We’ve said time and time again that the Skyrim modding scene has some of the most passionate creators in the world. Here is another story of how one man took his creative passion, made an incredibly popular Skyrim mod, and is now taking that mod and turning it into his very own standalone game.
To explain this story best, we should start at the beginning, with the mod that started it all.
Skyrim The Forgotten City, The First Mod to Win a National Writers’ Guild Award
Unlike most mods, which usually add something or modify existing in-game content, The Forgotten City was built as an expansion. It added an entirely new story to Skyrim, new gameplay content, and new areas to explore.
Despite the guy behind it now working on a standalone version, the mod is still readily available on Skyrim Nexus.
The mod, created by Nick Pearce, essentially adds 6-8 hours of gameplay content within the Skyrim universe.
The mod focuses on a murder mystery story set in an underground city. Players have to use their wits and unique ability to travel through time to solve the murder. Players can find clues throughout the city, uncover secrets, and interrogate suspects to slowly figure out the story.
Skyrim The Forgotten City has multiple endings, professional voice acting, and an original orchestral soundtrack.
What’s most impressive about this all is that Nick Pearce received a National Writers’ Guild Award for the story in Skyrim the Forgotten City. Everybody that plays it loves it, so it’s exciting to see that he’s making his own standalone game for it.
Looking at it now, it’s clear that Nick Pearce isn’t just a mod creator. He’s a storyteller. Pearce simply used a Skyrim mod as a medium to tell his story. And now that the mod received success, he’s taking it into his own hands to craft his own version.
Despite the standalone version holding the same story, I think that creating The Forgotten City into its own game with its own boundaries and rules will help to amplify the storytelling experience.
Pearce Says Turning Your Mod Into A Game Isn’t an Easy Experience
Nick Pearce recently spoke to Kotaku about how turning The Forgotten City into its own game has been quite the challenge.
It first started with getting approval from Bethesda. Despite The Forgotten City story being Pearce’s own intellectual property, because Pearce created it within Skyrim as a mod, there were some issues that could mean that Pearce could potentially infringe on Bethesda’s own copyrighted content.
Thankfully, Bethesda was very understanding about the whole thing and Pearce has made sure that everything he is using for his own game is completely unrelated to Skyrim or The Elder Scrolls in any way.
I think that this is a good thing – it means that with essentially zero relation to Skyrim at all, The Forgotten City will stand on its own as a unique storytelling experience that offers more immersion than the mod.
Creating your own game isn’t easy, of course. Pearce had to put down a lot of his own money. Pearce is also working full time on the game.
Thankfully, Pearce managed to receive a grant from Film Victoria’s panel, which gave him the fuel to hire a programmer.
Nick Pearce talked briefly about how he decided to opt for the Unreal Engine. He also mentioned how using marketplace assets helped him to piece together his environment and get a better visual scope on how the game would play out, without wasting precious time on building assets from scratch.
There has been a lot of controversy recently about how PUBG Corp. has been using store-bought assets in their own game.
From the gamer’s perspective, you feel sort of ripped off. You’ve paid this company to provide you a game and you later find out that many of the assets were just taken from others.
Ultimately, though, using assets helps developers to work on their game faster. Without the assets, PUBG would not have launched so soon and now that the team has the resources, they can slowly remodel things from scratch.
In the case of The Forgotten City, it looks as if Pearce will only be using assets for development. Before the game goes live, the assets will be rebuilt from scratch.
Here’s Why The Forgotten City Even Got To This Point
I mentioned earlier how Nick Pearce was more of a storyteller than a mod creator. It was the story that helped The Forgotten City get so much attention in the first place, and it will be the story that draws new people in when it launches as a standalone game.
Many people have mentioned how The Forgotten City brought them to tears or had them on the edge of their seat. It’s a storytelling experience that’s surely up there amongst the greats. Games like The Last of Us, Detroit: Become Human, Life Is Strange, and Telltale’s The Walking Dead come to mind.
I think that it’s great that storytellers can now use video games as a captivating storytelling experience. Video games are a powerful medium that just can’t be matched in terms of immersion.
Adding player control and multiple choices can empower the story even further and it can add more meaning behind twists and turns, especially if the player ends up being responsible.
If you’re looking for a great video game storytelling experience, I’d highly suggest keeping an eye out for The Forgotten City.
There isn’t a definite release date for The Forgotten City yet, but the Steam store page currently has 2019 listed as its release window. You can find it here. When it goes on sale, it’ll probably be priced at around $20.
If you don’t want to wait for the launch of the standalone game or don’t want to spend money on it, you can always download the Skyrim mod from the Skyrim Nexus page.
Have you had the chance to play mod already? If so, what are your thoughts on it?