Game mods can be many things to different people. Some may see them as a creative outlet, others use them to create humor. However, for others, mods can actually be much more than that. Such is the case of one creator who made a Skyrim mod that immortalizes a furry best friend who had passed away.
Created by a modder named Daniel, “Murphy” adds a new dog companion into the game that’s based on their creators own dog of the same name. Murphy had passed away in April of 2018, after which, Daniel felt that, as a Skyrim modder, he needed to commemorate him in “the only way” he knew how.
Daniel originally published the mod back in May of 2018. However, he hid it for several months, before feeling that he was ready to release it to the public. As part of this, he updated the mod’s Nexus Mods page, even including a heartfelt letter addressed to Murphy.
Talking with Eurogamer, Daniel mentioned that he chose creating a Skyrim mod because it’s what he was best at.
“I have years of experience making mods but never released anything publicly besides a much smaller, much less significant font mod,” stated Daniel. “I chose to release this publicly because I guess I thought it would help me through the loss. Which it did.”
Daniel said that Murphy was the first dog his family ever owned. Murphy originally worked as a racing dog, before Daniel’s family adopted him through an organization that helps find homes for retired greyhounds. The family ended up taking care of Murphy for almost 10 years. This experience helped fuel Daniels love of dogs.
“He and I were very close and we kinda understood each other in a way I didn’t even understand most humans. As you can imagine, his loss was very devastating to me personally,” he continued. “I shut myself out from the world for weeks, and working on this mod was my only solace for a while.”
As part of immortalizing Murphy, Daniel made some very specific design decisions to make sure the in-game version acted like the real deal.
“One of the biggest points of focus for me when making this mod was making him passive and un-aggressive in his behavior,” mentioned Daniel. “Murphy was very gentle in life. He rarely played with chew-toys when he was younger, and never did when he was older. He never barked when he was excited or when strangers came to our house. He was just so peaceful and loving and so I tried to reflect that in game with his lack of combat and the passive buffs he grants the player.”
The community response to the mod has so far been quite positive. Daniel admits that the reaction to it, both when it was first released, and now, helped him come to terms with Murphy’s passing. Part of the feedback included other players sharing their own stories of loss.
“It honestly helped in my recovery process, hearing all these tales of others who had endured similar losses,” stated Daniel. “[It] made me feel less alone and helpless.”