What we’re playing: Catching up edition

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Long weekends (like last weekend) are always nice, but then again, they always seem to make the next week that much more hectic. If you can believe it, the guy in the picture above was actually partying in Cabo over Memorial Day weekend. And now look at him…he’s miserable!

Thankfully the weekend’s here, and having talked with a several few people at the office, it sounds like folks are looking to get the heck outta Dodge. It’s the opposite for me. I’m relieved to not be traveling for a change, and I’m looking forward to coming into the office so I can spend some time playing Fallout 3!

Hope you all have a great weekend. Here’s the game’s we’ll be playing…

Fred Zeleny , Checking Email by Poolside: J. W. Dundee’s Honey Brown, Yuengling Lager, and McClelland’s 5 year Islay Whiskey. Vacation is a wonderful thing.

Jared Angus, QA Tester: I am flying to the Philippines tomorrow, so I’ll have lots of time to play all my DS games.

Todd Howard: Fallout 2.8a (almost there…)

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New Hall of Famers at Planet Elder Scrolls

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Over on Planet Elder Scolls, the site has announced their latest Hall of Fame entries for the months of April and May. Per usual, to reach “Hall of Fame” status, a mod must receive a minimum of 25 votes with a score of 8 or higher and have been available for at least three months, as well as having been downloaded at least 5,000 times. Typically, only the top three mods for Morrowind and Oblivion qualify, but since there were no announcements in April, this time around, four mods qualified for Morrowind and six mods for Oblivion.

Before I share the mods that met the criteria, it’s also worth noting an honorary entry was given to Lord Devil’s housing mod, Cragonmoor (shown above). Lord Devil (also known as Quatloos), passed away recently. She will be remembered as a friend and valued member of the Morrowind modding community, and we send our condolences to her family and friends.

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Judge Purkeypile awaits your submissions

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Probably a little late in sharing this news with you, but over on the site Notes on Game Dev, they’re currently running their 2008 2D/3D Environment and Character Design Competition that provides a chance to win some cool prizes for aspiring gaming artists — including a selection of instructor-led game art and animation classes.

For the competition, Notes on Game Dev have recruited a few guys from the gaming industry to judge the competition — including our very own World Artist, Nate Purkeypile. So if you want to get nice with one of the judges, you might want to use the comments section of this post to tell Nate what a great Team Fortress 2 player he is.

For more details on the competition, which concludes June 15, head here.

Mod Interview: Vality

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Welcome back to another Elder Scrolls Mod Interview. This week we’re chatting with Morrowind modder Vality. Hailing from Lower Hutt, New Zealand, Vality is currently in school with aspirations of working as a Network Technician/Administrator. When he’s not modding, he spends his time drawing, writing, listening to and playing music, driving, biking, hiking and camping. Wow, sounds like he’s got a lot of time for fun stuff.

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This IS History

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In case you missed it, CVG put up a two-part feature over the weekend titled “The complete history of open-world games.” The staff at PC Zone take a look at the history and appeal of the genre, while talking with folks that make the games — including Todd Howard. Here’s a sample from the section entitled “Grand Theft Scrolls” in part 1:

Beginning with Arena (which you can now download for free at the game’s 10th Anniversary page at elderscrolls.com), which was followed by Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion and many expansion packs, Bethesda’s series takes in the empire of Tamriel and otherworldly realms such as the Shivering Isles, with the player character able to be a number of races (including Orc, Dark Elf, Imperial and Nord) and classes (such as knight, bard and sorcerer).

“I think that perhaps, the Elder Scrolls series has most of all pushed the idea that massive scale can also be manageable,” says Howard. “That all the little details can be done to an extreme, yet the whole world can still fit together and tell its own story as you wander through it.”

To read the rest, check out these links (part 1) (part 2).

Oblivion – The Musical??

I got an email this week from a dedicated Elder Scrolls’ fan named Kellen DeRuy. It seems the game made such an impact on him, that he just had to make his own musical for the game. Here’s what he wrote:

Just wanted all the people at Bethesda Games to know how amazing they are. My Brother and I made a video about how awesome Elder Scrolls IV is. Well, that and about how addictive it is.
Thank you for the game. The video we made is in complete honor of the game and is of course non-profit, Just wanted you all to see it…Kellen.

Having watched this masterpiece a few times, it seems more like a music video than a musical, but that doesn’t take anything away from it. After emailing it to Todd, his reply said it all: “Best. Video. Ever.”

Vive La France!

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For those of you living in France, Pete just passed on word of three magazines that should be on newsstands.

The June issue PC Jeux has a two page spread that covers aspects of the game that Pete showed while in Europe about a month ago. Similarly, Pete showed the game to the folks at JoyPad, where the game is featured in their May issue. Not to be confused with JoyPad, be on the lookout for Joystick’s cover story on Fallout 3 in their June issue (on newsstands now).

If you’re like me and you don’t know a lick of French (still puzzled as to why I took Latin), there’s a new interview with Fallout 3 Original Composer Inon Zur (I know, he’s not French) on IGN’s Insider page. Here’s a sample:

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Bethesda Makes a Splash (Damage) (Deal)

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Just sent out a press release announcing a long-term development partnership with U.K. studio, Splash Damage. These are the guys behind award-winning titles like Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars and Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. We were just really impressed with the team they’ve got, their ideas, and where we think they’re headed and felt like it was a team we really had to work with.

I’m personally very excited to work with these guys going forward as they’re a very likeable, enthusiastic, and smart lot, though admittedly it will be a while before we reveal any specifics. To find out more about Splash Damage, head over to their web site where you’ll find they have their own developer blog.

It is worth mentioning that if you’re in London, or would like to live in London, and are a talented programmer, artist, or designer, they are growing and definitely hiring.