Skyrim almost had haunting system, modder adds it back in

Skyrim ghosts

My big hope for The Elder Scrolls VI: Elsweyr (I also hope that it's called that, and it's set in cat-people land Elsweyr) is that it's more systemic, more reactive and even more sandboxy than previous games in the series. Bethesda could start by re-introducing hauntings and NPC mourning, two features that, as it turns out, were cut from Skyrim. Modder vagonumero12 has dug through the game files, discovered the relevant code, and modded them back into the game.

Here's how haunting and mourning were supposed to work, according to the modder, before Bethesda scrapped the embryonic features.

"Haunting: when a unique NPC with family dies, there will be a random chance that it will—after some time—"resurrect" as a ghost that will follow a relative for the rest of the game. Only NPCs with generic voice files (don't expect to see Ulfric as a ghost), and only a single NPC in the whole save. You won't be able to fill Skyrim with ghosts (it was left like that by Bethesda).

Mourning: when a unique NPC with family or friends dies, their relatives/friends will do some comment about their loss to you on their hello dialogues."

The features don't appear to have been developed very much before they were cut, but Bethesda did get their voice actors to record some of that "my relative died, I'm well sad" dialogue. All of the 'random NPC' voice actors appear to have been asked to record these lines, including, weirdly, the ones that supplied the voices for Skyrim's children. Hear some kids lament the loss of their husbands and daughters here.

You can download vagonumero12's Haunting and Mourning mod here. (Thanks, Kotaku.)

Tom Sykes

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.