20 Years of Elder Scrolls

The list of entertainment products that thrive over a twenty-year period is a short one. It’s a joy to be part of one. When I look back over the last 20 years I’ve spent at Bethesda, I think how lucky we’ve been to keep a group together that continues to grow, both in talent and number, while being able to create games we love.

One thing that has kept the series vibrant for so long is that as opposed to simply adding to the previous game for a sequel, we always started over. It was our desire that each game be its own thing; had its own tone, its own soul. As the years went by the technologies changed, we changed, you changed. But the goal remained the same – to create a game that transported you to another place. A game that fueled you with the ideal of endless possibilities. A world you could make your own.

This has always been a partnership with you, our fans. The support you gave us each time has been amazing. The feedback, both positive and negative, made us better. When you spend so many hours, over so many years, on something, it becomes part of you. It’s certainly done that for us, and we know it’s done that for many of you.

There are many memories of what this series has meant to us, and to you. But I often think of one. When we were making Skyrim, but before it was announced, we were visited by a teenager through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. That day in our area, the foundation had arranged for several kids to spend time with President Obama, another with Spider-Man, and this amazing person with us. That was his wish – to see the new Elder Scrolls game. He was the first person outside the team to ever play Skyrim.

And that’s the thing not just about The Elder Scrolls, but experiences like it. They’re important. Yes, they are just games, or just entertainment. But how we all spend our time is important. The best experiences can fill you with the wonder of discovery, and the pride of accomplishment. The fact that you have spent so much time in these worlds with us, and have supported us each and every game, has meant the world to us.

And now The Elder Scrolls is ready to head in a new direction – online. The great folks at ZeniMax Online have brought the same passion and dedication to that game that we brought to ours. And like the other titles, it will be its own thing. We hope you give them the same support and feedback you’ve given us for so long.

Where does The Elder Scrolls go over the next 20 years? Time will tell. But I know it will continue to be an amazing partnership with you. And we can’t wait to play it.

Until then, all our best,

Todd Howard
Game Director
Bethesda Game Studios

Around the Web: Countdown Collection

As the end of the year draws near, more and more lists and countdowns are starting to sweep the internet. With the advent of new consoles and the opportunity for new titles, we take a look at some of the praise last generation titles received.

Crowning glory comes from Examiner.com who granted Skyrim the coveted title of “Game of the Generation”. This was the first of several “Best of a Generation” mentions we received in 2013. Kotaku included Skyrim as a Game that defined “last gen”, while Hardcore Gamer honored multiple Bethesda titles in their Top 100 Games of the Generation, including: Oblivion, Dishonored, Fallout: New Vegas, Skyrim, and Fallout 3.

And where there are last-gen countdowns, one should expect next-gen (err… current gen?) countdowns. In such a list, Gameranx listed Wolfenstein The New Order as one of the Top 10 games to look forward to in 2014.

Elsewhere in the land of the lists, something about the bitter-cold temperatures in Skyrim gave inspiration for Winter weather countdowns. Shortlist mentions the frigid temperatures found atop the Throat of the World in their list, while IGN celebrates Skyrim for being the perfect seasonal game. As you ready for the holidays, curl up in a blanket, drink some hot chocolate, and give Skyrim a revisit during your winter break.

Skyrim Mash! (Updated)

Update: The Skyrim mash-up now has a release date — Wednesday, November 20th! The content will be available worldwide for $3.99/€3.79/£2.69.

Announced earlier this month at Minecon, watch the new trailer for the Skyrim mash-up coming soon to Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition.

If you missed it, here’s the content breakdown for the pack:

  • Skyrim themed texture set to apply to any existing or newly created Minecraft world.
  • 40 Skyrim characters skins to apply to player’s in-game avatars: Dragonborn (male), Dragonborn (female), Ancano, Elenwen, Argonian Fighter, Argonian Mage, Bosmer Archer, Bosmer Mage, Breton Mage, Forsworn Shaman, Dunmer Mage, Dunmer Assassin, Imperial Soldier, Vex, Khajiit Merchant, Stormcloak Soldier, Lydia, Orc Blacksmith, Orc Warrior female, Nazir, Saadia, Vampire Lord, Isran, Astrid, Aela the Huntress, M’aiq the Liar, Greybeard, Frost Troll, Flame Atronach, Dragon Priest, Hagraven, Draugr Deathlord, Sheogorath, Spriggan, Dwarven Centurion, Wispmother, Dremora Lord, Master Necromancer, Vilkas, Orc Warrior Male
  • Skyrim themed Menu, UI and Inventory including integrated Skyrim logo.
  • Skyrim music score featuring the following original tracks: Watch the Skies, Dragonborn, Awake, From Past To Present, The City Gates, Dragonsreach, Distant Horizons, Dawn, The Jerall Mountains, Secunda, Frostfall, Unbound, Far Horizons, The Streets of Whiterun, The White River, Standing Stones, Tundra, Journey’s End, Aurora, Solitude, Wind Guide You, Tooth and Claw, Into Darkness, Shadows and Echoes, Towers and Shadows, Death in the Darkness
  • Pre-made World recreating the area of WhiterunRiverwood and Bleak falls Barrow (on a smaller scale in order to fit with technical constraints of the games map size limits)

Babyhood of Steel

Recently BGS character artist Dennis Mejilones and his wife Elizabeth welcomed their first child, Adriana Dahlia. To help celebrate the occasion, world artist Josh Jay, whose been known to make some pretty amazing helmets in the past, decided to create a helmet for Adriana.

