Enderal is a total conversion Skyrim mod that adds an entire new world to the game. Yes, its name sounds like something you'd take to cure a headache that is also the apocalypse, but this one's dark, dank-with-atmosphere caverns and "mature" leanings make it the Skyrim mod to watch.
Luke wrote about Enderal a while back, but it's come a loooooong way since then. The trailer looks damn near professional, and it offers a quick fly-by look at many of Enderal's various areas. In short, this is essentially a whole new game being built in Skyrim, with its own skill system, classes, characters, and locations to match. Here's what developer Sure AI is aiming to create:
"One could say that we try to combine the concept of open world gaming with a complex and profound storyline. Furthermore, we try to merge the strengths of various open world games into one RPG. Enderal is a mixture of The Elder Scrolls and Gothic, added up with a multi-faceted and complex story. Enderal comes with a big world filled by tombs, ruins and ancient fortresses and lots of interesting landmarks to explore. We will also add new Features such as experience points, special classes and talents and set-items."
Bold claims, but they seem to be doing quite a good job of making a place I really want to explore so far. Take, for example, the Undercity:
Kinda nuts, right? It strikes me as more evocative of Metro 2033 than Skyrim -- densely populated, people crammed together like rats in a wall, rotten with the stink of desperation. That, in my mind, is a very, very good thing. I want something different from vanilla Skyrim. If I wanted Skyrim again, I'd just play Skyrim again.
Here are some more promising-looking locations:
Those two are a bit more Skyrim-y, but the second, especially, seems a lot harsher.
Enderal doesn't have a release date yet, but the developers are obviously making good progress. Here's hoping for something playable sooner rather than later.