ESO Update: Update 2 is Now Live!

Discover Veteran Crypt of Hearts, new lootables, improved interior lighting, and more.

We’re pleased to announce that Update 2 is live today, adding even more adventure, new features, and lots of fixes to ESO. Rally your toughest allies and prepare to return to Crypt of Hearts in the new Veteran version, where you’ll face devious new bosses as you delve further into the Crypt’s sinister mysteries. See the next chapter of the dungeon’s story and earn some great loot — if you can survive.

There are some great new improvements in Update 2. Chances are you’ve seen the tons of weapon and armor racks scattered throughout Tamriel. Ever wanted to loot them? We thought so, and now you can! We’ve also put together a beautiful new interior lighting effect. When you’re inside a building, you’ll now see its windows cast light across the room. It really adds something special to the atmosphere!

And, of course, you’ll see tons of bug fixes in Update 2. To see the complete list of changes, read the full patch notes.

In addition to all the new features and refinements, there’s plenty more to on elderscrollsonline.com, including…

  • The ESO Team readies you for the new Veteran Dungeons in the latest edition of Creating ESO.
  • A lightning-wielding sorceror in heavy armor? That’s  Cole Schnitzer’ Storm Conduit build featured in BattleMaster’s Quarter.
  • The Loremaster’s Archive returns with knowledge on Mephala — bestowed upon us by Divayth Fyr.
  • Celebrate the release of the veteran version of Crypt of Hearts with a new wallpaper.

Summer Sale!

Three words you love to hear. Steam. Summer. Sale.

Those words are Pavlovian for anyone that loves games. You hear them and you’re conditioned to find numerous deals that will fly under the radar of your joint checking account. Or maybe that’s just me. Anyways, we’re happy to say we have a number of  games on sale for incredible prices – including the newly re-released Fallout games, Dishonored and it’s DLC, and all your favorite games from id Software and Bethesda Game Studios.

The Steam Summer Sale runs between today and June 30th. While most of our titles are already marked down, you’ll also want to keep an eye out for Daily Deals and Community’s Choice Savings. For the best deals, check out the store daily.

E3 2014 – Photos from the Show

E3 week is always a bit crazy, but we still manage to have a blast while showing off our newest games. There’s plenty of highlights: from a BATTLECRY showdown featuring our friends from Respawn Entertainment, candid interview shots, and seeing folks playing the game in mood-setting darkness.

Check out highlights in our imgur slideshow and Vines below…

Bethesda Booth imgur slideshow
Vine from our entrance for The Evil Within
Vine showing off various parts of our E3 Booth

E3 Roundup: BATTLECRY

Missed some of the E3 coverage on BATTLECRY? Fear not, we’ve got reactions, gameplay, and more in a new roundup.

Kicking off things is Gamespot, who featured the BattleCry Studios’ game in their video feature of the Impressive PC Games of E3 and interviewed the studio’s executive producer, Rich Vogel. Watch that interview above.

What else is being said about the team combat action game? Check out more impressions below.

MMOBomb - “Mobility in BattleCry is also surprisingly fast. Characters automatically sprint while out of combat making traversing the medium-sized E3 demo map Fracture a quick affair. Players also have access to a magnetic grappling hook ala Bioshock Infinite which propels them across the sky and onto the map’s more vertical locations.”

Game Informer - “I’m always skeptical of multiplayer-focused free-to-play action games, but I enjoyed what I played of BATTLECRY. The action is fast-paced but also felt fair, and required less twitch reflexes than cover-based shooters.”

The Escapist – “BATTLECRY is definitely something to keep an eye on. It’s fast, exciting, fun, and equally brutal and beautiful. When you do get in the game, though, stick with your squad and don’t wander off alone. This is clearly a game designed to be played with a team.”

Game Revolution – “My short time with BATTLECRY was nutty, running about the battlefield as a Cossack Duelist, taking advantage of Royal Marines running around alone. Due to physical space limitations at the Bethesda booth, our game only held 16 players, but the full game actually supports 32 at a time. Seeing the juxtaposition of the graphics with the kooky animations and the pools of violently-hewn blood was definitely a unique experience.”

