In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve never been a fan of video game strategy guides with the exception of accompanying certain Final Fantasy titles. They remove the element of discovery, and the urge to peek ahead at multiple spoilers is difficult to resist. That said, the Official Game Guide for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has changed my mind about strategy books, thanks to the man behind it (David Hodgson) and its ridiculous 656 page length.
Hodgson, who also authored the Fallout 3 guide, jokes that Bethesda said the Skyrim guide should be “five times the size.” On the Bethesda blog, he tosses out some numbers that are worthy of paying attention to. Numbers like 2,000 man-hours of work, 656 pages, 550,000 words, 150 maps, and over 1000 screenshots. The first 70 pages alone are dedicated to training, with detailed coverage of the races, archetypes, crafting, mapping, dungeons, combat, a bestiary… the list goes on and on. Packed within these first 70 pages is also tactical advice on using each of Skyrim’s 240+ perks.
It gets more tantalizing: The guide ships with an interactive online version with a malleable world map, and a map app for your iPad.
The guides co-author, Steve Stratton, spent four months exploring each of Skyrim’s 350 primary locations (Fallout 3 “only” had 115, by the way) and details everything – including collectibles, unique weapons, and traders — inside the book’s 200 page Atlas.
We could go on and on, but suffice to say this is one game guide we’ll be picking up so that we can fully appreciate (and find!) Skyrim’s massive world.