Friday News Roundup

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Here’s a few things to check out/be on the lookout for to help get you through your day and into the weekend.

Tonight on G4, Todd Howard will be talking Fallout 3 with the folks from X-Play. For those planning on going out tonight, be sure to set your DVR for 8 PM (Eastern Time).

Speaking of Todd, he’s one of several folks in the game industry sounding off in a feature at 1Up.com called “Chairman of the Boards.” Written by Robert Ashley, it’s an interesting community feature that focuses in on the influence of one particular gaming forum — NeoGaf. In addition to Todd, Microsoft’s Jeff Bell, Newsweek’s N’Gai Croal, and God of War creator David Jaffe are among the other guys “in the biz” that discuss the relevancy of this popular gaming site.

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Check out the latest featured mods at The Oblivion Files

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Here’s the latest featured mods for Oblivion over at FileFront’s site, The Oblivion Files.

The Featured Home is Floating Platforms by CobraUnit42. Like it sounds, this mod creates a home that gives you a home floating thousands of feet above the ground. Sounds like a cool place to go bungie jumping from, but I wonder, “How the heck do you get up there??”

The most recent Featured Weapon mod is Angeleron by DireStorms. Shown above, there are one-handed and two-handed versions available of this fine looking blade. According to DireStorms, the sword is by no means overpowering, but rather “medium” in strength. Check out the Conan-like dude sporting this awesome blade above.

Sheogorath has the site’s featured scripting mod, Sheogorath’s Master Craft 2. This mod enhances Martigen’s Monster Mod by adding a large array of crafting options. Runes and runic metals can be found within Cyrodiil that can be used to make runes, socketed weapons, and armor, and these runes can be used with the socketed items to create very powerful enchanted items.

Finally, this week’s File of the Week is Cellars of Cyrodiil by FlyingPieofDeath. The project is still in early stages, though the author believes it’s bug free. Here’s a description of the mod:

“Cellars of Cyrodiil gives a small but handy upgrade to various houses. It adds cellar doors like the one in a certain quest. This mod is meant for players who’s characters prefer darker paths such as thievery or murdering, allowing you to enter a home through the basement rather than the front door. This may be version 0.5, but there should be no bugs, and is considered version 0.5 due to the fact there are so few cellar entrances, a grand total of eight. FlyingPieOfDeath is prepared to listen to any suggestions for homes to give cellar entrances, but know before suggesting that he is not creating basements for the houses, simply adding the entrances.”

Congrats to these modders for having their mods recognized. Keep up the good work!

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.

Bright Shiny Things: Karoshi

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Welcome back to another edition of Bright Shiny Things — this week brought to you by Fallout 3 Lead Producer, Gavin Carter….

Death in games is traditionally something to be avoided. Yet I’m sure in moments of weakness and frustration, we’ve all indulged in the urge to purposefully send our ill-behaving digital characters to their doom down some spiky pit or fiery furnace. For those who can’t get enough of such anti-social behavior, I recommend downloading Karoshi and Karoshi 2.0 by 2D Cube (aka Jesse Venbrux), a pair of hilarious puzzle platformers.

“Karoshi” is a Japanese term that translates literally into “death from overwork.” Playing a suit-clad businessman, the object is, quite simply, to kill yourself. Each level is laid out using a variety of very simple elements — blocks, spikes, safes, and a small variety of set dressing pieces. The game controls like a standard platformer, and death can be visited on your character a number of ways. Whether you collide with a set of spikes, fall off the world to your death, or get your head smashed in by a falling safe, you’re rewarded with a cloud of blood and and an explosion of limbs guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

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Hollywood hits Cyrodiil

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Visiting Planet Elder Scrolls today, I noticed a number of celebrity mods from Chimera. On the main page alone, I spotted 8 different famous faces making their way to Cyrodiil.

In addition to Snoop Dogg (shown above), here’s a few other celebrities making their way into Oblivion:

Hopefully, we’ll see some more celebrities make their way into Oblivion in the near future. Here’s hoping the Governator is next!

Mod Interview: Keter Sephiroth

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This week’s mod interview is with Keter_Sephiroth, an Oblivion modder that specializes in animation mods. Sephiroth (obviously a fan of Final Fantasy) lives in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and spends a fair amount of his free time studing martial arts, philosophy, esotericism, psychology, and life ethics.

Keter_Sephiroth also has a keen interest in machinima and making game trailers. At the end of the interview, you can see a sample of his work, as he also responded to the interview via game video. Check it out!

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What we’re playing: Already relaxing edition

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As many of you can relate, it’s not always easy getting through a Friday. With nice weather and the weekend in sight, it’s easy sometimes to lose focus. This wasn’t the case for me today. In what hopefully will become a new tradition at Bethesda HQ, today marks the second consecutive Friday where we’ve had masseuses visit the office.

Now that we’re all relaxed, it’s time to sit back and play some games. Let us know what you’ll be playing, and have a great weekend!

Fred Zeleny, Writing Fool: Rondo of Swords on DS – far harder and more complicated than it has any need to be, and yet it’s strangely compelling. And since I’ll be at CMU’s Spring Carnival, I’ll also be playing dozens of cheapo booth games, eating far too much funnel cake, and riding the highly suspect whirl-a-puke! Hooray for Spring!

Orin Tresnjak, Graphics Programmer: Warhawk, Fallout 3, Dungeon Maker: Hunting Ground

Aaron Mitschelen, QA: Arcana Heart, LotRO, Lost Odyssey, maybe Army of Two.

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It’s Official: Fallout 3 Collector’s Edition planned for the game’s launch

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Today we’ve put out a press release announcing the Collector’s Edition of Fallout 3. The CE will be available for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. This premium edition of the game will be presented in a customized, metal Vault-Tec lunch box that includes:

  • A copy of Fallout 3 (you didn’t think we’d forget that, did you?)
  • A 5″ Vault-Tec Vault Boy Bobblehead
  • The Art of Fallout 3: a hardcover book, which features never-before-seen concept art and commentary from Bethesda Game Studios artists
  • The Making of Fallout 3: This DVD includes an inside look at Bethesda Game Studios and the team behind Fallout 3

We’ll be sharing more details on the Collector’s Edition in the near future. Stay tuned for more information.