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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Finally, keyhole-peeping comes to Skyrim

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There was a time, back in the early 2000s, where it felt like I spent a good chunk of my gaming time sticking my face onto oversized keyholes and snooping on whatever was on the other side. In stealth-focused games like Hitman and Splinter Cell, there was something wonderfully clandestine about monitoring enemy patrols or eavesdropping on conversations on the other side of a door. Outside of the occasional moment where an enemy would open the door right as I bent down to look through, keyhole-peeping was a slick if small booster of stealth immersion.

Now, finally, the venerable stealth mechanic has arrived in Skyrim, courtesy of the Take a Peek mod by JaySerpa. It works much like you’d expect it to, creating an animation for your character crouching in front of a door before the camera fades into a keyhole-framed view of what’s on the other side. Your camera movement and field of view will of course be limited, though you can adjust these in the mod configuration menu.

NPCs won’t take kindly to your spying, and will tell you to stop what you’re doing if they catch you. Apparently, there are no laws against keyhole-peeping in Skyrim, as it won’t get you in trouble with the law.

The way the mod works is interesting. It actually teleports you just inside the room, makes you invisible, then plonks you down in an invisible chair so you can’t move. Pretty creepy, and if I was an NPC I certainly wouldn’t want to find myself in a version of Skyrim where at any point there could be invisible people sitting dead-still in the room with me, just watching.

The mod can be added to existing savegames, and it should work on most doors in the game that actually feature keyholes (the creator has specifically omitted doors “where it makes absolutely no sense to use the ability on”).

Now all we need is a VR version which requires you to crouch down and cup the motion controllers around your headset.

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