Morrowind turns 6 years old; Oblivion is back on Xbox Live’s Top Ten list

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Blame it on Morrowind.

In 2001, Todd Howard came by my cube and asked if I could help him track some work on a project his team was working on. The project was, of course, Morrowind. I would guess the team was somewhere around 40 developers then, maybe less. A year later — and six years ago today — we went gold and shipped the following week. As successful as Oblivion has been for us, it could not have happened without Morrowind. The team, processes, tools, technology, lore, fan feedback — we learned so much from Morrowind and put it all into Oblivion. Open ended RPGs are not easy projects to work on and very few knock it out of the park on the first try.

If you liked Oblivion, try Morrowind. The Xbox version is backward compatible on Xbox 360, and the PC version should run easily on any computer that is out now. Make sure you get the Morrowind Game of the Year edition, which will include the two expansions, Tribunal and Bloodmoon. Let us know in comments which of the games we’ve worked on is your favorite.

Other good news today — Major Nelson released his top 10 Xbox Live titles today and Oblivion is back on the list at #10…a full two years after its initial release. It used to surprise me, but no more — Oblivion has got major legs. Major legs.

Reader Comments

  1. My favourite of the game you worked on?Easy.

    Terminator: Future Shock : ).
    I liked Morrowind at first, the opening music itself made it for me, but after two weeks of wandering around those wastes I got bored, and never finished it.
    Oblivion, that I finished and enjoyed, although that leveling system was a biiiig mistake.
    Anyway, I am looking forward to Fallout 3 since 2000 when I played Fallout 2, and as those two games are still my all time favourites, you better not dissapoint!

  2. It’s nice to see you guys give Morrowind some credit.

    After purchasing an Xbox 360 late last year and playing through many of the games on the system, it no longer surprises me why Oblivion is considered such a great game. Compared to the rest of the trash on the system, and especially the other RPGs (with the notable exception of Mass Effect) Oblivion is a work of art.

    Still, let’s hope the future of the series is a little more Morrowind and little less Oblivion =D

  3. It’s nice to see it’s already 6. I remember playing this when it first came out. Morrowind is what got me hooked on you guys. Good work! I loved it then and am still playing it now. Bootcamp + Morrowind = reliving the past :D. Played through the main game and the 2 expansions multiple times…so much time spent, never regretted.

    I must admit, I anticipated Oblivion ever since it was announced, and now it’s the same thing with Fallout.

  4. I was so upset when I found out the my Morrowind GOTY is NOT on the compatibility list for the XBox 360 – only the standard game. Maybe in the future?

    Anyway … Oblivion rocks!

  5. I still love Morrowind, even six years on. Sure, it’s so modded it’s like “Trigger’s Broom” – hardly anything of the original game is left – but it’s the little things that are the same. The music (even with the Daggerfall Music Packs thrown in). The call of the silt strider. The way the sun sets over the mountains. Walking around Seyda Neen for the first time and seeing what bargains Arille has in stock. Handing that ring back to Fargoth! (Yes, I always do.)

    Morrowind still has legs, and Oblivion’s still in its infancy. :)

  6. Oblivion drew me into TES. After hearing all the ruckus about “Morrowind > Oblivion”, I got Morrowind GOTY. Didn’t play it much, because I wanted to do something else than kill a rat and barely survive, and survive the interface.

    Then I was inspired to play it last year after buying the soundtrack. After running back and forth from Balmora to Vivec to level 13, I went around Vvardenfell, going from level 13 to 20, mostly by killing cliff racers. Finished it and expansions. Morrowind does have a far better main quest and politics than Oblivion, but that’s pretty much it.

    Morrowind is one of the few games that I have that I can play on my 24″ monitor in full glory (with texture packs) on a laptop. Once I build my new system, ditto for Oblivion (and everything else).

  7. Which game was best? Well, for years I said that Daggerfall was the buggiest game I ever finished, and that’s a pretty high honor. I probably spent more time playing Daggerfall than any of the later games.

  8. I prefer (excluding mods) the game that doesn’t treat me like a 6-year-old, doesn’t have a poorly designed scaling system that removes all incentives for leveling, doesn’t have a serious game-ruining bug that Bethesda still refuses to fix, doesn’t ignore previous lore, doesn’t have a laughable UI that violates almost every concept of UI design, doesn’t have an extremely overused “save the world” main quest, and doesn’t have embarrassingly bad DLC (complete with their own serious bugs/glitches) that Bethesda has the gall to charge for and then not support.

    Of course, taking into account all the modders that fixed the poor design decisions, I do actually prefer Oblivion.

  9. Morrowind was the game that changed much of my life, seriously it made me more interested in lore and in gaming, it did very much so change my life and it was the greatest game I have yet to play, perhaps just because it was my first RPG and true game, perhaps I shall always feel a special place for that game.

  10. [My favourite of the game you worked on?Easy.

    Terminator: Future Shock : ).

    Left by Pavel on April 23rd, 2008]

    Yea that game was amazing. It had the classic Bethesda put you there as if it were real simulation feeling. One of the dreariest scariest science fiction games I have ever played. It really brought home the terror of the Terminator and the machines.

