The Elder Scrolls V placed gamers in the icy province of Skyrim. The player controls the Dragonborn, the chosen hero who was destined to defeat the World-Eater Aldiun. While the main plot focused on defeating baddies and saving the world, Skyrim offered players more than they expected.
Skyrim doesn't force players to play the game in a certain way. The open-world allows players to role-play a variety of characters. They can enter Riverrun an escaped prisoner but leave as the hero of the Imperials, the army that captured the Dragonborn in the first place. Several side-quests will also immerse any player, new and old, into the world. While these quests may offer bland rewards, they make up for showing how others live in the world.
The end of Skyrim always ends the same, but the journey is what's most important. Many gamers have enjoyed hundreds of hours of content or more, but still, wonder what else could have been. Bethesda packed the game full of content, but not everything made it into the final product. It's a common fact of game development: not everything created for the game makes it into the final product. Much of the content is released in latest DLCs, such as building homes, but some things are still deleted and never see the light of day.
Interested in what content almost made it into Skyrim? Our list compiles some of the best cut quests, weapons, and more that had the potential to change the game for good. Before you begin, we realize that the game was initially released in November 2011, but has seen re-releases for new platforms. Our list has massive spoilers for those new to the series.
25 Keep Track Of History
Enter any tavern, and there's usually a bard singing a verse or two. Songs are passed between bards or learned at their college.
After the Dragonborn helps retake King Olaf's Verse, they'll have the opportunity to continue spreading music throughout the land.
The second half of the quest, called "Collecting the Edda," wasn't included. Giraud Gemane requests that you travel throughout Skyrim to collect various parts of the Poetic Edda. The verses are an essential part of Skyrim's living history.
24 No Task Is Too Small
Skyrim gives the player several role-playing choices. They can be a ruthless bandit or the Dark Brotherhood's top star. Others prefer to help out anyone in need. Once you enter the College of Winterhold, you can offer to help the magic users.
Sergius Turrianus will request the Dragonborn fill up different types of Soul Gems. If you're on your way to a cave, it's a simple request. The side quest wasn't included in the game. Luckily, there are many ways to help the College of Winterhold residents that weren't left out.
23 Help Someone Escape Your Fate
The Dragonborn began the game as an Imperial prisoner. They were caught crossing the border at the wrong time. They are sentenced to a terrible fate and await their punishment.
Luckily, players escape the ultimate sentence thanks to a dragon. A random encounter would have the Dragonborn meet another escaped prisoner. The NPC was a bald, male Nord wearing torn clothing. Although his exact role is unknown, you may have had the chance to recapture him or help him escape.
22 Wield A Giant’s Weapon
There's no lack of weapons in the game. Players can become a master sorcerer or a two-handed champion. One type of weapon not available to players are the clubs giants wield.
Using console commands shows that the Dragonborn could have used these powerful items in battle.
The Frost Giant Club attacks both Health and Stamina with additional Frost Damage. A version of the Giant Club not available in the game also absorbs stamina, enabling the user to wield it for longer periods.
21 Watch A Haunting
Throughout your journey in Skyrim, you'll find many lost souls who didn't complete their adventures. Their downfall may be due to their own incompetence or being betrayed by a friend.
It was possible that some NPCs would come back to the world of the living but in a different state. These NPCs would return as ghosts, only to haunt their families. It may be the Dragonborn's quest to seal them away permanently, or only helplessly watch from the sidelines.
20 Keep Tavern Patrons Happy
Most taverns are filled with patrons seeking a beverage. The Dragonborn doesn't know where these businesses get their supplies, only that they always have a barrel available. One cut side quest would have the Dragonborn delivering the product between inns.
Borvir and Rundi ask the Dragonborn to transport their product to various taverns across Skyrim. After completing one delivery, they had another lined up. In the final game, Borvir and Rundi appear but don't survive to deliver their product.
19 Helping Others Leads To Powerful Rewards
If you've ever traveled to the top of Skyrim's map, you'll notice a haunting amount of wrecked ships. There's rarely anyone around to speak to in this region.
In Pilgrim's Trench, west of Winterhold, there's a camp that was formerly occupied by someone named Trius.
He was initially meant to be in the game in a cut quest called "Trius' Trinket." He would ask the Dragonborn for help retrieving a jewelry box from a shipwreck and reward them with a new spell. The quest may be related to the "For Shelly" note in his abandoned camp.
