So I’m back from a weeklong trip to Tokyo and the Tokyo Game Show, my first trip there. Folks have been asking how the trip was so I thought I’d recap. I went down to meet with a few different folks and mostly to talk to the press about Oblivion, as it just came out there not too long ago for 360 and comes out on PS3 this Thursday.
The press folks were extremely nice and all went out of their way to talk about how much they liked Oblivion, how different it was than Japanese RPGs, asked lots of “how did you do this” questions, it was fun. Doing interviews via a translator (my Japanese is limited to anything mentioned in a Styx song) is always a bit trying as every question and answer gets repeated in both languages and can be pretty time-consuming, but Tetsu (our guy from Oblivion’s publisher in Japan, Spike) and I have done this a couple times now so I’m getting comfortable with it. Plus, when you get asked the same questions over and over, it gets to a point where he could pretty much give the answer without even asking me. We did a live interview on the show floor with Famitsu on Saturday, the first day the public can show up.
And let me tell you, show up they do. It’s like a big concert just got out and ran smack into Halloween. People crammed in everywhere, waiting in long lines for a chance to have a hands-on experience with their favorite upcoming game. The image at the top, which I borrowed from the boys at Kotaku, gives a pretty good idea of what the show floor looks like. Not everywhere mind you, but in enough places that it’s still pretty impressive, and daunting.
So as some of you may know, I’m a huge Michigan Wolverines fan. I grew up cheering for them, went to school there, and have suffered as Lloyd Carr would say, “tremendously” following the upset loss to Appalachian State as well as last week’s blowout loss against Oregon.
Cheering for another crummy team this year, Todd Howard is a Notre Dame Fighting Irish fan. The Irish have been outscored 64-13 in losses against Georgia Tech and Penn State. Even worse, the Irish’s offense hasn’t found the end zone yet.
Given that our teams, who are #1 and #2 in all-time win percentage square off tomorrow (for the first time both with 0-2 records), we decided to have a grudge match of NCAA ’08…in our theater, on our 121″ x 215″ HD-formatted theater screen (see below for more pics and details).
Now I’ve been playing this game since NCAA ’96 on the PS1, but apparently Todd takes it a little more seriously. The game started off with a few people watching, and for almost two quarters my defense came to play. But around halftime, Todd began to dominate, and eventually won the game 28-0.
Todd was pretty excited because he said I’d have to sing the ND fight song at our next team meeting, but I reminded him that the bet is actually for the real game tomorrow. So I might get to see him sing Hail to the Victors…but I’m not holding my breath.
Check below for some more details about our theater.
TGIF…another week goes by, and our developers can get back to doing what they love best…playing games. It’s funny when I send out an e-mail to these guys because 5 minutes after I hit send, I can look in my inbox and see that 50 people have already submitted something.
Jay Woodward, AI Programmer: the UNN Nightwalker campaign for System Shock 2, Carcassonne, Fallout, some eurogames with friends (probably two of Notre Dame, Amun Re, Princes of Florence, or Puerto Rico).
Cory Edwards, World Artist: Beat Metroid Prime 3, now playing Bioshock.
Jeff Browne, Level Designer: Red Orchestra, FO3, maybe Bioshock, but most of the weekend will be spent fishing and getting outdoors.
Pete Hines, VP of PR and Marketing: NCAA Football 2008 (Go Wake!) and Bioshock
In post-apocalyptic news, Emil dropped me a note that over on Dark Horizons there’s a post referencing an Entertainment Weekly story that Viggo Mortensen is in talks about playing the role of the father in a movie adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” a book that has been very popular around the office. I borrowed a copy from Josh Jones and finally got around to reading it during my trip to Leipzig.
Anyway, Viggo would be fracking awesome. He’s perfect. Hope they get him, and can’t wait to see who they get for his kid. Not familiar with the work of the guys they have doing the adaptation (Joe Penhall) or directing (John Hillcoat), but I’d love to see this movie happen. As bleak a picture as has ever been painted of a post-nuclear world.
If you haven’t read it already, you need to. It’s that good.
Today’s Q&A is with programmer, Mike Lipari. How important is Mike? Whenever we have a day that Mike has to leave early, we all get nervous that something will go horribly wrong while he is away. Nothing we ship leaves this building without going through Mike’s hands.
So a while back Joel did an interview about modding Oblivion and answered a host of questions from Oblivion Mod site Silver Rose Studios.
They’ve sent over a host of additional questions for Joel and they posted the entire interview today. Here’s a snippit:
1. What exactly are your duties? Do they include more than just object placement and interior design?
Level design is a little different at every company. Ultimately, we’re responsible for the player’s moment-to-moment experience, particularly in combat spaces, so we handle the layout, scripting, and population of an area. Artists get involved polishing some of our clutter placement and lighting, and quest designers handle scripting where it’s relevant to their work. We also do some writing; things like notes left by previous residents, usually where they include some hint at the backstory or gameplay of a space.
Their server is undergoing maintenance and the site can be hard to load right now, so head over to the Silver Rose forums to read the full interview.
For many, Labor Day marks the end of summer, the return to school, and at least for me, it brings the dawn of another season of college football! Just as important, however, it provides us with a nice, relaxing 3-day weekend for catching up on games.
Looks like Bioshock is still the most played game around the office, with at least 30 guys planning on playing it this weekend (some for the second time through). In addition to this instant classic from the artists formerly known as Irrational Studios, there’s plenty of other games being played this weekend, including the Call of Duty 4 Beta, Two Worlds, and Metroid Prime 3. Anyhow, here’s the list:
Welter Almeida, QA Intern: Starcraft: Brood War, Lair, Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix, Nascar ’08 Demo
Josh Anderson, Programmer: Bioshock (Xbox 360) while I can and Marvel Trading Card Game (PSP) on my long flight to Utah this weekend…
Once again, they (meaning our recruiter folks) will be talking to anyone interested in the list of positions that we’re currently looking to fill at Bethesda Softworks (list) and our sister company, ZeniMax Online Studios (list). So if you’re in the area or are going to GDC and are looking for employment in any of those areas, do stop by.
I know that Ashley and Matt are both going to Austin, but don’t know if either will be in our meeting room during the show itself. Maybe if you’re lucky you can snag an autograph from one of them. (Usually a Benjamin will coerce Ashley into giving up his, but you didn’t hear that from me.)
Apparently we’re having a job fair next month, or ZeniMax is anyway. At least, that’s what the email I just got says. I thought I’d pass it along for interested parties.
It’s going to be held from 11am – 8pm on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at the Baltimore Marriott in Hunt Valley. Given the location, the focus is obviously on people interested in joining ZeniMax Online Studios up in Hunt Valley, MD, but they’ll also be accepting applications and reviewing qualified applicants for positions here at Bethesda Softworks/Bethesda Game Studios.
ZOS is currently hiring in the areas of arts, programming, design, content, production, and so on. You can see the full list of positions here. Bethesda is currently hiring for a couple of positions including several programming positions, a character artist, an animator…and you can see that full list of positions here.
Be sure to bring a copy, or copies, of your resume/portfolio/etc. Wear a clean shirt. Good luck!