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 NPCs 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, upon attacking. For instance, striking an enemy from the flank or behind produces different finishers than a strike met head-on.
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.
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 Bladeperk will often produce full health finishers.
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.
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.
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.
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, Axes and Maces
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 Axes
The Dragonborn takes one weapon to the back of the target's neck, then thrusts the other weapon through their chest.
The target is held with the left hand and is struck three times in the face with the right hand.
1st and 3rd
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
The Dragonborn grabs the target across the waist and flips them over, smashing them into the ground.
Press and Slam
The Dragonborn picks up the target and slams them head first into the ground.
1st and 3rd person
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
While sneaking, the Dragonborn grabs the target in a choke hold and suffocates them, killing them slowly.
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.
When infront 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.
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.
Similar to a Bow finishing cinematic, a bolt from a spell travels through the air in slow motion, then is shown hitting the target.
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.
The camera view switches to that of the enemy before the arrow strikes, turning the screen black. The view then returns to normal.
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.
The Dragonborn stabs the crossbow downwards, with a bolt loaded, into the target's head.
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.
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.
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.
The Dragonborn slashes at the dragon's snout and kills it with one downward swing.
My Teeth to Your Neck!
A Dragon specific finishing move, the Dragon bites their opponent and flings the lifeless corpse aside.
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.
As the wolf leaps, the Dragonborn thrusts a blade into the stomach of the wolf once.
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.
The Dragonborn impales the spider through the midsection.
OR the sword hits the spider and cuts them open.
Sword or Dagger
The Dragonborn puts their blade sideways blocking the bears mouth from biting and proceeds to slash from the position sideways.
The Dragonborn thrusts the weapon into the stomach of the bear as it leaps at the Dragonborn.
The Dragonborn spins and slashes the weapon onto the bears mouth as it moves to bite.
The hunter falls to the ground, and the Dragonborn finishes it with a heavy stomp.
The Dragonborn swats the hunter down with their shield, then finishes them with their weapon.
One-Handed weapon and Shield.
The Dragonborn brings down the weapon into her shoulder.
As it lunges at the Dragonborn, it is stabbed with a sword or dagger to the side of its head.
Swords or daggers
The Dragonborn spins the blade into a stabbing position and takes a few steps back, then rushes forward and impales the target.
The Dragonborn slashes the gargoyle across its face, bringing it to its knees, then finishes with an upward kick to its chin.
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.
The Dragonborn stabs the skeever through the head.
The Dragonborn strikes the centurion's right knee, and then its left knee.
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.
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).
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.
360 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.
PS3 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.
PC 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.
Decapitating enemies wearing a Heavy Armor helmet may leave the head still intact, and the body could twitch around a bit.
PS3 Sometimes sprinting while performing a finishing animation will allow one to sprint for an unlimited time, even after stamina is exhausted.
When decapitating a character, the person's body may disappear, though it can still be looted.
Sometimes a bow or magic finisher may play, although the intended finishing arrow/magic bolt may miss.
A bow finisher may still hit an enemy, but if the shot paralyzes the enemy, either through perks, enchantments, or poison, it will simply do only that and not deal any damage.
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.
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.
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.
When trying to kill someone who just walks through a door, the cinematic might freeze and will not end.
PC 360 PS3 There may be a noticeable wait in between the start of a third-person kill camera and the action taking place.
PS3 Sometimes for Magic or bow kill cameras, the enemy may not die (this is a case with Giants, as sometimes, the Giant may be merely downed rather than completely killed. The animation does stop, however.
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.
360 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.
Decapitated corpses will keep their headgear, even after the body has been completely looted.
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).
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.
PS3 It is possible for the kill camera to remain stuck on a dead character for an indefinite amount of time.