Kill Cameras are a game mechanic and featured in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and The Elder Scrolls Online that allow players to kill enemies with a final, deadly, and cinematically delivered strike. Kill Cameras can be done on almost every foe in the game. Characters are capable of performing cinematic kills on the Dragonborn or on other characters as well.
While performing a Kill Camera, a short animation is played, making the Dragonborn vulnerable to attack and unable to carry out any other task for a couple of seconds until the animation has played through. Kill Cameras also depend on the position of the enemy in relation to the player character, upon attacking. For instance, striking an enemy from the flank or behind produces different finishers than a strike met head-on. If an enchanted weapon is used, its enchantment will be displayed as well. Likewise, the same can happen if a poisoned weapon is used.
Kill Cameras will only be performed if killing the enemy will take the player out of the combat mode. This does not mean only the last enemy. Killing an enemy while sneaking and remaining undetected will allow a Kill Camera, even if there are more enemies present.
Kill Cameras can be performed with almost all weapons and even bare fists. In addition, Werewolf or Vampire Lord finishers can also be executed. Wielding a One-Handed weapon and a spell does not void one's ability to perform a Kill Camera. Certain One-Handed Kill Cameras cannot be performed while dual-wielding. In addition, certain One-Handed Kill Cameras can only be performed if a shield is equipped. Some Kill Cameras can only be performed if certain DLCs are installed.
It is possible to use a Kill Camera on a person with full health, but requires the opponent to be vastly outclassed in comparison to the player. A backstab attack with the Assassin's Blade perk will often produce full-health finishers.
Activating Kill Cameras
Kill Cameras are random most of the time, but some particular conditions will enable them:
- The opponent must be the last enemy on the radar.
- Special One-handed or Two-Handed fight perks must be unlocked.
- Performing a Power Attack (by pressing the corresponding attack trigger) while the opponent is off-guard or about to attack the player will activate a special Kill Camera. Note that the opponent must have less than half of their life points.
- While in Vampire Lord form and exclusively on foot, keeping the attack trigger pressed on a weaker enemy will often result in a Power Bite even if there are more opponents on the radar.
- A strong pressure of the attack trigger while fighting a weaker or almost killed opponent will often activate a Kill Camera.
Disabling Slow Motion Kill Cameras
Slow motion kill camera is an exciting feature at first but then the novelty wears off. There are disadvantages, especially if the Dragonborn prefers sneaking and ranged attacks. For example, if one enemy in a group is sneak-killed with a bow, the others are alerted and react in normal speed, while the Dragonborn is stuck in a slow movement animation. Moreover, missiles (including magical bolt attacks) may miss the target, that simply moves out of position while the animation is played, resulting in a Miss Camera rather than a kill one. Therefore, many players search the internet for a way to disable the slow motion kill camera feature. It is possible to do it with mods, but there is also a very simple an effective way by adding the following two lines to the Skyrim.ini file located in the Documents/Mygames/Skyrim folder:
|Clean Decapitations||The Dragonborn spins clockwise and decapitates the target in one clean swing.||Any||1st and 3rd person|
|Multislash||The Dragonborn cuts the target with a swing from the top left, then repeats the action from the top right, and then upwards, sending the victim spinning away.||Swords and Daggers||1st and 3rd person|
|Flipslash||The Dragonborn stabs the target through the shoulder, then flips them over and stabs them in the back.||Swords and Daggers||3rd person|
|Thrust and Slash||The Dragonborn thrusts the weapon forward into the target then retracts and spins clockwise to perform a final slash.||Swords and Daggers.||1st and 3rd person|
|Close Stab||The Dragonborn pulls the target close with the left hand and thrusts the blade deep into the midsection.||Swords and Daggers.||1st and 3rd person|
|Rear Stab||The Dragonborn approaches the target from the rear and grabs their left shoulder. The blade is thrust through the lower back of the target and exits via the chest.||Swords and Daggers.||1st and 3rd person|
