As tradition goes, when Bethesda Game Studios is close to wrapping up development on a title, we hold a speedrun competition through the main quest (with no cheats allowed). While the game will take many hours to complete for a first-time players, our developers have years of experience under their belts and know all the ins and outs for speeding through the game. The contest pits the best Bethesda Game Studios has to offer vs. the best of QA The person with the best time wins a trophy and gets a pie of their choice from Todd Howard.
When it came time to crown the Skyrim champion, two familiar faces rose to the occasion: Sam “I Am” Bernstein (QA) and Jeff “Live the Dream” Browne (BGS) — the very same combatants from the Fallout 3 speedrun three years back. Loyal blog readers might recall I said the match was as close as Michael Phelps .01 second escape in the 2008 Summer Games.
If Fallout 3′s speed run was that close, the Skyrim contest was… well, I can’t think of something closer than that Michael Phelps race. But this one was crazier — crazy like the final minute of this year’s Michigan-Notre Dame game.
At the beginning of the Skyrim speedrun, I asked Sam how long he anticipated it would take. He predicted two hours, fifteen minutes. He wasn’t far off. In the end, Jeff Browne finished the game first with an impressive time of minutes 2:16:30.
Congrats to Jeff, right? WRONG! 58 minutes into the competition, Sam had to roll back to an earlier save (ruled fair by the judging committee), so we had to wait several minutes after Jeff completed the main quest to compare their final times. Despite taking a totally different route to get to the endgame (in the Fallout 3 speedrun, they had virtually the same game plan), Sam’s time was 2:16:10 — 20 seconds faster than Jeff!!
For Jeff, it’s a heartbreaking loss. He’s the Buffalo Bills of speedruns (and he actually roots for the Bills). But no matter what, Jeff Browne is awesome.
And for the second game, congrats to Sam on being the Speedrun Champion! He showed the heart of a champion and will be celebrating later this month with a pumpkin pie from Todd Howard..
For more pics from the speedrun, check out our Flickr slideshow below…