The Elder Scrolls Online

The Making of Molag Bal

Find out how we captured the horrific visage of a Daedric Prince for our in-game statue and Imperial Edition collectible.

If you’ve spent much time in Tamriel, you’ve certainly seen the statue or shrine of a Daedric Prince or two. Their presence and influence on the world is undeniable; they often seek mortal champions and cultists to further their interests, whatever they may be. In The Elder Scrolls Online, the Daedric Prince Molag Bal poses a major threat, scheming to merge Tamriel with his Oblivion realm, Coldharbour. Considering how prominent he is in the game, we wanted to make sure his statue was sufficiently impressive, especially because we wanted to include a physical version in our Imperial Edition!

Designing the God of Schemes as he appears in ESO was the first step. Our concept artists explored various ideas and silhouettes through a series of quick thumbnail sketches. We used references from previous Elder Scrolls games, including the appearance of the Mace of Molag Bal from Skyrim, to guide creation. We chose to make him huge, bestial, and sinister—a look fitting for the Daedric Prince of enslavement and domination.

Once we settled on a direction, it was time to focus on specific details like horns, teeth, claws, color schemes, and other particulars that shaped his appearance further. In this phase, we created a variety of new pieces of art to help serve as blueprints for our 3D modelers, from a ¾ perspective view with a detailed color pass and orthographic (front, back, and side) drawings to a series of concept paintings illustrating how Molag Bal might appear in Coldharbour. By the time we began creating his model, we had a very clear idea of what to build.

With the model ready to go in-game, it was time to work on the statue itself. The pose was critical—it had to demonstrate Molag Bal’s size and his malevolence. He couldn’t just be standing there casually! Our artists sketched out pose studies for the initial ideas. Because the statue is small when compared to Molag Bal’s actual size, we decided to include a second figure struggling in his grasp. The unfortunate Nord helps illustrate the Daedric Prince’s enormity and how helpless most mortals are in the face of his power.

When we’d gotten just the right pose, we set the model up and created a new base for him to stand on. The fully-posed model and base received a final polish and detail pass before we were ready to put them in-game and hand them over for their transition into an actual physical statue. We carefully reviewed the physical prototypes and painting process for the statue, since it had to be perfect if we were going to include it as a premium collectible in the Imperial Edition.


After all that work, we had a 3D model that served in-game as an animated character, a posed statue to bring more atmosphere to the environment, and a physical model that you can bring home to menace your workspace, mantle, or other suitably prominent location. The statue comes packed alongside tons of other great collectibles in the Physical Imperial Edition. If you want to get your hands on them, pre-order now—the Imperial Edition is starting to sell out all over the world!

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