When the rumours started circulating about a new DLC called Hearthfire for Skyrim, people started excitedly speculating as to what new powers you'd go on in the expansion. Dawnguard brought vampire abilities to Bethesda's hit RPG so Hearthfire would bring what? Magma-flinging? Dovahkiin sidequests involving arson?
No one was really expecting house-building and adoption.
In a new team diary on the Elder Scrolls site, lead designer Bruce Nesmith, environmental artist Robert Wisnewski and co-lead designer Kurt Kuhlmann all talk about how the add-on was created. It turns out that Mojang's hit sandbox construction game Minecraft served as a key inspiration:
Meanwhile Nesmith, a fan of the popular game Minecraft, wanted players to have more ways to create content in the game. "Being a fan of [Minecraft], I asked, 'Why can't I build things in our game?'"
Hearthfire started out as a project during the Skyrim Game Jam mentioned by Todd Howard talked about earlier this year. It grew from humble origins of being just a cabin to a multi-room home that can hold a greenhouse with plants for alchemical recipes. As for the adoption of little Dovah-kinder, level designer Steve Cornett says:
"The idea of adoption came to me after the Dark Brotherhood questline was presented. After first seeing the [Innocence Lost] questline, I asked, ‘what happens to the kids? What happens to the orphanage after the quest is completed?'"
Hearthfire provided an opportunity to answer these questions, as the concept of adoption seemed a natural fit with the idea of creating a household.
"Build your own house lets you make a house and adoption lets you make it a home."
Players will get the chance to build their own Dragonborn estates when Hearthfire comes out next week.
Skyrim Team Diary #6: Hearthfire [The Elder Scrolls]