When we’re all running around slaying dragons in The Elder Scrolls V, we’ll be doing it as very different characters. That’s the case with most RPGs: your character will be very different to mine. In Skyrim, however, all characters will share a common ability: the Dragon Shout.
Game Informer (who seems to have taken up residence in Bethesda’s studios) has an in-depth article on this new ability. It’s three pages long, but you’re lazy and that’s why you read this website. Here’s the skinny: the Dragon Shout is an entirely new ability within the Elder Scrolls franchise, and it’s an ability that exists independently of all other character abilities.
Regardless of whether you play as a sneaky thief-type character, a fire wielding mage or a blood-spattered warrior, your character will be able to use the Dragon Shout ability. It is, however, more than a mere set of additional skills; your character’s capacity to harness the power forms an integral part of the game’s storyline and quests. In fact, a large portion of Bethesda’s development team have been beavering away to make this ability feel very much a part of the world that Skyrim presents to us; they have created an entirely new language (which can be heard being sung in the reveal trailer) complete with an alphabet.
As previously revealed, your character is a dragonborn and as such has access to similar powers that the dragons posses. This power is manifested as Dragon Shouts and your character will literally shout combinations of words in the ancient dragon language. As the game progresses, you’ll be able to learn more words, adding to your arsenal of Dragon Shouts. There will be a total of twenty shouts all made up of varying layers of words. Those words will need to be collected and they exist in numerous wall carvings scattered across the game world. Those ancient carvings, according to Skyrim lore, have been carved by the dragons themselves and will be made up of the symbols that Bethesda have developed to make this dragon language feel organic.
The neat thing is that the dragon language is intentionally functional; when your character issues a powerful Dragon Shout, the words that come out actually have meaning. What’s more, some of the creatures in Skyrim can speak dragon as well, so when they scream at you during battle, what they are saying can actually be translated. It seems that Bethesda has been extremely busy.
If all of this isn’t cool enough, then know that one of the Dragon Shout abilities will allow you to summon your own dragon to fight alongside you. Hell. Yeah.
Source: Game Informer
Last Updated: January 24, 2011