The lights are on
While most of us have probably been plenty busy just trying to fully explore the massive chunk of land that exists as part of Skyrim itself, a savvy PC gamer has discovered that Bethesda laid the basic foundations for other countries of the continent of Tamriel within Elder Scrolls V.
Over on his Tumblr account, an Elder Scrolls fan used no-clip to travel beyond the normal boundaries of Skyrim's map and was shocked at what he discovered. The scenery and foliage keeps populating far further than you'd expect, and though it eventually stops, the nation of Morrowind's full geography seems to be accounted for, including the island of Vvardenfell and Red Mountain (areas that were the focus of Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind).
If that's not crazy enough, this intrepid virtual explorer also discovered a landmass that looks like the realm of Cyrodiil (the country that Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion took place in).
Speculation has raged over why these approximated versions of other regions of Tamriel exist. One popular (though questionable) theory is that Bethesda put in the basic work of designing the geography of these regions to make it easier to incorporate them as DLC in the future. It's fun to imagine this being the case, but I find it hard to believe that they would include regions that made up whole games in the series as bonus downloadable content in Skyrim.
Other possibilities include that it was just to help make the 3D map more accurate and the world look correct if you looked out from high points in Skyrim, or that Bethesda put it in so that modders hoping to add other regions of Tamriel to the game would have a strong base to build off of. These seem more realistic to me, but with the Thanksgiving holiday in swing, we can't check in with Bethesda itself at the moment.
Check out full pictures and a travelogue of the mysterious new regions of Tamriel on the PPSh-41 Tumblr, and post your own crazy theories in the comments below.
[Map image via The Elder Scrolls Wiki]