Interview with Star Trek: Conquest Lead Designer

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Last week I was able to chat with Frank Arnot, lead designer for Star Trek Conquest. The following Q&A should help you learn a bit more about the game and what it’s all about.

How would you best describe Conquest?

Conquest is a game of galactic domination that mixes turn-based strategy game with arcade elements.

What’s back story for the game?

Because of the nature of the game we have a very straight-forward back story:

It is a time of unrest, all the major races are at war. Age-old alliances are forgotten, diplomacy is dead. Powerful fleets prowl the galaxy establishing outposts and vanquishing indigenous and enemy fleets alike in the pursuit of the ultimate prize – the capture of all home worlds and galactic domination.

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Oblivion Offers New Opportunities to Architects

About a month ago, Pete made a post revealing how Dr. Andrew Hudson-Smith’s blog, Digital Urban, featured a two-part tutorial on how to create 3D models using 3D Max and then import these models into Oblivion. In the most recent online issue of The Escapist, writer Allen Varney discusses how architects have been using game engines for experimentation with architecture, in an article titled “London in Oblivion.”

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Greetings from Tokyo

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Here’s a message from an old co-worker of ours living in Japan, Jason Ruddy:

This is Jason, the guy who did SFX for Morrowind and brought in the doughnuts way back in the day. Well, I went out for lunch with a friend today and met him at Bic Camera (think Best Buy x 100) in Kawasaki – in Southern Tokyo. As we walked through the game section I noticed an Oblivion cap display they had in place. The video constantly looped the JP Oblivion trailer (which was actually pretty loud) and managed to get quite a few people to stop and check it out.

Ironically, the games on display in front of the TV didn’t include Oblivion! The left side was recent best-selling action games, while the right side had lots of Trusty Bell and Blue Dragon. I took the liberty of removing the copies of Blue Dragon and pulling the floor copies of Oblivion right up in front. Seeing as how that is the only Xbox360 display (which makes up about 50% of Microsoft’s gaming presence in the store), I’d say you’re getting some good exposure.

Anyway, I just thought you guys would like to see your game out in the wild in Japan. I’ve seen a few other TESIV:O displays from time to time, but this is the first one I’ve run across looping a trailer. Unfortunately I could not get the top of the display because the shopkeepers were eyeballing me and I had to keep the ketai camera low. (Pictures in-store = clerks no likey.)

And yes, both the aisles to the left and right of the teeny tiny 360 section are dedicated to the DS – plus a couple more. ^___^

Inside the Vault: Grant Struthers

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Today we talk with Grant Struthers, the artist responsible for my favorite location in Oblivion – Cloud Ruler Temple. And, of course, these days, he is hard at work on Fallout 3. If I could pick any cubicle to visit on the team, I would pick Grant’s. He always has the most crazy looking stuff on his monitors — his test areas are always fun to look at. (Grant and his wife, Clara – who also works here – just adopted a new kitten who had been abandoned at Craig “Claff” Lafferty’s – a producer here – doorstep. Leaving a kitten at someone’s doorstep and running away – who does that? Anyhoo…)

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Oblivion Still in the Top 10

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I love MajorNelson’s top Xbox Live activity top ten lists. They do a great job illustrating Oblivion’s viagra-like staying power.

Here are the current top 10 played Xbox 360 games from the week of 7/30. The additional release dates in italics were added by me; bolded dates from 2006 also my emphasis.

Xbox 360 Top Live Titles
1 Gears of War – 11/07/2006
2 Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas – 11/21/2006
3 Guitar Hero II – 4/3/2007
4 Forza Motorsport 2 – 5/24/2007
5 Call Of Duty 3 – 11/07/2006
6 Bomberman LIVE – 07/18/2007
7 Oblivion – 03/20/2006
8 NCAA 08 – 07/17/2007
9 GRAW 2 – 03/06/2007
10 Saints Row – 8/29/2006

Oblivion is the only game on the list that has been out longer than a year and is a single player only game. That just blows my mind. To this day, tens of thousands of people play Oblivion. And these are just the ones who are logged onto Xbox Live while they play. We could conservatively add an extra 30-50% to include everyone who is not logged onto Live.

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OXM Podcast Featuring Todd Howard

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On Friday, the latest Official Xbox Magazine podcast went up featuring an interview with Todd. During the podcast Todd discusses Fallout 3, Oblivion Game of the Year and more.

To listen to the podcast, visit here or download it on iTunes…

UPDATE: In other podcasting news, PSM 3 Blog talks about Fallout 3 in their most recent podcast. You can hear what they have to say about the game about 15 minutes into the podcast. It’s a good show though, so don’t skip ahead :)

Oblivion Japan makes top 10 sales charts

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Per Media Create, here are the top 10 games sold in Japan from last week. Oblivion JP debuted at #7 on the charts – the top (and only) Xbox 360 game on the charts. Not bad for only being on sale for 3 days or so.

01. Mario Party 8 (Wii) – 265,000 / NEW
02. Everybody’s Golf 5 (PS3) – 152,000 / NEW
03. Taiko Drum Master DS (DS) – 94,000 / NEW
04. It’s A Wonderful World (DS) – 77,000 / NEW
05. Mobile Suit Gundam MS Front 0079 (Wii) – 46,000 / NEW
06. Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (PSP) – 45,000 / NEW
07. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Xbox 360) – 40,000 / NEW
08. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS) – 37,000 / 668,000
09. Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 14 (PS2) – 34,000 / 187,000
10. Wii Sports (Wii) – 32,000 / 1,943,000

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Star Trek: Conquest Coming to Wii, PS2

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Maybe this one doesn’t come as a shocker to Trek fans who caught a sneak peek of the game’s box art last week, but today we’ve officially announced Star Trek: Conquest. Our latest Trek game delivers a combination of action and strategy set during the “Next Generation” era. Here’s a snippit from the press release:

“Players take control of Federation, Klingon, Romulan, Cardassian, Dominion, and Breen forces and lead them in a campaign to control the Galaxy, one planet at a time. Build and manage your growing empire in turn-based strategy, fully utilizing the Wii Remoteâ„¢ as you select and maneuver your starships throughout the large, galactic map.”

Conquest marks the first time a Star Trek game will be released on the Nintendo Wii — taking advantage of the console’s unique control scheme. For those still struggling to find a Wii at their local gaming store, fear not, the game will also be available on the Playstation 2.

We’ll have more details on Conquest in the weeks to come. In the meantime, check out the press release and forums.