As we head out for the really, really rainy weekend, I thought I’d share some news coverage from the week.
This afternoon we received some exciting news that Shivering Isles won RPG of the Year over at Gameindustry.com. Pretty cool for a couple reasons. First, in the site’s ten years of doing annual awards, Shivering Isles is the first expansion to win this category. Even better is the fact that the voting came from Gameindustry.com readers. We’re truly honored that our fans came out in large numbers to vote, particularly since it was up against some really great games. Many thanks!
Wanted to make sure everyone was aware of a new community contest over at Xbox.com that involves Oblivion. With the “Best RPGs Play & Win” contest, 360 owners have a chance to win some great prizes, including a trip to this year’s Comic-Con event in San Diego. To enter, all you need to do is download the Best RPGs Gamer Picture from the Xbox Live Marketplace.
So how’s this deal with Oblivion? Well, it’s an RPG on the 360 for starters, but you can increase your odds of winning (up to four more entries) if you happen to download any of the following Oblivion DLC between March 7-11:
Knights of the Nine
The Thieves’ Den
The Wizards’ Tower
The Vile Lair
Horse Armor Pack
Already downloaded these? It appears you can also enter by downloading additional content from Blue Dragon, as well as the new upcoming content for Mass Effect. For more details on the contest, head here.
Last month’s increase in people playing Oblivion (while logged onto Live) stayed with us through February. Also, Fighter’s Stronghold and Vile Lair are now available in Europe. (Similar to other smaller DLC, they are still in English but can be played with the FIGS languages).
Top Five Oblivion Xbox Live downloads for February 2008*
1. The Fighter’s Stronghold
2. The Wizard’s Tower
3. Spell Tomes
4. Vile Lair
5. Thieves Den
Last week Planet Elder Scrolls honored its latest group of Hall of Fame mods. Per usual, for a mod to make their HOF, it must be available for three months, receive at least 25 votes with a score of 8 or better, and it must be downloaded at least 5000 times. This month, one Morrowind mod and three Oblivion mods met the criteria.
Widow Maker crossbow by Phijama: Adds a new crossbow, two crossbow pistols and a new bow to the game. According ot Phijama, the crossbows have “regenerating bolts added via scripted amulets in the shape of the bolts and the bow regenerates its own arrows.” Sounds cool.
This week we’re talking with Dev_Akm, whose modding days started with PnP projects like Dungeons and Dragons and GURPS more than 20 years ago. Now a systems developer and analyst in Austin, he spends a fair amount of his free time modding Morrowind and Oblivion (though he also is a fan of hiking, camping and listening to punk rock). Of course, that free time is in jeopardy. In addition to raising one daughter, he’s got another on the way.
Yesterday was the two year anniversary of Oblivion’s “Gone Gold” announcement. Personally, those two years feel more like a decade to me. The team is insanely busy right now, but a few developers did e-mail me some thoughts on the anniversary. I’ve worked on Oblivion longer than most people here, and I continue to be amazed at how successful it was and is and how many people still play it today.
Visiting the Oblivion Files, I noticed they’ve updated the “featured mods” on their main page.
In the “featured armour” department, AlexScorpion’s Adamantium Battlesuit is pretty sweet. After reading about it, it took me several mintues to figure out what famous character used armor like this. I asked my friend at Bungie if it had anything to do with Halo…no dice. Then looking at the armor pics, I started thinking maybe it was the body suit Raiden used in Metal Gear Solid 2. Wrong again. Finally, I came across a Wikipedia link that revealed Wolverine’s skeletal makeup and claws were adamantium. I knew I knew it from somewhere.
Thought I’d share a cool video that was pointed out to me. As you can see (and hear), it’s a live performance of Oblivion’s theme music. The footage comes from a fan that attended Play! A Video Game Symphony in Stockholm last summer.
For those that are unfamiliar with Play! — it’s a touring symphony (with choir) that performs music from popular games like Super Mario Bros., Castlevania, and Halo. In addition to Oblivion, the program also includes music from Morrowind. Play! is conducted and directed by Grammy-award winner Arnie Roth. In his career, Roth has conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted concerts dedicated to music from the Final Fantasy series, and even worked with 80s yacht rocker Peter Cetera. Talk about eclectic!
Two years ago, Play! was in the DC area and I regretted missing it. Here’s hoping that there’s another tour on the horizon.
This week’s Elder Scrolls mod interview comes from two members of the Nehrim project — a total conversion mod using The Elder Scrolls CS. As a total conversion, its story takes place in a world unrelated to anything in the Elder Scrolls universe, so players can enjoy a new fan-made game from their Oblivion disc. It’s still up in the air as to when the project will be complete, but SureAI’s Arandor and Lord Dagon stopped by to give us an update …
You probably figured out already that we’re not doing a lot of talking at GDC this week — it’s been pretty busy around here with everyone cracking on Fallout 3. Still, if you need a break from all the GDC news, here are a few newsworthy mentions I thought I’d share.
I noticed Destructoid has shared the results of their “which one game has eaten up more hours of your life than any other game ever has” debate, and both Morrowind (#6) and Oblivion (#2) made the top ten. Even combining votes, these games would still end up trailing World of WarCRACK craft. No surprise there.