bra1n1ac Dec 18, 2012 @ 3:48pm
Critical Analysis of Fat People Not Being in Skyrim/Cyrodil/Morrowind
A thorough analysis of the various theories surrounding there being no fat people in the last three Elder Scrolls games, and what the correct reasons for this seem to be.

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First thing's first. The topic of this thread is "a critical analysis of fat people not being in Skyrim/Cyrodil/Morrowind." Anything that does not in some way address, participate in or add to that critical analysis is off topic and unwelcome here, and this especially includes those who want to post that I'm wrong to analyze this. Please leave and start your own thread if you want to talk about that.

Now, to business.

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I consider the question of why there are no fat people in the last three Elder Scrolls games (seemingly in the entire world of Nirn recently,) to be a most important one, and for this reason, I have decided to explore the various proposed answers to this question, and see whether any of them hold any water. Because I think this is such an important issue, however, I mean to explore it in-depth; first with a brief explanation of how theories work, and how they can be disproven, then by examining all the in-universe explanations available for this, followed by all the out-of-universe explanations.

Let's begin.

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Part 1: Facts, Theories and Proof.

To start with, we need to set some ground rules for how the various theories on this subject can be proven or disproven. I will, therefore, be using the same rules for this as for all observable things; the rules of scientific study. To that end, it's important to understand some definitions.

Fact: Something which is known to be true, because it is observable.

Theory: A potential explanation for facts; whether proven or unproven.

Proof: Enough evidence to establish that a theory is true, beyond a reasonable doubt.

Disproof: Enough evidence to establish that a theory is false, beyond a reasonable doubt. A theory has been disproven if it is found to either contradict itself, or if it is contradicted by some evidence which is clearly true.

Evidence: A piece of information, which, if true, makes a theory more likely than it would have been without it.

Arriving at the correct explanation for certain facts is merely a matter of working with the evidence (E) until all possible theories (T) have become disproven (DT.) When only one remaining theory can explain the available evidence, and the evidence supports that theory, we may consider it proven (PT.) However, we will begin with many Theories (TM.)

In Short...

E + TM = DTM and PT. Therefore, PT is true.

I'll be using this method to examine the available explanations.

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Part 2: In-Universe (Lore-based) Theories.

In-Universe Theory (IUT) #1: There isn't enough food in Morrowind/Cyrodil/Skyrim.

Answer (A) #1: Yes. There clearly is. You find it lying everywhere, and this evidence contradicts IUT1.

IUT2: Okay. There's enough food in Morrowind/Cyrodil/Skyrim, but it takes a lot of work to make it.

A2: It may indeed take work to make it, but not by everyone, since you can pretty much just walk into a town and, without breaking any laws, accumulate enough food to feed an army. Furthermore, Morrowind/Cyrodil/Skyrim has a thriving economy of food stands, taverns, farms, weapons dealers, magicians, etc, any of which can provide enough money to buy a few bites to eat. None of this evidence suggests that it takes a lot of work to get food. In fact, it seems perfectly clear that if you wanted to, you could just bum around and never worry about running out of stuff to eat. In this sense, the ease of finding food in Morrowind/Cyrodil/Skyrim is so great as to be unrealistic, even compared with our own world.

IUT3: Okay. Morrowind/Cyrodil/Skyrim's food is plentiful and easy to get, but not very nutritious. You barely get any sugars/starches/fats from it.

A3: The problem with this theory is that if it were true, much more of Morrowind/Cyrodil/Skyrim's economy and magic would be centered around food production. You see, the reason why food makes people fat is not because it has sugars, starches or fats in it. It's because it has basic nutrients in it, and the person's body already has too many of them. The body therefore stores the extra nutrients as fat; an uncompressible substance, with many beneficial elements to it (more on that later.) Sugars, starches and fats can make food less healthy, but it doesn't make you more likely to get fat.

Furthermore, if it wasn't sugars, starches, etc, but rather, basic nutrients, which were scarce in Morrowind/Cyrodil/Skyrim's food supply, each person would need to simply eat more to maintain their energy. The problem is that this would not make you more likely to be thin, but rather -less- likely, since your stomach would need to be larger in order to process all the mass of that low-nutrient food. Furthermore, some people would -still- eat more nutrients than they needed, so this explanation would really solve nothing.

