Transforming into a werewolf in Skyrim is great. Transform into a huge and incredibly powerful monster. You run at four incredible speeds. You are strong enough to intimidate giants with a single swipe of their claws. Your howl is so terrifying that even monsters will turn around and run away. The ability to become a werewolf is one of the most memorable features of Skyrim.
But it almost wasn’t. The Skyrim wolf was originally a normal human body with a dog’s head on it. This is.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Skyrim, one of Skyrim’s character artists, Jonah Loeb, to nine former Bethesda developers who worked on Skyrim. In an hour-long video,You are’s(e) Finally awakeThey discuss a number of topics around the development of the popular RPG, including a section devoted to the original, less impressive concept of a wolf, which was just using a normal character model but banging a dog’s head on it.
“It was always so funny that people would be with dog heads and completely normal bodies,” says Nate Burkebelle, an international artist, in the video. “And everyone would be afraid of them. Meanwhile, you’ve got drugged cats hanging around town and everyone’s fine with them.”
“It was awful,” said Skyrim character artist Dennis Mejilones, who wanted to turn the werewolf into a “big fantasy of power” for players. His ideas were met with great resistance from other developers in the Skyrim team. “It was fear,” he says, “that he’s going to break a lot of nonsense.” “And I broke some things.”
Take the road the werewolf runs at great speeds on all fours. It moved very quickly as it outpaced the game’s ability to load into the world and scenery, which was a huge problem. Mejilones says animator, Jeremy Bryant, came up with a neat trick using a change in the player’s camera zoom to make it a look Like a werewolf being faster than it actually is to avoid breaking the game.
While not all team members were happy with having to find ways to make the werewolf work in Skyrim, Mejilones says he had one important hero in his corner: Todd Howard.
“I remember the first time we showed it to Todd as a proof of concept, and he was saying, ‘That’s really cool,’” says Mejilones. “And people were like, ‘But–‘ and he was like, ‘No, that’s happening.'” Very long, dog head. Hello werewolf.
You can take a look at the werewolf chapter of “You’re Finally Awake” here on youtube.