How Long Did It Take For Bethesda's Marathon Men To Finish Skyrim?

You'd be amazed at how fast a game developer and a quality assurance tester can burn through The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim when there's pie on the line.

It's a Bethesda tradition: When the company gets close to wrapping up development on a big title, one QA tester and one developer face-off to see who can finish the game faster. While a new player can expect to squeeze countless hours of enjoyment from Skyrim, the developers and QA folks have played it so much already that they know exactly where to go and what to do to get the credits rolling, and with the winner scoring a trophy and a pie of their choice from Todd Howard, you can bet the competition was fierce.

It all came down to two men. Sam Bernstein of QA, and Jeff Browne on the dev side. These two competitors were rivals during the Fallout 3 speedrun, with Bernstein winning by seconds (around 75 minutes).

Who wins this round? Jeff Browne's path to victory only took him two hours, 16 minutes and 30 seconds.

Sam took two hours, 16 minutes and 10 seconds, beating Browne by 20 seconds. Go QA team!

For the sake of comparison, the Oblivion speedrun took only an hour and 15 minutes. Considering none of us has a tenth of the skill and foreknowledge Browne and Bernstein were playing with, I'd say we're in for one lengthy game.

Jeff vs. Sam II: The Skyrim Speedrun (updated) [Bethesda Blog]


    That's awesome :)
    I had no idea they did this with every game, that's a pretty cool tradition I'd say.

    I think I remember watching someone beat the Morrowind main quest in less than 30 minutes...

      I'm pretty sure this was by using the scrolls of Icarian flight that drop right near the start of the game, and the whole thing was over in about 7 1/2 minutes. I felt equal parts awe and disappointment watching someone burn through a game that had swallowed six calendar months of my life :)

        I saw a video of somebody beating Oblivion in some ridiculously quick time, too. Can't remember how they did it... something to do with collecting a heap of paintbrushes and stacking them up outside the citadel to make a kind of ladder which enabled them to jump over the wall rather than having to wait for the gate to open at the end of the game.

          For anyone interested on current Elder Scrolls (& many other games) speed runs -

    Why is Bethesda playing mojangs Scrolls game?

      Nice Troll... um.. Troll, if that is your real name.

    I will not be finishing in under 80 hours guaranteed. And I'm sure I will enjoy every additional second of it.

    Quality Assurance, you're doing it wrong.

    So 1 hour longer.. is that because it's harder to level or actual game content or what.. it's hard to relate the difference back into real-world gameplay terms even taking into account that these people knew all the answers and all the tricks etc.

    Obviously it also leaves out all of the crafting, sidequests and jobs you can do as well...

      Keep in mind that these speedruns are just for the main missions in the game, ignoring any guild side-stories.
      Also, there would have been so much jumping..

    Man, forget all this... What kind of pie did Sam get? :D

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