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Default Bethesda Softworks - Interview @ Shacknews

February 8th, 2007, 20:39
Pete Hines has been interviewed at Shacknews following an Oblivion PS3 preview event, with the conversation ranging from that version through Bethsoft's approach to Fallout 3 over five pages:
Shack: You guys have your own trademark series so you're used to dealing with fan expectation, but is it different or intimidating working on a franchise like Fallout that already has such a built in reputation?
Pete Hines: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. For a couple of reasons. Number one is that we're treating it as if we made the first two, with the same care and attention we give to The Elder Scrolls, but the truth of the matter is that we haven't. As a result there's probably a lot more divergent opinion about what it should be, what we should do, are we the right guys to do it, and so on.
Shack: Is there any of that internally?
Pete Hines: Internally, not really. Internally, we're a bunch of Fallout geeks. There is nobody [here] who hasn't played that game and enjoyed it. I have that game on my laptop, I take it with me and play it. But it's definitely different, because it's not really considered ours, the franchise. We didn't start it. There is a little bit of that sentiment out there that we have to prove that we're worthy to be the guys to make Fallout 3. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, because we have very high expectations for ourselves. The standard that we hold ourselves to, the kind of games we expect to make in terms of quality, we have a very high level of expectation. There's really nothing like the people from the outside expecting more than we expect ourselves.
It's a lot like when we were doing Morrowind. Everybody said, "Well, the last game you did was Daggerfall, and it was really buggy, and everything you're telling me about Morrowind sounds good but you need to prove it." It kind of has that same feel, that people are saying, "Yeah, I liked Oblivion, and you guys are good at roleplaying, but you have to prove that you aren't going to screw up this beloved franchise." We think we can do it. We are the right guys to be doing this franchise, we do take it seriously, and we do want to make it a powerful force in roleplaying in terms of what these games can do and be. We hope that when we show people what we're up to, they'll agree. Some folks will, and some folks will say it's not what they wanted. At the end of the day, we respect that, but we have to do what we think is right. Again, you can't make the game that everybody wants because you'll get ten different answers about what that game is.
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February 8th, 2007, 20:39
brace for the nerd storm!

lol their st00pid and bethesda r00ls
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February 9th, 2007, 00:10
Shack: Yeah, that's a big step up though, from ten on Morrowind.

Pete Hines: When I got there we had our own warehouse downstairs. When we'd ship a game, we'd finish it and send the disc off for replication and order the boxes, then all that stuff would come downstairs to the basement. Then the devs used to actually go downstairs and work the assembly line, putting boxes into pallets and shrinkwrapping, and preparing for shipping. It was total mom and pop business, doing all the books and boxes. We went from that, to this. That's the sort of thing we think about, when we win stuff like the Spike TV awards, just a bunch of guys you've never heard of from Rockville, Maryland.
Morrowind made by ten people and they even boxed it themselves. Quite amazing.
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February 9th, 2007, 00:24
Pete Hines
"….. people are saying, Yeah, I liked Oblivion, and you guys are good at roleplaying….."
Is that what people are saying, Pete?
Roflmao.

zakhal
" Morrowind made by ten people and they even boxed it themselves. Quite amazing."
That's was pretty common in the 90's and 3DRelams still does it.

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February 9th, 2007, 03:34
Originally Posted by Acleacius View Post
Pete Hines
"….. people are saying, Yeah, I liked Oblivion, and you guys are good at roleplaying….."
Is that what people are saying, Pete?
Roflmao.
You may not like (and neither do I really) but yes, that is what the vast majority of people/gamers are saying.

Favourite RPGs of all time: Wizardry 6, Ultima 7/7.2, Fallout2, Planescape Torment, Baldurs Gate 2+TOB, Jagged Alliance 2, Ravenloft: The stone prophet, Gothic 2, Realms of Arkania:Blade of destiny (not the HD version!!) and Secret of the Silver Blades.
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February 9th, 2007, 04:09
Hines and Howard are killing RPGs. Impeach them, I say!

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February 9th, 2007, 04:16
bjon045
"You may not like (and neither do I really) but yes, that is what the vast majority of people/gamers are saying."

Ok I'll bite who are the copious "they" and how are we able to verifiy this if what they (you) say is true?

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February 9th, 2007, 05:38
I'm just glad their actually talking about the game.

Despite all my rage.
I'm still just a rat in a cage.
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February 9th, 2007, 09:34
Regarding the "They" entity: Just about every game site named Oblivion as RPG of the year and many of them even named it game of the year as well. Combine that with the rather huge sales figures of the game and the inevitable conclusion must be that quite a few people like the game (myself included).

I mean, even though I consider WoW a study in pointless tedium, I have to acknowledge that more than 8 mio people disagree with me. The same goes for all the Sims players.

