What we’re playing: Horde Edition

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While there are plenty of games out there to be played, Gears of War 2 is getting a lot of talk around the office — particularly for its incredibly addictive Horde mode. This week I lost a fair amount of sleep time battling the horde late into the night with fellow co-workers. 

In addition to Gears 2, many are preparing to be zombified by Left 4 Dead — playing the demo over and over. Coming from Valve, this game could become the biggest craze at the office since Team Fortress 2.

Here’s the full rundown of what we’re playing…

Ryan Lea:  Fallout 3 or Gears of War 2.

Chris Esko, Gameplay Programmer: Fallout 3, Gears of War 2, Castle Crashers, Dead Rising, Wii Sports.

Fred Zeleny, Dogmeat Wrangler: Enjoying Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, Rock Band 2, Left 4 Dead demo, but somehow finding all of my time going into Incredibots.

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Around the web: Comics, maps, and more

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Plenty of Fallout-related news popping up across the web. Let’s get started.

If you’re missing the weekly Penny Arcade Fallout comics, there’s plenty of other comics filling the void. At Spookingtons, there’s a new Fallout 3-themed comic from Jeremy “Norm” Scott (creator of the popular EGM comics “Hsu & Chan.” I’ve got it posted above, but head here to see the full-sized comic.

The creators of the Oblivion comics Philip of Oblivion, which will soon celebrate its 99th comic, have begun a similar series based off Fallout 3 — appropriately titled Philip of Fallout.

Wrapping up the comic coverage, Ctrl-Alt-Delete has a Fallout 3 comic of their own.

In other news, the guys at Planet Fallout have some new features on their site. This week they unveiled their Interactive Capital Wasteland Map, as well as new game databases. Both are extremely useful, and contributions from the community are welcome.

Reviews are still making their way online — including the LA Times, Yahoo! Games, GameTactics, Games for Windows, and the Sydney Morning Herald.

Finally, at Game Design as Cultural Practice,

Fallout 3 nominated for seven VGAs

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This morning the nominees for the 6th Annual Spike TV Video Game Awards (or as the hip kids say, the VGAs) were announced and Fallout 3 is nominated in seven judged categories. The categories are:

To see all the winners announced live, tune into Spike TV on December 14 at 9 p.m.

Live-blogging from IGDA

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This week in San Francicso, the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) is hosting a leadership forum for advancing game production and management. In addition to having a keynote speech from Red-Sox-Pitcher-turned- MMO-Guy, Curt Schilling, our very own senior programmer, Brett Douville, is at the forum and will be live-blogging the following sessions today:

2:45pm – Myths of Scrum
4:15pm – Managing an Engineering Community
5:30pm – Being a Pioneer: Staying Passionate

Keep in mind the event is on the west coast, so those times are PST. Have fun Brett!

New Games for Windows Live Update

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As reported on Major Nelson’s blog, there’s a new update now available for Games For Windows Live. If you haven’t already received the update already, the next time you play Fallout 3 (or any LIVE-enabled title), you’ll be prompted for an update that gives you a new LIVE guide. To see how the guide looks, Major Nelson has a Flickr page showing what the guide looks like.

Don’t forget that Fallout 3’s downloadable content will be exclusively available on Games for Windows Live and Xbox Live. This new update, which features a revamped interface and in-game guide, is the first step for Games for Windows Live Marketplace, where you’ll find our downloadable content.

Adrenaline Vault Alumni to Answer Your Questions

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As many of you may know already, before coming to Bethesda, there was a time when Emil and Pete worked together at The Adrenaline Vault. This week they have a homecoming of sorts, as they’ll be answering community questions in this week’s AVault podcast.

If you’d like to ask a burning question you have, register over at the Adrenaline Vault forums and post here.

News Splash!

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Similar to our “What We’re Playing” blog posts — our friends at Splash Damage have a new blog post discussing the games they’re obsessing over. They may be across the pond from us, but looks like they’re enjoying the same games our team are busy playing: Fable 2, Far Cry 2, LittleBigPlanet, and even Fallout 3.

