New Office in Tokyo

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Thought I’d mention that we put out a release today announcing the formation of an office in Tokyo that will oversee our publishing/distribution in Japan and throughout Asia. It’s being headed up by Tetsu Takahashi (on the left in the photo above, along with Kei Iwamoto, one of our producers), who handed all the heavy lifting in publishing Oblivion PS3 and 360 in Japan last year. Really smart guy with a good team around him.

In addition to publishing Bethesda titles in Japan like Star: Trek Conquest (PS2), Star Trek: Legacy (Xbox 360), and Fallout 3 , they’re also handling games for other publishers like Bully (PS2), Bully SE (Xbox 360), and Major League Baseball 2K8 (PS3/PS2/PSP/X360).

You can read the full press release here. If you can read Japanese you’ll find coverage of the announcement on sites like Famitsu and CNet Japan.

What we’re surfing: teh internets!

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Since most everyone at the office is just waiting to play GTA IV next week, I decided to ask folks what websites they check out in their free time. Looking at the submissions, I feel like I visit at least some of everyone’s favorite sites…err, that was the case until I read Fred’s submissions. I’ll be honest, I was a little nervous about clicking on Bootie Blog, but it turns out it’s work safe.

That’s it for this week. Let us know the sites you visit/what games you’re playing/etc. Have a great weekend!

Fred Zeleny, Information Junkie: A few highlights from my Google Reader list – Order of the Stick, The Steampunk Workshop, Ectoplasmosis, WebUrbanist, Avant Game, Sexy Videogame Land, Judge A Book By Its Cover , Culturizer, and Bootie Blog. All guaranteed to twist your brain and prod your oddity.

Gavin Carter, Foreign Language Hater: reader.google.com, marketwatch.com, fool.com, seekingalpha.com, penny-arcade.com, cnn.com, gametab.com, neogaf.com

Chris Esko, Systems Programmer: www.gamerswithjobs.com, www.boardgamegeek.com, Microsoft Developer Network

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Friday News Roundup

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Here’s a few things to check out/be on the lookout for to help get you through your day and into the weekend.

Tonight on G4, Todd Howard will be talking Fallout 3 with the folks from X-Play. For those planning on going out tonight, be sure to set your DVR for 8 PM (Eastern Time).

Speaking of Todd, he’s one of several folks in the game industry sounding off in a feature at 1Up.com called “Chairman of the Boards.” Written by Robert Ashley, it’s an interesting community feature that focuses in on the influence of one particular gaming forum — NeoGaf. In addition to Todd, Microsoft’s Jeff Bell, Newsweek’s N’Gai Croal, and God of War creator David Jaffe are among the other guys “in the biz” that discuss the relevancy of this popular gaming site.

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Check out the latest featured mods at The Oblivion Files

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Here’s the latest featured mods for Oblivion over at FileFront’s site, The Oblivion Files.

The Featured Home is Floating Platforms by CobraUnit42. Like it sounds, this mod creates a home that gives you a home floating thousands of feet above the ground. Sounds like a cool place to go bungie jumping from, but I wonder, “How the heck do you get up there??”

The most recent Featured Weapon mod is Angeleron by DireStorms. Shown above, there are one-handed and two-handed versions available of this fine looking blade. According to DireStorms, the sword is by no means overpowering, but rather “medium” in strength. Check out the Conan-like dude sporting this awesome blade above.

Sheogorath has the site’s featured scripting mod, Sheogorath’s Master Craft 2. This mod enhances Martigen’s Monster Mod by adding a large array of crafting options. Runes and runic metals can be found within Cyrodiil that can be used to make runes, socketed weapons, and armor, and these runes can be used with the socketed items to create very powerful enchanted items.

Finally, this week’s File of the Week is Cellars of Cyrodiil by FlyingPieofDeath. The project is still in early stages, though the author believes it’s bug free. Here’s a description of the mod:

“Cellars of Cyrodiil gives a small but handy upgrade to various houses. It adds cellar doors like the one in a certain quest. This mod is meant for players who’s characters prefer darker paths such as thievery or murdering, allowing you to enter a home through the basement rather than the front door. This may be version 0.5, but there should be no bugs, and is considered version 0.5 due to the fact there are so few cellar entrances, a grand total of eight. FlyingPieOfDeath is prepared to listen to any suggestions for homes to give cellar entrances, but know before suggesting that he is not creating basements for the houses, simply adding the entrances.”

