows you to build a house, adopt a child; The Elder Scrolls website: Skyrim Team Diary #6: Hearthfire; Examiner: Skyrim ‘Hearthfire’ DLC officially revealed; Bethesda comments on Dawnguard PS3

Image Link: The Elder Scrolls website: Skyrim Team Diary #6: Hearthfire

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