So an announcement went out today about our new sister division, ZeniMax Online Studios. I thought it might be nice to find out a little bit about the newest member of the family and ‘that guy I’ve seen in the cafeteria from time to time.’ Matt was nice enough to answer some questions, while deftly evading others (curses!).
Is it pronounced Fire-or, or Fire-er, or…?
More like Fire-roar. Or, you can just call me Matt. Much easier.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
Most of my game industry career was spent at Mythic Entertainment, where I was the Producer of Dark Age of Camelot, an MMO that launched in 2001. Prior to that I was Producer and/or a designer of 12 other online games including Aliens Online, Silent Death Online, and Magestorm. I was at Mythic from 1995-2006. Prior to that I was a founder of a multi-user BBS game development company with some friends that eventually became one of the two companies that merged to form Mythic. I go back a long way in multi-user gaming; our first project was in 1987, when I was in college.
Hit the jump for the rest of the interview….
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For those that don’t know, the Golden Joystick Awards is an award show out of the UK that honors the best games of the year — as voted by gamers. Last year Oblivion took home three Golden Joysticks: Best PC Game, Best Xbox Game, and Ultimate Game of the Year. Even though none of us were able to attend, it’s still very cool to win and we were all excited.
We got a five nominations this year. Fallout 3 received a nomination for the “Ones To Watch” category, Shivering Isles received two nominations (Best Xbox Game and Best PC Game), and the PS3 release of Oblivion received two nods as well (Best Playstation Game and Soundtrack of the Year).
Want your favorite game to take home a Golden Joystick on October 26? Visit here to vote.
Spotted some new fan fiction last night that I thought I’d point out. Over on his (and Ruzena’s) blog, Jeremy has put up what looks like the first of several works of fiction where he takes his in-game experiences in Oblivion and turns them into stories he calls ‘Oblivion Tales.’
The first entry recounts his efforts to assassinate the Countess of Anvil, Millona Umbranox (pic above grabbed from UESP). Here’s a snippit:
The birds chirping outside the window awaken me and I leave the warmth of my bed, slowly descending the stairs of the Inn. A slight nod is given to the owner of the Inn, before I step back outside. Short conversation is exchanged with the man outside, before I notice the Imperial Legion Guard coming across the bridge on horseback. Luck could not be any more on my side, this day. After saying my goodbyes to the man, I pull my shield and dart off into the woods.
Read the full entry here and check back to see what happens next in ‘Oblivion Tales.’
This edition of Inside the Vault features Christopher Krietz. Chris was one of our best testers on Oblivion, and is currently our QA Lead for Oblivion Game of the Year. After GOTY ships, Chris will be focusing his ninja testing powers onto Fallout 3.
Chris once won a pie for winning a three way race against Todd Howard and Jeff Browne to finish Oblivion’s main quest (during beta testing). His winning time as of the end of the final cutscene and movie: 02:12:29 (difficulty slider allowed, no console cheats).
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The modding community is an important part of The Elder Scrolls, especially for Morrowind and Oblivion. I am in awe of modders who are able to build amazing things on their own. Some of the talent out there is just phenomenal, and the members of the team who we’ve hired from the fan community continually exceed our expectations.
One of our designers emailed around this incredible video of the Akatosh Mount mod that lets you summon a dragon that falls from the sky. And, as if that wasn’t cool enough, it lets you get on the dragon and fly around. Very impressive. The creator of this amazing mod – Saiden Storm (AKA Kevin Tolbert) – agreed to answer some questions for us so we could find out a bit more about the mod and the modder. The way he created this mod illustrates how strong and collaborative the Elder Scrolls modding community is. You can see videos of all his mods on YouTube.
UPDATE: Updated post with a picture of Saiden. Cheers!
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Looking at Amazon sales for Europe, the US, and Japan for last week, it looks like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion continues to be a favorite among gamers world wide. In Japan during its first week, it was the top selling Xbox 36o game.
Over in the Europe, Oblivion comes in at #5 on the Amazon’s UK sales Charts for 360 games, over a year after release.
And stateside, Oblivion on PS3 ranked #5 as well.
For all of Amazon’s sales rankings last week, check here…
A couple more industry sites have added some coverage for Fallout 3…
Sliver Rose Studios, a community devoted to modding for Oblivion, put up an interview with Lead Level Designer Joel Burgess. For the interview, community members on the site compiled questions for Joel to field. In the interview, among other things, Joel discusses modding, downloadable content and Bethesda office culture. Here’s an excerpt: Continue reading full article ›
Those interested in getting into the modding scene with Oblivion, I just noticed that The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion Files has launched a new tutorial team for helping out. If you’re interested in becoming a tutor, check out this link:
Sounds like a cool opportunity. And remember, if you have stuff that you liked to contribute to the modding community, you can always visit other sites like our very Construction Set Wiki.
As you know, we’ve asked that you guys submit fan art for our blog. Over the weekend, I got some cool stuff from Elder Scrolls fan Raven Hall. These drawings are based on her interpretations of how the Daedra should look.
Above is her adaptation of Azura. Check out the Fan Art section on the right side to look at some of her other drawings.
Want your stuff in the Fan Art section? Just send an email with your JPEG files attached. We prefer to put up original designs, and keep in mind, we’re not going to be able to put up everyone’s art, but we’re always interested to see what you’ve come up with.