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What's behind Skyrim's invisible walls? All of Tamriel, apparently

Just how much of The Elder Scrolls' world of Tamriel is built into the code for Skyrim? All of it, it seems. Play the game long enough and you're bound to venture to the edge of the game's map – but rules are there to be broken, and console hacks are just a more advanced school of magic (just ask our pal Tyler Wilde). So what would happen if you were to, say, turn off the PC version's clipping and stab eastward? Oh, you'd only have all of Tamriel to explore.

Above: The furthest reaches of Skyrim, unless you know how to open the console

Finland's Jesse (via Game Informer) has posted a series of images recounting his adventures beyond the borders of Skyrim, showing the wide-open road past Stendarr's Beacon and into the province of Morrowind. “There are still trees and grass, despite no one being able to go here,” explains Jesse; “Gradually the foliage thins, and the textures become poor, but... there’s quite a long stretch between the gate and the texture fading.” Terrain remains beyond this point, enabling viewing of a rather sparse Vvardenfell and Red Mountain.

The game's terrain also includes recognizable recreations of signature areas from Oblivion, such as the island housing the Imperial City.

Above: The location of the Imperial City in Oblivion (left) and Skyrim (right)

So what's all this extra terrain doing in the game? The most obvious – and likely correct – answer is that it's simply for the purposes of ensuring there's always something to see on the horizon, or dimly-visible under the map's clouded regions. However, if you'd rather believe Bethesda's built whole other landmasses into the title to be populated with DLC content later down the line, we're certainly not going to stop you.

Maybe one day, you'll be free to wander a fully-populated Morrowind – where the Dragonborn returned centuries ago, but they called him the Nerevarine and he didn't need fast-travel to get the damn job done.

28 comments

  • david-hollinger-iii - January 17, 2012 11:54 a.m.

    I'd love to see Arena or daggerfall remade using the skyrim engine - only problem: Arena and daggerfall were much larger than current elderscrolls games (Daggerfall has 15000+ cities, towns, dungeons, etc)
  • Pnutbutrskippy - November 28, 2011 7:09 a.m.

    this is pretty cool. there were mods done for oblivion that added other regions to the map that were outside of the games original borders, but they were all fan made. maybe this is bethesda's way of helping modders by already including land masses for extra land mods to make use of! it would be incredible (and insanely long to walk across) to have all of tamriel to explore.
  • ThatFanInThePeacoat - November 27, 2011 11:46 a.m.

    Isn't Morrowind destroyed at the time of Skyrim in TES history? Are there a bunch of craters there, or a giant volcano or whatever it was that supposedly destroys it?
  • Mezolitik - November 26, 2011 2:21 a.m.

    I love things like this. Bethesda always seems to hide interesting things under the map, or in the sky, or something. Like the NPC trap under the school in Fallout 3 or the developer rooms in Oblivion. Though, why build a mod to play in Cyrodiil when you could just load up Oblivion? Seems like a waste of effort, somehow.
  • nemesisuprising - November 26, 2011 9:16 a.m.

    probably because it went through a major civil war that ended horribly for the empire, the fact that its 200 years in future, and we want to kill the adoring fan with dragon shout...lawl
  • spoony_bard - December 12, 2011 7:03 a.m.

    There's actually an easter egg in Skyrim about the Fan. You find a journal somewhere (can't remember where) that hints that the Fan was actually a member of the Dark Brotherhood tasked with killing the Arena Champion.
  • Fox_Mulder - November 25, 2011 4:47 p.m.

    I want the final game to be all of the provinces compiled into a complete Tamriel. It would take them over 10 years, but that game would be longer than most MMOs (probably). The Elder Scrolls XX: Tamriel Also: what the hell happened to the Imperial City???? I guess Mehrunes won after all...... :(
  • david-hollinger-iii - January 17, 2012 11:51 a.m.

    Try downloading TES: Arena. Granted it's from 1994, so the graphics and controls don't compare to Oblivion or Skyrim, but it is the ONLY Elder Scrolls game that allows you to travel the entire expanse of tamriel
  • pr0tostar - November 25, 2011 1:25 p.m.

    This looks to me like a really intuitive means of attention to detail. Imagine you want to build a scale model of the Empire State building to show off its relative stature. This is like building placholder property around it to indicate what size it should be, and where it's located. As the previous provinces have been realized, they were landscaped as a real-time reference for the developers to scape Skyrim into the world. I highly doubt this means expansive DLC, but we all know it's an open invitation to modders. Jesse is like the Leaf Erikson of Skyrim!
  • joerevs300 - November 25, 2011 4:53 a.m.

    All I can say is WOW...this is really the most incredible game I have ever played in my 25+ years of playing video games (all the way back to when I was 6-7 playing the Atari 2600!!!). One thing hit me last night, the thing that always frustrated the hell out of me with FF games is having to backtrack all the way out of a 6 or 7 level dungeon to get back to the main world. Skyrim seems to have it built in EVERY dungeon I've been in to have a "shortcut" which opens after you defeat the main baddy to get back to the entrance quickly. Just a little touch like that goes a HUGE way for someone like me, who's never played a Elder Scrolls game before to be a believer. If there is DLC for this game, I'm incredibly excited and will be a first day buyer of it. And it sure looks like, from this, there will be some.
  • lazer59882 - November 24, 2011 11:08 p.m.

    "but they called him the Nerevarine and he didn't need fast-travel to get the damn job done." THIS. ...but they also gave him a crapload of spells to get around, which eventually became just like fast travel.
  • ThisIsMyFuckingThirdAccount - November 25, 2011 7:26 a.m.

    They still felt earned. The spells never seemed cheap to me. Fast travel makes me feel dirty.
  • Tom_Goulter - November 25, 2011 1:50 p.m.

    Sure, but the day a good joke ends in the words "Propylon index," the world will have passed a terrible watershed.
  • BrimstonHalo - November 24, 2011 7:30 p.m.

    Almost done with oblivion.....must.....finish.......it..............first...........
  • rabidpotatochip - November 25, 2011 6:28 a.m.

    You're never done with Oblivion. Every time you think you are, someone puts out another mod and you have to try it. =p
  • Fox_Mulder - November 25, 2011 4:49 p.m.

    Ohh God that's why I'm glad and sad at the same time I got neither for PC. If I had, I would get even LESS done than I do now.........
  • Crabhand - November 24, 2011 5:54 p.m.

    I would fully support an addon or mod that populated and fleshed out other regions beyond Skyrim. Although I don't know how much of Marrowind would be worth exploring what with the destruction of Vvardenfel. What, nobody else read the supplementary material?
  • HeavyTank - November 25, 2011 12:30 a.m.

    Well, there's already a project underway called Tamriel Rebuilt, they've created lots of extra maps, including Elsweyr for Oblivion...
  • Gene - November 25, 2011 1:33 a.m.

    I can't help but think I'd prefer this to a whole new Elder Scrolls game. The Skyrim engine seems powerful enough to last for several more years, so I say flesh out what we've already got. I'm actually a big fan of DLC in principle - it's just that most of it is crap. Bad DLC: Prince of Persia: Epilogue; the Assassin's Creed II DLC. Good DLC: Bioshock 2's Minerva's Den.
  • Dabaws1 - November 24, 2011 5:44 p.m.

    I read somewhere there'd be two large mods for skyrim? Morrowind and cyrodill expansions anyone :D

Showing 1-20 of 28 comments

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