By Pete Hines
As hard as it may be to believe, we're nearly there. It's just about time to get the game, and it's definitely time to pre-order if you haven't already. As such, I've been asked to say a few words about what you'll be getting when you buy each version of the game, along with a few samples to whet your appetite.
As most of you are aware by now, the game comes in two flavors: regular and collector's edition. The regular edition packaging has this "worn book" feel that we wanted to go with, almost a linen color. The one you see here is probably the 125th (or so) iteration of this box. You wouldn't believe how many times it gets tweaked and modified over the course of the project (I blame Todd, you should too). It looks almost exactly like a quest book you can find in the world. The PC version has a nice flap with more pretty pictures inside. We're very fond of our box. It's the sort of thing we're proud to put our game inside. Whether it's PC or Xbox 360, all versions of the game will get a couple of standard items:
One DVD for either version. Yes, it all fits on one. Yes, it's only available on DVD for PC users. While we're on the subject, I should note that we are doing a number of localized versions for Europe. There will be fully localized versions in Germany and France. That means the whole game – voice and text – are fully translated. We are doing semi-localized versions in Italy and Spain, which means all the text (including dialogue) is translated, but the voices are in English. Hopefully that will make a lot folks very happy as I know we get asked that an awful lot, or at least I do.
Another jam-packed, full-color, 48-page manual with as much of the nuts and bolts and "how to" of the game as we could squeeze in there. Most folks don't think much about it, but quite a few of us actually spend a lot of time on the manual and how it's organized, what it says, how it looks, and so on. You probably won't even look at it before you start playing, but when you go to see how some things work we hope you'll come to appreciate how much effort went into it in order to make the game more fun and easier to understand.
We like to include a nice map of the game world even though you don't necessarily need it with the one in the game. Slightly different approach and art style on this one than the one you got for Morrowind, as it matches the style and feel of the in-game map. We're rather fond of it and you can click on the image to get a look at a portion of it.
We're very pleased about a number of things with our Collector's Edition.
- It's the coolest packaging we've ever done.
- It's got a number of things we're very proud of and have never done before (sort of).
- It's available for both PC and Xbox 360.
- It's available both in North America and throughout the UK, Western Europe, and Australia (including localized versions for France, Germany, Italy, and Spain)
The Collector's Edition comes with an outer slip pack that is specific to your platform. It's a variation on the regular edition with more of a leather book cover look to it. Plus it says "Collector's Edition" right there on the front, which is handy. The inside is a four-panel digi-pack that is actually non-platform specific (think "Lord of the Rings" movie collector's editions, we did). The right panel holds your manual, map, reg card, and inserts. The one next to that holds the disc for whichever version you purchased. The disc tray on the left side hold your bonus DVD (see below), and the pocket on the far left holds your Pocket Guide and coin (see below and below, respectively).
The bonus DVD will include some extra features like concept art and renders and screenshots and so forth, but the real meat of it is the behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of Oblivion. This documentary was done by the very talented folks at thinkfilm (www.thinkfilm-inc.com), who are very well known and have done film work on a lot of very big TV shows and movies (West Wing, Armageddon, etc) as well as some great documentaries. They spent quite a while in our offices capturing the story of what people do and how they do it. The documentary uses our preparation for E3 last year, when we were preparing to show the game for the first time, as a story-telling device to show you all the different aspects of the game's development. We've created a short trailer of the documentary that will hopefully whet your appetite to see the whole thing. Download the Quicktime Movie (33.8 MB MOV) or the Windows Media File (17.6 MB WMV).
We had this idea to do a real cool replica of the coins, or Septims, that appear in the game as the official currency. We wanted it to be something that was the right size, had the right texture, and really felt like a coin someone would use and carry around Tamriel. The end result was really spectacular, honestly. When I passed around the samples I got from the folks everyone on the team was really excited. It looked and felt exactly like it should, like something that just got plucked right out of the world. We didn't change a thing.
Pocket Guide to the Empire
Like the coin, we wanted another "relic" from Tamriel in the box. It's 112 pages and looks and feels authentic. We did a pocket guide before with the Redguard manual, but this is an all-new edition. It has a lot of history and information about how things got to where they are, and why. Rulers, wars, great leaders, famous people, memorable events, and so on. It's simply dripping with the lore and flavor that make The Elder Scrolls what it is.