“When all the world is overcharged with inhabitants,” said the greatest philosopher who ever lived: Mass Effect 2’s Thane Krios, “then the last remedy of all is war, which provideth for every man, by victory or death.”
And friends, I’m excited to announce that war has officially provideth-ed for every man, goat, chicken and guard in The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim. Mostly by death. As reported by GamesRadar, a player named Amelix34 has accrued a lifetime bounty of 267,000 gold after killing “everything that was killable” in the game’s world. That is, says Amelix34’s own stats page, 3310 people, 693 animals, 401 “creatures,” 947 undead, 55 Daedra, and 98 automatons. No backstabs, though, so at least it was honourable.
Our, uh, hero hasn’t quite purged Skyrim of all life, mind you. Generic NPCs like guards will respawn indefinitely no matter how many of them you take down—presumably an ingenious comment on the carceral state—plus, unlike Morrowind, Skyrim won’t let you kill plot-crucial NPCs, so I have to assume Amelix34 didn’t manage to kill anyone who figured into one of the game’s numerous quests. Does that mean Morrowind was a cooler game? Yes.
Amelix34 also chose not to kill Paarthurnax, the wise old dragon voiced by Mario, for reasons that ought to be self-evident.
Skyrim has been out for 12 years, so obviously this isn’t the first time someone has embarked on a quest to slaughter absolutely everyone in it. I imagine there were a few enterprising 12 year olds who did that the week the game originally came out. Nevertheless, this is quite a thorough attempt. As GamesRadar noted, a previous documented effort at doing what Amelix34 pulled off only managed to take out just over 2,000 NPCs. Although at least that attempt resulted in some incredibly heavy metal in-game photography.
I’m just glad people are still keeping to the playstyles that I pursued in GTA 3 when I was far too young to be playing GTA 3. Sometimes you just have to ask yourself what would happen if you annihilated the entire world. The sacred traditions live on.