"Chess in particular had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing that always got to him; if only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks around, the whole board could've been a republic in a dozen moves." - Commander Vimes in Thud! by Terry Pratchett
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February 9th, 2007, 09:43
but even with Oblivion's high sales figures (and even then it's under the assumption that all those that bought it liked it), is it really possible to conclude that "they" are the "vast majority of people/gamers"?

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February 9th, 2007, 09:43
Originally Posted by Acleacius View Post
Ok I'll bite who are the copious "they" and how are we able to verifiy this if what they (you) say is true?
Ah, come on! The TES series might not be everyones cup of tea, and I know alot of people (on this site especially) have some sort of hate towards the latest installment - the big O. But look at the reviews, look at the sales numbers and look at the size of the MOD community for the last two games in the series! I think it's fair to say that a lot of people thinks Bethesda is doing many things right.

And to "Dr. A":
How is the Bethesda guys killing the RPG? The TES has a quite unique approach to the genre, and since when did it become a bad thing to be innovative and try out new ideas? That's not killing the genre, as I see it - it's trying their best to keep it alive and fresh. Again, not everyone will like their approach.. but we gotta give them credit for not just releasing a new EOB, Ultima, Goldbox or whatever other RPGs were there for them to look at when they did the first one: Arena.

And btw, personally I'm not that big a fan of the TES series. I generally prefer the story to be more fleshed out in my games, even if it means a more linear experience. My favorite RPG series of all times are the Ultimas and the Gothics.
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February 9th, 2007, 11:33
From a strictly logical point of view, it is false to equate high number of sales with the quality of a product, especially when talking about videogames. Apart from the aforementioned argument "not every customer has to be happy", there are tons of other factors, like marketing, distribution network, fashion etc.

And let us not forget that this is a growing industry with thousands of newcomers every month, who had never before played a videogame either because they were too young or never owned a gaming machine; their opinion can hardly be taken seriously since they lack the experience, they are bound to find the first videogames they play 'awesome'.

As another example consider a kid who the best RPG he ever played involved killing tomatoes (some may understand what I am talking about). He hears at school that Oblivion is really 'cool' and his dad who has never played a videogame checks the box, sees "Teen" and buys it. The kid plays for a few hours (or maybe more, if he likes cat-looking people), then he tells his friends how 'awesome an experience' he had. A couple of weeks later he has completely forgotten since he's now playing another hyped game.

Let us also not forget the huge number of the clueless casual gamers who play 2 or maybe 3 games per year. Which game do you think they bought?

I'm not saying that Oblivion has not a genuine fanbase. Every game has.

Taking myself as an example I bought the game the day it came out only to regret it the next. I know I'm not the only one.

Also think the number of people who didn't like the game and just stay silent. Maybe they are the majority?

As far as reviews go, they never did a good job of giving each game its due credits, neither they managed to influence an experienced gamer's opinion. There are even statitistics that prove that. But just ask youselves when was the last time you bought a game based on a Gamespot review.

The only true test is the test of time. Take Fallout for instance. After so many years the interest remains very much alive, just check the forum statitistics from this site for the most popular threads. I suspect F3 is going to sell quite a few copies just on account of its name.

Regarding modding compare the modding communities of NWN and Oblivion. The first is busy providing new content, the second patching the game.

The interview was another typical Beth interview. Nothing substantial, just public relations. And I felt they have offended the devs of the original.
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February 9th, 2007, 13:12
What is common knowledge in the RPG community, which is what was talked about "a good RPG" is that is isn't an RPG and bethesda lied about many features, including the trashy AI.

Additionally it's common knowledge the review sites lied as well, I remember specifically at the big preview playoff where reviewers played the game for about 5 hours, All with held the truth about the game except one guy and everyone trashed him.
People whom had never played that game were talking like he didn't know what he was talking about because he wasn't a TES previous fan.
Specific thing about how poorly it ran, crappy looking textures beyond 30 ft of the PC and popup to name a few, so if you want to talk about the great reviews many of us know/think that's crap.

Hehe, hell this was the short version too of all the problems, not to mention again most people when asked seem to also think games like Diablo are RPGs as well.
Again you would have to have (umm what's the politically correct word?) lean view of an RPGs, since they started as P&P they have always been about experiencing a story/adventure which you have an effect and change direction on through out the game.

oblivion is basically a set linear and scripted experience certainly the main story, hell it’s also constantly regurgitated NPCs, dialogue, acting (well not the lead actors) and dungeons.

Now if you choose to believe it's a great RPG thats fine, it just doesn't seem very accurate.

