We would like to welcome to the Bethesda Blog Mike Hancho — commonly known by the forum community as Balok, creator of Helgen Reborn for Skyrim. When he’s not too busy rebuilding Helgen, Mike is an Operations Manager for a construction company in Clemmons, NC.
Recently we caught up with him to discuss Skyrim modding…
How did you get involved with modding?
It all started with a radio! I loved the “Built for the Future” mod for Fallout 3 and wanted a radio near all the lockers I used to store my gear. Getting started, I was completely overwhelmed and not a little bit lost, so I went through the basic tutorials and figured it out from there. Since Fallout 3 was my first Bethesda game it eventually led me to the official Bethesda forums where I learned about Oblivion. I bought it and spent the next year playing it.
I made a couple of unreleased mods that I used for my personal enjoyment and then Fallout: New Vegas came out. After playing it for a while, I decided to write and build my New Bison Steve Hotel and Afterschool Special mods. Then I joined the Boulder Dome team and built all the interiors for Inner Boulder including the Haunted Toy Store as well as Harcort Positronics and the Android Manufacturing levels. That led to Skyrim and here we are!
When I think of Helgen Reborn, the first thing that comes to mind is Oblivion’s popular mod, Kvatch Rebuilt. Do you view this mod as a spiritual successor?
In all honesty, no, not really. Although I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that the name alone drew some attention to my project because of the popularity of Kvatch Rebuilt. In the beginning Helgen Rebuilt was a sort of working title, but I discovered someone had already uploaded a mod by that name. However, by this time I was well into development and into my closed beta test, and several of my testers liked my suggestion of using Helgen Reborn as they felt it was truly Reborn when it was finished, so I stuck with that. If anything, I see Helgen Reborn as the successor of my New Bison Steve Hotel and Afterschool Special mods for Fallout: New Vegas. I learned enough techniques building those mods that I felt confident enough to try something a little more ambitious. And since I like taking things you guys leave destroyed and turning them into places that are once again useable, Helgen was the obvious choice for my next project.
With Dishonored: Game of the Year Edition ready for release in October, Arkane Studios is ramping up on what comes next — next-gen development. While we can’t talk about what’s on the horizon, we wanted to let prospective game developers know that they’re already building up their team for the next project.
Two key new positions opened up for Arkane’s Austin-based studio, a Lead Tech Programmer and a Tools Programmer. In addition to these new positions, the Austin office is hiring a wide range of additional art and engineering positions. Get a full rundown here.
If you missed Dishonored or any of its amazing content, we’re happy to announce that we will release Dishonored Game of the Year Edition in North America on Tuesday, October 8th.
Developed by Arkane Studios, Edge Online’s 2012 Studio of the Year, Dishonored is an immersive first-person action game that casts you as a supernatural assassin driven by revenge. With Dishonored’s flexible combat system, creatively eliminate your targets as you combine the supernatural abilities, weapons and unusual gadgets at your disposal. Pursue your enemies under the cover of darkness or ruthlessly attack them head on with weapons drawn. The outcome of each mission plays out based on the choices you make.
CONTENT INCLUDED (IN ADDITION TO THE ORIGINAL GAME)
The Knife of Dunwall - In The Knife of Dunwall, take on the role of Daud, the legendary assassin who killed the Empress. After assassinating the Empress, and forever changing the fate of Dunwall, you embark on a search for redemption. Gain access to Daud’s new weapons, gadgets and supernatural abilities as you traverse through parts of Dunwall yet unseen, including the city’s whaling center, Rothwild Slaughterhouse, and the heavily guarded Legal District.
The Brigmore Witches - Continue your journey as the legendary assassin, Daud, in The Brigmore Witches. This conclusion to Daud’s story will put you at odds with warring gang factions and the dangerous Brigmore witch coven. Journey through undiscovered locales within Dunwall, including Drapers Ward and the Brigmore Manor, where you will be met with supernatural forces that test the limits of your new weapons and abilities.
Dunwall City Trials - In Dunwall City Trials, experience Dishonored’s flexible combat system, stealth gameplay, and distinct settings in a whole new way as you make your way through 10 distinct maps that feature a variety of challenges. Put your stealth, combat and mobility skills to the test as you clear demanding objectives, unlock new achievements and secrets, and climb up the global online leaderboards.
Void Walker’s Arsenal - With the Void Walker’s Arsenal add-on pack, gain access to four content bundles previously available only through pre-ordering Dishonored. These bundles offer unique character bonuses, additional bone charm slots and more.
Dishonored: Game of the Year Edition will be available on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 for $39.99 / 39.99 € / £ 29.99 /$69.95 AUD, and will be priced at $39.99 / 29.99 € / £24.99 / $49.95 AUD on PC.
Celebrate the Elder Scrolls today with the release of The Elder Scrolls Anthology — available today on PC in North America for $79.99 (and $89.99 in Canada). The same package will be available in European territories this Friday for €59.99 / £49.99 / $89.99 AUD.
In case you missed our announcement post, this premium box set (shown above) includes all five main games from the series – Arena, Daggerfall, Morrowind Game of the Year, Oblivion Game of the Year, and Skyrim Legendary Edition – as well all the official add-ons and expansions.