|Rear Throat Slash||The Dragonborn approaches the target from the rear and grabs their head with the left hand. The blade is then quickly slashed across the throat of the target.||Swords and Daggers.||1st and 3rd person|
|Cranial Stab||The Dragonborn grabs the target's head and then stabs upward with the weapon, going through the base of the target's skull at the jaw, through the head and finally exiting through the top of the skull.||Swords and Daggers||1st and 3rd person|
|Chokehold Stab||The Dragonborn grabs the target, turns them around and wraps their arm around the target's neck. The Dragonborn then stabs their chest twice.||Swords and Daggers||1st and 3rd person|
|Leaping Thrust||The Dragonborn leaps forward, stabbing the target through the chest while still in midair.||Swords and Daggers||1st and 3rd person|
|Leaning Stab||The Dragonborn grabs the target's shoulder from the front, leans them forward and stabs them in the back.||Swords and Daggers||1st and 3rd person|
|Collarbone Thrust||The Dragonborn thrusts the blade downward through the target's collarbone.||Swords and Daggers||1st and 3rd person|
|Collarbone Stab||The Dragonborn forces the target to their knees, turns the blade downward like a knife and stabs the target between the collarbone and the throat.||Swords and Daggers||1st and 3rd person|
|Downward Decapitation||When an enemy is on the ground, the Dragonborn swings their sword in a downward arc, cutting off the target's head.||Swords||3rd person|
|Flourished Slice||The enemy fiercely attacks the Dragonborn, but the last one parries the attack and advances towards their frightened enemy, flourishing their sword from one side to the other, showing their mastery of the blade. The Dragonborn then gives a swift slash at the opponent's shinbone and once it falls, they finish them by slashing their throat on the ground.||Swords||1st and 3rd person|
|Downward Stab||When an enemy is on the ground, the Dragonborn stabs downward, stabbing the target in the spine.||Swords and Daggers||1st and 3rd person|
|Collarbone Crush||The Dragonborn swings their mace or axe vertically at the target, crushing their head and chest. The enemy then slowly falls backwards.||Maces and War Axes||1st and 3rd person|
|Forceful Blow||Swinging their mace or axe diagonally up from right to left, the Dragonborn strikes the target across the jaw, sending them spinning backwards.||Maces and War Axes||1st and 3rd person|
|Kneebreaker||The Dragonborn swings their mace into the side of the target's knee, the target resists and the Dragonborn repeats this, sweeping the target into a kneeling position. The Dragonborn then swings sideways into the targets exposed face, putting them onto their back, then once more into the target's face as they lie on the ground.||Maces Only||3rd person|
|Shield Bash||The Dragonborn bashes the target with their shield, forcing them to their knees, and then stabs them with their blade.||Shields with Swords and Daggers||1st and 3rd person|
|Shield Dropover||The Dragonborn bashes the target, stunning them, then grabs the enemy's body and throws it to the ground on the other side. They quickly finish the opponent by slicing their throat.||Shields with Any One-Handed Weapon||3rd person|
|Shield Charge||The Dragonborn uses their shield to perform a charge on the opponent until it falls. They then use their weapon to slice the target's throat.||Shields with Any One-Handed Weapon||1st and 3rd person|
|Shield Cut||The Dragonborn bashes the target, stunning them, then swiftly delivers a slash with the top edge of the shield across the target's neck. Does not cause a decapitation.||Shields||1st and 3rd person|
|Heavy Decapitation||The Dragonborn uses a roundhouse swing to build momentum, bringing the blade across the neck of the target, cleanly decapitating them.||Greatswords||1st and 3rd person|
|Impalement||The Dragonborn thrusts the blade into the midsection of the target, lifting them off the ground, and then throws the corpse back down.||Greatswords||1st and 3rd person|
|Downward Pummel||The Dragonborn jumps and brings the full weight of the weapon down onto the head of the dragon.||Any||3rd person|
|Bash and Decapitate||The target is bashed in the face with the shaft of the weapon to lower their guard. The Dragonborn then decapitates them with the downward motion.||Battleaxes and Warhammers||1st and 3rd person|
|Ominous Drag||The Dragonborn does a backwards power attack, hitting the target in the knee. The Dragonborn then walks ominously towards their helpless target, their weapon dragging behind them and cuts deep into the target's left shoulder.||Battleaxes||3rd person|
