Speaking to OXM in a hot-off-the-press, detail-saturated interview, Bethesda's Todd Howard has confessed that Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion "sacrificed" the feel of preceding title Morrowind in the interests of a "refined and welcoming" gameworld.
Reflecting on Morrowind, Howard observed: "It should feel alien, kind of 'stranger in a strange' land, with familiar looking elements only rooting you early in the game. The whole tone ends up being one of 'I'm an outsider, I'm uncomfortable'.
"With Oblivion, we're dealing with the capital province, and we wanted to get back to the more classic Arena and Daggerfall feel of a fantasy world that felt more refined and welcoming," he went on. "A place that you instantly understood.
"But in that, we sacrificed some of what made Morrowind special; the wonder of discovery."
The fifth game, Skyrim, will seek to plot a middle path between Morrowind-esque weirdness and Oblivion's straight-and-narrow aesthetic.
"With Skyrim, we're trying to bring some of that back and walk the line between Morrowind and Oblivion. Where it's at first familiar looking, but has its own unique culture and spin on it."
We're all about Skyrim coverage, readers. Check today's issue of OXM for a lengthy analysis of the advanced dynamic storytelling system. Mike Channell's interview on the evolution of the series is worth reading too.