And with today’s release, feel free to vote for your favorite Elder Scrolls game in the poll to the right, and share any of your favorite memories from the series in the comments section.
This Saturday at QuakeCon (and streaming live at Twitch.TV/Bethesda), id Software’s art director, Hugo Martin, will be speaking about his career in games and films. If you’re not familiar with his work, you need only visit a movie theater and check out (the totally awesome) Pacific Rim. For the film, Martin was part of director Guillermo Del Toro’s core concept team.
While in Texas, we had a chance to catch up with Hugo. Read the interview below…
How did you get started as an artist (include brief history of career highlights)?
I studied Illustration at Pratt Institute and Transportation Design at Art Center College of Design.
I started my career as a pose to pose animator and storyboard artist at MTV animation in NYC, but my first true concept job came after that when I worked in the IP development department at Wizards of the Coast. I went on to work at Naughty Dog as a concept artist on Jak X Team Racing and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, and then on to Blur Studios doing concept work on a variety of film, commercial, game and animation Projects.
After Blur I decided to go freelance. For 3 1/2 years I worked as a contract concept artist out of my studio and on-site whenever possible — primarily doing design work on films and games — the most notable from that period being of course PACIFIC RIM .
What was your principle role on Pacific Rim?
I had the privilege and honor of being a part of Guillermo’s core concept team. My primary focus was on the design of the Jaegers, and from there I moved on to key frame illustration and then prop designs. I also had the chance to work on the Blade head Kaiju you see fighting Striker Eureka in the film.
Darkness or Redemption? The final path of Daud, the man behind the assassination of Dunwall’s Empress, will be determined in Dishonored’s last add-on, The Brigmore Witches.
In the coming weeks we will share new content from the game — on the blog, as well as our Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr pages for the game. To whet your appetite, here’s a brief description of the content.
In The Brigmore Witches, continue your journey as the legendary assassin, Daud, and bring his twisted narrative that began with The Knife of Dunwall to a close. After discovering the identity and intentions of Delilah, the leader of the Brigmore Witch coven, you set out to disrupt her from completing a powerful ritual that will spell your doom. Having already been betrayed by your lieutenant, Billie Lurk, you must rely on feuding gang factions—the Dead Eels and the Hatters—to negotiate your way through previously unseen districts of Dunwall en route to Delilah’s stronghold. Regardless of the way you reach your destination, one thing is for certain – you will finally answer for your treacherous actions and fall before the mercy, or punishment, of the Royal Bodyguard and Assassin, Corvo Attano. Additionally, your power, weapon and item upgrades, Chaos level, and player actions from The Knife of Dunwall will carry over via a compatible save file option.
As noted, if you completed The Knife of Dunwall, you will be able to carry over your save file to The Brigmore Witches. If you haven’t finished the content yet, you still have plenty of time — The Brigmore Witches arrives on Xbox 360, PS3, and Steam ($9.99 or 800 MS Points) next month on August 13th. PS3 players in Europe will be able to purchase the content a day later on August 14th.
The video is broken out into two parts. First, we interviewed Axel to learn more about working at Machinegames and creating concept art for Wolfenstein: The New Order.
In the second half of the video, he demonstrates his daily routine of speedpainting — his method of mentally preparing for the work day by spending 15-20 minutes to create a concept image from scratch.
In the coming weeks and months, we’ll be sharing more Bethesda Underground videos from our trip to MachineGames. If you’ve missed any of the previous videos, check out our playlist on the official Bethesda YouTube Channel.
One week after the last day of E3, there’s still plenty of buzz from our 2013 lineup. Before checking in on the latest news for The Evil Within, check out our new imgur album featuring E3 photos from last week Lots of fun memories!
Back to the games, here’s the latest on Tango Gameworks’ survival horror game coming next year. During the show, Team Tango demoed the game every hour… so there’s plenty to to share.
Gamespot — Watch Pete Hines interview filmed live from Gamespot’s E3 command center.
Giant Bomb — Patrick Klepek puts on his reporter hat and talks survival horror with Shinji Mikami.
NZ Gamer — “All of this was delivered by way of the grimy, dirty aesthetic of the game, and compounded by a claustrophobic level design and some truly disturbing experiences.”
Forbes — “The demo included everything one would expect from classic survival horror combined with top-notch graphics and audio. If the demo is any indicator, The Evil Within is shaping up to be a dark room delight.”
Denkiphile — “The feeling of powerlessness here is something that gamers have been pining for. Something that all survival horror games have been lacking as of late.”
TechnoBuffalo — “The gruesome character models, unsettling atmosphere, and copious amounts of gore are already enough to make one shiver. Given the history of Shinji Mikami’s skill with spooks and Bethesda’s knack for immersion, this added layer of uncertainty might just make this the scariest game ever created.”
Exophase — “Survival horror fans should take note of The Evil Within, it’s shaping up to be one of the most satisfying entries in the genre to date.”
Explosion — “It simply looks fantastic. I can’t wait for it.”
CV-Games — “The Evil Within could really be the next version of Resident Evil with the way things are looking. However, I applaud Mikami for branching out and trying to create a new IP, with new ideas, and a new cast and backstory.”
More E3 coverage to come, including a preview roundup for Wolfenstein tomorrow.