Can You Fly in Skyrim? A Trailer Dissection

By Joseph Christ on March 10th, 2011 (36 comments)

It’s usually custom for there to be three meals in ones day. A breakfast, lunch, and dinner, possibly with some small snacks in-between. Or should I say was custom. Since the release of the Skyrim gameplay trailer I would categorize my custom as having 4-6 meals a day; the usual intake of food compounded with 1-3 doses of that marvelous trailer. I’m sure I’m not alone, and I’m also quite sure that throughout each subsequent play-through we all tried to fine one more hint of what might be in store for us on 11.11.11.

The pacing of the trailer is quick, but one can still find small glimpses of detail within the action. There is one detail however which is not so much shown as it is implied. Appearing at the beginning and at the very end of the trailer, it is subtle enough for us to use in making grand statements out of nothing more than a gut feeling, tempered in ignorance and fed a few moments of cinematic flair.

I think you can fly in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Not at the beginning, and probably not for a very long time in the game. But I’ll dare to say the evidence for such a thing exists…even if its form is as cryptic as they come.

The first hint comes at the very beginning of the trailer.  Our hero is being hunted by something airborne and frightening. The perspective remains in the first person throughout the entire ordeal, first running on the ground, then flying by air, the perspective never straying the entire time. One could dismiss this as simple cinematic finesse but I feel that it’s something more. The Elder Scroll’s games are partially defined by their emphasis at keeping the main characters viewpoint as primarily first person, and by switching back and forth between these two views during this action scene they are suggesting two things. First they are creating a relationship between the flying and running viewpoints, conveying that they are symbiotic, even conjoined in their nature. Secondly, since the entire gameplay trailer was taken  in-game they are showing that the Skyrim graphics engine is fully capable of rendering in-flight panoramas.

This second point is important since I would argue that the Gamebryo Engine as used in Oblivion simply wasn’t capable of such displays, and would have rendered far-away geography as flat, low-resolution tiles even if it happened to be directly underneath the player. In Oblivion’s, and even Fallout 3’s, case it would never have been able to sufficiently handle the job.

The second hint comes at the end of the trailer when the hero has defeated the dragon and we are shown him slowly taking in the soul of the creature. The camera pans over his shoulder to a great expanding vista behind him. A dragon is seen perched out in the distance. As the camera continues to pan upward, the dragon majestically takes flight into the sky. Is Bethesda creating a coriliation between the hero taking in the soul of the dragon and the creature taking flight in the background? It’s possible, and there is some reporting done by Game Informer that could back this up.  The dragonborn themselves (your character) are described as “a unique group of mortals, gifted by the gods with the same power as the dragons.” It’s explained that this power is harnessed through the use of shouts which act as extra abilities. You are able to get these powers through a lengthy quest and by the act of slaying dragons.

“Dragon shouts give the player the same overwhelming might that drives the resurgent dragon population, and the same source of power that launched the last line of emperors…Upon defeating a dragon, Skyrim’s hero absorbs the soul of the fallen creature, which fuels his ability to learn a new shout.”

Could it be possible that one of these shouts gives the dragonborn the ability to temporarily fly? The trailer seems to suggest so, but it still is nothing more than a suggestion; or perhaps only cinematic flair after all.  Needless to say, the idea of enhanced movement is not a foreign idea to Oblivion or Fallout, with fast-travel being the primary tool of speedy relocation. But flying would be the type of huge step we’ve been waiting for from the series and it would have the beneficial side effect of making Fast-Travel seem like a completely senescent affair. I dare say, who would look at a loading screen when they can fly?

Tags: RPG, Bethesda, Skyrim

Joseph Christ

Joseph Christ is the Reviews Editor and a Podcast Personality at 4Player. Specializing in reviews, editorials, drinking, and saying inappropriate things about gaming franchises that are beloved by millions, his satirical and sometimes edgy style offsets a more serious and penetrating substance lurking below the surface. He is also the host of the Cocktail Time Podcast. You'll follow his Twitter if you know what's good for you.

Comment!
  • Pokop 3 years, 9 months ago

    Here's hoping we get flight abilities in Skyrim. Also "Syrim" #errors

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  • s1yfox 3 years, 9 months ago

    oh my god I was thinking a long the same lines..i really hope we can: that would be simply amazing being a dragon cruising around in the sky...IM HYPED!!!