18 Uncover A Dark Past
Within Falkreath is an Altmer priest named Runil. Speaking to him will train the Dragonborn's Conjuration up to level 50. When he's not helping the player, he's tending to the local Hall of the Deceased.
The cut quest "Runil's Dark Past" would have given players more insight into this mysterious character. He'll admit he feels troubled because of his terrible past. Runil admits he once worked as a Thalmor battlemage but begs you to keep it secret. The Dragonborn can agree and be on their way or inform the town.
17 Control Every City
While the Dragonborn is in the middle of saving Skyrim from dragons, the Imperials and Stormcloaks are fighting. It's up to the Dragonborn to choose a side. Once you decide which side to fight for, you'll participate in a variety of quests.
One of those quests includes taking over entire cities. Currently, there are only a few cities you can take. It was planned to make sieges more widespread. The Dragonborn could take every hold capital with few limitations. Sieging cities give your side more power, but it's only one part of the Civil War storyline.
16 Recruit A Giant For A Higher Cause
Giants are primarily peaceful creatures. They stay close to campfires while watching their mammoths. Walk to close to these creatures or their pets, and they'll quickly turn hostile.
During the Civil War storyline, a Giant is holding soldiers back from completing their duties.
With the Giant so close, the troops can't move. It's up to the Dragonborn to find out why the Giant is so mad. The solution would include a farmer and a painted cow. After completing the quest, it was possible to recruit the creature. Little information is known if the Giant was a follower or a recruited soldier.
15 Help Reunite Lost Loved Ones
Chief Mauhulakh rules Narzulbur with his wives and children. In a cut quest, you'll learn that the chief isn't happy with his home life. He has had nothing but bad luck in love and asked the Dragonborn for help.
There was one former flame he can't forget named Uglarz. The Dragonborn will see her out and speak to her. She admits that she used to live in Narzulbur, but prefers the woods. The Dragonborn can help bring her back to the Chief. Uglarz expresses her thanks for reuniting her with Chief Mauhulakh.
14 Find Missing Apprentices
The Dragonborn can learn how to use spells at the College of Winterhold. There's a variety of eager magic users who want to take up the trade. In a cut quest, the Dragonborn would have a more significant role in helping their classmates. The Dragonborn would locate four missing apprentices who previously worked with Phinis Gestor.
After collecting various items from the lost students, the Dragonborn returns to Phinis to report their findings. Players would have once again met with the brothers Borvir and Rundi on their way to deliver drinks to nearby taverns.
13 Give A Captain Another Chance
Captain Lonely-Gale is a retired sailor now living in Windhelm. He was a Captain but lost his entire family during that period. He now roams the hold, filled with sadness.
Captain Lonely-Gale originally had a more significant role in the game.
According to cut content from the Skyrim strategy guide, he is a Stormcloak supporter. After the Imperials take control, he would become a Steward to Brunwulf Free-Winter. Lonely-Gale would also become much friendlier to the Dragonborn, calling them a reliable friend.
12 Get More Insight About Werewolves
Werewolves have had a part of The Elder Scrolls series since the second game Daggerfall. The Dragonborn has the opportunity to become a werewolf after joining The Companions. Though the transformation makes one much stronger, others fear the creatures.
Before the conversations were removed, the Dragonborn could ask other Companions about their experiences becoming a werewolf. For Kodlak, it's a heavy burden while Skjor believes it's a blessing. Aela the Huntress thinks it's a thrilling experience and she feels reborn after each transformation.
11 Earn Additional Perks
Skyrim offers gamers a variety of ways to play. Players can either role-play as a powerful sorcerer or a stealth archer. Each weapon style has a skill tree with several options. The developer initially planned for additional perks for both archery and conjuration. More perks mean that players could craft a more specialized fighter.
Bethesda may have stepped back on the idea after deciding players would become too powerful, and wanted to give gamers more of a challenge with fewer perks.
10 Claim Any Fortress
Solitude and Windhelm are some of the largest holds in Skyrim. They're bustling cities with several NPCs, merchants, and taverns. These two holds were also the last battlegrounds in the Civil War storyline.
According to the cut content, players would have more options on where the decisive battle would take place.
The final battle would take place in any hold. If one group still controlled Solitude or Windhelm, the leader of the opposing side would flee there. The final event would have been a more chaotic experience instead of the linear battle included in the final game.
