In 2016, a team of modders released a game they developed in their spare time to nigh-universal acclaim — a mod for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim that they called Enderal, with its own 30+ hour quest with gobs of original dialogue and professional voice acting. “[It’s the most fun I’ve had in an Elder Scrolls game in years,” wrote our sister site Polygon. It’s the top-rated Skyrim mod of all time at ModDB, has nearly 500,000 downloads at NexusMods and its own Steam page filled with glowing reviews.
Now, its developers are setting off to build a game of their own. On Sunday, the team at SureAI released its final patch for Enderal, explaining that they no longer had as much free time to keep up development — because they’re working on “a new, commercial project which will hopefully be announced this year.”
They didn’t leave so much as a hint about what kind of game it might be — we checked the team’s social media accounts, Discord, and more — but it’d be surprising if it weren’t based in swords and sorcery seeing how they’ve been modding since Morrowind.
Whether you’re a fan or not (I’ll admit I’ve never played), it’s always refreshing to see talented game developers hit the big time. As you’re probably aware, some of the world’s most popular games started as mods: Counter-Strike, DOTA and PUBG began as overhauls for Half-Life, WarCraft III and Arma 2 respectively, as did the likes of Dear Esther, DayZ and The Stanley Parable. Developers of popular mods like the Darthmod for Total War have also made it into the industry.
These moves don’t always work out as everyone might hope, though: the developers of Battlefield 1942 bought the team behind the Desert Combat mod (my personal favorite) back in 2004 to help work on the thematically similar Battlefield 2, only to shut them down right before the game shipped and refuse to pay $200,000 it owed.