Daggerfall for Unity: Now with a beginning, middle & end

Daggerfall Unity

My earliest memories of The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall were of fear and excitement at the boundless possibilities of a true fantasy sandbox. Of amazement at the most comprehensive character creation screen I’d ever seen, and of deep annoyance when I managed to fall through the floor and into an endless void in the first minute of the game.

I’ve spent over twenty years waiting for someone to fix Daggerfall, and that dream seems tantalisingly close to being realised. Daggerfall Unity (Daggerfall ported to the Unity engine, shockingly, and something we’d briefly covered years ago) can now be played to completion, and with greatly reduced risk of falling through a crack in the world.

By ‘completion’, I mean that you can now complete the main quest arc and see the end credits. Daggerfall Unity is still a long way from its final V1.0 release, with a mountain of tangential features still in development. The developer, Gavin ‘Interkarma’ Clayton, states that the famously complex magic system should be the last major hurdle of development, and everything beyond is ‘on the downhill run’.

You can see a complete run of one of the major story quests in the video below, cutscenes and all. It looks a lot like Daggerfall to me, only a bit sharper looking and running smoother. They even have bilinear filtering turned off, preserving those sharp and crunchy pixel edges on sprites and textures, for maximum ’90s authenticity.

You can grab Daggerfall for free on from Bethesda, although the Daggerfall Workshop page does point to a repacked version of the game that requires a little less faffing around to get running in the Unity port.

While still deep in development, Daggerfall Unity is already highly moddable. Given the unceasing activity of the Doom modding scene owing to the accessibility of its tools, and the recent explosion in X-Com mods thanks to OpenXcom, I can easily see Daggerfall Unity becoming a hotbed of new and interesting developments over the coming years.

Of course, Daggerfall Unity is just the latest in a long line of fan-projects to port Bethesda’s works to other, greener pastures, such as Skywind and Morroblivion. Personally, I’m hoping someone takes a shot at Bethesda’s deeply underrated Terminator FPS series. Now those are games deserving a second chance.

32 Comments

  1. Vesperan says:

    “Of amazement at the most comprehensive character creation screen I’d ever seen, and of deep annoyance when I managed to fall through the floor and into an endless void in the first minute of the game.”

    I had a 486 at the time of release and a demo of Daggerfall.

    I loved that character generator so much, did it so many times.

    Computer was too old to even load the first screen of the actual game, it was an immediate crash.

    To me, Daggerfall is nothing but an amazing character generation game.

  2. Premium User Badge

    subdog says:

    I figured nothing like this was ever going to happen once DaggerXL fizzled out so many years ago. This looks great!

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      Yeah, this was exactly my thinking as well. With DaggerXL dead, what hope could there possibly be?

      Turns out it just took someone approaching it from another angle. The same thing kinda happened with source-ports for Blood recently.

  3. SaintAn says:

    Best TES just because it has seasons. And because it doesn’t have paid mods.

  4. Michael Fogg says:

    Played some of the original game earlier this month. Maybe I just have a poor build (Dark elf archer, around lev 10) but I got completely fed up with the purely save/load combat systme. Guess I’ll never manage to find that lych in that castle or some such.

  5. malkav11 says:

    Like most true sandboxes, Daggerfall is an experience of extraordinary breadth with a comparably vast lack of anything worthwhile to do. But maybe mods will remedy that someday, once the engine’s taken care of.

    • grimdanfango says:

      So, pretty much exactly like every Elder Scrolls game?

      • malkav11 says:

        Far far worse, because almost everything is procedurally generated (and there’s way more of it), whereas most of the content in Morrowind on is at least somewhat designed by developers. You may not think they do a very good job, but algorithms are worse. Trust me.

        • Someoldguy says:

          It seemed pretty chock full of things to do when I played it, but that may be nostalgia. I know I played the crap out of it and enjoyed doing the procedural quests to raise ranks in all the guilds as much as pursuing the main quest line. My lodger at the time was so into the game he often walked from one town to another rather than fast travel.

          • tomimt says:

            That’s only surface level. In the end, there’s a very little actual variation on the things you do besides rinsing and repeating the same stuff over and over again.

            Now, if the game was smaller in scope, the things it has would be more than enough, but as it still is one of the biggest games ever made, you see those things fairly quickly after which it turns into a dungeon crawler with terrible map design and a bad in-game mapping system.

