Ah, the wait is finally over. The Elder Scrolls 6 (opens in new tab) is here at last, and a full six months before Starfield to boot. All my favorites are here: The Master Chief John 117, An immortal destruction golem powered by The Duke (opens in new tab), the Accuracy International Arctic Warfare Magnum, English post-punk legend and Sisters of Mercy frontman Andrew Eldritch for some reason. I may have gotten the wrong Elder Scrolls 6.
Coming courtesy of Nexus modder stupidcatgirl (opens in new tab), "The Elder Scrolls 6" presents a bold vision of the long-awaited open world RPG that's basically just Morrowind but like, really messed up and stuff. Stupidcatgirl's previous Morrowwind mods include Morrowind 2 (opens in new tab), the beloved sequel to Morrowind, as well as Morrowind 666 (opens in new tab), which seems to be Morrowind in hell, and you can see elements of those projects in The Elder Scrolls 6.
I uninstalled the mod that gets rid of Vvardenfell entirely (opens in new tab) and loaded back into source port OpenMW to try The Elder Scrolls 6 with my lowbie Breton mage and his spiffy Colovian Fur Helm. On first exiting the Balmora Mage's Guild, I found myself trapped in some world geometry. That's ok, party foul on my end. I reloaded and left via the top door this time, exiting into the new, Xbox-themed utopia of Dwemora.
Microsoft stormtroopers patrol the streets, neon signs advertise Xbox and Game Pass, and a giant black-and-green Numidium with a massive Duke replacing the Heart of Lorkhan rises out of the center of town. Honestly, Sony should use this as an exhibit in their continued sparring with Microsoft in the EU over the ActiBlizz deal—that seems to be the corporate level of discourse (opens in new tab) we've settled on for this thing, anyway.
One thing I'd really like to shout out is stupidcatgirl's enshrining of great classic RPGs here. There's a big ole' Black Isle Studios billboard in Dwemora, and amidst the absolute cacophony of the mod's custom soundtrack I detected the journal update sound effects from Planescape: Torment and Vampire colon The Masquerade em dash Bloodlines (opens in new tab). Cue Leo Decaprio pointing at the screen, I'm easy to please.
I took the Oblivion Gate down to everyone's favorite metaphysical realm of eternal torment and discovered what felt like a kind of crappy version of a Planescape: Torment area? Highlights include a jock-y, meme Chad-ified immortal Caius Cosades in full Daedric armor, a "Hall of Sinners" filled with nude NPCs parroting what seem to be actual negative user reviews for Morrowind, and a library of Hermaeus Mora with books poking fun at characters ranging from Elder Scrolls YouTuber Micky D (opens in new tab) to Deadwood showrunner David Milch.
I really loved Sheogorath's representation as an "lol random" early aughts character, but was subsequently murdered by his no-nonsense alter ego, Jyggalag, here represented by a giant man wearing modded-in Sauron armor.
At this point I was knocked all the way back to the Balmora Mage's Guild, so I turned on cheats and just tooled around. I had to painstakingly empty my inventory after accidentally hitting "take all" on thousands of pounds of real-world firearms and rooting myself in place with encumbrance. Dwemora and Oblivion were the highlights for me, though I appreciated stupidcatgirl's nuanced and culturally sensitive portrayal of England, complete with the aforementioned Eldritch and a place called "Greggs" that they apparently really like over there?
Honestly, there's just not enough space or time to document all the shitposts in here and that's a beautiful thing to me. I don't know if I've put this much effort into anything in my life, let alone committed to a bit this hard. Morrowind modding is truly a strange and wonderful rabbit hole filled with everything from genuine stabs at content expansion and revitalization (opens in new tab) to, well, McDonalds (opens in new tab). It may not be the actual Elder Scrolls 6, but I doubt The Elder Scrolls 6 will have anything close to the baffling, inscrutable, outsider art appeal of The Elder Scrolls 6.