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Anyone who’s come into contact with the Yogscast knows that they are a humorous, and opinionated, bunch. With The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim coming out in 10 days, Simon and Lewis have finally been allowed to give their verdict on the game play that was previewed 9 months ago. In their words, “After everyone in the Fucking world has already seen it!”

To be honest, I prefer to listen to their voices over the official ones any day. The comments of fellow players mean far more to me than those made by people who are trying to sell me something. Though, seeing as I’ve already pre-ordered it, their orchestrated sales patter apparently works on me.

However! I have one discrepancy with the wisdom of Simon & Lewis. The font choice of the User Interface (UI). I believe it is Simon who has the biggest issues with the design choice, as seen – or heard –  in their Skyrim Teaser Trailer Part 2:

Having never played an Elder Scrolls before, I have no problem with the font of the UI not seeming to be ‘in keeping’ with the setting. The contemporary interface is becoming something of a trend amongst games that borrow heavily from an historical period. I present to you, Assassins Creed:

Courtesy of Randal Crock, of randalcrock.net

Ubisoft clearly haven’t used a 15th century font. Imaging trying to read everything in Schwabacher! It just wouldn’t work, only serving to detract from the most important part of any menu interface; the information. What would you rather read in the heat of battle, a nice typeface with generous tracking and an exaggerated X-height, or something that most likely would resemble Papyrus? I know which I’d prefer.

Who’s to say that it’s an incorrect font choice?

Example of the Skyrim UI font (top) and the dragon font (bottom).

It maybe that, in this universe, the Norse people have a nice legible Roman face, because the dragons have been in hiding for so long that their calligraphic characters have been lost to the pages of time?

Personally, I think the choice has been made so that it’s easily ignorable. The lack of serifs and generous spacing allow for our eyes to remain focused on what ever scaly beast is attempting to remove our head, and absorb the secondary information all the same. Their choice to leave it white throughout the trailer only furthers my suspicions.They’ve not attempted to include a context specific contrast, meaning that you’ll barley be able to read it against the snow or pale sky. It’s does however, take over a large amount of the screen when not used in a menu, but reduced leading would have made the continuously appearing status updates invasive. We also have to remember that there may have been restrictions on what they were allowed to choose. While being an 18+ game, due to all the gore and nasty stuff, it’s probably required to have a 3+ reading level.

The worst part of all this is that I’m still not sure what font they’ve used. Condensed… something! Help and insights would be appreciated.

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