"Hey, you. You're finally awake. You were trying to cross the border, right? You walked right into that Imperial ambush; same as us and that thief over there." How many times are you willing to admit to hearing those introductory sentences of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim? We're sure some of you are well into the double figures, but that's why the famous cart ride to what was supposed to be your death has become a bit of a meme. However, what if we told you Bethesda hit a bit of a snag with this sequence during development, and it happened to involve a bee?
That's right, a former employee has recounted these events on Twitter, describing how the cart "had a path it wanted to follow, but that doesn't mean it was a path it COULD follow". Nate Purkeypile, who served as a senior world and lighting artist during development and worked at Bethesda for 14 years, explains how the problem started with potions. A bug meant bees couldn't always be picked up as they buzzed about, meaning certain concoctions couldn't be brewed and then gulped for bonuses. "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."
And it's here where the problem lied: a bee was bumping into the cart seemingly at random, and because of its collision physics, was sending it flying into the air. "Meaning, 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!"
The glitch was eventually fixed before the game hit PlayStation 3 and other platforms, but Purkeyville uses it as an example of how tough game development can be. "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."
Who knows how bizarre Skyrim's introductory scene could have been had this problem never been picked up on. A speedrunner's dream if the cart landed in the right place? Maybe so.