The magic system used in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was originally going to play a major part in one of Fallout 4’s side quests, Bethesda Game Studios has revealed.
In a new documentary from Noclip exploring Bethesda’s history, Design Director Emil Pagliarulo explained that the Fallout 4 team wanted to write a side quest about a fight between the towns of Salem and Danvers, Massachusetts.
“So, what’s the theme of Salem? It’s witches,” Pagliarulo said. “So, what if we have people with mutations that have weird powers? They’re kind of X-Men-ish but they’re caused by radiation, and they’re viewed as witches by the people of Danvers.”
To bring the would-be witches to life, the team used “the Skyrim code base, which had magic built in.” This allowed Fallout NPCs to use iconic Elder Scrolls spells like Fireball and Telekinesis. However, as development progressed, “that code got ripped out,” Pagliarulo said. That wasn’t the only problem born of technical limitations, either.
“One of the issues was our world was compressed,” Pagliarulo said. “Danvers ended up being right next to Salem. It was so close that we ended up combining the two. So there were no two towns that could compete against each other.”
Rather than cut the quest entirely, they brought in writer Liam Collins, who helped turn it into the side quest now known as Devil’s Due, which leads players to a witchcraft museum inhabited by a Deathclaw. “We worked together, and now it’s one of the coolest quests in the game,” Pagliarulo said. “It has a totally different vibe.”
You can watch the full Noclip documentary here, and catch the segment about Devil’s Due’s origins around 1:20:20. You can also check out why Bethesda wasn’t sure players would care about Fallout 4’s building systems, and why they were nearly cut from the game.
Austin Wood is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.