some, the name elicits grand images: the best the gaming
world has to offer under one roof, for three days, in
an assault on the senses unlike anything in the world.
In truth, that's a fair assessment. If you're a gamer,
it's pretty much nirvana. If, however, your job entails
preparing for this extravaganza, your excitement for
it can range from fear to loathing to
pretty much it, fear and loathing, in Los Angeles.
When the biggest names in the industry get together
to show off the biggest games they have to offer, it's
a lot of pressure. If you want to run with the big boys,
you'd better do something that rises above the noise.
That is, essentially, my job. Figure out how to get
our games, and in this case Oblivion, to stand out from
(and above) everything else. I'm a PR/Marketing guy.
This is my story.
philosophy, and therefore Bethesda's, has always been
that one way to stand out is to go against standard
convention at the show. Escape the noise and lights
and heat and masses and set yourself apart. Starting
at last year's show, actually even before then, Todd
and I had agreed that we wanted to show Oblivion in
its own mini-theater. Someplace off the show floor,
a room with some comfortable seats, dim lights, air
conditioned, a big honkin' plasma TV, and a really cool
demo. Most of that is pretty easy to pull off if you
know what you're doing, the last part can be tricky.
Not that we don't know how to give a good demo. I've
got a stack of game covers that says otherwise. But
there's a big difference between a one-time demo and
something you have to show over and over, for hours
at a time, three days in a row, and never have it screw
up. Because the people that come to our demos do so
by appointment, and they get an appointment because
they're someone we feel we have to impress. Heaven help
us if the demo crashes in the middle of a demo to somebody
So we've spent months talking about what the demo would
include, and weeks and weeks working diligently at it.
What parts of the game to show, what happens in those
areas, different kinds of combat, magic, stealth, dialogue,
our Radiant AI
everything. Most of that ends up
being Todd's call. He figures out what parts of the
game look the best, and work together, and tell the
story of what this game is about and what lets you do.
we've got amazing forests, killer dark dungeons, and
grand cities. We show interiors and exteriors, dialog,
quests, fast travel, and more. We show them the new
combat system, a taste of stealth gameplay, some of
our magic system
you get the idea (and I'll bet
it makes you salivate, eh?) It's a great cross-section
of the game in about 25 minutes.
Now, most of that we had figured out about six weeks
ago, except the last part of the demo, which we completely
trashed and replaced a week ago. That's not something
I recommend trying at home, by the way. Changing your
demo with less than a week before lockdown is pretty
gutsy, but you can't hit home runs unless you swing
for the fences. We have a lot of amazingly talented
people here and the last part of the demo went from
being okay to being fantastic in the course of a weekend,
maybe less. And, much like releasing a game, knowing
what the demo should show, and having it built is one
thing, having it just right and squashing bugs is another.
After all, this is a game still in development and so
not everything is working perfectly.
So, we've had a lot of people spend a lot of nights
and weekends in the office the last few weeks going
through the demo over and over and over again. Figure
out what's not working, fix it, try again, find next
thing not working just right, wash, rinse, repeat. It
is a long, sometime frustrating, but ultimately rewarding
process for everyone on the team, none of whom (save
for a couple of us) will be there to see the reaction
from folks when they see the demo. They'll have to wait
for the previews, articles, or debriefs from us after
the show to find out what people really thought. But
having seen the demo countless times by now, I'm incredibly
confident that people are going to be amazed, even the
few people on the planet who have seen it. I really
think it's that good.
it doesn't stop there, because for everyone at the show
who doesn't get to see the demo, as well as all of you
that don't get to go to the show at all, we wanted to
have a really amazing trailer that showed some killer
gameplay footage. Think of it as a much shorter demo
with cool music and a famous voice you'll probably recognize
instantly. That too was no small feat either. Not only
were we trying to make a killer trailer, but we were
making a killer trailer in high definition. Capturing
HD footage is an all-new kind of pain I hope none of
you ever have to experience. If you're curious, just
ask producer Gavin Carter what it's like. He and Steve
Green, our video guy, went to extraordinary lengths
to get some great footage to share with you.
To put that footage together into something meaningful
and dramatic we worked with a great company called The
Ant Farm that has done trailers for everything from
the Lord of the Rings movies to Spiderman 2 to Halo
2. They did a terrific job in helping us come up with
the direction and flow of the trailer and make it something
that really reflects the game we're making. We're incredibly
proud of it and hope you enjoy it when it comes out
the first day of E3. Download the biggest version your
bandwidth can handle, it'll be worth it.
So as you can see we've been fairly busy lately. We
know you guys constantly thirst for info, but given
the amount of things you're going to get next week,
we hope it's been worth the wait. New screenshots, a
trailer, new game info, accounts from numerous people
that will have seen the game first hand
to be great. As always we'll be on the boards to answer
questions and see your reactions to what's going on.
Our fans are at the heart of everything we do and we
know that if it doesn't impress you guys first and foremost,
we're in trouble. So thanks for your patience, and enjoy
next week. See you on the boards.