The Forgotten City

Official logo of The Forgotten City

Developer(s)Modern Storyteller
Publisher(s)Dear Villagers
Writer(s)Nick Pearce
EngineUnreal Engine
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch
ReleaseJuly 28, 2021

The Forgotten City is an Australian mystery adventure role-playing game developed by Modern Storyteller and published by Dear Villagers with additional support from Film Victoria. It is a full video game adaptation of the critically-acclaimed The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim mod of the same name. Initially released in 2016 as a mod, the full game was released on July 28th, 2021 for the PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Microsoft Windows.[1]


In both the full 2021 game and the 2016 mod, the story of The Forgotten City explores the existential relationship between humanity and its laws. The game begins with the protagonist waking after being rescued from floating down the Tiber River by a woman named Karen. Karen asks them to look for her friend, Al Worth, who disappeared whilst investigating some nearby ruins. As the player explores said ruins, they are sent towards the era of the Roman Empire towards the now-restored city. As the plot progresses and the player continues exploring its elaborated that the city is under the conditional protection of the gods, where if anyone is to commit sin, all citizens of the city would be equally punished and turned into gold in a system referred to as the Golden Rule (originally Dwarves Law).[2] These gold statues, depicting previous inhabitants and residents, can be heard by seemingly only the player whispering towards them. The specific sins that are criteria for the Golden Rule to be enacted are not clear to any resident of the city, with numerous records of contradictions. The player is able to re-enter the portal they had entered from and restart the time loop if the Golden Rule is ever enacted, allowing them to keep both physical and mental objects such as important items and information.

The plot was significantly altered from its original story in the 2017 mod; with the setting of a Dwemer ruin being shifted towards that of ancient Rome as well as much as the script being updated and rewritten. Multiple endings were both added and expanded from the original story.


The long development progress of The Forgotten City, spearheaded by lead developer and writer Nick Pearce, began from the beginning of Skyrims release in 2011. Prior to this, Pearce has stated that his inspiration for creating mods came back from his experience with mods from Fallout: New Vegas, specifically New Vegas Bounties by Someguy2000. The Forgotten City took over 1700 hours for Pearce to develop, and was his first ever major development project.[3] After the mod released to critical acclaim, he was approached by, but rejected, several offers for jobs from numerous AAA studios in both the United States and Australia. The mod later released on console releases of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Special Edition, remaining one of the top Xbox One mods for the game.[4]

In 2016, after the release of the mod, Pearce quit his day job as a large tech company and hired several other developers to form Modern Storyteller. The resulting development process took four and a half years, with much of the harsh development conditions laboured by Pearce himself to avoid crunching fellow developers, with Pearce working 80-hour weeks to the point of hallucination.[5] During the process the original mod was entirely overhauled; the setting was changed and numerous improvements were made, such as professional voice acting, unique gameplay mechanics, an original orchestral score. In the end, the original script was doubled from roughly 35,000 words to over 80,000.[6]


Both the mod and the full video game received critical acclaim upon release, itself being one of the first video game mod to receive any official accolades outside of the modding community, specifically being awarded by the Australian Writers Guild.[7] The mod had garnered large success within the modding community, remaining one of the top mods for the game and becoming one of the most curated items on Mod DB itself.[8]

IGN awarded the game a 9/10 stating: The Forgotten City does a fabulous job exploring interesting moral quandaries through excellently written dialogue and characters.[9] Luke Holland of The Guardian gave it 4/5 stars, writing that despite minor technical issues, The Forgotten City is a tremendous achievement, a labyrinthine little sandbox packed with interpersonal mysteries, which unravel further and further with each pass.[10]



  1. ^ Home,.
  2. ^ Macgregor, Jody (June 18, 2018). The Forgotten City is a popular Skyrim mod that could make a great game.
  3. ^ An Australian Skyrim Mod Has Won A Screenwriting Award. Kotaku Australia. October 17, 2016.
  4. ^ Walker, Alex. One Of The Best Skyrim Mods Got Started With A Punch To The Face. Kotaku.
  5. ^ The Forgotten Citys Nine-Year Journey from Skyrim Mod to Standalone Game - IGN – via
  6. ^ Kent, Emma (July 29, 2021). Award-winning Skyrim mod The Forgotten City launches as standalone game.
  7. ^ The Forgotten Citys Evolution From Skyrim Mod to Standalone Game. Game Rant. May 30, 2021.
  8. ^ Skyrim: The Forgotten City Mod Adds Time Travel And An Entire City. CINEMABLEND. July 17, 2015.
  9. ^ The Forgotten City Review - IGN, retrieved August 17, 2021
  10. ^ The Forgotten City review: sliding into your diems. the Guardian. August 9, 2021. Retrieved August 17, 2021.
  11. ^ Skyrims Forgotten City Mod Has Been Turned Into A Standalone Game. TheGamer. July 5, 2021.
  12. ^

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