Of Cats and Castles – Discussing Where Elder Scrolls VI Should Be Set


5 Min Read

I didn't get pissy and my plan didn't fail... It didn't!

Analyze showing his characteristic sunny disposition while talking to a guest.

The Elder Scrolls has been in decline for quite some time some would argue. Some important people. Mostly me. And nobody with any brains would argue otherwise. But being ever-the-optimist, I decided I would outline what I would like the Elder Scrolls VI to be. And I figured the creature might join me for… one last hoorah. So Todd, pay attention. Here’s the ultimate, never-to-be-improved upon version of The Elder Scrolls 6. Also, if you want to hire me… I’m not gonna object. Just sayin’.

Analyze: “I’m just going to let the cat in here. Poor little kitty’s lonely otherwise.”

Maddy: “Kitty! I love kitties! And they love me! Like that tiger in the park last week!”

Analyze: “What tiger? There was a tiger?”

Maddy: “There was a tiger.”

Analyze: “It’s my goldfish all over again… I’m going to be glad when the kitty ri-”

Maddy: “Kitties! Yes, let’s get to the kitties!”

Analyze: “We have to wait to get to the kitties! …unfortunately. But there’ll be plenty of kitty for you, don’t you worry. First though, let’s get to your raison d’être. To serve as a vessel to extract my thoughts from me.”

Maddy: “Some things are not meant to be extracted. The world is not ready for your wisdom, my dearest Analyze-daro.”

Analyze: “They better be. I will unleash it upon them like a plague of helpful locusts.”

Maddy: “Well in that case, I’ll gladly help you spread your jumpy bois. Analyze, would you agree that Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was not that great?”

Analyze: “I… I… I…”

Maddy: “What’s wrong, Analyze? Is there still goldfish between my teeth?”

Analyze: “I… want… to… agree… but I… It’s like my world is collapsing in on itself.”

Maddy: “Have you tried a strut?”

Analyze: “I can’t agree with that. You said it first, I can’t say yes. I’ll just say… I won’t disagree.”

Taking Our Business Elsweyr

Maddy: “Let me ask you the question then: What do you want out of Elder Scrolls VI?”

Analyze: “I would like a good game, for starters.”

Maddy: “That’d be great. A good game with a good plot.”

Analyze: “That’s a high bar to set, but I’m sticking with it. A good plot is the minimum requirement. But what I would really like is some of the political intrigue that we had in Morrowind. Hence I would say the two best places to set the game would be High Rock or the Summerset Isles.”

Maddy: “I’m not so sure about that buddy. This one is of the opinion that the best places for Elder Scrolls VI are either Elsweyr or Valenwood, but mostly kitty land.”

Analyze: “Well, I assume you agree on the political intrigue?”

Maddy: “Yes. Those cunning khajiit would make for good and interesting politicians. Can you imagine the debate: the back-and-forth, the heightened emotions, the beautiful rainbow coloured vomit out of President Nyan-Khajiit?”

Kill it. Kill it with fire!

Divines save the greatest president in history!

Analyze: “I was thinking less along the lines of a modern democratic system and more of kingdoms. Five kingdoms, in fact. High Rock, being so divided, would be the perfect place for some backstabbery. Especially if it’s being infiltrated by the Thalmor to get to the big, raging tower of adamant. And the Summerset Isles has the Thalmor HQ. You could have the main quest centered around Alinor politics with some factions supporting and others secretly opposing the Thalmor.”

Maddy: “It would be more interesting if you focused on the allies of the Thalmor. Skyrim establishes that Valenwood and Elsweyr are, at best, dubious allies who may not really want to support the magic supremacists.”

Analyze: “Boggles the mind.”

Maddy: “So if we’re going to do some politics I’d love to go to one of those two countries where we can slowly erode the power of the Thalmor to eventually watch them burn!”

Analyze: “That’s just another example of the people rising up against oppression to take back their freedoms though. We’ve already been there with Skyrim. I would think it’s much more interesting to have a conflict in the Isles about the High Elves that disagree with the methods of the Thalmor.”

Maddy: “Feeling nostalgic there, herr Analyze?”

Analyze: “Nah, the Thalmor weren’t in Oblivion. They could play a prominent role in High Rock in TES VI though. The Bretons are magically powerful and part elven. The Thalmor could be trying to seduce some of them, as in ‘oh if you join us you can be our equals instead of being under those filthy Imperials’, but face resistance from the Imperial loyalists. After all they are very close to the empire. Several emperors were Breton and many spent their childhood in High Rock. It could be a conflict over the very soul of High Rock. Their identity as a people.”