    Favorite Elder Scrolls game? Why all of them :D They all had a different feel which made them feel new yet the same which is the joy and agony of the series. Every time a new chapter comes out one has to adapt to new ways of playing after becoming so comfortable with the previous chapter. Yet it always works out as if by magic.

    Happy Birthday Morrowind! I brought the Collectors Edition of the game I believe on the second day of its release along with the huge hint book MORROWIND PROPHECIES. I still have the metal figurine,music cd and art book that came with it. Probably one to two months later I joined the Official Forums with the first mod I downloaded being some underwater dungeon located in Seyda Neen near the light house.

    It was really cool chatting with people on the Forums that first summer and ever since. I still remember talking to Vincent Dragon as he discussed all the great mods he was intending to make like the great food restaurant with merchants and trade feuds ocurring between them. He never did make that mod but he did create some textured shirt mods aswell as the awesome WIZARDS ISLAND Mod with other modders.

    It was also quite mind reeling to see the Devs coming on the Forums regularly to hang out and chat especially Gary Noonan who once called me a little Gaurino after the Guars in the game. Ha ha :D He also worked for a few years on a mod called MORROWIND ADVANCED with some cool looking new models like the Devourer a spikey orangey colored giant mud crab.

    Yep good times amongst the craziness such as the General Discussions Forums being shut down due to out of hand behavior.

    It was also a year when my Mother passed on from this life to her next adventure so having a place like the Forums to relax and a unique game like MORROWIND to enjoy and express my creativity was definitely a great help in keeping me connected in a positive manner.

  11. I didn’t come into the scene until Oblivion. Oblivion changed everything for me. It ruined all other games for me, really. (don’t you find a lot of people say that!?) :D

    I went and bought Morrowind GOTY edition because I wanted to check out the lore of the game, and to see why people are still playing this older game – gotta be something there! I’ve still not had a chance to play this game but will.

    I like the leveling system of Oblivion ok. What I like is to be able to travel all around Cyrodill and explore the land as I like. With other games, areas may have much harder monsters and you can’t get access to these areas unless you can kill the area beasts. I don’t like this type of gameplay (that aspect really annoys me with WoW). However, not getting into Cloud Ruler temple had my curiosity up, and you find you can’t get in because you’re not allowed until you meet certain people and do certain things. This is more realistic and like real life.

  12. Congratulations Morrowind & Bethesda! And thank you!

    Morrowind on Xbox was my first touch to the TES lore and it drew me right in. Before that I had played mostly dialogue-rich and story-oriented hardcore RPGs on PC and thought that no game could capture my imagination without a finely crafted, “linear” story and hours after hours of conversations…

    But Morrowind changed all that. Sure, I played the game’s story through, but only once with, what, over 20 characters? The greatest appeal to me was: “what’s behind this hill? Or that mountain?” And with Morrowind (and Oblivion, obviously) that meant hours and hours of wandering in the wilderness, ’cause there always was another hill behind the first. Not doing anything significant or “saving the world”. And for that the skill mechanic was spot on.

    And now I’m playing Oblivion again on Xbox 360. And having racked up at least over 800 hours playing the game, I still find new side-quests or locations. It’s amazing.

    The jury’s still out on Fallout 3, since I also am a Fallout fan from the olden days, but I believe you’ll pull through.

  13. Wauw, Morrowind is alreaddy six?
    I remember my first moments in Morrowind very clearly, as I walked around in Seyda Neen I just knew that this game was a very special game, I could feel it.

    Morrowind pretty much changed my life, I had never played a game like that before and I totally loved it, I loved every aspect of it, which is proberly why I was to overhyped about Oblivion, I expected it to be a Morrowind 2.
    It was Morrowind that really made me decide that I wanted to make games, espicially these kinds of games. I’m a this 3d school as I write this.

    I still play Morrowind to this day, I still haven’t finnished Great House Redoran. Oh the mods, over 300 mods and almost everyone of them is a graphical replacer.

    Happy Birthday Morrowind, and thank you Bethesda, for changing my life for the better and making one hell of a game :D

  14. Congratulations to 6th birthday to Morrowind and the Top Ten-Ranking for Oblivion.

    The games are unbelivable, just great work!

    BUT: I “love” Oblivion, but why I can’t play shivering isles for my PS3 in Europe?`

    Would be great to get some information about it!

    Thanx, and I’m waiting for TES V

  15. Favorite TES game? Hmmm.
    “Rest well this night, for tomorrow you sail for the Kingdom of Daggerfall” :)

    But Morrowind has unique feeling. And Oblivion? Well, it is good game, not perfect, but good.

    So every TES game has something different that i like.

  16. This post is a neat coincidence for me: I loved Oblivion (still do, in fact) and literally just got my hands on a copy of Morrowind GOTY a couple of days ago. It’s different from Oblivion (in some ways better, in some ways worse), but I’m having a whole lot of fun. :)

  17. Morrowind. Mainly, because I fully explored its lovely unique world, loved it and still do. With Oblivion I had plenty of fun, but this level scaling thing don’t let me enjoy the whole thing.

