Two Years Ago…Oblivion went Gold

obliv02B.jpg

Yesterday was the two year anniversary of Oblivion’s “Gone Gold” announcement. Personally, those two years feel more like a decade to me. The team is insanely busy right now, but a few developers did e-mail me some thoughts on the anniversary. I’ve worked on Oblivion longer than most people here, and I continue to be amazed at how successful it was and is and how many people still play it today.

Todd Howard, Executive Producer
It’s hard to pick one moment during the 4 years we spent on Oblivion, but when I think back there is one moment that always sticks out in my head, and I don’t quite know why, I think it’s because it’s one of those moments where something in the game “clicked”. We had been working on lots of new systems for a very long time, and they finally came together for me during one main quest run through. I agreed to take Martin to Cloud Ruler Temple, and instead of fast traveling there, he, Jauffre, and I rode our horses all the way there. During this 20 minute forest trot, the sun was rising over Cyrodiil, and I got this amazing view along the mountain pass, with the sun glistening off the water and the Imperial Tower reflected in it, as I led the heir to the thrown to his secret fortress in the mountains. It was the moment where the AI, visuals, and story seemed to come together. It’s incredibly cheesy to say, but it was magical.

Aaron Mitschelen, QA
My favorite moment of Oblivion was a total fluke. Some highwayman had just held me up for money, which I didn’t have. He griped about his rotten luck, and the INSTANT the game zoomed back out from the dialogue close up — WHAP, a mountain lion out of freakin’ nowhere, right in the brigand’s head! Totally classic.

As for environments, you can’t beat Camoran’s Paradise. I was so fond of it that I e-mailed the expansion’s lead designer, suggesting the player get their own paradise upon completing Shivering Isles. I like my environments idyllic. Give me Cameron’s Paradise, or the hilly grasslands of Skingrad County over Mehrunes Dagon’s Oblivion realms, or the ashen wastes of Vvardenfell any day!

Ashley Cheng, Producer
The first time I saw Cloud Ruler Temple on Grant’s machine. I was hooked. It’s my favorite place in the game. Also, The Dark Brotherhood — I tried to playtest the Dark Brotherhood questline first — once I was done, I tried not to play much of it again until after we shipped because I wanted to experience it in its final, polished state so I could use my “real” character and earn the achievements for real, too.

Gary Noonan, Artist
Oblivion was good game. I liked it very much. It made me happy to play. I could fight monsters and be hero of fantasy. My favorite part was the swords and the magic. They made me strong.

Ricardo Gonzalez, Programmer
Favorite Spell: Summon Daedroth. I named him Clawford. I *love* that guy!

Pete Hines
My favorite moment from development was when we finished that phone book of a strategy guide. That thing was an absolute bear to get out the door. Gamewise, it was probably the ultimate heist quest for the Thieves Guild. I remember using every trick I could think of to stay alive as I used every potion, spell, and ingredient I had. When I finally finished, I pretty much had nothing left…damn wraiths and vampires…but I was really glad to have survived it.

Mike Lipari, Programmer
I did most of my playing with an Argonian named Licks-his-feet. I did the Marksman/Alchemy/Sneak combo and enjoyed sneak shots on targets with poisoned arrows from across the room and watching them die before they made it halfway to me. If the target was a little weaker than I thought and they dropped after one hit, sure I wasted a poison arrow, but seeing my dead target flip backwards over a railing more than made up for it. Aeylid Ruins were particularly fun for this.

Orin Tresnjak, Programmer
One of the best things about Oblivion is that my dad absolutely loves it — he’s spent way more time playing it than I have (and I’ve played my fair share). I think it’s helped to convince him that there’s something to this making video games for a living thing after all. :)

Reader Comments

  1. I just picked it up again last week and am toally hooked all over again. With the official plugins and the maturity of the MODs available today there’s almost a limitless amount of play time.

    Thanks for such a fantastic game that has probably captured more of my gaming hours than any game since Morrowind.

  2. Oblivion is without doubt one of the best games ever made.

    My favorite point was when ,while doing the quest on the Bloated Float, I woke up with vampirism.

  3. [Gary Noonan, Artist
    Oblivion was good game. I liked it very much. It made me happy to play. I could fight monsters and be hero of fantasy. My favorite part was the swords and the magic. They made me strong.]

    Gary Noonan talks..CHILDRENESE. :D

    Fantastic rpg and totally worthy sequel. Funny how the longer I play it the better Vanilla OBLIVION gets.

  4. Sharing favorite experiences are we?

    My first character, I decided to try out a “Sneaky Mage,” like Mike Lipari’s Marksman/Alchemy/Sneak combo. I had Illusion though, and in the Oblivion realms, paralyzing Dremora right next to pools of lava was always fun.

    Of course, it would have been better if they cursed while they were falling over. :D

  5. I was one of those “insanely busy” people — whoops! My favorite Oblivion “moment” was (and still is) the entire Dark Brotherhood questline. :)

  6. Nothing quite beats stepping outside for the first time. it just hits you how far games have gotten to see something rendered that beautifully with your own eyes.

