It feels like an age since the last Elder Scrolls game was released (seven years, to be precise), and it's probably going to be several years more before we see the next one. It's an agonising wait, and for some older fans, it really is a race against time. But thanks to an online campaign, fans are hoping at least one Skyrim-playing grandma will be involved in the next game. In at least some sense of the word.
As possibly the coolest grandma on the internet, you may well have already heard of Shirley Curry. She's an 82-year-old YouTuber who primarily records herself playing Skyrim, and has pretty much won the hearts of everyone in the Elder Scrolls community. Referring to her subscribers as "grandkids", she goes out of her way to reply to every comment on her videos, and her let's plays are basically the most wholesome thing you can find on the internet. And, if you still doubted her credentials, last year she even made it into the Guinness World Record book as the oldest video game YouTuber. Here's her latest Skyrim video, should you want a look:
Her place at the centre of an internet campaign, however, began after a Reddit user spotted her comment on a YouTube video analysing the comments Pete Hines made to Eurogamer about TES6's release window. "I guess that puts the nail in my coffin," Curry wrote. "When Skyrim 6 comes out I'll be 88! So I probably won't get to play it."
Evidently, this tugged on the heart strings of many Skyrim fans, some of whom decided to take action. Reddit user phantom-scribbler kicked things off with a post calling for Curry to be added to TES6 as a follower. As highlighted by phantom-scribbler, Bethesda has previously done something similar for Oblivion fan Erik West, who visited the studios shortly before passing away from cancer in May 2011. He was subsequently immortalised in Skyrim as Erik the Slayer, and fans now want something similar for Curry.
"How cool would it be to come across an elderly Breton who wants to kick some ass and asks to come along with you," phantom-scribbler explained. "She takes up [her sword] and puts on some armour, says, "come on, grandson/daughter!" and you're off to tackle whoever gets in your way. Who wouldn't want her as a follower?"
Apparently, much of the Skyrim subreddit agreed, as the original post received over 9000 upvotes and even sparked a petition on Change.org (which currently has 1396 signatories at the time of writing). Phantom-scribbler has now added a second post, which calls on the community to help create a Grandma Shirley themed follower mod for Skyrim. According to the post, Curry is "enthusiastically on board" with this idea, and phantom-scribbler has now sourced a modder who is willing to make the follower mod. The team is currently asking for the community's help in choosing dialogue and sounds, however, as it's "too much of a task for anyone to sort through all those videos for usable soundbites". If you have a favourite Grandma Shirley line, now is the time to share it.
It remains to be seen whether Bethesda will add Curry to TES6 - and god knows we'll have to wait a while before we find out. Considering the positive impact Curry has had on the Elder Scrolls community, it would be a pretty sweet(roll) thing to do.