The late Terry Pratchett is best known as the beloved and prolific author of the Discworld novels, but it turns out he spent some time in another fantasy universe, too. Pratchett was an enthusiastic Elder Scrolls fan, and even contributed writing to mods for Oblivion and Skyrim.
Boston-based animator David Oneacre spotted a transcript of cut content from an interview Pratchett gave on The Author Hour radio program in 2009, in which host Matthew Peterson asked Pratchett about his favourite videogame.
“Undoubtedly it’s Oblivion,” Pratchett said.
Pratchett explains that like most games, Oblivion is “dominated by combat,” and while he thought the base game was excellent, what excited him most was user-created content.
Modders have created a vast amount of new content for Elder Scrolls games. Here’s our list of the best Skyrim mods on PC.
“What is so magnificent, and this warms my soul, is the concept of games modding,” he said.
Pratchett was much less interested in following Oblivion’s story than in finding mods that made the world more immersive, and the amount of detail and time modders sunk into their work continuously impressed him. Pratchett enjoyed making cheese and boots and running a little vineyard, complete with seven employees who his character would pay at the end of each in-game week.
“I just enjoy the fact in this world that is rather controlled by commerce, there is this inner world of people giving up their time and effort to perfect some little detail about a computer game for the delectation of others,” he said.
The full interview is available both in audio and text transcript.
Pratchett’s love of modding was intense enough that he eventually donated writing to a companion mod for Oblivion. Nord alchemist Vilja, who you can find over on Nexus Mods, has more than 130 voice-acted lines of chatter written by Pratchett, and his writing was also used for the Skyrim version (Vilja’s “great-great-granddaughter”).
If you needed another reason to love the creator of characters like the long-suffering “wizzard” Rincewind, Granny Weatherwax, and Sam Vimes, here it is. Pratchett’s Discworld novels have been adapted into several officially-licensed games over the years, and Pratchett was involved in the production of each. Perhaps the most successful of these was Discworld Noir, a send-up of classic films like Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon.
Tragically, Pratchett died to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2015 at the age of 66. His daughter, Rhianna Pratchett, continues to write for games, contributing to titles like Mirror’s Edge, BioShock Infinite, and the rebooted Tomb Raider series.