Skyrim Dev Shares Development Trick Behind The Night Mother’s Coffin

Game development is pretty difficult. With tricky software to deal with and even trickier deadlines, we've seen multiple examples of developers thinking outside the box to solve problems that would take way longer if sorted out properly. For example, developers on Fallout 3 apparently decided to nuke the White House because they ran out of development time. Not the most elegant solution, but it got the job done.

It's Bethesda back at it with the magic tricks as the focus of this story too, as design director Emil Pagliarulo has shared his workaround to get players to fit properly into the Night Mother's coffin during the Dark Brotherhood questline in Skyrim. Those who have played through it will know that players have to stuff themselves inside the Night Mother's coffin to avoid being caught by Cicero. This is when the Night Mother first makes contact with the player and they become the Listener of the Dark Brotherhood.

However, it turns out getting inside the coffin and closing the lid wasn't as simple as you might think from a development point of view. Pagliarulo reveals that the player's collision wasn't interacting well with the coffin itself when the doors closed. As development time was running out, Pagliarulo simply created the illusion that players were locked inside to save on time.

Instead of locking you in, the game simply locks you in first-person, dims the lights, and then plays the sound effect of the coffin door closing. In actuality, the door is wide open when you're hiding from Cicero and talking to the Night Mother, you just can't see it due to game development trickery. So next time you play through that questline, you can have a little chuckle knowing that everyone can see exactly what you're doing in that coffin.

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