In their latest team profile, you can learn more about their Senior Technical Designer, Mattias ‘dof’ Engstrom. Here’s an excerpt:

Why did you want to work in the games industry and how did you get started? Do you have any tips for people wanting to break in?

Mattias: I have always been a serious gamer. While always being into all sorts of games including role playing games, table top games and various card games, video games have always been a my main interest and hobby, and it never really occurred to me that I could work on creating games myself. But one day, actually the day after I took my exam in Media and Informatics, I woke up and basically said to myself, “Screw this, I want to make video games.” So I left my exam in the drawer and attended a college course dedicated to video games, which eventually got me a six month internship at Massive Entertainment in Sweden. I never really finished my internship though, because as soon as World in Conflict got green lit by Vivendi Games they hired me as a Level Designer. And that’s basically The Story That Is Me.

Last but not least, Splash Damage’s studio director, Paul Wedgewood (pictured above), has a  new interview at Edge-Online where he discusses the studio’s future making multiplatform games. Here’s a snippet:

Why has this generation of consoles been ideal to expand beyond PC?

Paul: We’re at that moment where the PC, PS3 and 360 are aligned in terms of power for the first time in a really long time. So we can focus on developing technology where we only have to create maps once, a character once, and have them work for all three platforms. And that’s really convenient for us. What it means is that we can take all of our experience in what makes PC games so deep and compelling and so exciting, and translate that for a console audience in a way that they’ve never seen.

That’s all on the Splash Damage front for now. For more information on their studio, be sure to check out their website.

Elder Scrolls Modding Interview: Nicoroshi

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Welcome back to another edition of “Getting to Know Your Favorite Elder Scrolls Modder (that GTKYFESM for short). This week we’ve got an interview with Nicoroshi that I conducted about a month ago. Nicoroshi loves building and creating — whether it’s at his job as a metal worker, doing woodwork and welding, or working on mods for The Elder Scrolls.

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Reviews and other news

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Fallout 3 has been out nearly two weeks and new reviews continue to make their way online. Today, Seth Schiesal of The New York Times reviewed the game — calling it “one of the most ambitious single-player role-playing games in recent years.”

New reviews for Fallout 3 can also be found at Tiscali, Worth Playing, Neowin, Spong, Total PC Gaming, and Worth Playing, who write:

“Most every quest in Fallout 3 has more than one solution, the easiest often being to go in with guns blazing, but the most rewarding ones are those that play off of your character’s strengths, such as his ability to talk himself out of a situation or lend some intelligent insight about a problem. There are plenty of dialogue choices and situations that might not be readily apparent in a first playthrough with a particular build.”

Beyond reviews, there’s another interview with Fallout 3 Composer Inon Zur at GameZone. Here’s a snippet:

What was your first thought when asked to work on a sequel as strongly anticipated as Fallout 3 – excited? Nervous? Something else?

Inon Zur: Well, I actually composed the previous sequel, Brotherhood Of Steel, so I was familiar with the story and genre. However, this is a different company, Bethesda Softworks, and these people created Oblivion – so I was very excited to work with them, and I was REALLY excited to take on another Fallout game!

Finally, at Planet Fallout, staff member Blinzler has a series of blog posts entiled “Wasteland Stories.” These chronicle events of his play experience with the game. So far he’s done two entries — Dancing with Deathclaws (great name) and Unarmed Combat.

Around the web

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Here’s some interesting Fallout 3 coverage you can read up on over the weekend.

Reviews continue to hit the web. Today I spotted a new review at the New York post, where they gave the game an “A.” Here’s a snippet:

“The story is of course kind of tragic. But this is Fallout. And Fallout does not mess around. It tries very hard, and I think succeeds, in presenting you with a world where there is NO hope. Your job, depending on how you play the game, is to restore that hope. You can either be a beacon of humanity or a scourge.”

Elsewhere, you can read new reviews at Electric Playground, 360, Gay Gamer, Lazy Gamer, RPGamer, and the The Onion’s AV Club.

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