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  • SonicKitsune 3 years, 9 months ago

    I'd like to see some sort of flight in there, even if it's just levitation. Those flying pants were my only reason to wear pants in Morrowind.

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    • mydawghatesme 3 years, 9 months ago

      One of my favorite comments ever.

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      • Deluxlux 3 years, 9 months ago

        Agreed.

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  • AdjacentKitten 3 years, 9 months ago

    Oh, if there is a god, turn the main character into a dragon.

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  • incrediblehulk180 3 years, 9 months ago

    this article has made me even more excited i believe i will watch the trailer again to attempt to gather more clues now

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  • Rasmus 3 years, 9 months ago

    It is possible to fly on the pc version of oblivion with the use of mods, Bethsda could easily implent these scripts I think.

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  • Fratersh 3 years, 9 months ago

    In Morrowind and Daggerfall you could make levitation potions to fly anywhere you wish. In fact theres a mission in Solstheim that depends on you taking the potion to catch the dude who back stabbed you. So maybe finally this and maybe werewolves return ! They probably didn't put levitation potions in Oblivion because they didn't want the quality in the landscape to drop as you fly high above it.

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  • wolfchik1029 3 years, 9 months ago

    maybe the emperors were dragonborns as well? so the main character we play could possibly turn into a dragon too????

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    • Hegs94 3 years, 9 months ago

      Iirc the first emperor was a dragonborn. Though I may be wrong.

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  • Warpedpixel 3 years, 9 months ago

    I heard Brad talk about having similar abilities through enchanted items in Morrowind. Oh it would be amazing if this was true.

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  • Rendrak 3 years, 9 months ago

    I shit you not, I was quite literally depressed for a few days when I found out there would be no flight/levitation in Oblivion. I can't see why they wouldn't be able to put it in Skyrim (Their excuse for Oblivion was that the cities were in separate cells and they didn't want you flying over them) But spears aren't back and they removed mysticism so I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't put it in.

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  • Arxidus 3 years, 9 months ago

    Flying definately does seem like the next logical step this series would take.

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  • Emperor_freeze 3 years, 9 months ago

    While flying/levitating would be pretty freaking cool i doubt that you'll ever turn into a dragon (unless perhaps you're a mage) in game, but even then that's a tad absurd seeing as the dragons are supposed to be evil. I think it'll be more along the lines of getting some sort of high speed travel from one of the dragon shouts, and that the flying shown in the trailer was there to emphasize the "HOLY CRAP THERE'S A DRAGON CHASING ME!!" aspect of the chase.

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    • Neminos 3 years, 1 month ago

      The dragons will not be evil, they will have "free" will. Some will be evil, some will not.

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  • Okrag 3 years, 9 months ago

    The only reason you couldn't fly/levitate in Oblivion was because all the cities were instanced. Considering they already confirmed that this isn't the case in Skyrim it's pretty obvious that it will be in.

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  • Comradebearjew 3 years, 9 months ago

    I really doubt you will be able to Fly. But god do I hope so.

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  • Razlo TPD 3 years, 9 months ago

    It's certainly something to consider. The point that this post slightly tickles over but doesn't quite focus on is the part of the trailer where the Hero turns to the Dragon and unleashes his warcry (sounds like he's saying something along the lines of Mor-storss-chaa) I thought, again, may just be a bit of flair, a bit of heroism, for the trailer. To find out that this is how we are able to use our Dragon-born power is pretty cool. I enjoy 'Power Words' in certain fantasy fiction, so this is a plus for me. Hah, just when I thought Skyrim couldn't get any more 'pluses', it does.

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  • M3tro 3 years, 9 months ago

    On GameInformer, They do say that one of the shouts will be a summon dragon... Maybe you can actually ride them? instead of flying yourself? I find this to be more believable...

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    • Joseph Christ 3 years, 9 months ago

      Todd Howard has already stated that you will not be able to ride Dragons.

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  • jon2435 3 years, 9 months ago

    Hard to say. Flying as a dragon makes sense, as the hero uses their power more as the game's plot unfolds. I would assume that it would be only for flying. The brand new combat system has to be showcased and being a mega death dragon would get in the way. I say 'mega death dragon' cause that would be cool, but how they can do that I don't know. Yeah the engine can do it though.

