Bethesda speedrunner beats Skyrim in 2 hours

It turns out Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim can be completed in little over two hours; that is, provided you play video games for a living and have an insider's knowledge of every last short-cut and secret. As per its wrap-up tradition, Bethesda recently pit a rep from its quality assurance team against a member of its development staff for a one-on-one race through Skyrim's main campaign, resulting in a winning time of 2:16:10.

QA speedrunner Sam “I Am” Bernstein and Bethesda Game Studios developer Jeff “Live the Dream” Browne were chosen to compete in the in-house contest, reigniting a rivalry that began three years ago with Bernstein's win over Browne in a similar Fallout 3 event. As documented on Bethesda's blog, both challengers put up a heroic fight, but it was Bernstein who once again edged out Browne by a mere 20 seconds in the game's final moments to claim victory.

“If Fallout 3′s speed run was that close, the Skyrim contest was… well, I can’t think of something closer than that Michael Phelps race. But this one was crazier - crazy like the final minute of this year’s Michigan-Notre Dame game,” wrote a Bethesda rep.

Bernstein has been promised a pumpkin pie from Bethesda's Todd Howard for his efforts.

Above: Check out snapshots of this year's competition in Bethesda's slideshow

The studio emphasized Bernstein's winning time was not indicative of the game's actual length, and that a normal playthrough will take “many hours to complete for new players”. To put the achievement in perspective, it noted the 2:16:30 speedrun for Skyrim was over an hour longer than the winning times for both its Oblivion and Fallout 3 internal competitions.

Oct 14, 2011 




  • alec-curry - October 15, 2011 1:40 a.m.

    I've seen speedruns on games that have taken me 20 hours plus to complete last rougly 30minutes, so I'm pretty optimistic about the length of Skyrim, being a Bethesda title I can't see them adding loads of cutscenes either
  • TheZigMan - October 14, 2011 3:28 p.m.

    Its not like this is the first time hes played it. He has probly beat the game dozens of times just to try and practice. Thats how it worked with the oblivion speed runs.
  • Mezolitik - October 14, 2011 3:12 p.m.

    I refuse to believe you can complete FO3 in 75mins. It'd take me half an hour just to get to Megaton. I reckon the key is passing Three Dog's speech check to avoid visiting the Museum of Technology, but given that it would be nearly impossible to pass it on half an hour's play, they must've gone into the challenge with modded stats. Equally, I can't see anybody getting through Vault 87 at a low level. THEY'RE CHEATS.
  • RedhawkAce - October 14, 2011 3:18 p.m.

    Actually you never even have to go to three dog you can go straight to rivet city and you cut of precious time right there, and Vault 87 isn't that hard if you get there with the proper equipment like power armor which they teach you to use before that mission so all in all its possible.
  • Mezolitik - October 14, 2011 3:40 p.m.

    Yeah, you can also head to the Tranquillity Lane simulation immediately after leaving Vault 101, and the game continues as if you'd completed everything prior to that mission. The story is hella short, but still...75 minutes. You wouldn't have time for combat, so you'd be short on ammo and weapons. I'm still playing the cheat card ;)
  • R-ape - October 14, 2011 2:35 p.m.

    I'd be more impressed if he beat it in two hours and was new to the game itself. But with all the shortcuts and walkthroughs in tow running through his mind, I'm kind of underwhelmed here. I guess that's speedrunning for you, huh? :P
  • ThatFanInThePeacoat - October 14, 2011 1:02 p.m.

    Fallout 3 in an hour doesn't sound as impossible to me. Talking your way out of GNR and knowing the secret at the beginning of Von Braum's simulation cut out a lot of time.
  • ChrisCultista - October 14, 2011 10:23 a.m.

    Wait, he beat the game at level 1? Wut? Isn't there usually some boss that you need to kill? Some crazy badass boss?
  • tareq - October 14, 2011 10:09 a.m.

    Well yeah if you wanted to go through Oblivion without any side quests it could be done quite fast so I'm not surprised
  • Yaro - October 14, 2011 10:05 a.m.

    I would have loved to see this in the studio, with all the people, and side by side displays...the end must have been so thrilling. 20 Seconds? Dayum!

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