Pocket Lint - “The studio confirmed that there will be no pay-to-advance route through the game, so you can’t throw cash at it and become invincible. To earn you’ll need to acquire medals and salutes from your co-players to translate into iron.”

Twitch - New Interview with Lucas Davis.

And after the break, check out additional video previews featuring Rich Vogel, Lucas Davis, and Viktor Antonov.

Continue reading full article ›

E3 Roundup – The Evil Within

The Evil Within Extended Gameplay Demo w/ IGN 

Day 3 of E3. Everyone looks unnerved or as if they’ve seen a ghost. At the Bethesda E3 booth, we’ve actually seen that look all week from folks terrorized by our demo for The Evil Within.

Susan Arendt at Joystiq had shown concern that the game would not be scary enough. In her latest playthrough, her only worry concern was not completely freaking out from the game:

“Moving from room to ruined room, I found a few notes left behind by the previous inhabitant, who was engaged in some kind of experiments. Mad scientist, sure, I can work with that, wait, why are all of the faces in that portrait slashed except for the young boy? Ok, no problem, I get it, the boy’s the survivor, wait oh my god what is that thing trying to kill me shotgun shotgun take its head off GAHHH it turned into some guy in a hood that’s coming right at me and my bullets are doing nothing and GAHHHHHHHH.”

Meanwhile, resident survival-horror writer Tim Turi at Game Informer played the game and stated, “The Evil Within feels like an alternate reality where the Resident Evil franchise doubled down on tense combat, scares, and creepy environments rather than fun, over-the-top action.”

Who else braved our E3 demo of the game. Check out more highlights below…

IGN – “So how many ways are there to die in The Evil Within? Well, in my 20-minute hands-on play session, I had a pickaxe lodged in my chest, was strangled and bit, had my skull crushed by a hulking ghoul’s meaty foot, and got blown to bits by a tripwire bomb. ”

Gameranx - “… Shinji Mikami and his team at Tango Gameworks have made a game that promises to embody the dread and suspense the way only a survival horror game can.”

God is a Geek - “…it is shaping up to be the purest and most varied third-person horror experience in years.”

Shacknews – “Head shots don’t always kill enemies, and downed creatures don’t always stay dead unless you light them on fire with matches (another scarce item).”

HorrorMovies.CA – “I think this game is on track to satisfy those old-school horror cravings you might be having. ”

EGMNow — “There’s a great balance between puzzles and action, with both having a flair that you’d expect from a team like Tango.”

After the break, see more video features taken from the E3 show floor.

Continue reading full article ›

Around the web: Pre-E3 Edition

Before hopping on a plane to Los Angeles for E3 2014, here’s some videos and articles we thought you’d enjoy this weekend.

While in Munich to receive the LARA of Honor award, Todd Howard chatted with GameStar on a number of topics: career highlights, gaming philosophies, favorite German cuisine, and much more are all covered in the video above.

Elsewhere…

“Turn the pain into something positive. Use the darkness to make good art.” – Those words mean a great deal to Wolfenstein narrative designer Tommy Tordsson Björk. Find out why in a heartfelt column this week on The Huffington Post.

Next… err current-gen gaming is all the rage these days, but IGN recently took time to share their 100 favorite games from the previous generation. Bethesda published games make quite a splash in the list — with five games making the list: Dishonored (#67), Oblivion (#40), Fallout: New Vegas (#26),  Fallout 3 (#5), and Skyrim (#4).

The Skyrim Mash-up for Minecraft on Xbox 360 recently won the “Coming Back for Seconds” award from the Xbox community. Thanks to everyone for voting.

If you’ve ever eaten at Nando’s, you know their chicken is peri peri good! It’s so good that MachineGames developers flew from Sweden to the UK to celebrate their first paycheck. Learn more on this and other tidbits about Wolfenstein: The New Order’s development at Shortlist.

Are The Evil Within and BATTLECRY your most anticipated games of E3? Share your support in a new poll up at FavsList!.

Here’s some scary thinking: A new feature at Games Radar focuses on eight bizarre parallels that can be made between the real world and the world of Wolfenstein. Yikes!

