What we’re playing: Pre-Pitt release edition

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Before The Pitt hits tomorrow, here’s a few bits of coverage you’ll want to check out.

At Major Nelson’s blog, be sure to give his latest podcast a listen, as Todd Howard makes his first ever appearance. Starting 23:02 into the podcast, they discuss Fallout 3 DLC, game demos, and even the games that Todd is currently playing.

Jeff continues to tackle questions on The Pitt. You can find his answers for the XCN here, as well as a new interview at Talking About Games. Here’s a look at the latter:

Can players revisit Pittsburgh once the quests are finished, or will their excursion be a one-time trip?

JG: The players can revisit The Pitt and there are a handful of repeatable quests, unique vendors, and the city will be affected by the decisions the player made to solve the quest.

In non-DLC news, GameBanshee has completed their walkthrough guide for Fallout 3. If you’re finding yourself stuck in the game, be sure to give it a look.

Finally, while the Bethesda Blog editors no longer have a team to root for in the NCAA Tourament, the dev team advanced in The Escapists’ March Mayhem bracket. In the latest matchup, we’re paired against Treasure.

What we’re playing: Sending Galactica off in style edition

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This week many of us will be saying farewell to a good friend, as the final episode of Battlestar Galactica airs tonight. If you’ve noticed over the past few weeks, a number of devs have been playing the Battlestar Galactica Board Game for Thursday Night Game Night. As a Galactica fan myself, I checked out Jeff Lundin, Chris Esko, Ryan Salvatore, Jay Woodward, Nate Ellis and Jon Paul Duvall playing the game. In the pic above, these Final Five Six were in denial about their Cylon heritage and trying to accuse our Brotherhood of Steel of being a Centurion model.

Outside of the BSG board game, here’s what everyone else is playing…

Chris Esko, Gameplay Programmer: Dawn of War II, Madworld, King’s Bounty, the Battlestar Galactica boardgame.

Jay Woodward, AI Programmer: Some sort of improvisational Battlestar-finale drinking game (drink when something explodes! Drink when someone dies! Drink six times when a Six dies or Adama says “roll the hard six!” Drink one thousand nine hundred seventy-eight times for the colonial anthem!), the Battlestar board game (of course!), tabletop 4th ed. Dungeons & Dragons, and GTA IV.

Mark Teare, FX Artist: NHL 09, Prince of Persia, V-smile Baby.

Jon Paul Duvall, Designer: BsG boardgame, Dominion, Tribune, D&D 4th Edition; video games: WoW (yeah, damn that black hole, I thought I had escaped…)

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Inside the Vault: Matt Killmon

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After a long hiatus, we’re back. We’re here to talk with Matt Killmon, video producer. His most recent work, the trailer for The Pitt, can be found here.

What’s your job at Bethesda?
I’m the video producer at ZeniMax Media, which means I do all the video work for Bethesda’s internal and external projects, as well as other games published by ZeniMax’s mobile gaming division, Vir2L. Trailers, promo footage, b-roll for news organizations, even in-game video… anything that’s video is my responsibility.

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What’s this Twitter rubbish?

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Well over a year ago, I thought Twitter was a a fad that would just go away. I was one of those kids that said, “nope, I’m not joining that party.” Well, in the past few months/weeks I’ve realized —  it’s kind of a big deal. This week we join the cool kids with our very own Bethesda Blog Twitter feed.

So what will you find in our tweets? For the most part, I’d expect you’ll see similar updates to what you’ll find here, perhaps a bit more immediate than waiting to pull together a post on them. Given that you can’t type much up on a Twitter, you might hear about stuff there first. And who knows, we might have some surprises in store as well. Or maybe we’ll just tell you what color socks Todd’s wearing.

Around the Web: Erik talks about maturing

No, this isn’t like that episode of the Brady Bunch where Peter sings “Time to Change.” Designer Erik J. Caponi is talking about “mature games” in a new Kotaku feature “Growing Up Games: When Will Mature, Mature?” Here’s a snippet of him discussing different definitions of what a mature game is:

“The word really has two meanings when we apply it to media. One is ‘not appropriate for children’ and the other is ‘exploring subject matter in a sophisticated fashion,'” Caponi explains. “Ironically, the word mature when applied to games tends to have a very childish connotation.”

Elsewhere, be sure to also read CG Society’s new interview with Fallout 3 Environment Artist Rashad Redic — previously featured here for Inside the Vault. Given that the interview comes post-release, you’ll get a chance to learn a little more about Rashad’s role and what he worked on for Fallout 3. Here’s an excerpt:

In what ways did you take Fallout3’s day/night cycle into consideration, so that your work looked consistently good in all the various light models and times of day?

Rashad: We use these full screen image processes similar to how film is tinted to color grade our environments, and we actually spent a lot of time tweaking the day and night cycles along with these image processes to give us the look we wanted. In our editor you can scrub through the different times of day and see how the color shifts affect the art, and we were very mindful of our color palette and art style throughout that process.

I guess I missed it when I put up Pete’s Gametrailers interview from D.I.C.E., but there’s also a new one with Todd. Watch it above.

More news after the break…

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A Terrible Tragedy

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We have had the honor of getting to work with some great and talented people in our line of work. Talented actors willing to lend their voices to our projects and bring something extra to our characters and games. Liam Neeson was one of those people, and his work on Fallout 3 was terrific. Not only did he do a great job, but he just couldn’t be a nicer guy. Professional in every sense of the word, really wanted to understand the role and the game…one of the really “good guys.”

We were saddened to learn of the terrible accident his wife, Natasha Richardson, was in two days ago. It has now been reported that she has since passed away from head injuries related to that accident. Our prayers and thoughts go out to Liam and his two sons and their families as they deal with such a devastating loss.

March Mayhem 2009

While Pete, Ash and I cheer on our teams (that’s Wake Forest, Maryland, and Michigan) in this year’s 2009 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, you can participate in The Escapist’s 2009 March Mayhem Developer’s Showdown. Registered members to the site can vote for their favorite developers each week.

The (return) Road to the Final Four for our studio begins with stiff competition: Call of Duty: World at War developer, Treyarch Studios. We’re listed as a #5 seed, and if you follow college basketball, you know that the seed mostly prone to being upset.

Voting begins tomorrow. Head to the Escapist for more details.  Good luck to all the developers.

Around the web: Updates on The Pitt

Here’s another round of web updates.

While at D.I.C.E., Pete took time to do an interview with Game Trailers. You can watch it above.

Additionally, both VG247 and Totally 360 spoke with Jeff about the DLC. Here’s a look at the latter interview:

The effect of entering Oasis or Operation: Anchorage was quite powerful given what a radical change it was from the Capital Wasteland, can we expect something similar here?

Jeff: The Pitt itself is the vision of several developers who grew up in Pittsburgh.  It’s full of unique architecture that has a different color pallet and feel from downtown D.C.  The buildings are decrepit, but still intact.  The Raider area is filled with their usual displays of disemboweled corpses and spray paint.  Perhaps the most striking part of the Pitt is the bridge that leads into it and the ominous black smog that erupts from the still working Steel Mill.

Finally, Pete was interviewed on Sports Byline, a national sports radio station, to discuss Fallout 3 on their Video Game Review segment. You can listen below.