    You know what? I wanna save Vvardenfell… Again :D

  18. [I didn’t come into the scene until Oblivion. Oblivion changed everything for me. It ruined all other games for me, really. (don’t you find a lot of people say that!?)

    I like the leveling system of Oblivion
    Left by Gankaku on April 23rd, 2008
    ]

    Yes it definitely ruins other games. Thank goodness am into other genres like Strategy and 3d Shooters otherwise it would be all Elder Scrolls all the time :D Two years into OBLIVION and am still finding dungeons and even whole new towns to explore while using quick travel in a balanced manner. Incredible depth to say the least.

  19. I Re-installed Morrowind a month ago. At first I was really bored and got back to Oblivion pretty quick but after a week or so of Morrowind I couldn’t stop. The world was much better designed then Oblivions and there was more lore and better looking armor types.
    Now I’m hooked and Oblivion feels empty somehow.

  20. Bloodmoon is easily my favorite. I would do all of Morrowind’s Misc Quests, and then Bloodmoon’s main quest, and feel as though I had acheived enlightenment. Again.

  21. For me it has to be Morrowind, there were so many guilds/factions/sidequests, don’t get me wrong Oblivion is amazing, the graphics really immerse you, but Morrowind’s landscapes/characters were much more diverse. I will admit Morrowind did take me a few attempts to get into, it isn’t a game you can just pick up and play, and reading dialogue can get boring, I end up skipping half of it. Great work with both games!

  22. What they got right with Bloodmoon is the same thing they got right with Shivering Isles – a true sense that the NPCs carry on living their lives, even when you’re away from them.

  23. I’ll be honest, i still think that Morrowind is my favorite game of all time. It is what got me hooked on anything that Bethesda does. It is still a masterpiece…from Jeremy Soule’s score, to just enjoying the beautiful scenery. It’s great. By the way Hipchick, Morrowind GOTY does work on 360 now.

  24. Tough call, that one. Daggerfall was my first real PC game, and I played it until my keyboard was worn away and my eyes were ready to fall out of their sockets. Then I did the same with MW and OB. I don’t know that I could really pick a favourite, although Oblivion’s up to date graphics and AI obviously give it an edge.

    Funny thing is that DF felt in part like a horror game to me – (just check out the box art!) – there was a real sense of the macabre and the gothic to it that hasn’t carried over to the newer ES games. Example: the crypt burial cinematic upon the PC’s death. Spooky.

  25. The best game Bethesda ever put out has to be Morrowind.I know you say that Oblivion has legs,(MW does as well,ya know! Still goin strong!) and that you took the best from Morrowind and added it to Oblivion.Well,..you really didnt do that at all.A lot of Oblivion is different than Morrowind,including the complicated inventory.It’s really annoying to have to run through a different bunch of areas just to get a spell,or change a weapon.Plus having to figure out how to use the entire inventory.And,no I dont use hot keys. With Morrowind,I dont have to.I just open the inventory,and get what I want,drop it onto my characters picture to activate. Poof. In MWs inventory I can see everything with one right click,my stats,the map,my spells and powers,and my character as well.All of that,..with one right click.(and,no,I dont feel like a 6 yr old,like Anonymous said here) Yes,I know,you can just learn all the changes,but there is more than just the inventory.You cant make your home in Oblivion,because you cant place anything in the world that you want to keep.You can only drop it on the ground and it looks like rubble,or a on table,and even then,the bottles wont stand up.There is no place for the human side of play,as there is in Morrowind. You cant set up a house mod and display all your prizes in Oblivion.Yes,you can DL a house,but I cant think of why. You cant do anything with it.Oblivion isnt as open ended as Morrowind either.You can run round and kill things,and do a few side quests along with the main easy one,but thats about it. With Morrowind,there is so much more that you can do.A lot more. My great wish?,..that you just rerelease Morrowind with the new graphics you used in Oblivion.Now,..THAT would be a game I would pay through the nose for.
    **Morrowind is number one in my book,and always will be. I’m afraid I’m rather ruined for other games. :)

  26. morrowind is my all time favourite game, though i never got round to finishing the main storyline. i did however complete both expansions on the xbox, some of the memories ive had with bloodmoon are my all time favourites in all my years of video gaming. that being said, i cant help but mention i was slightly dissapointed with oblivion, it seemed too, excuse my leet, noob friendly. morrowing was a snarling, hostile, mysterious and obscure place, and thats why i loved it so much. oblivion was just alot more tame in my opinion, and the exclusion of all; flin, greef, skooma pipes, gloves, pauldrons, obscure armor peices (eg: dreugh helmets), incarian flight, levitation (the only reason anyone would take alteration aside from water walking as a spell school), open settlements, and an easy inventory and a general sense of true astonishment kinda left me annoyed.

    as many have said before me, i truely hope that for our next installment, you go back to the morrowind style of gameplay, please. (: