“Hey, you’re finally awake ...” and now being catapulted to the moon thanks to a very strong bee.
Former Bethesda developer Nate Purkeypile posted a Twitter thread on Tuesday describing a notorious bug — an actual bug, at least in-game — that caused major problems during The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim’s development. Purkeypile described the introductory scene in Skyrim where the player wakes up in the back of a cart with other prisoners. It’s where the famous “You’re finally wake” meme originated — but it’s also remembered by the developer for a catastrophic collision.
So, I have a story about the Skyrim Intro and how hard game development is.— Nate Purkeypile (@NPurkeypile) August 17, 2021
That intro is famous now, but back then, it was just that one thing that we had to keep working and working on forever. I lost track of how many times I've seen that cart ride. Easily hundreds. (thread) pic.twitter.com/D0E0oZ5uX8
Developers on Skyrim couldn’t figure out why, exactly, the cart would sometimes fly off the path and shoot itself into the sky. “Something was telling the cart to fuck right off and to get off that road,” Purkeypile said. “The thing is, it wasn’t happening every time. Nobody knew what was going on at first.”
Developers soon realized that a seemingly disconnected bug fix was having a ripple effect. “It turns out there was another bug where the bee in the game couldn’t be picked up,” Purkeypile said. “So then some potions couldn’t be made. That bug got fixed. Only the type of collision put on the bee didn’t just let it get picked up. It also made it collide into things.”
Purkeypile described the bee as an “immovable force of nature,” so if, by chance, it happened to cross paths with the cart at the specific moment in the game, then the cart gets flung to space. Everything inside of the cart gets kaboomed with it.
“So game development is hard,” Purkeypile wrote. “Every time you fix one thing, you might be breaking another. This is especially true about open world games. Yet, that interplay of all the systems is what ends up making them all super interesting.”