Prophecy, Pre-destination, and Free-form Gameplay. The Nerevarine Prophecy in Bethesda’s ‘Morrowind’

Angus Slater

Abstract


‘Morrowind’, Bethesda’s 2002 game, marries an explicit attachment to the type of free-form, gaming experience that allows for intensely personal character creation and role-play, with a rich and complex main storyline based on the theological concept of prophecy - the story of the reincarnation of the legendary hero, Indoril Nerevar. The interaction between these two aspects of the game puts Morrowind in a particular position at the point of interaction between theology and computer game design. By seeking to balance the competing demands of an explicitly prophetic main story with a free-form user experience, Morrowind produces an effective synthesis of both narrative gaming and theological prophecy in a new light which changes the common paradigm of both. This paper aims to trace and highlight the way in which this tension has been resolved within the game, relying on a voluntary understanding of prophecy and a distinct approach to narrative urgency.

Keywords


Morrowind, Prophecy, Pre-destination, User-created Texts, Free-form Gaming, Narrative

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11588/rel.2015.0.18512

URN (PDF): http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bsz:16-rel-185126