The Catty Travels of Mawrco Puma

Maddy: “Yes, but High Rock has already been explored in a previous game and we’ve already seen way too many games that focus on tha humans. It’s the kitties’ time to shine, much like your own sweet kitty. Look, she’s nibbling on my fingers! Such a sweet kitty.”

Analyze: “Should’ve bought that pet shark…”

Maddy: “And focusing on the cat-people of the Elder Scrolls series could provide the perspective of a new sort of people. A new, foreign culture to drink in. Morrowind worked well because this one’s species can’t really understand Dunmeri culture. The same could be said for the culture of the Khajiit, where stealing is perfectly legal as long as they don’t get caught.”

Analyze: “That’s the same for the Altmer though. They’re another elven culture that’s completely different from our own. And maybe we could finally get past that stoic facade. Plus, we have a wonderful contrast with Skyrim. Skyrim was a very anti-magic culture. Whereas both High Rock and the Summerset Isles are saturated with magic. Beautiful, beautiful magic. Including fire spells. Those seem really useful. More useful than attack kittens, at any rate.”

A big fatty rhino, like someone else I know...

A wonderful desert creature.

Maddy: “Sure, but we already had that with the contrast between the magical Morrowind and warrior cultures of the Imperials and the Nords. It’s time for the stealth-based prowess of the Khajiit! It’s time for something NEW, Analyze-dora. And having the wasteland that is the Elsweyr desert would give us many opportunities to fight against new fantastical desert creatures.”

Analyze: “It’s kind of the same though. You see, we need something NEW. Not another wasteland. We’ve already had a frozen, monochromatic wasteland. I want more colours in my game than two: brown and white. Actually, I’m being unfair. Three: brown, white and grey. Whereas High Rock is described as lush and the mountains could separate very different regions. Evolution does favour diversity in isolated places.”

Maddy: “This one does not understand. The Khajiit hail from a diverse country that contains both desert and jungle. The cats can both prowl through the desert and climb in the lovely trees. There’s plenty of opportunities for colour there!”

Analyze: “So a blasted wasteland and a crowded mess of clipping errors. I’m not feeling it.”

Maddy: “Exactly! Plenty of opportunity for lots of side-quests that are MORE than just your average ‘go into dungeon, kill baddie and get item.’ Having plenty of desert and jungle would allow the writers to diversify the type of side-quests.”

Analyze: “In what sense?”

Maddy: “The different areas can require different skills to navigate. I’m sure jumping is important when you’re in a forest. And bad guys can hide more easily in forests than in open deserts.”

Thalmor Shrugged

Analyze: “So TES: Mario Edition? I’d rather have a country that’s conducive to immersing the player in more complicated stories, factions and politics. You know, role playing. I’d imagine a kingdoms mechanic. One where you have a reputation with each kingdom. First you could do quests for all of them, but over time you’d get a higher and higher rank in one of them and have to choose which one to align with.”

Maddy: “By being sneaky and training your sly speech level?”

Analyze: “No, by doing quests and helping your favourite faction and characters advance. Over time the player would get attached to one faction and then it’d be revealed the other factions have Thalmor infiltrants.”

Maddy: “Oh noes! Whatever happens next?!?!?!?!”

Analyze: “You’d be encouraged to help them advance further at the cost of the other factions. You’d build your character’s identity around that faction. But in the end it’d be revealed the Thalmor were manipulating your faction as well and playing all the kingdoms against each other. So the true way to win the game/get the good ending would be to not give into that impulse to fight the others, but to unify with them against the Thalmor.”

Maddy: “That sounds interesting, but Elder Scrolls usually tends to have Daedric or Divine interference in the main questline. How do you deal with this tradition?”

Analyze: “Deal with? It’s not a fucking gang hit. No, I would incorporate it through the tower. As you may, or likely do not cuz it’s you, know there’s an official-unofficial concept in The Elder Scrolls series on the towers that hold up the world. Physical structures that stabilize the world. Supposedly the Red Mountain, the White-Gold Tower and the Throat of the World are some and have all been deactivated.”

Maddy: “Wait, how was the Throat of the World deactivated? You meet up Mario-dragon there.”

I'm sorry, Maddy made me do it.

Paarthurnax: Leader of Greybeards, Master of Thu’um, Stomper of Mushrooms.

Analyze: “Well, supposedly on Alduin’s wall it was mentioned how with Alduin’s arrival it was sundered. Red Mountain lost the heart of Lorkhan and kinda blew its load all over the Dunmer. The White-Gold Tower had the amulet but… Martin, the clumsy bastard, done gone and broke that. So only the Adamantine tower, in High Rock, still remains.”

