Everyone's excited for Skyblivion, but one dedicated dev has been working for years to go in the opposite direction: cramming Oblivion into a version of Morrowind's engine⁠—and they've got a good reason for it too

The big hotness in Elder Scrolls modding lately has been Skyblivion, a project to remake The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion with shiny new assets in Skyrim's Creation Engine. That's usually the direction these things move in: older game to newer tech base, but one developer who goes by cc9cii has been putting in hard work to go in the opposite direction: porting Oblivion and Fallouts 3 and New Vegas into the OpenMW engine for 2002's The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind.

That OpenMW distinction is key here: this isn't some kind of meme demake, but rather an attempt to port these games to a flexible, open source engine, with all the benefits that entails. Some of the improvements OpenMW has already brought to Morrowind include:

  • An exponential increase to the number of mods you can load at once.
  • Improved physics, AI, UI, and quality of life.
  • Fixes for persistent bugs from the original engine.
  • Improved compatibility across alternate operating systems like MacOS and Linux.

It's basically the way to play Morrowind these days, and cc9cii knows what they're doing: the dev is listed as a contributor on the OpenMW team page. Their primary concern seems to be preservation: while big hits from RPG juggernaut Bethesda aren't in any danger of becoming lost media or anything, we can already observe how third-party projects like Daggerfall Unity and OpenMW have facilitated more accessible, even enjoyable ways of playing Daggerfall and Morrowind.

That's still a long way off for Oblivion, Fallout 3, and New Vegas though, with cc9cii periodically uploading progress videos of Oblivion in Morrowind that showcase the reimplementing of basic features like Morrowind-style dialogue menus but with Oblivion's full voice overs or the host of more intricate animations and level geometry changes present in Oblivion.

Indeed, the main appeal right now is just seeing a funky, vaguely haunted version of Oblivion chopped and screwed with sounds and UI elements from Morrowind. The big winner in the long run will definitely be New Vegas though, which cc9cii has demoed a few times in OpenMW. As it stands, a careful latticework of fixes and mods like the Tick Fix and Anti-Crash are mandatory for enjoying Obsidian's 2010 classic, and it strikes me as the Bethesda Gamebryo engine project that would most benefit from a full retrofit.

This isn't the only project of its kind I've seen out there either, though cc9cii seems like the most active developer. Unfortunately, Xoreos, an open-source implementation of BioWare's legendary Aurora engine, seems to have been quiet for a few years now. Xoreos aimed to port much of BioWare's catalogue⁠—including Knights of the Old Republic and even Dragon Age: Origins⁠—to an open-source version of the tech powering its 2002 RPG, Neverwinter Nights.

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.