What we’re playing

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The weekend’s nearly over — for many of us, it’s been full of games. Popular games at the office this week include Resident Evil 5, Killzone 2, Dawn of War 2, and Peggle — which has found it’s way onto many of our iPhones. Having just purchased it on DS, I’m trying to show some restraint.

Jay Woodward, Pink Deathclaw Rustler: F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin and misc. board games (Amun Re, Dominion, Space Dealer, and/or Race for the Galaxy).

Andrew Scharf: Resident Evil 5, Peggle for iPhone.

Craig Lafferty, Senior Producer: Sacred 2, Zen Pinball, and Tiger Woods 2009.

Mike Dulany, Programmer: Peggle (iPhone), RE:5, Killzone 2.

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A trio of developer profiles for Splash Damage

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Splash Damage’s community guy, Steve ‘Badman’ Hessel, gave me a head’s up on three new developer profiles up on the Splash Damage site. In their latest “Things You Were Too Afraid to Ask Feature,” we get to learn more about Online Services Programmer Ed ‘MrEd’ Reid, Programmer Diogo ‘fozi’ Teixeira, and Technical Environment Artist Radek ‘ElDonaldo’ Szczepanczyk.

We continue to work with Splash Damage on a new project, and we’ll be sharing more details on the game soon.

What we’re playing

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The weekend is here and it’s time to play games. So what’s the hot new game to play at the office? I’ve heard a few guys raving about Plants vs. Zombies, a garden-fresh take on the “tower defense” genre, made by the team at Pop Cap (Peggle). If you’re interested in giving it a shot, try the demo here.

Have a great weekend.

Jesse Tucker, Level Design: Plants vs. Zombies, TF2. Puzzle Quest has relinquished its stranglehold.

Emil Pagliarulo: Wolverine for 360, Velvet Assassin for 360, and Lord of the Rings Online.

Steve Meister: Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Banjo-Tooie Xbox Live Arcade, and iPhone Scrabble.

Cory Dornbusch: The Charlie Kelly of QA: Fallout 3 Broken Steel.

Brent Krische, QA: Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures, LittleBigPlanet, and hopefully some Fallout 3 over the weekend.

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Around the Web: Interviews edition

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To celebrate GamePro’s 20th Anniversary (congrats guys!), they’re putting together a list of their top 20  most influential people in gaming from 1989 to 2009. Making the list at #18 was our very own Todd Howard. For the occasion, GamePro has a video chat with him where he talks about what made him get into the industry, his favorite games, and more.

Planet Fallout has a new interview with Broken Steel’s Lead Designer Alan Nanes. Here’s a snippet:

Was it difficult to make the decision to completely change the game’s original ending? And why did you choose that path?

Alan: This was the decision that we spent the longest time pondering when we all sat down to work out the details. We had to decide how much we were going to alter the ending and at the same time, make sure we didn’t invalidate the decisions that the player had made previously. It was a challenge to present everything to the player in a seamless manner, so the new content wouldn’t feel simply tacked on.

Over at NowGamer, there’s a five-page retrospective on Fallout 3 featuring Emil and Todd, and a comparison to Dark Side of the Moon.

Finally, there’s a new interview with yours truly up at Gamasutra. Thinking back now… I’m pretty sure Todd said I was one of the guys holding a shield in Counter Strike — not a “meat shield.” It’s been abbreviated to Meat Shield since — easier to say. :)

Around the web

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Here’s a few interesting links from around the web.

Voting for the Golden Joystick Awards 2009 has begun. Fallout 3 is nominated in five categories: Ultimate Game of the Year, PC Game of the Year, PlayStation Game of the Year, Xbox Game of the Year, and Soundtrack of the Year. Additionally, Bethesda is nominated for Publisher of the Year, and Rogue Warrior is nominated in the The One to Watch category.

Speaking of Rogue Warrior, Inc Gamers has a video interview with Senior Producer Sean Griffiths. Elsewhere, Ron Burke at Gaming Trend has new previews up for both Rogue Warrior and WET.

In WET news, a new interview with Patrick Fortier is up at Team Xbox

At SPOnG, there’s a new interview with Pete. Here’s an excerpt of Pete discussing Fallout 3’s new level cap — hitting tomorrow with Broken Steel:

SPOnG: Will there be enough quest experience to be had in Broken Steel for players to level up to 30 without having to grind on pre-DLC quests/enemies?

Pete Hines: No, probably not, and that wasn’t the intention. The intention was to remove the level cap so that if you have Broken Steel, regardless of whether you want to play that quest or not, or you want to start a new game from scratch, you can continue playing beyond level 20. Again, fans wanted to be able to take their characters to higher levels, so we included it. But it is not specific to the length of Broken Steel, at all. It is a very long climb to get from 20 to 30 and you’ll need to do a LOT to get there.

Finally, Pittsburgh City Paper talked about The Pitt with Emil. Read it here.