9 Become A Prince’s Champion
Boethiah is the Daedric Prince of deceit who loved to watch mortals suffer. If the Dragonborn finds their values align with the prince, it was possible to become his champion. The Dragonborn first has to complete "Boethiah's Calling."
After eliminating everyone in Knifepoint Ridge, Boethiah will crown the Dragonborn his top follower. A cut sidequest, "Boethiah's Bidding," was the Dragonborn's first mission after receiving their new title. The quest would have them remove Jarl Elisif the Fair, the widow of High King Torygg.
8 Uphold The College’s Reputation
The College of Winterhold is not only a place of learning but several side quests. Bethesda may have decided there was too much to do at this location.
According to Tolfdir, there is a Rogue Wizard that was running amok in one of Skyrim's holds. The Jarl has complained to the college. Not only is it an issue for the Jarl but it tarnishes the reputation of the elite college. Tolfdir wants the Rogue Wizard out of the college permanently. It's up to the Dragonborn to track down this sinister sorcerer and put an end to their dastardly deeds.
7 Choose Between A Friend Or Aventus
The Dark Brotherhood is a guild of the most experienced underground fighters in The Elder Scrolls series.
The Dragonborn will hear rumors of the Dark Brotherhood throughout their travels.
In the quest "Innocence Lost," the player has a chance to join the group. The Dragonborn doesn't know Grelod the Kind but takes them out as a favor to Aventus Aretino, a child in the Honorhall Orphanage. An alternate start to the quest was planned. Instead of ending Grelod's reign, the Dragonborn has to instead take our of a friend in "With Friends Like These."
6 Escape After Defeat
For the Imperials or Stormcloaks to win, they have to take over essential hold capitals. The Dragonborn would have to work hard to win the battle. If not, there was a possibility they would lose.
Fortunately, this wouldn't fail the entire quest. The Dragonborn and their chosen side go on the defensive to protect their current hold. If they lost, the other side would gain an important capital city. If the Dragonborn was on the Imperial side and lost Whiterun, a new quest would begin. The Dragonborn and the Imperials have to escape through the sewers.
5 No One Was Safe
Skyrim is filled with a variety of characters, young and old. Bethesda has chosen not to include harming the most innocent characters in the game. If players did decide to enable such a horrible feature, Bethesda originally had their last voice lines included in the game. Children also had voiced groans if they were brought back to the land of the living. These voice options were cut from the game. Children are marked as essential and cannot be harmed, no matter what.
4 Nothing Goes To Waste
Throughout Skyrim, there are several wild animals. Many can be hunted to keep the Dragonborn well-fed throughout the hard Winter climates. In a cut quest, the Dragonborn could have utilized every part of the animal.
In a cut radiant quest for the Companion faction, the Dragonborn would have been tasked to collect animal pelts for Aela the Huntress.
She would request various pelts, such as Bear, Wolf, and Sabre Cats. Though it is a reoccurring quest, you could have been a part of making Skyrim's residents warmer.
3 Actions Have Consequences
The continent of Skyrim is a cruel place for most. The Dragonborn has a variety of spells at their control, but most are regular Nords, trying to survive another day. Casualties are an unfortunate part of life for many in a land filled with Dragons and civil war.
Within the cut content are audio files showing villages mourning their lost loved ones. Though this doesn't have a direct effect on the Dragonborn, it makes one realize the importance of their quest.
2 Bridging Two Worlds Together
Bethesda develops some of the most popular video games series today, such as The Elder Scroll series and Fallout. Within the game files and Creation Kit are remains of Fallout gameplay elements. The Pip-Boy was included in the game, possibly using its inventory management system. There was also the Vault Assisted Targeting System, or V.A.T.S. to slow down time to land targeted attacks. Hacking into terminals was even an option, but there are no computers or terminals within Skyrim. Bethesda may have decided to keep two of their most popular properties as separate games.
1 Fight For Your Freedom
The lockpicking skill has a variety of uses throughout Skyrim. If the Dragonborn picked their lock on their cell in Windhelm, they would have received a unique treatment. A character named Huki would lead the Dragonborn to "the pit."
The Windhelm Arena is a cut location that didn't make it into the final game.
The player would fight various NPCs to earn their freedom. Losing isn't an option since you're already a prisoner and the other fighters will do anything to leave without a bounty on their heads.