Are you the Oblivion Iron Man?

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Ash and I got to wondering after reading Oblivion fan Victor Hedenberg’s comment about playing Oblivion for 250 hours. We asked, “I wonder who has put the most time into playing Oblivion?”

I’d venture to say that someone’s gotten close to playing the game* for more than 1000 hours somewhere. Since I’m so curious about it, I think it’s time to run our blog’s first ever contest!! Let’s call it “The Oblivion Iron Man Contest.” The rules are as follows:

  • The contest is open to players of the PC, 360, and PS3 versions of the game.
  • Send unaltered photos showing your gameplay time (from the save menu) to bethblog@bethsoft.com. The winner selected by us will be required to send us his/her actual game save for verification purposes via e-mail, memory card, or memory stick. If for any reason we are unable to confirm the gameplay time, we’ll pick the next person in line. Winners who send a memory stick or memory card will receive the card back via mail.
  • Please send a photo of yourself that we can post for the blog announcement of the winner.
  • All e-mails must be received by midnight (U.S. EST), Sunday, August 26th (so start playing your game non-stop NOW!) The winner will be announced once we have confirmed the winning game save.
  • Any foul play detected will result in automatic disqualification.
  • All participants must be 18 or older to enter and verification may be required before the winner is announced. Any material sent shall be deemed non-proprietary.

So what does the Oblivion Iron Man win?

Well, Pete emailed from vacation and told me to send one of my trusty droids into his office to pull a signed copy of the game from his office…and not just any signed copy. This PC copy of Oblivion is signed by renowned actors, Terrence Stamp (Mankar Camoran) and Sean Bean (Martin Septim)!

*I’m sure some of the modders out there have probably spent at least that much time doing mods for the game, but we’re only accounting for gameplay time. That said, modders are welcome to enter.

Oblivion Offers New Opportunities to Architects

About a month ago, Pete made a post revealing how Dr. Andrew Hudson-Smith’s blog, Digital Urban, featured a two-part tutorial on how to create 3D models using 3D Max and then import these models into Oblivion. In the most recent online issue of The Escapist, writer Allen Varney discusses how architects have been using game engines for experimentation with architecture, in an article titled “London in Oblivion.”

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Greetings from Tokyo

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Here’s a message from an old co-worker of ours living in Japan, Jason Ruddy:

This is Jason, the guy who did SFX for Morrowind and brought in the doughnuts way back in the day. Well, I went out for lunch with a friend today and met him at Bic Camera (think Best Buy x 100) in Kawasaki – in Southern Tokyo. As we walked through the game section I noticed an Oblivion cap display they had in place. The video constantly looped the JP Oblivion trailer (which was actually pretty loud) and managed to get quite a few people to stop and check it out.

Ironically, the games on display in front of the TV didn’t include Oblivion! The left side was recent best-selling action games, while the right side had lots of Trusty Bell and Blue Dragon. I took the liberty of removing the copies of Blue Dragon and pulling the floor copies of Oblivion right up in front. Seeing as how that is the only Xbox360 display (which makes up about 50% of Microsoft’s gaming presence in the store), I’d say you’re getting some good exposure.

Anyway, I just thought you guys would like to see your game out in the wild in Japan. I’ve seen a few other TESIV:O displays from time to time, but this is the first one I’ve run across looping a trailer. Unfortunately I could not get the top of the display because the shopkeepers were eyeballing me and I had to keep the ketai camera low. (Pictures in-store = clerks no likey.)

And yes, both the aisles to the left and right of the teeny tiny 360 section are dedicated to the DS – plus a couple more. ^___^

Inside the Vault: Grant Struthers

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Today we talk with Grant Struthers, the artist responsible for my favorite location in Oblivion – Cloud Ruler Temple. And, of course, these days, he is hard at work on Fallout 3. If I could pick any cubicle to visit on the team, I would pick Grant’s. He always has the most crazy looking stuff on his monitors — his test areas are always fun to look at. (Grant and his wife, Clara – who also works here – just adopted a new kitten who had been abandoned at Craig “Claff” Lafferty’s – a producer here – doorstep. Leaving a kitten at someone’s doorstep and running away – who does that? Anyhoo…)

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Oblivion Still in the Top 10

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I love MajorNelson’s top Xbox Live activity top ten lists. They do a great job illustrating Oblivion’s viagra-like staying power.