          • Someoldguy says:

            Criticism accepted, but most modern gaming could fit that description too. I had more fun growing my stats in Daggerfall than I did in more popular games, because you had to train the skill you wanted to increase. Not just fireball a thousand orcs at your favourite spawn spot in order to level up and assign points to shield use, parry or healing magic.

      • Captain Yesterday says:

        Daggerfall covered a huge area compared to Morrowind or Skyrim. However, it just gave you the same thing over and over again. Each faction had about four or five quests which it cycled through, kind of like the “radient” quests from Skyrim and FO4 that everyone seems to hate. Cities looked pretty much the same wherever you went. Much had been said about the procedurally generated dungeons, many of which were un-solvable even when you didn’t fall off the map.

        The best thing you can say about Daggerfall is that Bethesda learned from it and just about everything bad about Daggerfall was fixed for Morrowind.

  6. ResonanceCascade says:

    More importantly, Ultima Underworld has also been ported to Unity.

  7. Falsadoom says:

    That game had more patches than any game back then, and each one broke the game more. The good news is you quit falling through the floor… The bad news is you walked on top of the dungeons stuck “glitched” outside…

    Lycanthropy and Vampirism were diseases/curses that were not all glamorous like Skyrim.

    I remember the custom spell crafter. That was a favorite part of the game for me. Outside the totally randomly generated wilderness.

  8. Xzi says:

    Nice, I’ll be playing this for the first time when they hit 1.0. Morrowind was the first TES game I was made aware of, and my favorite to this day, especially with overhaul mods. Can’t wait to see what the community does with a stable Daggerfall.

  9. dethtoll says:

    I would certainly be interested in giving this a go.

  10. satan says:

    Keep us posted… was never able to finish Daggerfall due to the bugs.

  11. hypertexthero says:

    I played this and loved it, bugs and all, on a 486. I remember the roars of the skeletons made the hairs on my arms stand up.

  12. funky_mollusk says:

    What struck me when i replayed DF, was that for a game of it’s age, the UI actually holds up pretty well. You can re-bind the keys to something resembling a modern game and put mouse-look mode on, which I believe is pretty rare for that time. (wasd was not standard yet)

    It’s worth checking out the free version for the character creation alone IMO, and the game holds up ok. As mentioned above: you do run out of interesting content pretty quickly due to cookie cutter quests and unsolvable dungeons (about half in my estimation).

    With some modding however, it could easily become a pretty awesome RPG.

  13. TTex says:

    “Halt! Halt! HALT! HALT! HALT!”

  14. bill says:

    Personally, I’m hoping someone takes a shot at Bethesda’s deeply underrated Terminator FPS series. Now those are games deserving a second chance.

    Ok RPS. Give this man a job. He obviously has impeccable taste.
    Future Shock and Skynet are awesome. (and they run on the same engine as daggerfall so it might actually be feasible to support them with this project).
    To be fair though, bethesda did also make a bunch of crappy terminator games.

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    Drib says:

    Ah, Daggerfall. I got it as a gift from my uncle, who decided it wasn’t good.

    But I loved it. Through and freaking through. I never finished it of course, because it’s far, far too long. But I started a bunch of characters and ran around making a life for myself, over and over.

    Here’s hoping Daggerfall Unity goes well. Also that it sidesteps Bethesda/Zenimax’s batshit crazy legal team.

  16. Jay Load says:

    Daggerfall has always been a curiosity for me. Morrowind was my first TES experience, and I’ve never been able to get Dagger to run well any time I’ve tried it. I’d really like to see more of it so hope this new Unity work goes well.

    One thing though: what is it about half the dungeons that makes them “unsolvable”?

    And watching the video made me dizzy. Not to mention baffled at how absurdly complex that dungeon was. How on earth do you not get lost in those things?

    Lastly – Future Shock and Skynet were, and still are, AMAZING. True classics of the genre. That they often get overlooked is nothing short of criminal.

    • ye-ole-PK says:

      careful note taking like the good ol’ days.

    • malkav11 says:

      Generally you’ve been asked to go into a dungeon because of a quest. The random generation was only too happy to put quest goals in locations in the dungeon that are literally impossible to access. I think it may have also done things like putting the keys to locked doors on the other side of the door, etc. A lack of basic “can you complete this?” sanity checking in dungeon generation, essentially.

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