‘Daggerfall Memories’ Interview

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Back in 1996, we released Daggerfall, the second game in The Elder Scrolls series. In just a few months of working here at Bethesda, I’ve come to learn that it is a beloved title for many fans because of its depth and ambitious gameplay.

As a result, I often hear suggestions that the game should be remade. While that’s not something we’re really looking into (we’d rather focus on making new games), last week I had a chance to ask a few questions to Deathless Aphrodite (Daniele Brunengo) about his Oblivion mod, Daggerfall Memories: The Liberation of Cybiades — a mod that adds plenty of new content inspired by Daggerfall. Here’s what the Brunengo, a 36-year-old math and physics teacher from Albenga, Italy had to say:

When did you first get into the Elder Scrolls, and when did you first get involved with modding the games?

I’ve played all Elder Scrolls games except for Arena. Daggerfall got me involved as no other game before it. I’ve been hooked ever since. As far as modding goes, I took my first steps with the Morrowind Construction Set and released a couple of mods, but I didn’t really get into it before Oblivion.

How much time have you committed to getting this mod out?

I’d say at least 500 hours in a 5 month arc.

What was the most troubling issue you came across creating this mod?

Well, I had already released mods involving heavy scripting and weather modifications, but I had to learn all of the Construction Set’s features. I also learned how to create 3d models for the game. I’d say worldspace building and learning 3d modeling were the two most troubling aspects. Oh, and the voice acting, since me and my girlfriend did about 20 english-speaking characters and we’re Italian…

As far as smaller issues go, I had hundreds, such as discovering how to make a faction icon appear in-game (trickier than it seems) and so on. I have to say that the modding community helped me out a whole lot in a myriad of situations. Really incredible bunch of people. Probably the most helpful were ScripterRon (Ron Hoffman) and dev_akm (Aubrey K McAuley), the guys responsible for the Tes4Gecko utility. It is really indispensable for making big landscape mods work all the way through. Thanks guys!

How long of a quest can fans expect from Daggerfall Memories?

The quest is quite detailed but not so long, not more than a couple of hours I’d say. The detail went mostly into building this island trying to make it different from everything else in the vanilla game. The quest is fairly different too, and it introduces the storyline I hope to develop in future mods.

Does your mod follow Daggerfall elements by the book or do you have any surprises that fans of the game will appreciate?

The quest takes place on Cybiades island, which you can travel to in the Daggerfall game. It was a deserted island then, you’ll see it’s quite livelier now:).

I put in quite a few references to the lore and specifically the Daggerfall storyline. There is one surprise that all fans of Daggerfall will surely appreciate. Let’s just say the storyline suggests a link between some of the heroes introduced in various Elder Scrolls games.

What Daggerfall “touch” in the mod are you most proud of?

The landscape. While retaining Oblivion’s graphical qualities, it has a Daggerfall feel somehow. At least that’s how I see it. It is slightly barren and haunting, but that’s exactly how I wanted it to be.

There is also a Morrowind touch I think. I tried to flesh out the characters with a distinct personality and some quirky details, and this at the end reminded me of many Morrowind npcs.

Are you planning any new updates?

Yes, I’m about to start working on a dungeon expansion to the island, which should bring the storyline a step forward.

What are some future projects you have planned? Maybe an Arena-inspired quest?

Well, I’m caressing the idea of going forward with the Daggerfall theme actually. But what I have in mind may be too much work: I’d like to release a Betony mod, rebuilding the whole island with fully detailed cities, npcs, dungeons, wildlife… For Cybiades I have used almost all the features in the Construction Set, but Betony is quite bigger so I don’t think I would be able to pull it off.

Are you actively modding other games on the market?

No, I’ve done something for some first person shooters years ago but I really am mostly into The Elder Scrolls games.

Has your modding experience inspired you to seek a job in game design?

Well, I have to say it would probably be the ideal job for me, I absolutely love it. But I’m Italian and not so young anymore, so it will remain an unrealized dream.

If you had no limitations, what kind of mod or game would you release?

Oh, here’s the tough one. Let’s see… I would probably release an updated version of Arena with all of Tamriel to explore. Truth to say, I was about to start working on Fallout 3, but Bethesda beat me to it :) .

Reader Comments

  1. in regards to remaking Daggerfall and even Arena: …those 2 games were made before their time to shine …oh they shined alright but they would dominate today if remade …Morrowind was the first game to be made in the true start of the PC “gamer era” …I think many Elder Scroll fans who never started till Morrowing ,or even Oblivion, would appreciate being able to experience The Elder Scrolls from the beginning …you might even find new ways to go with future elder scrolls by the refnewed input from players who experience what is to offer in Arena and Daggerfall …I would imagine that many fans who HAVE played daggerfall would enjoy playing it over without the bug problems it once had as well …Please reconsider …look at Arena and Daggerfall for what they could be …a completion to the piece of art that is “Elder Scrolls” for the “gamer era” …with the increase in gamers, they acually WOULD be new games, and a completion to an ongoing masterpiece that has some missing parts

  2. What are you talking about. If you make Daggerfall again with oblivion graphics it would be great hit. Because name Daggerfall is already branded. People that bought Daggerfall in the past is going to buy Daggerfall again providing that it is vista compatible. You are right though we do need ro stop lingering in the past but there is alot of us out there that just loves the crap out of this game, minus the bugs of course hehe. In fact it has inspired me to become a graphic designer. Thanks to you and your team.

  3. I hope you incorperate the diverse skill system from daggerfall as best as possible, it would be fun the climb up the temple of the one (as suggested in a npc dialoge)

  4. To the guys at Bethesda, there was something truly magical about Daggerfall, that Morrowind, Oblivion and Fallout 3 simply do not have. Yes, the graphics are better, yes the games are less buggy, but there’s just *something missing*. The weird, haunting music by Eric Heberling really helped too. Seriously, hire him back.