Long read: Who is qualified to make a world?

In search of the magic of maps.

If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Ambitious new Skyrim mod overhauls cities

Made in Solitude?

A big (4GB) fan-made modification for The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, that overhauls cities and even adds new settlements, has arrived after nearly three-and-a-half years' work.

Holds: The City Overhaul rebuilds Falkreath, Winterhold and Dawnstar from scratch, fleshing out the cities with more buildings, more people, and more background and history - more personality, in other words. The other holds, such as Whiterun and Solitude, have also had work done to them.

"The aim of all of this is to create a more memorable and diverse experience," wrote the mod's author, Galandil, on Nexus Mods, "making the cities actually feel like cities hopefully without ruining the natural and realistic design of the vanilla game.

"This is not a botanical garden mod, nor is it a beautification mod. Holds aims to stay as lore-friendly as possible and at the same time expand on the backgrounds and stories for its locations."

Reddit user Thallassa offered a comprehensive, two-part review of the Holds mod, if you're interested. It talks about compatibility with other mods, which is useful.

There's a good, long look at the overhauled areas in the videos below.

Hats off to Galandil!

Cover image for YouTube videoSkyrim Mod Preview: Holds - City & Town Overhaul
Cover image for YouTube videoSkyrim Mods: HOLDS - the City Overhaul
Cover image for YouTube videoTES V - Skyrim Mods: Holds The City Overhaul