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Default Bethesda Softworks - Interview @ GamesIndustry.biz

March 22nd, 2007, 06:14
Titled Scrolling Up, GamesIndustry.biz chats with Pete Hines about the success of Oblivion and some related topics:
You took some criticism for the first downloadable content for Oblivion - particularly the horse armour pack, which some felt was overpriced. Do you think it was unfair? Was it a result of working with a system that was still being established?
Yes and no. We didn't have any choice. We were the first ones to do downloadable content like that - some people had done similar things, but no one had really done additions where you add new stuff to your existing game. So we knew we were going to take some flak whatever. We could have put that out for 25 cents and people would have still been up in arms.
But we had some other things we were working on and were able to come out with new things that were better conceived and at a better price point, things like the wizard's tower. We found that the price isn't really the issue. People just want to feel like they're getting a good deal. I'll pay $3 for downloadable content, but it better be cool - and horse armour just isn't cool. So if we had to do it over again, I'd say either we should wait until later for the horse armour or do it for less.
The flipside is, that thing sold hundreds of thousands of copies and still sells every day. It's not like people don't want it, because it still sells. I think on the whole people think what we've done is of interest and good value.
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March 22nd, 2007, 06:14
Sorry but that's bs, developers have added things like that for free for their games, they include it in their regular patches. And the wizard's tower wasn't worth the price either, all the addons together is maybe worth $3 but no single addon was worth it. Had this been a PC only release this wouldn't have been an issue since you would either a) included them in your patches or b) not done them at all.
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March 22nd, 2007, 08:35
Quote: "The 360 is our base platform, it's the easiest to develop for."
Makes sense from a developer point of view. Bye-bye high quality PC user interfaces… this doesn't bode well for future games (not mentioning the F word).
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March 22nd, 2007, 09:00
I still think that maybe mr. Hines remembers incorrectly. It was, in fact, Bioware, that did this first when they released NWN1. The toolset in NWN1 was used to create mods that became Premium modules. These Premium Modules could people then download for about $10 a piece. And they did this, mainly because Bioware told people that the dollard spent on buying these modules would pay for the maintenance and patches for NWN1. And Trials of the Luremaster, from Black Isle/Interplay was a DLC also - it added 20-30 hours of gameplay to Icewind Dale.
(And, iirc, Bioware did include some new stuff in their patches to their previous games as well).

It isn't because people have to buy for something, it is because they have to pay for small things like horse armor that they feel or think that they really don't need.
But Mr. Hines is correct in saying that Bethesda Softworks is the first game studio to
make people pay for content that should have been in the game in first place, such as the horse armour, the orrery etc.

I think maybe Microsoft is about to shoot themselves in the foot by insisting that
developers make games (solely and only) for the Xbox 360. If they, MS, continue
to do so, the Windows (gaming) Platform will die, regardless of Microsoft's (new) Games for Windows line. If the Platform survives, then we will probably just see shooting galleries of games, not deep thought provoking games like we did in the past for windows.

This also means that the (major) game developers won't be developing roleplaying games or adventure games anymore, since they don't sell as much as action/exploring/shooter games. And maybe just to claim that this game is roleplaying game (still), they, the developers, would add custimization, classes, stats, levels and abiltities so that the (casual) gamers still feel that the game is an rpg, while, in fact, it is not. (in my heartfelt opinion).
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March 22nd, 2007, 09:49
Originally Posted by aries100 View Post
I think maybe Microsoft is about to shoot themselves in the foot by insisting that developers make games (solely and only) for the Xbox 360.
If only that was the case then MS might have a change of heart (who am I kidding claiming Microsoft has a heart ). The thing is that it would be in Microsoft's best interest to kill off the PC as a gaming platform altogether. For every Xbox game sold, MS get around 15% of the sales price whereas they get nothing for PC games.

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Last edited by fatBastard(); March 22nd, 2007 at 15:08.
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March 22nd, 2007, 14:25
I think at $3 apiece selling 100's of thousands of copies (and still selling) that he's being overly negative. This has been a huge success.
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March 22nd, 2007, 18:28
Success ?!? Treating customers like shit is a succes ? uh bugger what am i saying, beth got a new playerbase of shitbox morons who buy anything shiny. Sorry you are right, what a success, lets all solute a company thats dumbing down the genre we love (you are right from a business pov though, but im not gonna cheer at some greedy idiots).
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March 22nd, 2007, 18:38
Originally Posted by Lucky Day View Post
I think at $3 apiece selling 100's of thousands of copies (and still selling) that he's being overly negative. This has been a huge success.
In direct financial terms, yes. If you think those are the only terms a company should be thinking in…

Anyway, you guys missed the best bit

Originally Posted by Pete Hines
A month or so before the game came out I was concerned anticipation had reached too high a level. People were expecting the game to cure blindness and heal the sick. It turns out that I feel like we delivered on what people expected. There was no bump, people didn't say, 'It's good but not as good as it should have been.' I think the scores and awards reflect that we delivered on people's expectations.
Nobody ever said "it's good but not as good as it should have been"! That's right, you tell them, Pete! Lies and propaganda!
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March 22nd, 2007, 21:21
Originally Posted by aries100 View Post
It was, in fact, Bioware, that did this first when they released NWN1.
Not quite. Hines' statement is based on the plugin capability of the last iterations of the TES engines, which are different than what Bioware did with their game. The Neverwinter Nights engine has to load things in a different module as opposed to Morrowind and Oblivion, which can make instant changes to the gameworld. A change in NWN's official campaign would require Bioware to re-release the <i>entire</i> module with whatever changes made.

Regardless, I'm not sure any of the downloadable content Bethesda has released received flak because they were "doing it differently"; more than likely it had something to do with users paying for something that wasn't worth all that much.
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March 22nd, 2007, 23:24
What's really worrying, is that some people would have paid to download horse Poo, instead of armor just because it was for Oblivion!!!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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March 22nd, 2007, 23:33
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
What's really worrying, is that some people would have paid to download horse Poo, instead of armor just because it was for Oblivion!!!!
Actually, I *did* buy that one. Not any one of the other DLCs but that single one. And it was worth it too: it gives *a heap of* realism to the game.

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March 22nd, 2007, 23:37
What, a heap of horse manure?!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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March 23rd, 2007, 11:14
Yeah, but it's levelled horse manure - the more you play the larger the turds get. All part of the "go anywhere, step in anything" ethos of Oblivion. By the time I reached level 30 the whole world had coalesced into one giant turd.
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