Posted by Rybicki on Bethesda
There’s a lot going on in a game as vast and epic as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Unforgettable characters, novel quest lines, striking environments – Skyrim pumps out a seemingly never-ending supply of memorable moments. It’s unlikely two players will experience all the jaw-dropping moments from the same places in the world (which in itself makes the game pretty memorable), but some moments are likely to stick firm in the memories of most travelers to Skyrim.
With Skyrim Special Edition releasing on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC on October 28, now’s a great time to look back at seven that are particularly unforgettable. And for those who played Skyrim when it originally came out, these memories will be even more vivid thanks to the game’s many enhancements. “We couldn’t wait to take the technology we developed in recent years and see what we could accomplish with a fresh perspective,” says Andrew Scharf, Lead Producer on Skyrim Special Edition. “The volumetric lighting is one of the things that you just can’t un-see. It adds a lot of drama to our environments. Once we saw it working in Fallout, I immediately wanted to see that technology being used to help make Skyrim even more beautiful.”
(Warning: some small spoilers ahead!)
Nothing quite prepares you for the rush of your first time taking down a dragon. That final scream, the thudding crash to earth, the flashy disintegration into precious (and heavy!) scales and bones – and the revelation that you and the dragon are kin (or perhaps kiin), as you absorb its soul. If you questioned whether you were a mighty warrior before, let there be no more doubt. You now know you’re a Dragonborn – a hero gifted with the prophesized power to save Skyrim. Of course, you had lots of help this time; next time might be a bit more challenging.
For Andrew Scharf, his most memorable dragon takedown was a different first. “To this day, probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done in a game is the first time I took down a dragon while in werewolf form,” he says. “I remember afterward, putting down the controller and thinking, I had no idea I could do that!”
Two Words: Frost Troll
Shortly after that first dragon battle, you’re summoned to visit the Greybeards in High Hrothgar. There’s just one problem – as you climb the steps to the Throat of the World, you will encounter a huge, white, furry problem: A frost troll is wandering that path, and he is not especially happy to see you. “Our speed runners had a hard time trying to find a way around the Frost Troll,” Scharf says. “His infamy essentially turned him into a mini boss-battle.”
If you’ve spent some time exploring and leveling up, he may not be much of a hassle for you. But for many of us, that first encounter proved terrifyingly memorable, as we discovered that there are plenty of beasts in Skyrim who out-level us. By a lot.
Fus Ro Da-aaaah!
Once you finally get past the beast, you get to visit with the Greybeards and learn some words of the Thu’um that are your birthright as Dragonborn. These powerful shouts will quickly become indispensable, and after some teaching and some questing you learn perhaps the most famous shout of all: Unrelenting Force, better known by the three words that unleash its full power – “Fus Ro Dah!” You’ll find many uses for this powerful push, but the most memorable is its effect on enemies who make the mistake of standing between you and a long drop. A quick shout, and your enemies instantly become airborne.
Speaking of airborne, it’s impossible to forget one’s initial encounter with the towering giants that wander Skyrim. They’re memorable for their sheer size, to be sure – few creatures in previous Elder Scrolls games match their height. And they’re memorable for the fact that they herd mammoths like little lambs. But most memorable is what’s likely to happen the first time you get too close to one: a long and painful sightseeing trip high above the fields, courtesy of a swift wallop from a giant’s club. “What better way of teaching the player not to provoke a Giant!” Scharf says.
Giants and mammoths aren’t the only creatures you’ll see interacting in Skyrim. The rich game world is populated by loads of different beasts that each have their own motivations. As a result, you’ll see all kinds of unscripted encounters in the course of your explorations. There’s nothing quite like the first time you stumble upon a pair of wolves hunting deer in the wild…or catch a Spriggan battling with a Hagraven. You can choose to participate if you’re feeling brave, but if you hang back chances are you’ll snag some free loot.
The province of Skyrim is huge, with more than enough places to explore on the surface. Perhaps that’s why it’s so delightfully shocking to discover that the land also hides a vast area below its surface: Blackreach. This enormous cavern holds the ancient ruins of an entire city – not to mention hordes of Falmer, as well as rare plants and minerals. There’s a moment when you realize just how incredibly huge this place is, how much there is to explore down here. That’s a moment that’s hard to forget.
As you progress in your training as Dragonborn, the Greybeards will repeatedly make reference to Paarthurnax, the leader of their order. This mysterious character lives atop the mountain that houses High Hrothgar, guiding the Greybeards and offering instruction to only the worthiest students. Visiting his mountaintop abode for the first time is striking in itself, as it offers a jaw-dropping view of pretty much all of Skyrim. But even more striking is meeting Paarthurnax himself, learning of his history and discovering why he lives in such seclusion. We’re not about to spoil it for those of you who have yet to play the game, but we will say this: It’s unquestionably one of the game’s most memorable moments.
If you’ve already played Skyrim, be sure to share your experiences with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, using the hashtag #SkyrimMemories. We’ll share our favorites, and we’ll also bring one of your memories to life in a special animated feature!