|Face-crusher||The Dragonborn cuts across the targets jaw sending them to all fours. The Dragonborn then kicks the target brutally in the face, sending the target onto their back. The Dragonborn proceeds to bring the full weight of the weapon onto the targets exposed face.||Battleaxes and Warhammers||3rd person|
|Savage Headbutt||The Dragonborn traps the target by placing the handle of the weapon across the back of their neck. The target is then subjected to several fatal headbutts.||Battleaxes and Warhammers||1st and 3rd person|
|Spinal Adjustment||The Dragonborn approaches the target from the rear and swings the weapon into their spine.||Battleaxes and Warhammers||1st and 3rd person|
|Downward Pummel 2||The Dragonborn brings the full weight of the weapon down onto the shoulder of the target, then kicks the body away.||Any||1st and 3rd person|
|Dismemberment||The Dragonborn cuts the legs out from beneath the target before swinging their weapon down into the target's shoulder.||Any||1st and 3rd person|
|Rear Thrust||The Dragonborn approaches behind the enemy and thrusts the weapon into their back.||Greatswords||1st and 3rd person|
|Stomach stun and diagonal slash||The Dragonborn swings their blade into the opponent's stomach, making the enemy bend over, then the Dragonborn swings it around their head and slashes the opponent.||Greatswords||3rd person|
|Back spin slash||The Dragonborn slashes diagonally down to their left and then travels with the weight of their sword, spinning them backwards away from their dead opponent and back into a fighting stance.||Greatswords||3rd person|
|Pommel Beatdown||The Dragonborn lifts the weapon and slashes the enemy's shoulder and neck three times with the blade.||Greatswords||1st and 3rd person|
|Scissor Decapitation||The target is slashed across the midsection which brings them to their knees. The Dragonborn then crosses both blades across the target's neck and decapitates them in one swift motion.||Swords Daggers and War Axes||1st and 3rd person|
|Dual Lifting Thrust||The Dragonborn thrusts both blades into the midsection of the target, lifting them off the ground.||Swords and Daggers||1st and 3rd person|
|Double slash||The Dragonborn slashes the enemy with both weapons to the left, causing them to tilt, then slashes with both weapons to the right, knocking the enemy over and killing them.||Swords, War Axes, and Maces||1st and 3rd person|
|Cross slash||The Dragonborn slashes the weapon in their right hand to the left and the weapon in their left hand to the right at the same time, then slashes again outwards. Similar to scissor decapitation except there is no decapitation and it is faster.||Swords, Daggers, and War Axes||1st and 3rd person|
|Head Lock||The Dragonborn takes one weapon to the back of the target's neck, then thrusts the other weapon through their chest.||Swords and Daggers||1st and 3rd person|
|Multicrush||The Dragonborn uses their right mace to cut across the victim's jaw. The target is stunned, the Dragonborn then smashes the target in the face with both maces, killing them.||Maces only||1st and 3rd person|
|Dental Appointment!||The target is held with the left hand and is struck three times in the face with the right hand.||1st and 3rd person|
|Chokeslam||The target receives a left hook and is then lifted off the ground and slammed down to the floor with the right hand.||1st and 3rd person|
|Suplex||The Dragonborn grabs the target across the waist and flips them over, smashing them into the ground.||1st and 3rd person|
|Press and Slam||The Dragonborn picks up the target and slams them head first into the ground.||1st and 3rd person|
|Shoulder Throw||The Dragonborn knees the target in the crotch, stunning them, then grabs the target and throws them over their shoulder. In first person, the Dragonborn punches the stomach instead of doing a knee strike.||1st and 3rd person|
|Choke Hold||While sneaking, the Dragonborn grabs the target in a choke hold and suffocates them, killing them slowly.||3rd person|
|Rear Naked Neck Snap||While sneaking, the Dragonborn grabs the target by the neck in a rear naked choke then quickly pulls their head back, snapping their neck.||3rd person|
|Curb Stomp||When in front of the target, the Dragonborn pushes them over, walks over to the target on the floor and lifts a foot before stomping on the target's face, smashing it.||3rd person|
|Back Breaker||When behind the target, the Dragonborn bends the target over their knee and lies down,
the Dragonborn places their arms around the victim and drives their knee upwards, breaking the opponents back.