  7. Thank you for this game. I never realized when I started playing it that it would be the best game I’ve ever played. I’ve got two characters – one good, one bad. To me it’s totally amazing the unlimited different characters and realistic gameplay you can have. It’s not a game, it’s like an animated book in which you’re the main character…my daughter says this game is like life.

    My favorite quest with my good character was the Ultimate Heist. It was tricky, quite long, and the ending had a really nice twist. I’ve just finished Purification with my bad character and it was sad. This game evokes emotion – happiness, sadness, pity, amazement (at the beauty). Plus the fact one can decorate house(s) – I am just so hooked.

    So looking forward to future releases in the series, even though I feel I could be satisfied with Oblivion for so many many years.

  8. And here we are a year later since the release of the PS3 version and I’ve got over 250 hours of time put into it. Its not an old game to me! I’m still anxiously awaiting the remaining DLC to make its way to our console–please release it! :)

  9. [Nothing quite beats stepping outside for the first time. it just hits you how far games have gotten to see something rendered that beautifully with your own eyes.

    Left by Lady Nerevar on March 3rd, 2008]

    Yep its like the ultimate merging of many genres into one. At last I can get my HERECTIC,DOOM,BLOOD with my DAGGERFALL,MIGHT AND MAGIC,MORROWIND etc.

    I thought RAVEN SOFTWARE was gonna do it first with their HEXEN and HERECTIC series considering how photographic they were for their time with plenty of classical artistic atmosphere. Too bad SOLDIER OF FORTUNE seem to keep them in a more current realistic era.

  10. This game has ruined all other games for me. Nothing compares and it has been a fantastic 2 years. Looking forward to Bethesda’s future releases.

  11. Oblivion has to be among my favourite games ever, which is pretty damn good as I’ve been gaming for 30+ years, and one which I still keep going back to playing on a fairly regular basis.

    Despite all the amazing scenery, my favourite moment was just a tiny fraction of the game when the alchemist in Skingrad comes out with the totally out of nowhere comment “By the way, do you happen to know the charge for necrophilia?”. That was so unexpected and made me laugh so hard, although explaining to my young godson, who was sat next to me, what was so funny about the comment wasn’t quite so amusing… ;) Or actually maybe the bizarre troll suicide note, again totally unexpected and made me chuckle.

    Pete, the strategy guide may have been an “absolute bear” to finish, but it’s by far the best strategy guide I’ve ever used, so kudos to the folks who worked on that. Even if you don’t really need help with the game it’s written in such a way as to be enjoyable just to browse.

  12. @ ZooeyGoo, I know exactly how you feel. Morrowind is that game for me, and I still enjoy it six years down the line.

    As for Oblivion, I’m still finding myself accidentally sucked into quests where I wasn’t expecting to find them. Although there are some seriously out-there side-quests floating around (literally, in some cases), my favourite moment had to be the “rats” quest for the Fighters’ Guild, simply for the gleeful mischief of it all.

  13. My favorite moment was when I traveled into the mountains and found myself on the highest point I could reach without using cheats. Just looking out over the land as the sun came up from up there was amazing. No other game can do anything like it.

  14. I am with you on that one Edocsil, Oblivion is no doubt the greatest game ever made. I cannot enjoy other games like I do with Oblivion. Oblivion do have their own downfall as bugs and Bethesda is very slow by responding to that. Nevertheless, Oblivion is still the greatest and will continue playing it for years to come. I know Fallout 3 is coming out but I really hope to see Bethesda is bother to take advantage of Morrowind and Oblivion game merge together that power by fallout 3 engine? oh I wish.

  15. The two year anniversary just lets me know that this game has been a part of my life for TWO YEARS. And I’m still enjoying it. Once I get a PC, it’s going to be another two years. :D AND THEN SOME.

    Congratulations. And thank you.

  16. Congratulations Bethesda :D
    Once I finish with reading and postings on net, I am gonna run OB and find a way to celebrate its birthday.

    My favourite part in OB happened during my playtime with a thief character while completing the TG quest where you needed to find that arrow head:


    I was attacked by a freaking Daedroth and barely menaged to kill it. I am sure that if I meet just one more,I won’t survive the encounter

    I got out of the Tower into exterior. I was attacked by yet another daedroth. Because the fighting space was large, I menaged to beat him.

    Damned Fathes Aren! First he summoned a Zombie and then cast a Burden upon me! Fortunately, the zombie was weak so I could use all of my attention on shooting arrows at Aren. Unfortunately, the darn kid hid behind the column every time he didn’t cast a spell. But I did menage to shoot few arrows into him!

    Burden stoped working and Aren was massacred.

    No arrows on corpse, damn it! I’ll need to look around…
    TUMP! TUMP! TUMP!
    Not anothe Dae… OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!

    Three daedroths are running towards me! I jumped into central ring and acrobaticaly landed on center of the “arena”. Then the lizards came and surrounded me. And attacked as well.
    I shoot my last five arrows into two of theme.

