Skyrim mod brings satirical Thalmor spy balloon to Tamriel’s skies

A Thalmor balloon hovering above Skyrim.
Credit: EchoEclipseWolf on Nexus Mods.

A Thalmor balloon hovering above Skyrim.
Credit: EchoEclipseWolf on Nexus Mods.

Modders have put an awful lot of effort into making sure Skyrim has continually evolved and expanded in the years since it was first released into the world.

Many have focused on changing the game by overhauling iconic quests, creating fresh mechanics or simply adding interesting details that can aid immersion to it, with a few even going as far as re-creating areas from previous Elder Scrolls games.

If you’re one of those players whose mod list already contains some of the more out-there or amusing works on the Nexus, to the extent that you’ve barely got any traces of vanilla Skyrim left, a new mod, which brings a very topical craft to the airspace above Riverwood, might be worth taking a look at.

Feel like Skyrim could do with some GTA-style jokes based on current affairs?

The mod in question is called ‘Aldmeri Dominion Spy Balloon’, and is the first-ever work of modder EchoEclipseWolf, who has seemingly had an eye on the US news cycle lately.

As such, they’ve decided to add a re-creation of the Chinese balloon that triggered a lot of debate surrounding foreign policy by entering American airspace last week, before being shot down on February 4, to the skies above Skyrim.

The balloon can be found flying a route across the world that follows the white river, which begins near Riverwood at Lake Ilinalta and flows northeast to meet the sea near Windhelm, and comes with some minor movement animations.

EchoEclipseWolf has even gone so far as to write a scenario that attempts to adapt the balloon from our own world’s socio-political climate into Tamriel’s, with the inflated intruder being framed as a reconnaissance device possibly tied to the Aldmeri Dominion that’s causing concern among the leaders of Whiterun.

In the comments of EchoEclipseWolf’s post on the subreddit r/skyrimmods about their mod, several fellow players helped to further flesh out this fanfiction, while others wondered aloud whether they’d be able to shoot it down with arrows and user terminhell suggested that it might make an interesting player home.

Regardless of whether you’re now waiting with bated breath to see how Balgruuf and his court respond to this interesting development, make sure to follow us for more updates on The Elder Scrolls 6 and the interesting world of Skyrim modding.

You can also check out our mods of the month for January 2023 or our new series where we ask an AI to answer some of the biggest ‘What-ifs’ in gaming, such as what would happen to the land of Skyrim if the Dragonborn was executed in Helgen, which you can watch below.

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