There's always a few distinct things which will constantly remind a person they're playing a Bethesda Softworks title. The worlds will be vast, the weapons plentiful, the hidden secrets without number - and the bugs they stumble upon as they drink in the rich environment will totally break the game. However, while they are so often regarded as a failing among any series, the glitches and errors of Bethesda's releases are what adds to their charm. While well thought out and polished enough to please any wide audience - as well as being immersive and quite often backed by surprisingly solid writing - it's hard not to crack a grin upon being greeted by a man whose head is spinning wildly in place. Much like witnessing the odd special effects failure or ludicrous science in classic Star Trek, it's these odd quirks which help the games to remain so endearing and truly memorable as much as their most powerful elements. For all the entertainment which might be found in seeing the Enclave for the first time or assisting in defending Bruma against the hordes of Oblivion, seeing things go completely wrong serves as a small reminder of how unique your experience is. To celebrate a few of the more infamous examples of these famous programming problems, here's a list of the problems which have emerged through these games, affecting the graphics, combat, or even the very physics of the world itself; the 12 greatest glitches ever engineered by Bethesda.
12. Fallout 3 - Kryptonian Deathclaws
One of the strangely less infamous programming hiccups found in the Capital Wasteland, Fallout's remarkably buggy physic engine occasionally manifested glitches in the form of a Vault Dweller's worst nightmares: flying deathclaws. In multiple locations across the vast map, these monsters can be found racing across the land, chewing their way through lightly armed raiders and elite Enclave forces alike, yet on the odd occasion they will come to a sudden stop. After a few moments pause, these creatures will suddenly fire themselves vertically upwards, rapidly disappearing up into the skydome and out of sight. Sadly, no one has yet made a mod in which these creatures bellow "I must go now, my planet needs me" as they zoom up into space. It's hard to tell exactly what causes this, as this manifests seemingly at random so long as the creature is not in direct combat with the player or their accompanying NPCs, and it's not limited to just deathclaws. Super mutants, rabid dogs and even Confessor Cromwell can suddenly zoom upwards to never be seen again, but for some bizarre reason this seems to affect deathclaws the most. The only real reason it is placed as an honourable mention rather than a true spot on this list is that it was overshadowed by similar yet far more infamous glitch from another title.
11. Skyrim - Crime Fighting Poultry
An infamous bug which caused Bethesda no end of trouble, Skyrim's radiant AI managed to manifest in a rather peculiar way. As players went about their usual way testing the game just prior to release, storming about stealing, murdering and pillaging wherever they went, many began to run into an unusual problem. Even after taking extreme measures to ensure no one could witness their foul acts, play-testers kept finding that every crime near any populated village was being quickly reported and passed onto the local guards. After some extensive searches by increasingly baffled Bethesda employees, the truth was soon discovered: chickens were reporting crimes. This information was revealed to the public by Todd Howard in an interview with PC Gamer, who admitted to finding it incredibly funny, but opted to remove it anyway. Despite the developer's predilection for keeping in certain glitches they find particularly humorous, apparently having feathered informants tracking their every move was a step too far. The chief reason this one is only being put down as an honourable mention is thanks to it being ironed out prior to release. Unlike those found on here, it was dealt with during development and as a result it seems unfair to list something which was being fixed before a price tag was attached. However, despite its removal a few of the more morally bankrupt factions still seem to consider chickens to be a threat to their existence even after multiple patches, with the likes of Forsworn still attempting to kill any of these animals on sight, hellbent upon doing so whilst completely ignoring the Dragonborn. Intentional inside joke or yet another bug? You be the judge.
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A gamer who has played everything from Daikatana to Dwarf Fortress. An obsessive film fanatic valuing everything from The Third Man to Flash Gordon. An addict to tabletop titles, comics and the classics of science fiction, whatever media they are a part of.