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February 9th, 2007, 13:33
There is a thread specifically to discuss Oblivion!! Please use it!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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February 9th, 2007, 13:49
Originally Posted by Lethal Weapon View Post
And let us not forget that this is a growing industry with thousands of newcomers every month, who had never before played a videogame either because they were too young or never owned a gaming machine; their opinion can hardly be taken seriously since they lack the experience, they are bound to find the first videogames they play 'awesome'.
Isn't this kind of like saying that young people shouldn't be allowed to vote because they don't know how the world works? I would dare suggest that perhaps it is the other way around: That WE who have played a great many games over the years have become desensitize to the simple pleasures and crave more and more to get "high" (akin to a drug addict). At any rate, discussions of quality goes from objective to subjective in a heartbeat, so we have already entered the land of "One man's garbage is another man's treasure"

Originally Posted by Acleacius View Post
What is common knowledge in the RPG community, which is what was talked about "a good RPG" is that is isn't an RPG and bethesda lied about many features, including the trashy AI.
What? Hang on. I consider myself a part of "the RPG community" and I have no qualms about calling Oblivion an RPG. It is actually here on RPGWatch (and formerly on RPGDot) that I have seen the most loud discussions about just what makes an RPG, so I would argue that it is a bit of a stretch to claim that Oblivion is not an RPG without the accompanying "IMO" type of disclaimer.

"Chess in particular had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing that always got to him; if only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks around, the whole board could've been a republic in a dozen moves." - Commander Vimes in Thud! by Terry Pratchett
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February 9th, 2007, 14:21
Originally Posted by Lethal Weapon View Post
Taking myself as an example I bought the game the day it came out only to regret it the next. I know I'm not the only one.
…..
As far as reviews go, they never did a good job of giving each game its due credits, neither they managed to influence an experienced gamer's opinion. There are even statitistics that prove that. But just ask youselves when was the last time you bought a game based on a Gamespot review.
I am just curious, did you buy it the day it arrived in stores because you are a big Elder Scrolls fan or because you were influenced by reviews?
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February 9th, 2007, 14:30
I think that the question is not whether Oblivion is 'good' or a 'real RPG', but whether the general perception is that Oblivion represents a quality role-playing game sets the 'state of the art'.

There are facts, opinions and conjecture enough to go around:
Facts:
- Oblivion sold extremely well, especially for the much more visible XBOX360 community, and the PS3 release is hotly anticipated (of course, someone has to buy the console first ).
- Name recognition for Oblivion is tremendous because of this.
- Oblivion was almost universally named RPG of the year for PC and XBOX360, as well as taking overall RPG of the year and PC and XBOX GOTY pretty much everywhere. It was also one of the primary overall GOTY winners.

Opinions:
- Because of the widespread success, awards and brand recognition, Oblivion *is* recognized as the most significant RPG in recent years.
- It is also seen as reinvigorating the genre, since no other RPG in recent memory has sold so much and gotten so much press.
- The fact that the world is huge and looks great relative to other XBOX360 games is extremely significant - prior to release of Oblivion, game after game for the X360 looked like a slightly tweaked up XBOX game … Oblivion was among the first *true* next gen looking games, and had a massive 'seamless' world to boot.

Conjecture:
- Because of these things, Bethesda can 'declare truth' in a great many areas - and if we challenge that we look like grousing PC gamers with chips on our shoulders raging against consoles yet again.

— Mike
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February 9th, 2007, 15:34
@fatBastard()

As a matter of fact people are not allowed to vote before reaching a certain age (they have to start doing so at some point!). Also there is a great number of decisions in everyday politics in which public opinion is simply not taken into account (for a reason). As Plato wrote, true democracy requires intelligent, educated citizens, not idiots. As for comparing videogames with drugs… well you can do that with any artform I suppose. Whether Mozart's Requiem is garbage might as well be a matter of opinion.

@Burress

What really hapenned is that I convinced myself (hoping for the best). The number of pc titles released the past couple of years is so small that I tend to buy almost every RPG that hits the shelves.

@txa1265

Nobody doubts Oblivion's current 'success'. My point was how ephemeral it will
be. People are already forgetting Morrowind and almost noone remembers Daggerfall. Contrary to Fallout and other gems of the past.

@Corwin

Sorry, but I had to answer.
Last edited by Lethal Weapon; February 9th, 2007 at 15:48.
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February 9th, 2007, 15:35
The people who tend to say that the "vast majority of people feel ripped off by Oblivion or hated it" or whatever, regardless of the vast amount of data showing otherwise remind me of some old craggy men sitting outside some local coffee house, scowling and barking about the multitudes of people filing in and out of a newly built Starbucks across the street.

"Most of the people that drink that stuff dont really like it, Theyre just succumbing to the hype grumble grumble mutter mutter."

So the sales dont really count? The awards dont count? Well what the hell does count, then! Why, you and your pals' most exalted opinion, of course…

News Flash for you people: You and your little niche of the gaming community are not the center of the universe. It's YOU that are in the minority on this issue, not the other way around.

But hey I dont want to be a wet blanket here - believe whatever makes you feel good!
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February 9th, 2007, 15:57
Originally Posted by xSamhainx View Post
So the sales dont really count? The awards dont count? Well what the hell does count, then!
The test of time of course! Unless Oblivion has already become a classic in which case I apologize.
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