|Muffle Tackle||When in sneak mode beside the target, the Dragonborn tackles their target. While thrashing to get free, they are slowly asphyxiated by the Dragonborn who muffles the target with both hands. The Dragonborn then stands up and the kill cam ends.||3rd
|Magic Engulf||Using spells like Flames or Frostbite, a camera angle from behind the Dragonborn and then to the side of the victim is shown while the Dragonborn finishes the enemy with a steady stream of Fire/Ice/etc.||3rd Person|
|Magic Bolt||Similar to a Bow finishing cinematic, a bolt from a spell travels through the air in slow motion, then is shown hitting the target.||3rd Person|
|Slow Motion Shot||The camera first shows the arrow being shot from the Dragonborn, then the arrow flying through the air in slow motion, then a third camera angle showing the arrow lodging into the enemy. If performed with a crossbow, the bolt will smash through the enemy.||Bows and Crossbows||1st and 3rd Person|
|Incoming||The camera view switches to that of the enemy before the arrow strikes, turning the screen black. The view then returns to normal.||3rd Person|
|Bow Bash||The camera zooms out into a side-ways view of the Dragonborn, who bashes the enemy with the bow and then proceeds to stab them with an arrow.||Bows||3rd Person|
|Crossbow Stab||The Dragonborn stabs the crossbow downwards, with a bolt loaded, into the target's head.||Crossbows only||3rd Person|
|Eye Gouger||The Dragonborn slashes the Dragon once and then climbs onto its head. After beating it into submission, the Dragonborn thrusts the weapon into the side of its skull.||One-Handed weapon|
|Executioner's Axe||The Dragonborn quickly swings at the head of the dragon, causing it to be stunned for a moment. When it looks back, the Dragonborn jumps onto the head of the dragon and is launched up, using the momentum of the fall to kill the dragon with one last downward swing.||Battleaxes
|Sword Kill||The Dragonborn swings the weapon at the Dragon's head once, climbs on top of the dragon's head and plunges the blade on top of its skull.||Swords|
|Frontal Slash||The Dragonborn slashes at the dragon's snout and kills it with one downward swing.||Two-Handed weapon|
|My Teeth to Your Neck!||A Dragon specific finishing move, the Dragon bites their opponent and flings the lifeless corpse aside. Cannot be performed by the Dragonborn.||Dragon Only|
|Dragon Dive||A Dragon specific finishing move, seen sometimes during main missions, the Dragon dives towards their prey, grabs them and then throws them away to their death. Cannot be performed by the Dragonborn.||Dragon Only|
|Wolf||As the wolf leaps, the Dragonborn thrusts a blade into the stomach of the wolf once.||Two-Handed weapon|
|Wolf||The Dragonborn delivers a kick to the wolf's head. As it recoils backwards, the Dragonborn moves to the side grabbing the wolf's head with the left hand and delivering a swift blow at the base of its neck with the right handed weapon.||One-Handed Weapon|
|Frostbite Spider||The Dragonborn impales the spider through the midsection.
OR the sword hits the spider and cuts them open.
|Sword or Dagger|
|Bear/Sabre Cat||The Dragonborn puts their blade sideways blocking the bear's mouth from biting and proceeds to slash from the position sideways.||One-Handed Weapon|
|Bear/Sabre Cat||The Dragonborn thrusts the weapon into the stomach of the bear as it leaps at the Dragonborn.||Two-Handed weapon|
|Bear/Sabre Cat||The Dragonborn spins and slashes the weapon onto the bear's mouth as it moves to bite.||Two-Handed weapon|
|Chaurus Hunter||The hunter falls to the ground, and the Dragonborn finishes it with a heavy stomp.||Any|
|Chaurus Hunter||The Dragonborn swats the hunter down with their shield, then finishes them with their weapon.||One-Handed weapon and Shield.|
|Hagraven||The Dragonborn brings down the weapon into her shoulder.||Two-Handed weapon|
|Hagraven/Falmer||As it lunges at the Dragonborn, it is stabbed with a sword or dagger to the side of its head.||Swords or daggers|
|Trolls/Bears||The Dragonborn spins the blade into a stabbing position and takes a few steps back, then rushes forward and impales the target.||Greatsword|
|Gargoyle, One-Handed||The Dragonborn slashes the gargoyle across its face, bringing it to its knees, then finishes with an upward kick to its chin.||One-Handed Weapon|
|Gargoyle, Two-Handed||The Dragonborn dodges 2 swipes from the gargoyle's claws, then on the third dodges and then slashes it across the chest with their weapon.||Two-Handed Weapon|
|Skeever||The Dragonborn stabs the skeever through the head.||Sword|
|Dwarven Centurion||The Dragonborn strikes the Centurion's right knee, and then its left knee.||One-Handed and Two-Handed|
|Giant||The Dragonborn cuts across the giant's left knee, causing it to kneel, then jabs the sword/dagger through the bottom of the giant's head.||Sword or Dagger|
|Giant||While sneaking, the Dragonborn stabs the Giant in the back of the knee, causing it to kneel. The Dragonborn then climbs up the Giant, stabs it once in each side of the head. If the Dragonborn uses a mace, the Dragonborn will club the Giant twice.||Swords, Dagger and maces.|
Werewolf and Vampire Lord
|Werewolf Maul||The werewolf leaps at the target and tackles them to the ground, then viciously claws at their body or bites them across the neck, depending on which hand was last used (right or left, respectively).|
|Werewolf Throw/Decapitation||While standing, the werewolf grabs the target by the head and throws them to the left or right, depending on which hand was last used. If both hands are used, the werewolf grabs the victim with both paws and crushes their skull or bites their head off.|
|Power Bite Attack||The Vampire Lord wraps its wings around the target and sinks its fangs into their neck. Counts as a feeding for the purpose of unlocking Vampire Lord perks.|
Controls by platform
- To perform a Kill Camera on command is done by tapping RT and moving the left analog stick at the same time in any direction, which will result in different Kill Cameras.
