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How Skyrim Was Almost Ruined By A Bee

Remember the intro scene in "Skyrim," when the player character wakes up on a cart headed to their execution? That intro became one of the biggest gaming memes to come out of "Skyrim," right next to taking an arrow to the knee. Now, thanks to the magic of the internet, fans know just how difficult this seemingly simple intro was to create. Nate Purkeypile, a solo indie developer who previously worked at Bethesda, recently posted a Twitter thread detailing the difficulties behind animating the cart sequence, and how a bee almost kept the whole thing from coming together.

Purkeypile said that the biggest issue with getting the intro sequence to function normally was that the cart was not on rails, but was instead being "physically simulated." This meant that any amount of physical contact with other objects could cause the cart to go flying. From garden variety physics bugs to rocks being too close to the cart's path, it seemed like any bump in the road would send the cart flying during development. At one point, however, something threw the cart wildly off-course and the developers struggled to identify the issue.

As it turns out, the issue occurred because the team had to program a bee to be picked up for a quest. "That bug got fixed," Purkeypile said. "Only the type of collision put on the bee didn't just let it get picked up. It also made it collide into things." What ensued almost ruined "Skyrim" during its opening scene.

The Skyrim cart vs. the immovable bee

As it turns out, the collision physics given to the bee allowed it to move other objects, but not be moved itself. As explained by Purkeypile, this meant "that bee was an immovable force of nature if it ever happened to cross the path of the cart. The cart wanted to move down the road. The bee did not want to move. So up the cart goes!"

While Purkeypile didn't explain the final solution the developers came up with — of course, it probably involved moving that bee somewhere else — he did have an overall message about game development. He explained, "So game development is hard. Every time you fix one thing, you might be breaking another... Yet, that interplay of all the systems is what ends up making them all super interesting."

While millions of players across multiple console generations have certainly seen the "Skyrim" intro, even diehard fans would have never known this story if Purkeypile didn't choose to share it. It gives an interesting insight into game development and the work that it took to make a massive RPG like "Skyrim." Hopefully there are no bees causing problems for the Dragonborn when the new "Skyrim Anniversary Edition" drops this fall.