The Narrative Structure of Skyrim

Fresh from my excitement after mapping the narrative structure of Red Dead Redemption in Prezi, was inspired to do the same with Skyrim. Half a day into that I realised I was mad, and modified my ambitions. So this presentation ignores the Radiant quests and deals just with the “scripted” ones. Any gamers out there will note that it doesn’t include any of the downloadable content either.

It’s interesting to note how linear all the stories are, while being allowed to wander around the virtual space means the player can leave one narrative and start another very easily, creating an illusion of branching narratives. Though I guess it isn’t an illusion, it is rather your character’s unique narrative.

I’m going to try and embed it here:


But you play prefer to use this link.

Thanks to the fans behind the Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages, which I used for fact checking

3 thoughts on “The Narrative Structure of Skyrim

  1. Nice. However, there is yet another notable difference to that “spaghetti of concurrent linear plots”. Proceeding with “The Fallen” depends on the state of civil war plotline (if you’re locked too deep in it, you have to finish it first). Also, on a smaller scale, the other way round: proceeding with the civil war “Message to Whiterun” depends on “Dragon Rising” (by the way of jarl of Whiterun sending you on appropriate quests).

  2. […] A perfect example of this is some RPGs of today such as Skyrim, The Witcher, Divinity: Original Sin, and many more. These games, whilst still guiding the player through a strict, pre-written narrative, each feature brilliant worlds that showcase dense environmental and spatial storytelling. This lets the player experience the story in their own way, backed by branching narratives and unguided exploration (even if the story bottlenecks at any point). Skyrim is a great example, as, although the narrative is very dense and has been entirely constructed for the player to experience, the player can experience it at their leisure, granting an “illusion of branching narratives” (Tyler-Jones, 2013). This is displayed brilliantly on Matthew Tyler-Jones’ visualization of the narrative structure of Skyrim, found here. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s