A semester of Skyrim sounds like a hoot

Received a note this week that the Rice University Department of English is offering a one-time course titled, “Scandanavian Fantasy World: Old Norse Sagas and Skyrim.” Check out the course description below:

This course has two goals. First, it introduces students to fantasy as both psychological concept and driving force in gamer culture; and second, using these paradigms, it considers how and why medieval Scandinavia serves as a locus of modern Anglo-American fantasy. To these ends, students will read selections from Old Norse and Old Icelandic sagas (in translation) as they play different quests within Skyrim. While the course begins by identifying moments of intersection between the worlds of the sagas and of Skyrim (inclement environments, supernatural figures, mythologies), the course is not in any means meant to map the former onto the latter. The purpose of establishing these connections is to then consider how elements of medieval Scandinavian culture have been taken out of historical milieu and literary context, morphed into unfamiliar shape, and appropriated towards other fantastic pursuits. We’ll consider the political saga of Skyrim, with its emphasis on Empire and rebellion, as pursuits made possible by way of Scandinavia in order to think through what Scandinavian fantasy worlds are really about and why they resonate with contemporary Anglo-American culture.

Note: This course is only for enrolled students at Rice. Fast travelling to Houston to see if you can participate is not an option.

More Skyrim highlights from around the web after the break…

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Dishonored news & reviews

Here’s a quick look at the latest Dishonored news from around the web…
  • Trying to be the master of stealth? Both Gamespot and PC Gamer provide lessons on playing through the game without being detected or killing anyone.
  • Haven’t decided what platform to play Dishonored on? Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry joins Gamespot in breaking down how game looks across Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.
  • The always-entertaining Giant Bomb team give Dishonored a 42-minute “quick look” – courtesy of Patrick Klepek and Ryan Davis.
  • In an interview with Kotaku, Harvey Smith reveals why Dishonored doesn’t have “Boss Monsters”. For more interviews with Harvey, visit Pure Sophistry and CNN.
  • WhatCulture.com shares 10 reasons you should play Dishonored immediately.
  • IGN examines multiple paths for playing through Dishonored’s first assassination mission.
  • Raf and Harvey relax with Xbox’s Major Nelson. Listen to the latest podcast on iTunes.
After the break, check out a sampling of the game’s latest reviews.

Are you ready for Dishonored?

Arkane is! With only a few days remaining until launch, they’re already counting the seconds in their Austin office.

If you’re anxious too, we’re pleased to announce the game is now ready for pre-load on Steam!

For more on the game, check out OXM UK’s hands-on preview of the Boyle Party, as well as IGN’s spoof of our recently released interactive video. Watch below.

Dishonored Roundup

T-minus one week until Dishonored’s release!!

In the pic above, Harvey and Raf are all smiles as they check out final copies of the game. While you wait for October 9th, here’s some Dishonored news to catch up on:

Finally, catch out this fantastic jam from the always entertaining Dan Bull.

All the Dishonored news fit for print

Here’s the latest on Dishonored from around the web and on newsstands…

UK mags PSM3 and sister mag Xbox World are so excited for Dishonored, they’re already predicting it will be their top game of the year. Anticipating the game’s release, both publications share new hands-on impressions and celebrate the game with four collectible magazine covers. Preview the covers in the Flickr slideshow below.

Looking for a digital version of the magazine? Download the enhanced iPad editions using the links below:

And to learn more on Dishonored, check out these links:

Official PlayStation Magazine UK  – After playing the Boyle Mission, Phil Iwaniuk calls Dishonored an “instant classic”.
PlayStation Blogcast – Sid Shuman interviews co-creative director, Raphael Colantonio. Interview starts at the 1 hour, 11 minute mark.
IGN – Keza MacDonald explains why she thinks Dishonored could be the most interesting game of the year.

As we count down the days to Dishonored’s release (19!), be on the lookout for more news and updates.

Around the web with Dishonored

Four weeks. You’re only four weeks from being able to play Dishonored for yourself. Until then, here’s a roundup of some of the latest online coverage…

To start, Revision3 named Dishonored their PAX Prime Game of Show. Watch their new interview with Raf Colantonio above.

  • Kotaku – reveals why they love Stealth games like Dishonored.
  • 1Up –  “…if Dishonored doesn’t end up being one of the best games of the year, I’ll be absolutely shocked.”
  • The New York Times – “The most intriguing original fiction of the next four months.”
  • Kotaku – Mark Serrels plays Dishonored, possesses a fish, and shares, “In Dishonored there are seemingly endless matrices of choice, multiple different ways to approach multiple different problems. Room to breathe, room to think, space to engage meaningfully with an environment.”
  • PC Powerplay – “Not only does Dishonored look set to be Arkane’s best title yet, but if Looking Glass were around today, it is undoubtedly the kind of game they would be making”.
  • CVG – Calls Dishonored “the most amazing new IP of the year.”
  • IGN – Executive Producer Julien Roby discusses why now is a good time to release a new IP like Dishonored.
  • VG247 – New interview with Raf Colantonio

Finally, take a photo tour of Arkane’s offices in a new feature at Business Insider.

Four weeks!

DOOM 3 BFG & Dishonored wrap: Convention Edition

Happy Friday, everyone! While we’re getting ready for the weekend, Gamescom 2012 is still going strong in Cologne, Germany.

Plenty to share on Dishonored, beginning with a trident of coverage at Gamespot:

Masquerade Murder - Watch a new interview with lead designer Ricardo Bare as he discusses the Lady Boyle mission.

