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Plugged In

Kinect support coming to ‘Skyrim’

Plugged In

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The winner of more Game of the Year awards than you can count, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim isn't exactly a title that causes you to shout at your TV.

But by the end of the month, you'll have that option.

Publisher Bethesda has announced plans to add Kinect voice support to the game as a free download, which will let fans practice their dragon shouts -- and do a fair bit more.

While the ability to shout things like "Fus Ro Dah!" at the game and (ideally) have it respond is cool, this is more than just a gimmicky add-on. Bethesda has also added functionality that could make this popular game even more likeable.

"The Kinect for Xbox 360 integration offers voice commands throughout the game including Hotkey Equipping, Follower Commands, and all Menus (Items, Magic, Map, Barter, Container, Favorites, and Skills)," the company said in a blog post. "With Voice Commands, quickly create and load saves during gameplay and access menus and inventories. Skyrim's Kinect for Xbox 360 Support also adds new functionality including special map functions, additional hotkey options, and the ability to sort inventory items by name, weight, and value."

That quick save and load functionality is something that doesn't otherwise exist on consoles. And even PC players can't custom sort their items.

Bethesda says it will unveil the full list of supported voice commands in the coming weeks. It also hinted that expansion packs are right around the corner.

"We've got more Skyrim news coming," the company said. "Bethesda Game Studios has been hard at work on creating the first set of game add-ons that will be exclusive to the Xbox 360. This additional content will add new quests, locations, features, and much more."

Kinect support for Skyrim was born out of a "game jam" the company hosted for its developers once the game was completed last year. Game makers were given a week to do whatever they wanted and put it in the game. Some focused on aesthetic aspects of the game. Some added new weapons or monsters. Others included "kill cams." But programmer Ricardo Gonzalez came up with the idea to include voice commands. Bethesda liked it so much, it fast-tracked the concept.

It's a feature fans of the game are likely to embrace. Just be careful what you shout -- and you might also want to let loved ones know before you start playing, so they don't think you've spontaneously started to speak in tongues.

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