The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Interview
Xbox Core: How long has Oblivion been in development?
Bethesda: We've been in development a little over three years, since we finished Morrowind in early 2002.
XC: Will it be an Xbox 360 launch title?
Bethesda: All we're allowed to say right now is that we'll be out for this holiday season. We'll be able to get more specific about where we are in the launch window as we get closer to launch.
XC: When compared to Morrowind how much bigger is Oblivion's world Tamriel?
Bethesda: It's definitely bigger. It's about 16 square miles in size. With the distance we can render out to and things like riding around on horseback, we wanted to make sure the world was big enough that you weren't sprinting end-to-end in a couple minutes.
XC: The combat in Morrowind was something a lot of people complained about. Is Oblivion going to fix this problem?
Bethesda: Definitely. The current combat system is the third one we designed before we found the right mix. We wanted something that uses your character's skills and abilities while also making sense to the player. What we've come up with is fun without being “quick twitch.”
XC: The story has always been an integral part of the Elder Scroll series. What can you tell us about Oblivion's plot?
Bethesda: Early on in the game you witness the assassination of the Emperor. He hands you the Amulet of Kings, the token of the true emperor, and bids you to “Find him, and close shut the marble jaws of Oblivion.” The land is without an Emperor and the minions from Oblivion invade. It's your task to find his lost son – the rightful heir to the throne – and stop the invasion.
XC: What new features can gamers look forward to in Oblivion?
Bethesda: I think we've really tried to go back and reevaluate every part of Morrowind and improve every area. Some of that is just tweaking, some of that is throwing a system out and starting over. So we've greatly improved combat, the AI system, the way you get information in the game, the interface…those are just some of the areas we've made big improvements in. Other things to look forward to are obviously our forests, which you simply have to experience in real-time to appreciate. We are also really excited about just how cool it is to talk to an NPC and have the conversation feel so real because of their voice, lip-syncing, and facial animations.
XC: How is the team improving the A.I. of the enemies and towns folk?
Bethesda: Our new Radiant AI system allows for every NPC, including enemies, to have full 24/7 schedules. We give them general goals, like – “Eat at this city at 2pm ”, and they figure out how to do it. They will find food, find a place to sit and eat, and so forth. They can buy the food, steal it, hunt for it, whatever. But that micro-decision is the NPCs to make, we just provide the general goal. Enemies also use Radiant AI based on their skill and the combat situation. For instance, an archer may choose to use a bow and arrow when you are far away, but as you get closer, he may switch to a dagger. Radiant AI allows us to have this kind of advanced behavior on a massive scale.
XC: The graphical quality of the game is amazing. How much of the Xbox 360's power is Oblivion taking advantage of?
Bethesda: I imagine we're really only scratching the surface of what the Xbox 360 can do. With any console, the more time developers can spend, the more tricks they figure out - how to do things faster, or better, or both. You're still seeing that now with Xbox and how Xbox games that have recently come out look so much better than ones that were released several years ago. The console didn't change, developers just had the time to dig in and untap even more power.
XC: Are there any titles after Oblivion that we should be looking for?
Bethesda: Nothing that we're talking about right now. Obviously we have plans to continue The Elder Scrolls series after Oblivion, and we're building up the team to work on Fallout 3, a post-apocalyptic role-playing game, but we aren't ready to talk about what we're up to yet and won't be for quite a while.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Preview
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Screenshots
Article By: VGcore Staff