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!
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. 🙂