19 year-old Alexander J. Velicky spent a year and over 2,000 hours to create an Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim mod called Falskaar as an elaborate way to apply for a job at Bethesda Softworks, the company responsible for the Elder Scrolls and Fallout video game series.
During an interview with PC Gamer from the time of the mod’s initial release in 2013, recent high school graduate Velicky revealed that Falskaar was his first try at modding, and he initially started the project with an eye toward showing off his skills and getting a job as a developer with the video game giant.
“The best way to show Bethesda Game Studios that I want a job there and should be hired is to create content that meets the standards of their incredible development team,” he said.
Instead of attending a design school, Velicky began spending long hours editing Bethesda’s open-world RPGs using the Creation Kit, treating it as his day job. The community response to the mod has been overwhelmingly positive. GameSpot has since reported that Velicky has landed a full-time position as a game developer, but it wasn’t with Bethesda; instead, the author now works as an Associate Designer at Bungie, makers of the Destiny series.
Falskaar is one of the most popular and acclaimed mods for Skyrim. It adds new characters, over two dozen side quests, a main quest, and a whole new land mass to the north of Skyrim a third the size of the original game map to explore. Overall, the mod had 20-30+ hours of new gameplay. A massive dungeon named Watervine Chasm, considered one of the most impressive parts of the mod, took Velicky three weeks to build. Players report it takes up to several hours to complete.
Falskaar even featured new magic spells, a Dragon shout, and 40 minutes of original music composed by Adamm Khuevrr just for the Falskaar soundtrack. Over one hundred people contributed to the development of the mod in some way, and Velicky took over contributions and installed them himself.
“I organized everyone involved, but the voice actors themselves recorded all the dialogue and submitted it to me,” he told PC Gamer. “I had some people help me out with a few models and textures, someone wrote a book or two for me… But otherwise all content was implemented, written and developed by me.”
The current version is 1.2.1, and Velicky has announced there will be no further updates for Falskaar, though he says it is possible he will still do some modding on the side. Velicky’s other credits include the Project Genesis mod for Bethesda’s Fallout 3 and the D.E.I.M.O.S. mod for Fallout New Vegas.
In a thank you post written to the gaming community on the Bethesda forums announcing his accept the job at Bungie, Velicky sent out an inspirational message.
“Of course, all of this leaves me with one corny ‘life lesson’ that I’d like to extend to all of you. Never be afraid to try. I set my sights on a professional design job pretty early, I lowered my head, charged forward, and rarely looked back. Of course, I ensured what I was doing had a reasonable chance for success from time to time. But the most surprising of all, is who I’ve ended up with. I applied to many companies, and Bungie was in my, “Huge company that will completely ignore me.” category. Well, they didn’t and look what it got me. Bungie is an awesome company with an amazing team, and I’m very lucky that they’ve decided to give me a chance! Never be afraid to try.”
[Photo by Jordan Strauss/Getty Images for Bethesda]