Giving Thanks

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Today our office is closed as we take time to celebrate Thanksgiving with our friends and family. Over the past week, I asked folks at the office to share what they’re thankful for this year. Check out the list below.

From everyone at Bethesda Softworks, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving….and Go Lions!!

Ashley Cheng: As you read this, I will be in Taiwan, the country where I was born, visiting friends and relatives I haven’t seen in over 20 years. I am very grateful for my family, friends, co-workers and colleagues, and mostly for my beautiful wife, Megen. I’d also like to thank everyone who has ever purchased a game I’ve worked on, thank you so much for your support.

Todd Howard: My family, friends, coworkers and everyone out there who supports our games. And for all the dreamers; the ones who make the games, and the ones who play them. What’s on the screen is never as good as the story you’re telling in your head.

Emil Pagliarulo: As always, I’m thankful for my four great kids, and my wonderful wife who someone manages to take care of us all, before she even thinks about taking care of herself; I’m thankful that I have the best job in the world; I’m especially thankful this year that I’m finally healthy, and really looking forward to what the future may bring; and, last but not least, I’m thankful for my car, the Cherry Bomb 3000 — a red 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T. My God, I love my car.

Pete Hines:I’m thankful that for 10 years I’ve been able to go to work at a place I love, doing something I love, with people I truly enjoy working with and being around. I’m thankful for my great friends and family, two terrific kids, sweet tea, Bojangles’ biscuits, the very existence of Chick Fil A, serious thunderstorms, Wake Forest sports, Caps playoff hockey games, the US Nat’l soccer team, a World Cup to look forward to, being able to still get it done on the soccer field at age 40, that at home I have a stack of good video games to play, entertaining books to read, and a list of movies I can’t wait to see, and I’m thankful for the promise that 2010 holds.

Kevin Kauffman: Thanks to everyone responsible for paying me to do a job that I love and would probably do for free. Also to the best family and friends money can buy… you guys were worth every penny.

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What we’re playing

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Just as Bioware has guys admitting to being fans of our games, we’ve got plenty of folks here that giddy when a new Bioware game is released. This was definitely the case this past week with the release of Dragon Age Origins.  As I write this on a Sunday night, I see at least six developers playing it on Xbox LIVE (with probably more playing on PC and PS3).

Outside of Dragon Age, it seems that Borderlands, Brutal Legend, and Torchlight are among the most popular games currently being played by our team.

Below is the list for this week. Let us know what you’re playing.

Ashley Cheng: Dragon Age, Madden 10, and Bookworm on iPhone.

Jon Paul Duvall: Borderlands and Dragon Age.

Tony “MMO money MMO problems” Greco: Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, and a great game called twiddling my thumbs while I wait for MW2 to come out.

Gary Powell: Dragon Age Origins, Borderlands, and Demon’s Souls.

Orin Tresnjak: Finally getting around to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare before the sequel comes out. Also, Mirror’s Edge on PC to check out the improved visuals.

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Inside the Vault: Ashley Cheng

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I’m working on getting more Inside the Vaults. They’re a-coming! I promise! To get things rolling again, I thought I would go ahead and do one. So, this is me.

What’s your job at Bethesda?
I’m the Production Director (fancy name for producer) for Bethesda Game Studios. I’m responsible for the day to day of the development team, scheduling and budgets, QA and testing, localization, running team meetings when Todd Howard is traveling, game library procurement, weekend and evening catering, commissioner of our Madden online franchise league, purchaser of buckets to collect rain water leaking from our ceiling. I’m the last one who touches our games before they go out into the world to be replicated, boxed and shipped out to stores and/or downloaded via Steam/Xbox LIVE/PlayStation Network, etc… My office is full of gold masters of every version of every game we’ve shipped since 2001. I have one of the best jobs anybody could ever wish for.

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What we’re playing

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If you look at this week’s “what we’re playing” — there’s games you’d expect to see (like Uncharted 2, Borderlands, Forza 3, and Brütal Legend), but the game that’s taken the office by storm this week is Runic Games’ Torchlight. For more details on the game, visit Runic Games’ website.

