Immersion can be said to be one of the most important qualities that make a video game a great video game, immersion is where a player’s physical self is lost by being surrounded in an artificial environment. Immersion is sought after because it keeps the user dedicated to the game as well motivating them to return. A company that has always nailed this is Bethesda with most of their open world games, especially Skyrim. Skyrim is an RPG, where the player can roam an open world environment and takes place in the fictional place of Skyrim.
I have sunk many hours into the game Skyrim to the point where I wasn’t even progressing the main storyline, I was training my smithing level, finding dragons to slay, practicing alchemy etc. All these interesting and cool tasks in the game made me lose a sense of time in the real world and rather started making me think about when night time was going to approach in the game. The main storyline is very engaging, there are various characters introduced as well as many parts that get tense throughout the story. A good story line will always attract players and keep them immersed as well making the world seem more believable. Of course, a world with spells and dragons may not seem believable but Bethesda does a good job of still making it seem like it could be possible. Bethesda loves to incorporate the options for dialogue when to talking to important characters in the storyline. One can depict the type of character they will be, for example within the story line you can choose to save someone or let them die. A player can opt out of some tasks with a high enough speech level. The speech level along with the other 17 type of skills also give a sense of immersion and freedom. If someone wants to neglect archery, nothing is stopping them from doing so. If someone wants to become a tanky one handed bruiser than they can do so. It is always up to the player as to what kind of character they want to build and create.
Firstly, the environment in Skyrim is designed beautifully, it is designed to let you explore endlessly, Bethesda doesn’t put a limit on what area you need to go to first. You as a player are open to go anywhere in the map, even if a quest is in a main city there is still something to do in a random cave somewhere. There is no time limit to this map like a call of duty map that just puts u back into the lobby once the time limit has been reach or maximum kills have been achieved. Having an open environment also means random searching of loot, this is one biggest incentive to go explore. Finding treasure such as gold, ingredients and new armor gives a sense of accomplishment because you are bettering your character and making it stronger, as well giving the player a lot of interactivity. The added physics to the game with this interactivity also provides a sense of realism. One can interact, pick up kill, throw most of the items in the environment, as well as talk to most of the NPC’s in the game. This provides the player with feedback and consistency in the environment. One thing that goes well with the environment and really engages a player is the sound. From the footsteps in the snow, to the dragon yell from far away, each sound is carefully crafted to make sense with the environment, the soundtrack is amazingly crafted as well. These sounds create an auditory immersion and keep the player engaged. All this provides an unbroken presentation of the world, meaning there isn’t a loading screen that is put in between the map. A player can’t feel immersed if you are walking around and suddenly the mountain needs to be loaded. The only parts in Skyrim that fail to do this is when entering a big town, those aren’t pre-loaded and sometimes can take a second to load. This sometimes s can ruin a sense of immersion.
To keep the player from reminding them that they are playing a video game, Skyrim keeps the HUD very simple and minimalistic, as well as keeping the item tabs very simple. For the HUD there is a small bar at the top that indicates where one is going and that is it. A health bar and mana bar show up once the player engages in a battle though. This provides a spatial presence, with Skyrim’s minimalistic HUD approach the player favors the game world as to where they are because there isn’t a sense of distraction. The lack of incongruous visual cues makes one forget that this one is playing a video game. Another factor to consider is the point of view as plays a big factor into spatial presence, Skyrim offers to type of point of views, first person and third person. First person provides a whole new level of immersion as oppose to third person. When playing in first person view there is a sense of you being the character rather than controlling a character in third person. There is something more immersive of one swinging an axe in one hand and throwing a spell with another and seeing the hands throw it rather than seeing the character throw it.
Overall, I believe Bethesda did a great job in creating an immersive game, they crafted a beautiful world to explore with beautiful sounds that go with the theme and the environment. Skyrim has an interesting interactive storyline, an open cognitively demanding environment, an unbroken presentation in the world and has a minimalistic HUD to create an immersive game. Skyrim is game people still often play because of how Bethesda created it, the option to add mods to the game have also added more options of immersion. Such as mods to make the environment more realistic. Skyrim is a well-crafted game that is immersive to many players.