In the slideshow below, check out various images of the production process, and read our short interview with Jay after the break.

Continue reading full article ›

Happy 5th Birthday, Fallout 3

Five years ago today, Fallout 3 released in North America. To celebrate the occasion, share your favorite #Fallout3Memories with our official Twitter account for Bethesda Game Studios – @BGS_Devs.

Related, Eurogamer recently put up a new feature highlighting the game as one of the best games of this generation. Elsewhere, GamesTM ranked the game #1 in their list of 50 Defining Games of This Console Generation, and Todd Howard commented on the honor here.

The Great Battles of Valhalla

Valhalla sounds like a location in Skyrim, so it’s no surprise that the six-day wargaming event put on by Blue Table Painting has a few connections with our game. So far, I’ve come up with three…

  • Blue Table Painting is hard at work on a Skryim-themed board. Attendees of this yea’r's event will be able to see the completed board. See early progress in the video embedded above.
  • The event takes place in the mountains of Utah. Kinda looks like Skyrim.
  • Like many of our developers, BGS’ Nate McDyer is a fan of tabletop gaming and will be discussing game development at the event.

I’m sure there’s many more connections — frost trolls, alchemy tables, and possibly an appearance by Eorlund Gray-Mane. For more on Valhalla, visit Blue Table Painting’s YouTube channel, as well as the website for next month’s event.

Writing the Skyrim Legendary Edition Guide

David Hodgson (in-game, below) is the lead writer of The Skyrim Legendary Edition Guide, which  marks his 92nd strategy guide since 1996, and eighth guide working with Bethesda. Read his interview about working on the guide and then head to PrimaGames.com to read another perspective from co-writer (and BGS designer) Steve Cornett.

So what exactly IS the Skyrim Legendary Edition Guide, then?

Well, by now you’ve seen the frankly ludicrous (but factual) charts and statistics regarding the latest (and final) version of our strategy guide for Skyrim. This edition is designed to function as a massive and complete reference book filled with officially approved content for the Legendary game.

What are the differences between this and the previous editions of the guide?

The first book was chunky enough, at 656 pages. The Revised & Expanded Edition weighed in at a whopping 864 pages, and included all the Dawnguard and Hearthfire content. As for the Legendary Edition? Well, the book has been redesigned slightly (we had to leave extra space at the inner edges of each page for visibility when bound, which tested the limits of what an actual binding can take), with an all-new body font that’s more readable and bigger (especially in the Atlas sections). This added some pages to an already-obscene total. We’ve also added all updated information (such as new difficulty levels), and merged all Training, Bestiary, Inventory, and Quest content into one specific place. We also placed Dawnguard-related locations more accurately into the Atlas. Oh, and we added the entirety of the Dragonborn DLC, including Quests, maps, Atlas locations, collectibles, and pretty much everything else. You’re essentially getting the Legendary version of the game in book form.

Continue reading full article ›

Around the web

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Start your weekend off right with an inside look into the creation of the The Evil Within live-action trailer. Creative Agency Prologue talks to Polygon about designing the dark and unsettling trailer for the newly announced Survival Horror game.

Delve even further into The Evil Within’s terrifying world. Shinji Mikami and the team at Tango talks to Famitsu (via Polygon) about their game. “I want users to get so scared that their hands are in a cold sweat on the controller.”

Youtube user and Bethblog familiar Tyrannicon has put Ironman and Skyrim together. The results are pretty much epic.

Gamespot’s Cam Robinson and Seb Ford discuss their Top Five Skyrim Mods of the Week. Speaking of mods, ever see a Mudcrab and think, “Wow, I wish that was the size of a mountain?” Well, wish granted. Enjoy the enemies of Skyrim in Giant form.

Minecraft and Wolfenstein go hand in hand thanks to Youtube user thornofnight’s recreation.

And finally, Senior Designer Joel Burgess and Senior Environment Artist Nathan Purkeypile explain in depth the modular approach to level design.

Vampire Lord… in 3D!

Flying cars? Not yet. However, to hold you over until they arrive, we can show you how cool 3D printers are – and give us a glimpse into how amazing this technology is.

BGS character artist, Dennis Mejillones has one of these newfangled devices, and he was nice enough to capture footage of his Zbrush design for Dawnguard’s Vampire Lord being brought to life.

Watch the video above and check out more pics, including his printout of a Daedric Dagger, below…