Behind Falskaar, a massive new Skyrim mod, and the 19-year-old who spent a year building it
WeloveSkyrimmods. A new, noteworthy one for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Falskaar, was released over the weekend, and it is quite a doozy. Falskaar adds almost 25 hours of content, a land mass a third the size of the original game, new characters, new voices, and dozens of quests. As impressive as it is, though, it’s nowhere near as impressive as the creative force behind it: Alexander J. Velicky, a 19-year-old gunning for a job with Bethesda with his first try at modding Skyrim.
“I organized everyone involved, but the voice actors themselves recorded all the dialogue and submitted it to me,” Velicky told me. Though over 100 people contributed in some way, including composing an original soundtrack, Velicky took their contributions and plugged them into Falskaar himself. “I had some people help me out with a few models and textures, someone wrote a book or two for me... But otherwise all content was implemented, written and developed by me.”
So how does a 19-year-old take the helm of a creative project of this size? Velicky wants a job. He graduated from high school over a year ago, and instead of finding a design school, he turned Bethesda’s Creation Kit into his classroom, spending 2,000 hours over the last year building Falskaar.
“[My dad] was incredibly supportive and allowed me to live here, paying for living expenses and charging no rent,” Velicky says. “I was able to not go to school and not have a day job. Meaning, more or less, that Falskaar was my day job.”
The mod is fully voice-acted by 29 voice actors playing 54 characters (Velicky held auditions), and the quality is much higher than most community-made content. “I'm still kind of shocked at some of the talent I got on the project... and every single one of them surpassed my expectations by leaps and bounds.”
A massive dungeon, “Watervine Chasm,” may be Falskaar’s crowning achievement. It took Velicky three weeks to build and players report it takes an hour or two to complete. The community response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Falskaar isn't perfect,” Velicky says. “I'm not an expert who's been crafting game experiences for the last 20 years, so I certainly still have a lot to learn, and I always will. I'm always looking to learn and improve, and Falskaar was a huge chance for me to do this.”
According to Velicky, Bethesda is aware that he’s out there, and he isn’t shy about putting his goals right out on the table. “The best way to show Bethesda Game Studios that I want a job there and should be hired is to create content that meets the standards of their incredible development team.”