New Preview from Peter Brown - “Side missions within the main quest are equally capable of affecting Corvo’s future. Upon approaching the entrance to the party, you’re presented with the option to hand a note from one of the corrupt Pendleton twins to an attendee of the ball.”

Five Things We Learned About Dishonored (Gamescom 2012) - Gamespot’s crew for GC2012 recaps what they learned from playing the Boyle mission.

After the break, we’ve got new coverage for Dishonored, plus new coverage for DOOM 3 BFG Edition.

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Web Roundup: Dishonored

Plenty of new details to share on GameTrailers’ Best New IP of E3, Dishonored!

Interviews

I. Eat. Games – Raphael Colantonio talks about working with Viktor Antonov, non-lethal playthroughs, different endings, and more. To learn more about how decisions impact the game’s ending, read this article at The Escapist.

Develop – Art Director Sebastien Mitton discusses how crucial pre-production was to Dishonored’s development.

The Penny Arcade Report – Designs decisions relating to supernatural powers and the game’s “Chaos” rating are discussed by Harvey and Raf.

Previews

Rock, Paper, Shotgun – “It’s quite good. Actually, that’s unfair. It’s better than quite good. And it’s making me yearn.”

PC Gamer – “Experimentally, I clang my knife against a metal pipe. A second later, the guard comes running down the corridor, passes through the field, and disintegrates into floating, glowing dust. Wow.”

OXM UK – New preview shares seven amusing ways to fail completely and die

CVG – “What we’re really excited about is delving into a game that delivers bags of player freedom and immense prospects for experimentation, coupled with the tightly focused density of gameplay impossible in vast open world games.”

RipTen -“Dishonored’s earned its action-stealth label quite a few times over. The blend of skills along with Corvo’s array of weapons lends itself perfectly to either kind of play through.”

Telegraph UK – “What impressed most about about Dishonored was that the two scenarios were quite clearly two ends of a wide spectrum. How much creativity and impromptu adaptation exist within that range will determine the game’s success, and Arkane certainly appear to be offering an impressive palette with which to experiment. That thirst for invention and interpretation, coupled with the creeping atmosphere of Dunwall should make Dishonored a dark horse for the best game of 2012.”

Xbox 360 Achievements – “Our first hands-on taste of Dishonored was short, sweet and easy, but it was also utterly brilliant… if I do say so myself. There are so many more powers we could have used throughout the mission as well, including the whirlwind, and we did all that without so much as firing a bullet, just how we like it. And that’s the beauty of Dishonored: you can play it exactly how you want, whether that’s quiet, loud or a mix of the two.”

Oh, and the image above? That’s one of the latest updates from our Dishonored tumblr page. Visit the site regularly for concept pieces, animated GIFs, and other pieces that capture the the game’s unique flavor.

E3 Wrap: DOOM 3 BFG Edition

Hard to believe it’s been about a week since E3 wrapped up. This week we’ve been catching up with all the coverage out of the event and there’s plenty to share! Before covering The Elder Scrolls Online, Dawnguard, and Dishonored, here’s a look at the highlights for DOOM 3 BFG Edition.

We start with a preview at PCGamesN, who declared John Carmack’s VR presentation the winner of E3. Here’s an excerpt…

“Bethesda turned up with a pair of goggles, spare rocket parts, a hacked copy of Doom 3, Ph.D level genius and duct tape. Lots of duct tape. Designed by Palmer Lucky, and optimised by Carmack, the HMD provides full, true 3D virtual reality immersion with zero latency. I played with it at the show, behind closed doors at Bethesda’s booth; it was easily the highlight of my life as a gamer. Next-generation doesn’t cut it; as I took the goggles off I was left reeling. It was fluid, fast, and mind-bending. Doom 3: BFG edition might be an updated version of an eight year old game; but after playing it in 3D-O-Vision, it became the most exciting game on the planet.”

We wish we could show everyone how cool the Oculus Rift VR Headset-powered presentation is in person, but these videos and interviews featuring John Carmack should not be missed.
  • Giant Bomb – Watch a 17+ minute interview with John Carmack.
  • PC Gamer – Catch three video with John Carmack showing off DOOM 3 BFG.
  • USA Today – Mike Snider comes away impressed by the VR setup.
  • Kotaku – Stephen Totilo spends time with “One of Video Games’ Smartest People”.
  • G4TV – In their E3 awards, they nominate the DOOM 3 goggles for Best Hardware.
  • GamesRadar – Learn why John Carmack is ready for virtual reality.
  • CNN – Find out why DOOM 3 BFG was Larry Frum’s ‘Most Amazing Experience’.
  • T3.com –  John Carmack unveils virtual reality gaming headset.

Weekend Update

Here’s a quick look at some recent coverage from around the web…

Continuing their month-long look at The Elder Scrolls Online, Game Informer shares what ZeniMax Online has planned to appeal to an array of audiences — whether they be Elder Scrolls fans or MMO fans.

October is still months away, but there’s plenty of Dishonored coverage to keep you busy until then. Game InformerInside Gaming, and PlayStation Blog all have new previews for the game. And at CVG, you can watch a new interview with Harvey Smith and Raphael Colantonio. Watch the interview above.

Elsewhere on the world wide web, check out these videos…

And in case you missed it a few weeks ago, don’t miss this badass video from freddiew w below…