It's not every day a mod wins a national writing award, but the quality of the story in Skyrim mod The Forgotten City was enough to see it pick up an Australian Writers' Guild Award back in 2016. The mod was downloaded over 3m times, and it's now taken on a new form, as the mod has been transformed into a standalone game.
The Forgotten City released yesterday on PC, PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. It's been updated with professional voice acting, new gameplay mechanics, a new orchestral score and a significant overhaul of the original script. "If you liked the mod, you're going to love the standalone game," says the Steam description. "We've taken the best elements of the mod, re-written the script, which is now more than twice the length of the original at 80k+ words, and added plenty of exciting new twists, endings, and surprises."
In terms of gameplay, The Forgotten City is a murder mystery game set in a cursed Roman city where "if one person sins, everyone dies". Players must explore, question characters and exploit a time loop in order to solve the mystery. Combat is an option, but apparently this will only get you so far. There are moral dilemmas, multiple endings and opportunities to roleplay - all in a city filled with historically authentic Roman "art, architecture, costumes and customs".
It's all pretty impressive stuff, even more so considering The Forgotten City standalone has been developed by a core team of only three people. Oh, and the original mod took creator Nick James Pearce 1700 hours to make. The standalone version of Forgotten City is set to arrive on Switch later this year, so stay tuned if you want to take it with you on the go.
If you want to check out the origins of this fascinating title, meanwhile, you can download the Skyrim version of The Forgotten City over on Nexus Mods. I suppose it's a good thing Bethesda is supportive of its modding community: no Caesar desists to be found here.