Oblivion strayed away from Morrowind's weirdness in favor of the mundane, says Bethesda, and it wants to get back to the weird for Skyrim.
It's been years since I tried playing Morrowind, but I still remember the moment I saw my first silt strider. It was that moment that I first felt that this game's world had something to offer beyond stereotypical "high fantasy." Comparatively, Oblivion started you off in Standard Medieval City #47, and while many enjoyed it nonetheless, its levels of bizarritude were on the lower end of the scale.
Speaking with OXM UK, Bethesda boss Todd Howard said that the studio wanted Skyrim to return more to the sense of uniqueness that permeated the third game in the Elder Scrolls series:
"With Oblivion, we're dealing with the capital province, and we wanted to get back to the more classic Arena and Daggerfall feel of a fantasy world that felt more refined and welcoming. A place that you instantly understood. But in that, we sacrificed some of what made Morrowind special; the wonder of discovery."
It wouldn't be super-duper-totally weird, said Howard, but rather a balance of the two. "[Bethesda is] trying to bring some of that back and walk the line between Morrowind and Oblivion. Where it's at first familiar looking, but has its own unique culture and spin on it."
As long as the world has its own unique identity, I don't think anyone can really complain about it being a bit more accessible.
So ... is this a yes on the tentacle bear issue, Bethesda? Any fantasy land can have something mundane like a bear killing woolly mammoths, but a tentacle bear? That's something you just won't find anywhere! Well, maybe Japan.