IUT4: People in Morrowind/Cyrodil/Skyrim have a superpower that makes them always thin.

A4: This is easily the most likely explanation, of all the in-universe ones, but since we've seen that there are, in fact, some fat people in Daggerfall, it's still an unlikely explanation. If it were true, this power would need to have been recently-evolved or recently-bestowed.

IUT5: The dark elves/nords had no use for fat people in their warrior society.

A5: The nords live in a world without guns, and it's a little-known fact that in pre-firearm society, soldiers were known to benefit from being bulkier, as it often increased their chances of surviving contact with the business end of an arrow or a sword, or of not being bowled over by a charging enemy. Being somewhat fat does not -reduce- one's effectiveness as a barbarian warrior. It -increases- it.

Furthermore, this explanation, even if true, would not apply to non-combatants, since we clearly see that a great many NPCs in Morrowind/Skyrim are non-warriors.

IUT6: (Trolls/Dragons/Ogres/Insert Monster Name Here) gobbled them all up.

A6: Trolls are a good example for why this idea is false, since we've all heard the story of the three billy goats gruff, and how the largest and heaviest of the goats ultimately defeats the troll. Except at statistical extremes, this is a known truth. Very large people are worse at chasing down fast-moving prey, but they will hold their own mightily in battle.

In the case of dragons, however, the question is not one of brute strength, but of the ability to survive a dragon raid.

Thin people have no real advantage in shooting bows at a dragon, or weilding axes and swords against one, since all of those things require physical strength, which large, ham-sized arms are more suited to.

In terms of trying to outrun the dragon, this would seem to be a fool's errand, whether one is thin or not, since dragons can fly and strafe you from the air.

As far as hiding from dragons being harder for fat people, unless they're too fat to conceal themselves behind one of the many -huge- boulders or cave walls in Morrowind/Cyrodil/Skyrim, this would also seem to not be an appreciable difference.

The idea that dragons would be more likely to go after fat people is inconsistent with the behavior we've seen them express. They seem to pretty much lay waste to anything in their path; even whole towns, and therefore, the very idea of a fat person being eaten, and then the dragon just going away and leaving the thin people alone is just silly.

Lastly, none of this really matters much anyway, since there is an equalizer, which should make it easy to be fat in any land in the Elder Scrolls Mythos; Magic. I fail to see how a mage who can freeze you solid at thirty yards will be any less deadly if they happen to have a pot belly.

IUT7: The climates of Morrowind/Cyrodil/Skyrim are too harsh, and would make it inadvisable to be fat.

A7: A certain amount of fat is a good thing, no matter what kind of climate you happen to live in, for purely practical reasons. Not only can you keep going for longer without food than a thin person could, but you will have an easier time surviving freezing cold temperatures. Fat even helps creatures to survive dehydration in hot, arid climes. Just look at camels.

IUT8: People in Morrowind/Cyrodil/Skyrim do more work with their hands, and therefore, get more exercise.

A8: Some do, some don't. I mentioned mages before, and will probably do so again. They barely seem to move at all. Then there are very wealthy rulers, commanders and bartenders, none of whom do very strenuous labor to survive. This explanation might explain some very built physiques, but by no means is it sufficient to explain why -no one- in Morrowind/Cyrodil/Skyrim is fat.

IUT9: All the fat people were exiled to Daggerfall.

A9: By whose command? You'd think that dividing families, separating people from their parents, children, best friends, removing army veterans from their posts and business owners from their property would have excited at least some rumors, if not a second war. In this case, it's the very lack of evidence that makes this explanation so unlikely.

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Part 3: Out-of-Universe (Development-based) Theories.

Out-of-Universe Theory (OUT) #1: The modelers were lazy.

A1: That's what surprised me, though. They weren't lazy at all. They put a great deal of effort into lovingly crafting weapons, armor, food items, subscreen pictures of items, spell effects, cups, plates, landscapes, dungeons, monsters, chests, barrels, and everything else in the world of the Elder Scrolls in magnificently-rendered 3D. I didn't get the impression of laziness from any of that.