Here are the current top 10 played Xbox 360 games from the week of 7/30. The additional release dates in italics were added by me; bolded dates from 2006 also my emphasis.

Xbox 360 Top Live Titles
1 Gears of War – 11/07/2006
2 Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas – 11/21/2006
3 Guitar Hero II – 4/3/2007
4 Forza Motorsport 2 – 5/24/2007
5 Call Of Duty 3 – 11/07/2006
6 Bomberman LIVE – 07/18/2007
7 Oblivion – 03/20/2006
8 NCAA 08 – 07/17/2007
9 GRAW 2 – 03/06/2007
10 Saints Row – 8/29/2006

Oblivion is the only game on the list that has been out longer than a year and is a single player only game. That just blows my mind. To this day, tens of thousands of people play Oblivion. And these are just the ones who are logged onto Xbox Live while they play. We could conservatively add an extra 30-50% to include everyone who is not logged onto Live.

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OXM Podcast Featuring Todd Howard

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On Friday, the latest Official Xbox Magazine podcast went up featuring an interview with Todd. During the podcast Todd discusses Fallout 3, Oblivion Game of the Year and more.

To listen to the podcast, visit here or download it on iTunes…

UPDATE: In other podcasting news, PSM 3 Blog talks about Fallout 3 in their most recent podcast. You can hear what they have to say about the game about 15 minutes into the podcast. It’s a good show though, so don’t skip ahead :)

Oblivion Japan makes top 10 sales charts

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Per Media Create, here are the top 10 games sold in Japan from last week. Oblivion JP debuted at #7 on the charts – the top (and only) Xbox 360 game on the charts. Not bad for only being on sale for 3 days or so.

01. Mario Party 8 (Wii) – 265,000 / NEW
02. Everybody’s Golf 5 (PS3) – 152,000 / NEW
03. Taiko Drum Master DS (DS) – 94,000 / NEW
04. It’s A Wonderful World (DS) – 77,000 / NEW
05. Mobile Suit Gundam MS Front 0079 (Wii) – 46,000 / NEW
06. Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (PSP) – 45,000 / NEW
07. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Xbox 360) – 40,000 / NEW
08. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS) – 37,000 / 668,000
09. Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 14 (PS2) – 34,000 / 187,000
10. Wii Sports (Wii) – 32,000 / 1,943,000

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Direct2Drive Arrives in UK

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Yesterday IGN announced that their download service for PC games, Direct2Drive, has expanded its reach to the UK. What does this mean? Well, if you’re not one for getting out to a local game shop, you can now download Oblivion and The Shivering Isles from the convenience of your home.

Visit here to start downloading if you’re across the pond from us. For those that are stateside, you’ll want to visit the original Direct2Drive site here.

Keep in mind that if you’re downloading Oblivion and/or Shivering Isles from Direct2Drive, there’s a patch available with each download that is specific to the D2D version.

Golden Joystick Nominations

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For those that don’t know, the Golden Joystick Awards is an award show out of the UK that honors the best games of the year — as voted by gamers. Last year Oblivion took home three Golden Joysticks: Best PC Game, Best Xbox Game, and Ultimate Game of the Year. Even though none of us were able to attend, it’s still very cool to win and we were all excited.

We got a five nominations this year. Fallout 3 received a nomination for the “Ones To Watch” category, Shivering Isles received two nominations (Best Xbox Game and Best PC Game), and the PS3 release of Oblivion received two nods as well (Best Playstation Game and Soundtrack of the Year).

Want your favorite game to take home a Golden Joystick on October 26? Visit here to vote.