Skyrim horses were almost dropped because they were too much trouble to get working, according to the animator who was responsible for them.
Word of the near-miss equine tragedy was revealed in an hour-long documentary from Jonah Lobe (opens in new tab), who previously worked as a character artist on Skyrim. Lobe spoke to a number of his former Bethesda coworkers for the documentary, and one of them was animator Lianne Cruz, whose work on Skyrim included many of its quadrupedal creatures - including that troublesome horse.
In the documentary, Cruz remembers one particular meeting where game director Todd Howard made it clear that, if it was between horses and continuing work on the rest of the game, there was no question in his mind.
"I remember for a while the horse wasn't working out," Cruz said. "We were having so many troubles with it, trying to ride the horse. The horse sometimes was so fast that the world wouldn't load in time. I remember there was almost an ultimatum at a meeting, where Todd was like, 'we'll cut the horses if we need to. Because what's most important are the dragons, the exploration, and playing how you want.' He knew what the game was about. I thought that was really awesome, just to see that sort of high-level decision making."
Cruz also handled rigging, skinning, and implementation on other Skyrim four-legged friends and enemies such as wolves, skeevers, and dogs, the last of which was her personal favorite. Though as a dog person, she admits that assessment may be "very biased." The interview also sheds light on a camera trick Skyrim uses to make being a werewolf feel extra cool.
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