Ever since The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was released almost a decade ago, fans have been quietly suspecting that foxes lead you to treasure, without ever knowing it for sure. Well now we do, thanks to some insight provided by a former developer.
Joel Burgess, formerly of Bethesda but currently studio director at Grindstone developers Capy, was inspired by the bee cart story from yesterday to share his own behind the scenes tale from the game’s development, this time involving that little urban myth about the foxes.
You can find all kinds of examples of people wondering about this, some from just after the game’s release, others years later, each of them saying they’d either heard someone else say it, or seen it a few times themselves. But none has ever being able to actually prove that foxes will lead the player to treasure.
Turns out they do! Well, sort of. Burgess has explained “the myth of the treasure fox” is actually down to the creature’s pathfinding abilities, and how it was programmed to leg it from the player if it ever got spooked. He explains it in great detail below, but if the tweets don’t load, a very broad summary is that foxes were designed to get frightened and run away from the player, and when choosing where to run to would, thanks to a quirk of the way the map was created, head towards the parts of the map that contained the most items.
Which would invariably be the same caves and camps that contained loot.
So there you have it! Mystery solved. Foxes will frequently lead you to treasure, if only because they’re designed to flee to the same spots on the map where treasure is usually found. Which may not be as clean an answer as, “Yes they point straight to treasure,” but the end result is the same, so whatever!