OUT2: It's not possible/too hard to make clothes grow with the body.

A2: This has been disproven by such games as the Sims 3; which included sliders that can drastically increase or decrease the weight of sims. In fact, Skyrim contains such a slider for increasing weight. It just doesn't make the character look fat; even at its maximum setting. All you need to do is plan in advance for the vertices to expand and contract in such a way that the finished model seems larger or smaller. As long as segments of the clothes are programmed to correspond to segments of the body (which was done in Skyrim,) the clothes and body will both be larger if the sliders are larger. Bethesda has shown that they know how to do this. They just need to kick it into high gear. Yet, they haven't done this, nor have they made it easy for modders to do it either.

OUT3: Nobody wants to see fat people in a game like this.

A3: This is clearly false, considering how many times this topic has come up. Besides, I thought part of the point of Skyrim was to make things look more realistic.

OUT4: It just didn't occur to them until it was too late.

A4: Balogna. Dozens of programmers and game designers worked for years on Skyrim, and sooner or later, one of them must have gone to the grocery store and realized "you know, these characters we're testing look more like magazine pinups than the real people in this store." This is all that's needed in order for someone to make the connection. Furthermore, I've seen pictures of Skyrim's development team, and several of them are fat. There is simply no way that this never occured to them.

OUT5: They didn't have enough money/time to finish developing this aspect of the game.

A5: Had bethesda had any intention of working this in, they'd have done it from the beginning, since this is the sort of thing that requires a lot of mesh replacements and vertex moving if it's not planned in from square one. Furthermore, they have been releasing DLCs for a while now, yet I've heard nothing about this being fixed, and frankly, I don't expect them to fix it.

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Conclusion

I don't see that any of these explanations is sufficient to explain just why this happened. However, there is another possibility; the possibility that Bethesda had all the money, time and talent that they needed, that the idea was presented to them; that they knew it would make the game world look more realistic and more multifaceted, and that they rejected the idea utterly, because they simply detest fat people and everything that depicts them in a public way. I'd like to think better of game developers than this, but based on all this evidence, I don't see how I can.

If you think there's another explanation that I've overlooked, please let me know. I'd love to discuss it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to eat a few dozen candy bars.
Last edited by bra1n1ac; Jan 5, 2013 @ 4:41pm
Showing 1-15 of 182 comments
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jjb-54 Dec 18, 2012 @ 4:05pm 
Seriously - you expect people to read all that? I stopped after the 2nd paragraph and realized this was just sriously way to long a read.

My simple answer - These people had/have to walk every where, cut their own wood, haul their own water - hunt their own food - and so on.
Triumphant Obtuse Dec 18, 2012 @ 4:08pm 
Wasn't the last dwemer a fat guy? He was in morrowind, then there's uh.... well thats the only case I can remember... but hey, chock one up for fat guys in games.
Dryden Dec 18, 2012 @ 4:26pm 
All the fat people got killed off by the second empire in the first era?
stabbykitteh Dec 18, 2012 @ 4:29pm 
Originally posted by jjb-54:
Seriously - you expect people to read all that? I stopped after the 2nd paragraph and realized this was just sriously way to long a read.

My simple answer - These people had/have to walk every where, cut their own wood, haul their own water - hunt their own food - and so on.

This. And also, it's too expensive both in processing and extra dev time to have multiple body types in the game, so they default to average fitness. Occam and all that.
jjb-54 Dec 18, 2012 @ 4:30pm 
Originally posted by stabbykitteh:
Originally posted by jjb-54:
Seriously - you expect people to read all that? I stopped after the 2nd paragraph and realized this was just sriously way to long a read.

My simple answer - These people had/have to walk every where, cut their own wood, haul their own water - hunt their own food - and so on.

This. And also, it's too expensive both in processing and extra dev time to have multiple body types in the game, so they default to average fitness. Occam and all that.

Yes, there is the programing side of it. EXCELLENT POINT!
jkm lynch Dec 18, 2012 @ 4:36pm 
Who do you think the dragons ate first? For a serious answer though, StabbyKitteh already explained why there are no overweight people in Skyrim.
The Rock God Dec 18, 2012 @ 4:37pm 
IUT: The people of Tamriel really hate fat people. The DB takes care of the problem. The few fat people we've seen were either lucky or had protection.