Congrats to these modders for having their mods recognized. Keep up the good work!

Morrowind turns 6 years old; Oblivion is back on Xbox Live’s Top Ten list

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Blame it on Morrowind.

In 2001, Todd Howard came by my cube and asked if I could help him track some work on a project his team was working on. The project was, of course, Morrowind. I would guess the team was somewhere around 40 developers then, maybe less. A year later — and six years ago today — we went gold and shipped the following week. As successful as Oblivion has been for us, it could not have happened without Morrowind. The team, processes, tools, technology, lore, fan feedback — we learned so much from Morrowind and put it all into Oblivion. Open ended RPGs are not easy projects to work on and very few knock it out of the park on the first try.

If you liked Oblivion, try Morrowind. The Xbox version is backward compatible on Xbox 360, and the PC version should run easily on any computer that is out now. Make sure you get the Morrowind Game of the Year edition, which will include the two expansions, Tribunal and Bloodmoon. Let us know in comments which of the games we’ve worked on is your favorite.

Other good news today — Major Nelson released his top 10 Xbox Live titles today and Oblivion is back on the list at #10…a full two years after its initial release. It used to surprise me, but no more — Oblivion has got major legs. Major legs.

Bright Shiny Things: Karoshi

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Welcome back to another edition of Bright Shiny Things — this week brought to you by Fallout 3 Lead Producer, Gavin Carter….

Death in games is traditionally something to be avoided. Yet I’m sure in moments of weakness and frustration, we’ve all indulged in the urge to purposefully send our ill-behaving digital characters to their doom down some spiky pit or fiery furnace. For those who can’t get enough of such anti-social behavior, I recommend downloading Karoshi and Karoshi 2.0 by 2D Cube (aka Jesse Venbrux), a pair of hilarious puzzle platformers.

“Karoshi” is a Japanese term that translates literally into “death from overwork.” Playing a suit-clad businessman, the object is, quite simply, to kill yourself. Each level is laid out using a variety of very simple elements — blocks, spikes, safes, and a small variety of set dressing pieces. The game controls like a standard platformer, and death can be visited on your character a number of ways. Whether you collide with a set of spikes, fall off the world to your death, or get your head smashed in by a falling safe, you’re rewarded with a cloud of blood and and an explosion of limbs guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

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Hollywood hits Cyrodiil

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Visiting Planet Elder Scrolls today, I noticed a number of celebrity mods from Chimera. On the main page alone, I spotted 8 different famous faces making their way to Cyrodiil.

In addition to Snoop Dogg (shown above), here’s a few other celebrities making their way into Oblivion:

Hopefully, we’ll see some more celebrities make their way into Oblivion in the near future. Here’s hoping the Governator is next!

More Fallout Coverage from UK/Europe

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Coverage keeps coming in from Europe and I wanted to post some links to additional stuff that’s gone up.

Videogamer.com has their preview up now. Here’s a blurb from their piece:

“On to the dangers you’ll face then. During our demo these came in the form of mutants and Ghouls. Super mutants are your biggest foe in the game, with super mutant strongholds being set up across the wasteland. You’ll also face Ghouls (humans exposed to extreme amounts of radiation), with one particular variant being so full of radiation that it glows. How easily you spot these enemies depends on your perception stat, with high level characters seeing enemies on their radar much sooner than beginners.”

Hit the jump for more previews and interviews.

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Around the Web, More Fallout 3 Screens

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Getting my feet back under me after a couple weeks of traveling and showing off some new stuff on Fallout 3, and in going through my emails I came across quite a few notes on coverage going up. Also of note are three new Fallout 3 screens that were released today, which can be found on a variety of sites as well as on the official site as well.

Bit-Tech has a three-page preview up that talks about the various aspects of the demo I showed to Joe (who describes himself as “one of the biggest fans of the series in the world”). Here’s a snippet:

Fallout 3 is, like the first game, a post-apocalyptic adventure. It isn’t a post-apocalyptic musical comedy and if you’re looking for a game with that 1950s comedy feel then Serious Sam 2 may be more up your street. Here all we have is The Inkspots providing the soundtrack and buckets full of deadpan and gore.

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