Bethesda's Todd Howard has revealed the shocking secret behind the presence of Morrowind and Cyrodiil in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
Not long after Skyrim was released, an intrepid virtual explorer made a surprising discovery: the game contains not just the Tamrielic province of Skyrim but also Cyrodiil, the setting for the previous Elder Scrolls game Oblivion, and the Dunmer land of Morrowind, where the third Elder Scrolls game took place. What gives?
Not much, as it turns out. Speaking to Kotaku at DICE last week, Todd Howard explained that the extended land masses were included with the game simply because they're supposed to be there, and at one point they were going to be visible.
"The reason they are there - and I will not say if we are or are not using them in the future - is when we first built the landmass for Skyrim we knew we were going to have these tall mountains," he explained. "And what can you see? We have views early in the project where you can see into the [neighboring] province from the other game. We needed to have something [there]."
"It's not high detail. If you walk there, from a distance it's... yeah, the stuff is there. And the thinking is, maybe we'll use it one day, but our larger worry was, I'm going to climb up on top of a mountain and look that way. What will I be able to see there?" he continued. "We try to cover all those angles as much as we can."
Window dressing, in other words, like the gifts under department store Christmas trees, gloriously wrapped but empty inside. Which isn't terribly surprising, given the rather oddball way distance is scaled in the Elder Scrolls games, but a bit of a letdown nonetheless. Of course, Howard's refusal to definitively rule out ever using the extra terrain will no doubt be seen by some as effective confirmation that something is in the works, so don't give up on those crazy conspiracy theories just yet!