IUT: People can't get fat. Those who are are because of divine influence (Sheogorath thought it was funny) and may not even be aware of the reason.

LunaticTherory: Being fat is caused by invisible mind worms from another dimension. The reason Aedra never apear directly anymore is that they've been fighting a war against them all this time. A few have slipped through (thanks, Lorkan...), but the defense has otherwise been sound. The Aedra only care about Nirn, and were able to gain some respite by leaking information about a world named 'Earth'. This lead to the bulk of the mid worm army being sent to North America, with some inroads being made in Europe. (The ones who went to Japan were caught off guard and found themselves enslaved by their hosts, leading to the invention of Sumo wresting.) The only one who can save Earth is the exiled (original) Ninth Divine - Xenu. In the meantime you can protect yourself by wearing a tinfoil hat (real tinfoil, not aluminum).
Last edited by The Rock God; Dec 18, 2012 @ 4:39pm
Big Chief Devil Hawk Fireball Dec 18, 2012 @ 5:00pm 
It's because Lorkhan put up a big sign that said "No fatties" when he began creating Mundus. Akatosh spent like a whole year on the Subway diet before he was let in.
Panda Dec 18, 2012 @ 5:14pm 
my IUT: everybody in game are really worried about their self imagine to the point of trying to look skinny/non-fat similar to how in modern society everybody tries to be muscular/non-fat.
the addition of their being magic in game makes the ability to be "pretty" is even easier then in the real world, you can make a spell to turn your skin to stone, i'm sure you can make a spell to trim off a few extra pounds off your midrift, or just sell some food and then pay a wizard to do it for you. the few "fat people" that are in game just don't care about self imagine, or desire a self imagine of being fat for what ever personal reason they may have, or have better things to spend their money on.

-in short: the pressense of magic means it's extremely easy to "magify" yourself thin/appealing.
Last edited by Panda; Dec 18, 2012 @ 5:16pm
bra1n1ac Dec 18, 2012 @ 5:47pm 
@jjb-54
If you haven't read my analysis, please don't reply. I've already addressed the theory you brought forward.

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@Triumphant Obtuse
Yes, and this is another piece of evidence against IUT4 being correct, although I don't think it would effect any of the others.
However, he also had a magical disease, which they may have been implying.

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@Dryden
There are two problems with this theory. The first is that, as I said, there were fat people in Daggerfall, and that took place in the third era. The second is that being fat isn't a family line or an genetic trait that can be killed off. It's a biological function of the body, which helps creatures survive.

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@Stabbykitteh
If they had the money and processing speed to make all of those high-def textures on things like barrels and goblets, they could spare some for stretching a few vertexes.

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@jkm lynch
Please don't reply unless you've read my analysis.

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@bu_chengshi
Thank you for taking this topic seriously, first off.

A1: Hatred of fat people hasn't prevented people from being fat in other places (all over the world, for example.) I don't think this explanation is sufficient, though it might be a contributing factor.

A2: So you're suggesting the fat people in daggerfall had all fallen under some kind of curse? The problem that I have with this is merely that there were so many of them. Sheogorath could probably do a large curse like that, across a wide area like Daggerfall, but again, if he had done so, why would this not make it into the rumor mill? It's more likely than most of the theories I brought forth, but I still find it hard to believe.

A3: In that case, we clearly have only one choice; destroy scientology utterly. No stupid mindworm is going to make me thin.

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@Melvin, the Lord of Darkness
The problem with this theory is that people disobey the gods all the time. Besides, it doesn't explain how there could be fat people in Daggerfall, but not the other eras.

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@Panda
Thank you for taking this seriously too.