Below is the rest of the games we’re playing. Feel free to share the games you’re playing. Have a great weekend!

John Pisano: Torchlight, Borderlands, Brütal Legend, and Tropico III.

Nate “Red Spy” Purkeypile: Uncharted 2, Brütal Legend, Torchlight, L4D2 demo and most importantly, the TF2 Halloween Weekend Special.

Jay Woodward: Red Faction: Guerrilla, Brütal Legend, and Race for the Galaxy.

Daryl Brigner: Borderlands and Torchlight.

Orin Tresnjak: Forza 3, Borderlands, and Demon’s Souls. Maybe trying out Torchlight.

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New Splash Damage Developer Profile

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Over at Splash Damage’s site, you can check out a new developer profile with Gameplay/Physics Programmer Pierre ‘trega’ Tregaro. Here’s a sampling from the interview…

What games have you worked on?
Brink is the first ‘real’ game I’ve worked on. My last project before starting here was PuppIT, on which I was the project lead. In a nutshell, it’s a large digital puppet theatre entirely controlled using a multi-touch surface.

Head to Splash Damage’s official site to read the rest, as well as the other developer profiles they’ve done.

Movies we’re looking forward to

This week I asked the team to share the movies they’re looking forward to seeing — whether it’s already out, coming soon, or coming not-so-soon. Before seeing Where The Wild Things Are last night, I saw the trailer for Wes Anderson’s lastest film, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and now that tops my list. Check out the trailer above.

While you’re at it, let us know what movies you’re looking forward to…

Michael Wagner: Fantastic Mr. Fox, Toy Story 3, Astro Boy, and The Book of Eli.

Emily Sears: The Road, The Lovely Bones, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Daybreakers, The Wolfman, Shutter Island, Inception, and Alice in Wonderland.

Sean Palomino: Avatar, Ninja Assassin, The Wolfman, Where the Wild Things Are, and Until The Light Takes Us.

Brent Krische: X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Transformers 2, GI Joe, District 9, and Paranormal Activity.

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Beyond the id: Meet Peter Sokal

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This week we introduce a new segment to Bethesda Blog, Beyond the id, to highlight our friends and colleagues at id Software. This week we’re kicking things off with Peter Sokal — the Community Manager for id.

How long have you worked as the Community Manager at id Software?
I’ve been working at id for about 10 months now, and it has been quite the ride.

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Todd’s favorite games

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Over at Industry Gamers, Todd Howard shared a list of his 10 favorite games of all-time. This isn’t the first time Todd’s claimed Ultima VII as his favorite game — among other places, he noted it in a feature on D&D for 1Up

Looking through his list, there’s definitely some games in there I’d consider for my top 10. I’ll post my At-The-Moment Top 10 in the comments section, and encourage you to do the same.

Where we’re dining: Craving Five Guys

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This week I thought I’d ask everyone to share their favorite places to eat (good suggestion, Ash). As you can expect, there’s plenty of variety in the places where folks from our office go out to eat.

One of the most common responses was Five Guys. Like In-N-Out Burger on the west coast, Five Guys is one of those burger places where you just assume they’ve put some addictive chemical in the burgers that make you crave it. If you haven’t checked it out, there’s a good chance one will pop up in your area sometime soon. While the restaurants began in the DC Area (Arlington, to be exact), there are now more than 400 locations in the US.

Below are more of the places we enjoy eating…you might even recognize some of the areas from Fallout 3.

Pete Hines: Five Guys, Valentino’s, Chick-Fil-A.

Gary Powell, QA Tester: Viet Gourmet (Fredrick), El Charro (Dale City), Panera Bread, Five Guys, Grotto’s Pizza (Bethany Beach, DE) and House Of Dynasty (Alexandria).

Dane Olds, Artist: Dogfishhead Alehouse, Roy’s Place, Cava, and Sushi House (Rockville).

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