When developer Modern Storytellers wanted to make its successful Skyrim mod The Forgotten City a full-fledged game, they planned for a two year reskin. What they didn’t know is that the small decision would derail the game’s development for years.
The Forgotten City is a murder mystery, stuck in a time loop, set in an intricately designed Roman City. It’s so well realized, that if you didn’t know, you might assume the game was built from the ground up to always be that way. In actuality, it started as a Skyrim mod set in an underground Dwarven city.
The original mod was a huge success, amounting in millions of downloads and garnered several writing awards including Best Interactive Media from the Australian Writers’ Guild. Designer/writer Nick Pearce enjoyed making the mod so much that he left his established career as a lawyer to pursue game development full-time and bring the mod to life as a full-fledged standalone game.
What was intended as a two year endeavor to remake the game in a Roman setting turned into a cascading list of problems that would cause Nick Pearce and his development team, Modern Storytellers, to rewrite and rebuild the game from the ground up.
This is the story of how changing the setting broke The Forgotten City.