A: The problem, as I see it, with this theory is merely that not everyone is worried about their appearance. Suppose that this theory is true. Then, most of the people in Daggerfall use magic to keep themselves thin. Some choose not to, though. However, as the third era progresses, fewer and fewer people choose to avoid the magical cure, until there is not a single person left who abstains. What changed? Why have those last few fat people given up the ghost? Why did they surrender their wastelines to peer pressure/magic/what have you? They must have had some reason for making this choice; even the ones who saw being fat as helpful/important/empowering, and I just don't see what this reason could be. People have never completely agreed on anything, and in a world as diverse as Nirn, I would expect that to be even more pronounced.
stabbykitteh Dec 18, 2012 @ 5:56pm 
Originally posted by bra1n1ac:
@Stabbykitteh
If they had the money and processing speed to make all of those high-def textures on things like barrels and goblets, they could spare some for stretching a few vertexes.
I didn't realize the game was released with HD textures. Huh.
Anyway, have at it. Don't let rationality get in your way. I rarely do.
Apologies for being serious...
Last edited by stabbykitteh; Dec 18, 2012 @ 5:56pm
pjmtlg Dec 18, 2012 @ 5:56pm 
There is not fat people in Skyrim because the cow butter was only introduced in the game by Earthfire dlc. All the cheese in the game are Goat cheese and are better for the heal.
Last edited by pjmtlg; Dec 18, 2012 @ 5:58pm
Panda Dec 18, 2012 @ 6:55pm 
Originally posted by bra1n1ac:
@jjb-54

@Panda
Thank you for taking this seriously too.

A: The problem, as I see it, with this theory is merely that not everyone is worried about their appearance. Suppose that this theory is true. Then, most of the people in Daggerfall use magic to keep themselves thin. Some choose not to, though. However, as the third era progresses, fewer and fewer people choose to avoid the magical cure, until there is not a single person left who abstains. What changed? Why have those last few fat people given up the ghost? Why did they surrender their wastelines to peer pressure/magic/what have you? They must have had some reason for making this choice; even the ones who saw being fat as helpful/important/empowering, and I just don't see what this reason could be. People have never completely agreed on anything, and in a world as diverse as Nirn, I would expect that to be even more pronounced.

well ,looking at modern society, why have more and more people given in to various peer pressures, i.e. the peer pressure to smoke that dominate the early 20th century, and the later peer pressure to quit smoking. you can even look at our own history as a reflection, back in medieval times, those that could afford it were overweight, in fact in most instances it was desired to be a bit "hefty" for survivability reasons, you touched on this briefly in your IUT answer #5, though in the real world it does go a bit deeper.
in our world there were/are many reasons why people aren't "fat" anymore, (and are fat) ease of living being one of them(being fat isn't a necessity to survive anymore, and in fact is a health risk...it's also excessively easy to become fat ), portrayal of modern society on what the definition of "pretty" is, being another. (supermodels, cosmo, etc etc )

my point is, there are TOO many reasons to explain why a diverse society such as nim decided to slim down, theoretically speaking every single person in the world could have their own individual reason, (they are people after all, the have conscious though, chooses,desires, etc etc)whether this be an environmental reason(like how most people in 3rd world countries or countries of malnutrition are skinny(i'm aware this goes against your IUT theorys #1-3, it's mainly a real world example)), social/peer pressure reason (maybe they want to impress their girlfriend, maybe they were picked on as a child for being fat, maybe they just like the look and feel of bulging muscles), or possibly even a decision imposed on them by an outside force (i.e. a very OCD wizard came to town, saw a bunch of fat people and cursed the town to be skinny forever and ever because he was picked on as a child for being fat and so has a personal vendetta against fat people. )
any/all of these reasons could be a factor, there doesn't have to be just 1 big over all reason as to why everybody is skinny, it can be several hundred, possibly even thousands of reasons as to why each individual is skinny.... you need to look at it more at the individual level adding up to the society level as oppose to the society as a whole
Westlandresider Dec 18, 2012 @ 6:56pm 
Well since there is no corn fructose sugar (soda) ,people have to travel by foot and manufacture goods thru manual labor, no tv, and you are running from your life from bandits,assasins,necromancers,vampires,trolls,giants,wolfs,bears,mages,and dragons I would think that the only ones that could survive that environment would be individuals who are inshape. Also the blacksmiths in shors stone and the jarl of Falkreath seem to have a little meat on the bones.
Panda Dec 18, 2012 @ 7:43pm 
p.s. i want a candy bar :c
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Date Posted: Dec 18, 2012 @ 3:48pm
Posts: 182