March-ing on to the Sweet 16

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As the NCAA men’s basketball tournament moves on to the Sweet 16, so does Bethesda in The Escapist’s March Mayhem Developers’ Showdown. In our second round matchup against TimeGate, we took 74.1% of the votes. Up next is 7th seeded Crytek – makers of last year’s hit shooter for the PC, Crysis. The winner of the match will take on the winner of the Blizzard/Firaxis in the West Regional Final.

Sweet 16 voting hasn’t commenced yet, but if you’re a registered user over at The Escapist, you’ll eventually be able to vote here.

What We’re Playing: Just Ash edition

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Just me today at Bethblog HQ. Pete and Matt are both on vacation. So I’ve conveniently put a hold on all Fallout 3 work so that I can focus my full energies on delivering the finest corporate blog posts in the entire blogging galaxy across the intra-webs. Fortunately, most of my work day – like most producers – revolves around the care and feeding of my iPhone, and writing my white paper on the best strategies for keeping Dogmeat alive.

Let us know what you’ll be playing this weekend, too.

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Todd Howard on OXM Podcast

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Todd Howard is featured in this week’s OXM Podcast. In the podcast, Todd chats with our friends, Ryan McCaffery – he wrote the review of Oblivion for OXM – and Dan Amrich – he wrote the awesome Fallout 3 cover story in the latest OXM. Fun podcast to listen to – if you want to cut to the chase, skip to 35:00 minutes in.

Lots of great new details about the game so don’t miss this.

Inside the Vault: Shannon Bailey

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Today’s Inside the Vault is about Shannon Bailey, programmer. He works on our internal tools – designers and artists love him because he handles their feature requests. Shannon also volunteered to help get the Star Trek Legacy Mod Tool into a state where we could release it to the public. One more thing – Shannon knows how to belt out a tune in Rock Band.

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Todd talks D&D on Level Up

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Two weeks ago, the gaming world lost one of its most influential creators in Gary Gygax — one of the co-creators of Dungeons & Dragons. Over on Newsweek’s gaming blog, Level Up, N’Gai Croal has interviewed several folks from the videogame industry to hear how D&D impacted their lives — both personally and professionally. Today, Todd Howard’s interview with N’Gai went up. Here’s a sample:

Q: What do you remember about your first experience with Dungeons & Dragons?

A: My earliest memory was going with my brother to a game store called Conflicts and my parents dropping us off on a Tuesday night to play this “D&D” game. The next three hours were a revelation. It was like a new gateway into awesomeness was opened for me. This was the summer of 1978, if I remember right, and I was eight. I can recall counting the days until each Tuesday. It’s one of my favorite memories, of real bonding time with my brother and others.

You can read the rest of N’Gai’s interview with Todd here. Additionally, you can read interviews with Denis Dyack (Too Human), Harvey Smith (Deus Ex), and John Smedley (EverQuest).

Emil writes for Game Informer

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Thumbing through the April issue of Game Informer (be on the lookout for the Alpha Protocol cover), I was pleasantly surprised to see Emil’s Op/Ed piece entitled, “A Question of Character.” I suppose I should have known it was in there, but it’s hard to be thinking about April when you’re still in March. Anyhow, within the editorial, Emil explains the challenges and importance of creating believable characters in RPGs. Here’s a quick sample:

“If we accept that all video game characters fall under one of three literary classifications — prototype, archetype, and stereotype — it’s easy to see the appeal of the archetype. This is the established, easily-understandable character model. The badass space marine or seductive sorceress. The prototype, while imaginative and interesting, is too easily viewed as ‘weird,’ and that means inaccessible. The stereotype? Overused, oversimplified, and more often than naught, offensive.”

Want more? Keep an eye out for the April issue of Game Informer.

Mascots on parade!

In what’s probably become world news by now, today at London’s Millennium Bridge, the folks behind the Guinness Book of World Records Gamer’s Edition organized an event to set the world record for the “Largest Gathering of Games Characters.” From the video, you’ll see they had a pretty good turnout.

So the big question is: where’s Vault Boy?? Apparently he was contacted about an appearance, but was busy spending the morning resting after attempting to set a different kind of Guinness record on St. Patrick’s Day.