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Almost four years in development, huge Skyrim mod finally delivers

This guy really went to town

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Skyrim tourists: Falkreath looks a lot different in this video, doesn't it? When did it have a gate? A baker? When did the Jarl's longhouse get so ... long?

It's all courtesy of Holds: The City Overhaula whopper of a mod (4 GB in sum) more than three years in the making. Holds beefs up and embiggens many of Skyrim's villages — particularly Falkreath, Winterhold and Dawnstar, which have the skimpiest set of amenities among the game's principal locations.

Brand-new, smaller settlements have been added to the game, and the interiors of existing facilities also are completely redone. There's even a new set of books, written by the modder, spread among libraries in Falkreath, Solitude and Windhelm. This is a substantially different and even bigger Skyrim than you've played before.

There's one huge catch, though. Creator Galandil advises starting an entirely new playthrough after installing Holds (a considerable requirement) to avoid bugs or crashes caused by a game save trying to remember one location that has now been altered or placed into another.

Galandil said he began working on Holds in 2012, putting in at least two hours of work on it per day since. He got started on the mod a year after the Skyrim's launch. Galandil thought that The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim would see a "better cities" mod similar to one The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion received and when that never showed up, set out to do it all by himself. Three more videos of his work can be viewed below.

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