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  • crashnburn753 3 years, 9 months ago

    If flying's a feature in the game, it'll need to be severely restrictive. For one, suppose your in a life or death situation battling an ogre, or what have you. Solution? Scream a few words and fly away, and all's well. Second, let's assume there's no limit to how long your flying can last. Sure, it'll make fast-travel obsolete, but let's face it, flying can only be exciting for so long without becoming a bore. Unless there's some other sequence that's converged with flying, such as flying harpies etc, than its function is limited. Much like how telekinesis was in Oblivion, I'm hoping that flying won't be just a novel feature. I'll leave you with the wise words of M'aiq: "Levitation is for fools. Why would we want to levitate? Once you are up high, there is nowhere to go but down."

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  • Aged Milk 3 years, 9 months ago

    Adding flight to Skyrim is a silly idea, who'd want that? It'd be like putting jetpacks in Killzone... oh wait...

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  • xDeniz 3 years, 9 months ago

    I'm sorry, but you are wrong. I have only one argument that would end this discussion. The combat in the air, or while you are flying would be terrible! Imagine a Warrior trying to catch you as you go up in the air... Horrible!

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    • Joseph Christ 3 years, 9 months ago

      What if you can't fight while you're flying? Your argument is slain!

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  • Dragonslayer! 3 years, 9 months ago

    Yes it would be amazing to fly and really hope they add this and of there new engine they have that they used to make skyrim I do believe that they can add a flying spell or flying shout that would be pretty epic even though they still have fast travel of course I probably would only use that like 5% of my time using that if YOU could just FLY there. I really can't wait for this game I've been only playing the elder scrolls series sense morrowwind had a few playthroughs on arena and daggerfall here and there. But I'm getting skyrim for my ps3 and guess what I'm going to bust a nut on it!!

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    • Dragonslayer 3 years, 9 months ago

      Oh and of course I've played Oblivion an only have like 300 hours of game play and still GOING up!! Haha and plus I own all the fallouts.

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  • jonathan 3 years, 8 months ago

    i saw the flying parts but did anyone else get the impression that in the begging after the guy stop running turns and looks at the dragon when he yells the screen flies past the dragon with a blue like glow anyone else think that might be him flying oh and i read one of the comments left by this guy s1yfox i don't think you become a dragon and fly like what this guy says

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  • Ryan 3 years, 4 months ago

    I wouldn't worry too much about flying. If they do make flying abilities or make dragon mounts that would be awesome. But either way it will happen once modders get a-hold of the game after its release.

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  • Jan 3 years, 4 months ago

    You can fly in morrowind even without dragon. I think morrowind is far better than oblivion

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    • Russ 3 years, 1 month ago

      I totally agree with this comment. In morrowind you could both fly, and even more entertaining (because you could go farther faster) was creating a jump spell (combining 1 second of max feather with 1 second of max jump IIRC), then you just cast a slowfall on your way down so you don't go splat. IMO jumping with superhuman abilities was the most fun part of the game. What's more fun that taking off like superman and having the landscape underneath you fly by incredibly fast? My hope is that these abilities are brought back to the game. I also didn't care for oblivion all that much. The argument about jumping ruining the combat because you could easily get away only applies in outdoor areas and could also be countered by making the jump spell very costly to cast - however in morrowind you could just cast recall and leave. Whats the big deal with being able to provide a player an easy way to escape? They still have to go back and face that enemy don't they?

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  • db9091 3 years, 3 months ago

    I agree that I liked Morrowind better than Oblivion, mostly due to Levitation. I was so powerful I could cast levitation potions and travel across the entire continent. I once was flying and decided to stop one night on top of an old ruin when I had these horrible dreams. When I woke up, I was a Vampire! The ability to fly, be a vampire, seek a way to cure it, yet really not wanting to cure it, was PRICELESS! A dragonborn with the ability to fly would make Skyrim pretty much the game of the new decade for me! I love Bethesda's open-ended gameplay.

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  • PuertoRicanGamer 3 years, 3 months ago

    no i dont think it suggest flying, still i would like to ride a dragon

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  • Resonace 3 years ago

    It's amazing when you read all these comments, and many more on various websites, that a game has yet to be made that focuses on dragon riding or just flying in general. I don't mean timed flight, or linear pathways: real flying, in an open enviroment with a winged beast. The demand for such a game is huge, so why has it not been developed? I must say, i'm dissapointed that this feature was not implimented in Skyrim.

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  • aber 2 years, 10 months ago

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DragonStrike_(video_game)

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