Around the web: See WET in action (Updated)

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Here’s the latest news from around the web. Up first, X-Play revealed new gameplay footage of WET on their show last night. Head here to watch the gameplay, and see Adam Sessler’s interview with Creative Director Patrick Fortier.

For more interviews on WET, head to Kotaku for another interview with Patrick. Elsewhere, SPOnG interviewed Lead Designer Ashraf Ismail.

In other WET news, Destructoid’s Nick Chester discusses how WET got its name and Edge has a new preview based on impressions from our London event.

Moving along, winners of the 2008 ELAN Awards were announced this week and Fallout 3 came away a winner in two videogame categories — Best Console Game and Best Art Direction. To see a full list of winners, head here.

Broken Steel is in still in the news. This week, Game Revolution’s Nick Tan has a new preview for the upcoming DLC. Here’s a snippet:

“Before asking Alan Nanes (lead designer for Broken Steel) and Pete Hines (VP of Public Relations & Marketing) about how much experience is needed to reach the (perhaps) final level, I thought I would be clever by calculating it beforehand. Following the formula of needing 150 more experience to reach each  subsequent level, you will need 66,700 experience to reach level 30 which is about 125% more experience than that needed at level 20 (29,450).”

Looking for more on Broken Steel? Talking About Games interviewed Jeff Gardiner.

Last but not least, Rogue Warrior Senior Producer Sean Griffiths appears in new interviews at SPOnG and Inc Gamers.

Update: See extended footage of Wet on G4TV here.

Broken Steel Diary

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At the Fallout 3 Official Site, we’ve got a new developer diary. This time around we enlisted Broken Steel’s Lead Designer Alan Nanes and Lead Level Designer Jeff Browne to discuss the new features and changes implemented in the game with the third DLC. Here’s a snippet:

“If we were to increase the level cap to 30, we first needed to figure out which factions we wanted to support the new cap.  Super Mutants were one creature we knew we had to support.  The decision was made to keep the Super Mutant Behemoth at the top, so we needed to fill the gap between the Behemoth and the Super Mutant Master.  Thus was born the Super Mutant Overlord – a creature much stronger than a Super Mutant Master and one that is beginning to take on the shape and form of a Behemoth.  Its posture is beginning to show signs of the Behemoth with its large, thick neck and slightly forward head.  Given enough time, the Overlord would eventually grow to become a Behemoth.”

In addition to the diary, you’ll be able to check out three new screenshots. Broken Steel arrives on Games for Windows LIVE and Xbox LIVE on May 5th.

What we’re playing: watching the Draft edition

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Below you’ll see my intended list of games I’d like to be playing this weekend, but given that the NFL Draft is currently on, who knows if I’ll get around to booting up my 360 or PS3. Currently, I’m in hour 5 of watching the draft — in hopes that the Lions can improve from last year. While optimistic, I still wish they would’ve picked Aaron Curry (above) from Pete’s alma mater Wake Forest.

While I know others at the office are excited about the draft, there’s plenty guys here that will still be playing games. Here’s the rundown.

Emil Pagliarulo, Fallout 3 Lead Designer: Midnight Club: Los Angeles, Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, World of Warcraft, and Lord of the Rings Online.

Ben Carnow, Character Artist: Left 4 Dead, Zeno Clash.

Ricardo Gonzalez, On a WoW break: Diablo II, Starcraft. I *want* to play non-Blizzard games, but for some reason…my hands won’t…errgh….nn…nonononobad! Veryverybadthoughts! Must…install Warcraft III…yess….

Erik J. Caponi: Playing Peggle during the shockingly large amount of time I spend being dead in Ulduar.

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Inside the Vault: Jon Paul Duvall

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This week we chat with Designer Jon Paul Duvall.

What’s your job at Bethesda?
I’m privileged to be on the design team.  I create characters and quests, write dialog, script objects, enter data on a bagillion forms (NPCs, creatures, items, etc.), help balance game systems, run around poking programmers and artists in the eyes, etc. No day is the same. And I love it.

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Broken Steel interview/screenshots at Gamespot

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This evening on Gamespot, a new interview on Broken Steel went up — courtesy of Fallout 3 Designer Alan Nanes. Here’s a sample:

Gamespot: How do you account for the variety of endings in the original game with this continuation? Are there decisions that players have made that have to be cast aside for the sake of storytelling?

Alan Nanes: This was perhaps one of the toughest things for us to do when creating Broken Steel. We took great pains to make certain that the actions players made at the end of Fallout 3’s original story are not completely invalidated. In fact, we took what players did into careful account and wove it into some of the quests. For example, if players decided to follow President Eden’s advice and spiked the water with the Modified F.E.V., that decision will affect the Capital Wasteland and how the player interacts or perceives its inhabitants. We’ve also added some new decisions to the original storyline that players will be able to make to add some more variety and make the transition feel right.

Head to Gamespot to read the rest and check out the first screenshots for Broken Steel.