Do you know what time it is? It’s time for a Wolfenstein Penny Arcade cartoon!

Finally, a little love for Dishonored. Below you can watch a jaw-dropping play-through of the Lord Regent assassination mission — courtesy of StealthGamerBR. The video is an awesome reminder that you can always find new and creative ways to play through the game.

Have an awesome weekend!

ESO Roundup – Veteran Crypt of Hearts & more

With Craglorn now playable in ESO, ZeniMax Online has moved their focus to the game’s second major update — featuring the Veteran version of Crypt of Hearts. Like our other Veteran Dungeons, it continues the story and cranks up the challenge with deadly new enemies and bosses. Crypt of Hearts has some of our toughest fights yet, and we can’t wait to see you and your group go up against them. To get a taste of what you’re in for, check out our new playthrough video.

More information about Update 2 is coming soon. In the meantime, here are other ESO highlights worth checking out…

For much more on ESO, visit www.elderscrollsonline.com.

Heroes of Tamriel Breton Statue

Gaming Heads is back with more excellent merchandise for The Elder Scrolls Online. Starting today, you can pre-order their new 16” Breton statue, modeled after the character from our three-part cinematic trailer series. The richly detailed statue includes deluxe full-color packaging, a hand-numbered base, and a certificate of authenticity. Even better, the exclusive edition includes an alternative headpiece featuring the character’s undead appearance. You won’t want to miss your chance to own this high-quality collectible.

Get a look at the statue in the images below, and order soon—only 500 exclusive editions and 1,000 standard editions will be printed worldwide.

The Iterative Level Design Process of Bethesda Game Studios

Back in March of this year, BGS senior designer Joel Burgess made the trek out to San Francisco to be apart of the 2014 Game Developers Conference. During the week, Joel presented the following presentation to industry peers focused on level design.

For the prospective game designers out there, Joel was nice enough to bring his presentation, “The Iterative Level Design Process of Bethesda Game Studios”  to Bethesda Blog. Here’s Joel…

A note about author voice in this article: As per the usual disclaimers, the views and opinions expressed within are my own, and may not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Bethesda or Zenimax.  Those views and opinions are intertwined with the interests, history and objectives of Bethesda Game Studios, however.  While I am reporting on the practices of the studio, some of the particular reasons behind these practices are my own opinions, which only have partial impact on the actual adoption and implementation thereof.  For this reason, I will try to use “I” to express my opinions, where “we” will usually express a fact about the studio.

Iteration, as it’s generally known within game development, is the progressive process of planning, creating and testing content.  This is typically expressed as a cycle, where a process is repeated, with each repetition applying lessons learned from the prior.  This cycle is progressive, with each iteration building upon and refining the last.  This concept is widely embraced: many game developers have espoused iteration when discussing the design process.

There’s good reason for this.  Iteration works.  Studies such as this one from J. Nielsen show that when developing interfaces for software such as a banking application, polling users on the UI experience can provide designers with findings which then inform their next UI iteration.  The result is that early iterations see major gains in usability.  These finding are echoed in other studies, as well as being supported by observing everything from how an artist develops a painting to the scientific process.

Like any broadly-referenced term, there are many interpretations, scopes, and applications of iteration. An annual game franchise such as Madden Football, for example, can be seen as a very long-form iteration, where each game sees entire features added, removed, and improved upon.  Spelunky, which originally came into existence as a fairly low-fidelityGamemaker game would later be released as a commercial title with entirely new art and codebase which largely mimicked and refined that seen in the original release.

Individual assets within a game are frequently iterated upon, too.  The look of the original Team Fortress Spy is a far cry from his modern TF2 incarnation.  The gameplay design of the Spy has also been iterated upon over the years, even though the core class role has remained fairly consistent.  The visual design of the spy also demonstrates that elements, such as his balaclava, can stand the test of time over many iterations, while other aspects change radically.  TF2 is also a game which has seen a great deal of publicly-observable iteration over the years, as Valve has introduced many new gameplay-altering items and game types.

Continue reading full article ›