- Performing a Kill Camera can happen randomly in a fight but can be done on command by tapping R1 and flicking the left analog stick forward. A finisher factors in how strong the player is against its enemy and how the player's character is positioned.
- To perform a Kill Camera press the forward button (default W) and Mouse button corresponding to the character's weapon-hand when enemy is at low health.
- The 'Leaping Thrust' is very similar to a "Superman Punch" in MMA-style fighting, and a move that Achilles uses in the 2004 movie, Troy.
- Certain "creature" type enemies can also perform Kill Cameras, such as Falmer. Humans, Elves and Beastfolk can also perform Kill Cameras, both followers and enemies. They can execute them on the Dragonborn, and other characters as well.
- The Crossbow, Chaurus Hunter, Gargoyle, and Vampire Lord Kill Cameras can only be performed if the DLC Dawnguard is installed.
- The Archery, Magic, Unarmed, and Werewolf Kill Cameras can only be performed if Patch 1.5 or higher is installed.
- There may be a noticeable wait in between the start of a third-person kill camera and the action taking place.
- Decapitating ghosts colors the head. If the severed head is searched, it disappears.
- Decapitating Dremora summoned by Sanguine's Rose causes them to appear headless when the staff is used again.
- Decapitating enemies wearing a Heavy Armor helmet may leave the head still intact, and the body could twitch around a bit.
- Decapitated corpses will keep their headgear, even after the body has been completely looted.
- When decapitating a character, the person's body may disappear, though it can still be looted.
- After decapitating enemies wearing a hat the hat may still float above the head as if still being worn and the head will appear invisible although the severed neck texture can still be seen rolling around.
- Sometimes a bow or magic finisher may play, although the intended finishing arrow/magic bolt may miss.
- Sometimes for magic or bow kill cameras, even though the arrow/magic bolt hits the enemy, it may not die (especially in the case of Giants, which may be merely downed rather than killed). The animation does stop, however.
- Sometimes a bow finisher may hit and paralyze the enemy but deal no damage.
- Sometimes, when using a bow, if the kill cam starts while zooming in or slowing time (by holding down the block button, which drains stamina) upon exiting the cinematic, all stamina will be depleted.
- While sneaking with a bow, the Kill Camera has a tendency to cause arrows to impact the ground in front of the Dragonborn, unless care is taken to move close enough to, if not slightly beyond, the edge of the surface upon which the player is crouching.
- If the Dragonborn is extremely low on Magicka and is using Flames, Frostbite, etc. and attempts to kill an enemy and the finishing cinematic plays, they may not have enough Magicka to fully kill the enemy, and the cinematic will end after about three seconds.
- When entering the cinematic, a follower may kill the enemy with a spell or arrow, causing the cinematic to play indefinitely, as the enemy cannot be killed by the player.
- stamina is exhausted. Sometimes sprinting while performing a finishing animation will allow one to sprint for an unlimited time, even after
- When trying to kill someone who just walks through a door, the cinematic might freeze and will not end.
- It is possible for the kill camera to remain stuck on a dead character for an indefinite amount of time.
- Kill cameras may occasionally "glitch up" and show an area below the level when they occur, or may be behind a large obstruction. This is more common in areas that are more compact and small, or if the kill camera is nearby a wall. An example is when a Kill Camera where the throat would be slit is raised, so the person's forehead is cut.
- Kill cameras for werewolves, especially the "Werewolf Maul" performed with the left hand, in which they bite the target's chest, will make the target sink through the ground and disappear after the cinematic is done.
- Rarely, in a first-person kill camera, the kill camera will play and the enemy will react to being killed, but the Dragonborn will not move at all.
- Occasionally, the kill camera will play for projectile spells even if the spell misses or fails to kill the enemy. After this occurs, the Dragonborn may not be able to swing weapons/cast spells for some time (this can typically be negated by using both triggers simultaneously).
- When an enemy triggers a kill camera on the Dragonborn, running immediately to the left may cause the Dragonborn to escape the kill camera. This places a value on the Dragonborn so if the enemy who performed the failed kill catches and strikes the Dragonborn once again it will be an automatic kill camera even if the dragonborn is at full health. Alternatively, if the Dragonborn escapes or triumphs against the enemy, the players' model in 3rd person will have rag-doll like physics associated to it like a dead body. This will also cause 3rd person fast travelling to show the Dragonborn sliding into place from the original position.