Posted by Raine Hutchens on Feb 21, 2012

The Origin Of ‘The Arrow To The Knee’ Line In Skyrim Is Revealed

If you’ve had the pleasure of playing Bethesda’s newest adventure, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, then there’s no doubt you’ve had encounters with the game’s guards. Talking to them, you’ll notice one line that stands out: “I used to be an adventurer like you, but then I took an arrow to the knee.” The line has been blown out of the water, having been turned into an infamous internet meme. There’s even a dubstep remix of the Skyrim theme that centers around the line. Of course it’s become huge, but where did it come from?

Well, to figure out the origin of the line you have to go to Bethesda themselves. That’s exactly what happened, and we find out the answer from the company’s head game developer, Todd Howard. He explains, “It’s certainly not intentional that it would catch on that way. It’s a line that we liked.” Well, if they liked the line so much, they must have put plenty of effort into getting in the dialogue a lot, right? Not actually.

According to Howard, you don’t hear it that much. “It sticks out,” he said. “It’s got more flavor, so I think it sticks out. It’s a great line.” Howard explains a bit how the line came to be, from the development perspective. “This was late in the project. We wanted the guards to have more personality. They’re usually just grunting, telling you what to do.” Howard wanted to change this, so he simply had a writer go in and provide the guards with more dialogue that reflects the player. Bethesda didn’t at all expect the line to catch on as it did, but it’s served as a healthy surprise for the company. Now, if we could only get it to die somehow.


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