Maddy: “Poor Martin. He spent his life in a tower, then he hid in a tower but the poor boy was never able to live in the tower he wanted. You know, if he’d been a Khajiit he would’ve never been so clumsy.”

Analyze: “More importantly, one theory is that it is the goal of some of the Thalmor to return themselves to a god-like state by destroying all of these towers and plunging the world into the chaos that existed in the dawn age. The entire plot could be centered on them trying to do that, and considering that the gods supposedly built the tower I could imagine some elder scrolley prophesized saviour participating in some fun savey activities.”

Maddy’s Merciless Mooning

Maddy: “We’ve already had this type of story. Hell, Skyrim was pretty much all about saving the world from an *insert super powered with poorly thought out plan bad guy.* We need a new story, a fresh perspective, a catastic narrative. An intimate story in which you shoot for the stars and hit the moon.”

Analyze: “Sounds painful.”

Maddy: “Masser and Secunda, the moons that signify the very core of Khajiit culture disappeared before. And then the Thalmor supposedly restored them and the Khajiit were over the moon with joy. But it’s hinted at, because they claim to have ended the Oblivion Crisis, that the Thalmor lied.”

What an aaasshooole!

Ondolemar, the cuddliest Thalmor in the game, being his ever-pleasant self.

Analyze: “Hold the phone. A bunch of Elven supremacists who seek to kill all humans, seek to plunge the world into primal fire of creation and who’s most positive portrayal was ‘that guy that kinda helped you once after you persecuted innocent Nords’ may have… lied?”

Maddy: “Like a lot. And maybe there could still be side-effects of that. The Khajiit rely on the positions of the moons to give birth to specific breeds of lovely cats. The Elven interference could’ve affected the two moons, causing the Khajiit to have difficulty procreating in their stunning diversity. Which is ever so convenient for Bethesda’s design budget.”

Analyze: “Then they can hire some talented new writers stuck working on a dead-end site with a partner who will not ever fucking shut the fuck up about cats!”

Maddy: “Those talented new writers would have a lot of catsperience. Purrhaps they could write a lovely cat protagonist, who finds out the Thalmor lied, manipulated the moons and are using them to wipe out the feline people without a war. You unite the different catty factions using some clawver politics, use the pawerful magic from the moons, which are basically the bodies of dead gods, AND BLAST THE THALMOR BACK INTO THE SUMMERSET ISLES AND THEN SACK IT! SACK IT ALL! NOBODY TOUCHES MY LOVELY KITTIES!”

Analyze: “Yes, herr Maddy!”

Maddy: “Meow!”

Analytical Madness and the Holy Fork

Analyze: “Doesn’t have quite the nice set-up that the High Rock plot would have though. The previous three games all subtly disabled one of the towers. It would be a very interesting climax to that if the last one was about to fall. In addition, High Rock would allow some lovely spin on the radiant quests.”

Maddy: “Those side-quests that are always the same and that I never, ever, EVER want to do again?”

Analyze: “That’d be the joke, right? High Rock is supposedly quest obsessed. Just imagine a quest where a guy asks you to return his family’s lost fork to him and ends with you starting a war. A nice satire of that sort of pointless fetch quest.”

Maddy: “Why not make it so that the fork is under his bed?”

If you're reading this, go fork yourself.

The rabbit got him.

Analyze: “That could be the end. When his lifeless body falls to the ground he notices that his fork was under his bed the whole time.”

Maddy: “But at least the questgiver had more personality than the majority of Bethesda characters.”

Analyze: “And, a true hero.”

Maddy: “But you know what’s lacking from that story?”

Analyze: “… what?”

Maddy: “The cats. Won’t someone please think of the cats!?”

Analyze: “That’s it! I’m done! Kill him, my minion! Strike while the irony’s hot!”

Kitty: O_O

Maddy: “Aw, how adorable! Are you giving me your paw? Are you giving me your paw? Who is a good little kitty? You are! You are! You know, Analyze, I’ve been contemplating getting a new appartment and giving you a bit of your own space. But you going through all these lengths to show me how adorable your cat is. Even teaching it a little trick. I can’t quit you, buddy! I’m staying!”

Narrator: “And so Analyze’s head grew three sizes that day and the explosive shouting could be heard all throughout the kingdom deafening at least a dozen orphan children. The end.”

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Copyright: The image of the desert creature is a screenshot taken in the Skyrim mod “Moonpath to Elsweyr” by  muppetpuppet. The other images are screenshots of “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.” We are allowed to use them under section 107 of the US Copyright Act of 1976. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is owned by Bethesda Softworks.

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