A staffer at Bethesda has revealed a surprising development secret in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’s design director Emil Pagliarulo revealed a surprising little fact in the storyline, specifically in the quest called Whispers in the Dark.
In this mission, you have joined the Dark Brotherhood, and its leader Astrid, wants you to investigate another member Cicero. Cicero has been acting strangely, spending a lot of time in the chamber of the Brotherhood’s founder, the Night Mother.
Your tasks is to spy on Cicero to find out what is going on, so Astrid tells you to hide in the Night Mother’s coffin while he goes in to find out what he is doing.
And this is where Emil explains his trick, as it turns out he didn’t have enough time to program it in that you properly hid in the coffin. This is how Emil explains it, in his own words:
“It was pretty late in development, and the animators were slammed, so an animation solution wasn’t really viable. I knew it was on me. But the inside of the coffin wasn’t playing nice with the player’s collision. Sooo…
I force the player into first-person, lock their controls, cut the lights… and play the sound of the coffin closing behind you. But in reality, you’re just standing there in the room, right up against the Night Mother. Not locked in the coffin at all.”
In the succeeding sequence after you enter the coffin, you see Cicero enter the room, and try to talk to the long deceased Night Mother. And then, from within the coffin, an illuminated Night Mother talks to you herself. The Night Mother pledges you to herself, and she assigns you as her new Listener.
In the lore of the game, the Listener is the de facto leader of the inner circle of the Dark Brotherhood’s best assassins. It is the Listener’s job to communicate with the Night Mother, and thereby pick up the newest assassination contracts given to them by people who invoke the Black Sacrament to call for the Night Mother’s help.
So in plain English, this sequence lifts you up to the top of the echelons of the organization. Somewhat ironically, you can then pick up another mission called Destroy the Dark Brotherhood, which basically undoes everything you just earned. But that’s Skyrim for you.