Monday brought reports that a printed map pulled from the Russian Collector's Edition of Bethesda's upcoming The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim RPG was scanned and published online by members of a Russian fan forum. There wasn't any question in regards to its authenticity, as the scan itself was huge and featured numerous folds as if pulled from a game box.
Turns out that the map wasn't exactly "leaked," but rather handed out to attendees of the Igromir gaming show in Moscow. Either way, the virtual landscape looks massive enough to rival an MMORPG (ok, that's an exaggeration), and the map even reveals the nine major cities as previously reported, defined by their own coat of arms.
Now it seems that the Skyrim manual for the Xbox 360 version has been obtained, photographed and uploaded to imgur. There are 38 images in all covering details like cooking, the items menu, increasing skills and leveling up, the main game screen broken down into ten components, skills, traveling, quests, bartering, sneaking, pickpocketing and lockpicking, crime and punishment, and more.
Unfortunately, because the manual was photographed instead of scanned, some of the text is blurry, making the details hard to read. Still, there's plenty to read and in-game imagery to drool over until the game lands on store shelves next month.
Was this a leak? Look at it this way: what better way to create buzz over your product than to "accidentally" release in-game footage, prototypes or other materials? The appearance of a map and a manual back-to-back just doesn't seem coincidental.
Bethesda is set to launch The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in exactly one month, on November 11, for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC.