Today’s Q&A is with Bruce Nesmith, our Director of Design. I first met Bruce over a decade ago working here at Bethesda (pre-Zenimax). I remember Bruce and Todd Howard shared an office together back then. Bruce did a lot of system design and also worked on the Thieves Guild in Oblivion.
What’s your job at Bethesda?
I am the Director of Design, and a Senior Game Designer. It sounds cooler than it is.
We announced today that we will be shipping a Shivering Isles disc to retail stores next month. This disc will allow 360 gamers who don’t have access to Live to play the full Shivering Isles expansion as well as the content of the Knights of the Nine faction as well as .
Retail price will be $29.99. No word yet on what we might be able to do on PS3. It’s still being looked into as we speak.
So a while back Joel did an interview about modding Oblivion and answered a host of questions from Oblivion Mod site Silver Rose Studios.
They’ve sent over a host of additional questions for Joel and they posted the entire interview today. Here’s a snippit:
1. What exactly are your duties? Do they include more than just object placement and interior design?
Level design is a little different at every company. Ultimately, we’re responsible for the player’s moment-to-moment experience, particularly in combat spaces, so we handle the layout, scripting, and population of an area. Artists get involved polishing some of our clutter placement and lighting, and quest designers handle scripting where it’s relevant to their work. We also do some writing; things like notes left by previous residents, usually where they include some hint at the backstory or gameplay of a space.
Their server is undergoing maintenance and the site can be hard to load right now, so head over to the Silver Rose forums to read the full interview.
Working at Bethesda, every so often, I find myself getting Jeremy Soule’s theme for Oblivion caught in my head. After today though, I’m hearing the tune in a new light.
Today one of our moderators for the Bethesda Game Studios Forums pointed me to a thread discussing a cover version of the theme music by the band Epinikion. The band, who consider themselves a “Power Metal Guild,” crank the music to 11. Too bad this won’t be in the tracklist for Guitar Hero III or Rock Band.
On June 5th — three months ago today — fans may recall seeing the above image on our website – that is, when our servers weren’t crashing in anticipation of the teaser trailer.
Well, everyone’s seen the above trailer now, or so it seems. Today I got word that the trailer has been viewed more than 2 million times off our website (over 1.8 million downloads) and through Xbox Live (over 250K downloads). That doesn’t include YouTube views or downloads off of all the other sites that hosted the trailer.
To put it in context, in the first five months that we hosted the Oblivion teaser trailer, 800,000 views took place. So the Fallout 3 trailer has been viewed more than twice as many times in about half the time. Impressive…most impressive.
If you haven’t had a chance to view the teaser (though I’m guessing any visitor to our site has), check it out here:
With last week’s Conquest “Question of the Week,” we gave you a look at a new screen (above) that gives a glimpse of the tactical gameplay found in the game. In case you missed it, our Bethesda Softworks Newsletter includes two other exclusive screens for the game. To see the new screens, click here to view the latest edition of the newsletter.
We release the Bethesda Softworks Newsletter periodically so folks can get a broad view on what’s going on with the company. If you’re interested in subscribing, it’s easy…just sign up here.
Here’s two interesting mentions Oblivion received over the long weekend…
Ash pointed me to cool list over on Team Xbox, where they picked their “Top 20 Weapons of All-Time.” Oblivion/Shivering isles made the cut with a mention of the “Dawnfang/Duskfang” blade that becomes available with the Shivering Isles expansion. The sword(s) came in at #5 on the list, and the Team Xbox editors had this to say about its powers:
If you haven’t been looking around, there’s some interesting coverage for Fallout 3 this week…
Apparently there will be an interview with Emil on GameTap this weekend (I’ll update the blog when it surfaces). This morning, ActionTrip posted an interview with Lead Producer, Gavin Carter. Here’s a quick look at it:
ActionTrip: As we understand, the team is also keeping itself busy with balancing combat in the game. If you can, please tell us about the advantages of V.A.T.S. Do you think hardcore RPG fans will enjoy the cinematic aspect of it?
Gavin: A big advantage is that during VATS mode, time is paused and you’re given a wealth of information about your situation. Every targetable enemy and object is highlighted and you can pan around and get a sense for where things are coming from. For each individual target, you can see their overall health, and the condition and the likelihood of landing a shot for each body part. This is the part that I feel separates VATS from standard “real-time with pause” systems in that it gives you information to base a tactical choice on. You may find that you have a high chance to hit a mutant’s torso, but then you notice that landing one more risky shot to the arm will cripple him, severely reducing his ability to aim. Recently I’ve been replaying Oblivion and find myself hammering the VATS button unconsciously whenever I get jumped by an enemy.
For many, Labor Day marks the end of summer, the return to school, and at least for me, it brings the dawn of another season of college football! Just as important, however, it provides us with a nice, relaxing 3-day weekend for catching up on games.
Looks like Bioshock is still the most played game around the office, with at least 30 guys planning on playing it this weekend (some for the second time through). In addition to this instant classic from the artists formerly known as Irrational Studios, there’s plenty of other games being played this weekend, including the Call of Duty 4 Beta, Two Worlds, and Metroid Prime 3. Anyhow, here’s the list:
Welter Almeida, QA Intern: Starcraft: Brood War, Lair, Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix, Nascar ’08 Demo
Josh Anderson, Programmer: Bioshock (Xbox 360) while I can and Marvel Trading Card Game (PSP) on my long flight to Utah this weekend…
Per usual, I thought I’d share some interesting things I found in the Elder Scrolls modding communities this week. The above video displays Richard deCosta’s “Oblivion Total Music Conversion Mod” at work. From reading his post, it doesn’t sound like he didn’t like the music in Oblivion (at least I hope not), but rather, it inspired him to make some pretty unbelievable tunes for the game. If you like what you hear, check out his music page.
Also worth noting, the guys over at The Elder Scrolls Source have updated their “Top 100 Most Popular Mods” list. Coming in at first place is Midas Magic Spells of Aurm by Xilver. This mod adds “100 new and unique spell types. It adds beam, spray and projectile attacks. Turn bodies to gold, summon your own magic carpet, or dwemer transformer, or protect yourself with a ring of fire.” Sounds like becoming the ultimate superhero.
If you’d like to see one of your mods on our site, shoot us an email and we’ll take a look.