PS3 version of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Not to mention quiz him a little on what else the mighty Bethesda is up to these days, including finding out some tasty tidbits on its next major game project: Fallout 3.
Oblivion has filled up a veritable rack of awards over the last year, not to mention having sold well over three million copies worldwide. It's what you might call a critical and commercial mega-blockbuster success…with nobs on.
SPOnG: Hi, Pete, well this is basically a chance for you to tell us all about the PS3 version of Oblivion and also to touch on Fallout 3 a little. So, to start with, Oblivion gets a worldwide release in March.
Pete Hines: Yep, and it is a launch title in Europe don't forget.
SPOnG: Sure. It's nearly a year now after the release of the Xbox 360 and PC versions. How long have the team been working specifically on the PS3 version?
Pete Hines: Since last March, since we shipped the PC and 360 versions.
SPOnG: And what have been the highs and lows of that [PS3] development process?
Pete Hines: Erm, you know…highs… well, the high is getting it done! That's the only high we care about [laughs]. The low is that it is a long, long process… You work for four years to get this game ready for two platforms and then it's really good. So, then you have to return almost to scratch to start working on it again for a different platform for another year, so for some of these guys they've been working on this game for a really long time. But, you know, in the end we're now really close to completion and getting it out the door and to see Oblivion on PlayStation 3, it's going to make it all worthwhile.
SPOnG: Back in 1999 when Bethesda started work on Morrowind you had a total team of ten guys - you've described it elsewhere as a 'real mom and pop-type company' - what's the size of the team now.
Pete Hines: Yeah, it was a pretty small company back when I joined in 1999. Now we have a team of seventy plus, or over a hundred if you include QA. It's been an impressive rate of growth and we're now at the point where the team is capable of taking on two projects at the same time.
SPOnG: Presumably the reason being that the PS3 is now, finally, a Sony machine that's powerful enough to cope with a game of this size?
Pete Hines: Yeah, I mean we would have done Morrowind for PlayStation 2 if it had been possible, but it just wasn't technically feasible on the PS2. So we had to wait for the PS3 to come along to do an Elder Scrolls game on PlayStation.
SPOnG: The PS3 version contains the Knights of the Nine content [which came as an add-on for 360 and PC]...what about other downloadable content? 'The Orrery' and other add-ons?
Pete Hines: Well, we are now just about getting around to looking at the downloadable content for the PS3 version - so we are evaluating what works, how well it works and so on - so that we can figure out which ones we can release… whether it's all of them or just some of them… and then we'll figure out when to release them.
SPOnG: The advantages of the PS3 version - having had a brief look at it today - seem to be mainly the visuals and the shortened loading times in the game.
Pete Hines: Yeah, for the most part, it's the same game. It's got the new stuff with 'Knights of the Nine' as mentioned, but our goal was to bring it out on this entirely new platform to pretty much an entirely new audience of folks that have never played or experienced Oblivion before. So, we wanted it to run at least as good, if not better, than the 360 version in every area - whether it's load time, frame-rate, whatever.
Games: Fallout 3 The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Fallout: A Postnuclear Adventure Fallout 2
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