I'm just about to place my head on the chopping block when, all of a sudden, I hear a noise. "You say you don't know where the Macho Man is coming from," it sounds like. My captors ignore it, ordering me to place myself mere inches from the severed heads of those who went before me. That's when I see it. Introduced by a "Macho madness, sky's the limit," the cowboy-hat-and-sunglasses-wearing dragon lands on a nearby tower, sending everyone into a frenzy with a triumphant, "Yeah!" before wreaking havoc on the village of Helgen.
If this sounds familiar, then you've likely seen or used the Macho Dragon mod (opens in new tab), which turns all of Skyrim's dragons into a monstrous recreation of late WWE wrestler "Macho Man" Randy Savage. The YouTube video (opens in new tab) has accrued over four million views, and it's often one of the first things brought up whenever a conversation about video game mods strikes. Its creator, who goes by the alias FancyPants, got his start with mods by turning Will Smith's character from Men in Black: The Game into Ronald McDonald, and he says that he built the Macho Dragon mod simply because it made himself laugh.
"Originally, I was testing some of the tools that had been released for Blender," FancyPants said. "I was doing it just to see if I could get the model exporters to work properly. And in fact, originally, it wasn't going to be Macho Man; it was going to be Tommy Wiseau [from The Room]. But I had the cowboy hat and I thought, 'You know, it would be funny to put in Macho Man's audio and see how that works.' I tried it in game, laughed my ass off, and put it out there... and it kinda blew up.
"It was just a test that kinda spun outta control."
With the popularity of Macho Dragon, he added a similar mod to Fallout 4 (opens in new tab), which replaced a Death Claw with something that looks a little bit more like Savage. If it wasn't already obvious, FancyPants doesn't need more than a laugh to publish a mod on the internet. He told me that most of the stuff he works on comes from him testing something, thinking it's funny, and uploading it.
"It's really just one long train of thought of weird ideas," he said. "There's nothing particularly serious, to be honest."
Despite his inclination for the wildly goofy, FancyPants has found himself pushed by the community to create mods that are more serious or, at the very least, they can use. He did this with his Crimes Against Nature Skyrim mod (opens in new tab), which he says is the project he's spent the most time on. It started out as an assortment of bizarre head parts and outlandish models—one of these being a Wiseau horse—created only to make himself laugh. But hopeful players encouraged him to turn these unconventional heads into proper playable races. He did just that, allowing people to play as races such as a chair, My Little Pony, or even the Space Core from Portal 2.
"It's goofy, it's obviously not 'lore-friendly,' but people pushed me to set it up a bit more properly, so I did," he said.
The talented modder found himself creating another "serious" mod when he took the faces of Fallout 4 and exaggerated them to ridiculous lengths. The mod, titled , caused the faces to ignore basic human anatomy, breaking the rules of everything you know about human expression and creating pure, unadulterated nightmare fuel.
"I went in there and started messing with the vanilla files and, you know, see if I could exaggerate it, if I could increase the intensity," he explained. "Once again, I found it hilarious and said, 'Okay, fine. I'll release that.' But afterwards some people were messaging me saying 'Hey, this is really funny, but it would be nice if you could increase the intensity slightly and release that as a serious mod.'"
What he came up with was three different versions of the mod, which turn the dull, sometimes lifeless faces of Fallout 4 into more enthusiastic ones that are full of expression. It's a different kind of project for FancyPants, but he's unlikely to stray too far from the ones that make him laugh, especially his most popular one. When asked if he was going to make sure Macho Dragon worked with Skyrim Special Edition, he surprised me by saying he was actually working on it at the time of our interview. However, he said it won't be exactly how you remember it.
"It's getting a bit of an overhaul," FancyPants said. "When it was first released, it was just a silly joke of the same model for every dragon. I'm hoping to differentiate them a little bit with little outfits.
"I'm looking into adding a crown and cape for Alduin, he'll be the Macho king," he continued. "I'm seeing if I can make Paarthurnax look like Hulk Hogan, but I'm not sure if I can get him to use separate Hulk Hogan audio."(opens in new tab)
For someone as dedicated to his Skyrim mods as FancyPants, it's perhaps surprising that he still hasn't spent much time actually playing the game.
"It does look like an interesting game," he said. "I should take the time to play it someday."
Laughing, he says that he spends most of his time in Skyrim testing out mods, and by the time he's done, he doesn't want to play it. He tells me this isn't uncommon amongst modders, that it's a bit of a recurring problem in the community.
For what's in his future, FancyPants says he's looking at bringing Macho Man to other games. He briefly mentioned Dragon Ball Xenoverse during our conversation, but he can't commit to the idea of a Macho Man spirit bomb just yet. Nevertheless, he did provide one answer with a little more confidence.
"Whatever Bethesda game comes out next, I'll probably put him in that, too."