    Great part of battle I used on jumping arround and hitting theme with my Blade of Woe which I got just before killing Lucien Lachance (my way of rejecting dark offers).

    No more potions of health… I jump around and cast weak Healing magics.

    It became too dangerous. I run up on stairs and jumped on a stone column and started healing myself.

    A Daedroth jumped and pushed me down. He followed.

    I drunk a Weak Potion of Exploration and re-started my jump-and-hit tactics.

    I lost all my potions and mana so I decided to take one with me into Oblivion. Thief has gone into bearserk!
    One of theme soon passed away. Another one fell near him. But the third one was still way to healthy.

    I took my arrows from two dead daedroths, used the Soul Gem, recharged my Bow of Wonter and killed the freakin lizard!

  17. I picked up oblivion in october of last year and have been playing all but about two months since. I have around 400 hours on two different saves.

    I’d say my favorite part of the game was the mage’s guild questline in particular and the rest of the guild questlines. The story’s were very interesting and always kept me guessing what was going to happen next. I really enjoyed it and am still enjoying it on my second save.

    I play on the PS3 and am still hoping to see that DLC release…at least some of them.

    Thank you Bethesda.

  18. Picked up the GOTY edition for my xbox 360 and am now enjoying Oblivion all over again on the big screen. In two years, nothing has managed to dethrone Oblivion as being the best game ever created. Having spent well over 200+ hours playing the PC version the first time around, I’m already about 60 hours in the GOTY edition and I’ve only completed Knights of the nine. Decided to play through the Dark Brotherhood quest line as I hadn’t before and it was tons of fun. Now, for shivering isles!

  19. When I was in college I used to play pinball after classes and exams, just to chill out and get the beta waves flowing again. Now OB has become that for me. I like nothing better than to get home from work, kick off my shoes, flip on the Xbox and fire Cyrodiil up for an hour.

    And the emotional moments keep coming. Just the other day the black horse I’ve been riding – and constantly saving from near death – for about 200 hours (Claudia) died at the hands of a mountain lion that came out of nowhere while I was battling a bear and an ogre. When I turned around and saw her body lying at the base of a nearby doomstone I heard myself shout, “noooooo!!!” and then felt really stupid at how much loss I felt.

    Yeah, I probably need to get out more, but to have a video game create such a strong emotional experience is amazing and all too rare. Keep up the great work, Bethesda.

  20. i bought morrowind for 9.95 from blockbuster because it was my last choice.i quickly became a elder scrolls fanatic.then comes oblivion, if i play games for the rest of my life no game could be better than oblivion.i only hope fallout is half as good.many thanks for making so many gamers so happy

  21. The last three months leading up to the release of Oblivion was agonizing to say the least…as I didn’t really want to start my 3rd Morrowind character!
    Finally…when the Emperor
    spoke during the intro as the camera pans the view around the IC up to the prison…and that music!
    Well, I swear I remember getting goosebumbs! Now,
    1500hrs/2 characters later
    and counting…OMG, what are you gonna do for an encore?

  22. My favorite part in oblivion is when I completed shivering isles exp and became the mad god. I went back to oblivion to complete my daedric quests. I stopped by the mad gods shrine and ended up speaking to haskill and he told me I guess its appropriate preying to myself considering im the mad god…lol

  23. I have some problems with Oblivion, but its modding capabilites are near endless. While I only played it for two months I have modded it for over ten months, so thanks for making a good game even if there are some problems with it. Here’s to hoping that TES V returns to a more classic RPG style.

  24. This game is Awsome..congrats
    even thow it was kind of easy with experince with Morrowind
    Hope there is another story to explore

  25. I love the elder scrolls so much I am planning on building my own world like the guys over doing Nehrim. A friend and I have some great ideas, anyone here is welcome to give imput. Im still a noob at it, so if there is anyone out there willing to teach it is most welcome, or willing to take part in it. We are still in the begaining stage, just ideas. Thanks to bethesda for the tes set…

  26. I would like to thank those few who are interested in creating something. We would welcome all comments. There are so many great modders, people should get together and have fun, come up with something new. anyone who is interested please e-mail me ashersystems@yahoo.com I would like to invite those who like to teach about creating items, and different chars. I have a ton of ideas, just need to find the right door.. thanks everyone

  27. I’m 28. I just get into Oblivion this year. This game has every features that I ever dream of since Final Fantasy 7. I enjoy playing it. I love the game. Personally, there is no game at the moment that can take me away from Oblivion. Happy Anniversary for Berthesda’s team and thanks for this great RPG.

  28. I have have been playing elderscrolls pc games for about 4 years, however I just got a new pc that is 64 bit. I have just read that the game is for 32 bit only and I was wondering will I be able to install and play elderscrolls III and IV.

    I love these games and want to continue to play them on my pc. As far as I am concerned there are no better fantacy games anywhere. I hope you will make another elderscrolls for the pc.