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.