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This past December, I was given a copy of The Elder Scrolls Online, and immediately went and got the Morrowind expansion as well. Playing the MMO, especially the Morrowind expansion, made me think back to when I first played Morrowind. This was a year or so after the game came out, and while I liked it then, I hadn’t played it since 2005. I was worried the game didn’t hold up well, after Oblivion and Skyrim advanced the series, and attempting to look back on the game years later made me reluctant to try playing again. After playing the Morrowind expansion for ESO however, I felt now was as good a time as any.

Before I started playing again, I decided I wanted this to be a pure retrospective run. I had no mods whatsoever installed, meaning whatever bugs were in the game ended up staying put. Upon loading up and starting to play, I was instantly taken back to my youth and playing the story of a newcomer to the strange land of Morrowind once again. But what shocked me about the game, was how much my fear was misplaced. Yes the game had aged, and the visuals didn’t look so great anymore, but they were not as bad as I had feared. Yes the game lacked many features that would be a big part of later games, but I didn’t mind. I just wanted to keep playing and rediscovering things.

Nostalgia is a powerful influence on our memories and I had been worried constantly that looking past a nostalgia filter would show how bad the game truly was, but I feel the inverse happened. I had built it up in my mind so much that the game didn’t age well, that when I finally played again, it was an excellent experience still. Granted there was a learning curve as I had to remember how to do certain things, as well as how to unlearn other things. My muscle memory from Oblivion and Skyrim tended to get in the way for a while, as the games are very different, but this also made me appreciate how unique Morrowind really is as a game. It is considered the breakout title in the series (although I personally still feel Daggerfall is the more important title), and there is a reason Skyrim was designed to harken back to Morrowind more than to Oblivion.

Playing again and exploring the Island of VVardenfell, I cam to appreciate how far the series had come and also the unique nature of the series. The Elder Scrolls is a series that can reinvent itself every time in order to give a new experience. While many games can claim this, it is not the same since The Elder Scrolls universe doesn’t just grow and adapt with new entries but completely reimagines possibilities. Going from a  traditional western fantasy, to a truly bizarre fantasy land, back to a European fantasy land, then to a northern European inspired land with its own twists and turns, The Elder Scrolls shows there is nothing off limits to the dream.

I urge you all to look back on this series again, and if you fear it has aged too pearly, you might be surprised. I even sort of want some of the unvoiced NPCs to be a thing again in future installments in some way, just so the world can feel more lived in and there can be more personal interactions. if anything I learned from this experience, that you can end up fearing nostalgia to the point of hurting your own memories of something. Based on this, I will be taking a look again at other games I haven’t touched in years. I want to see what else still feels good, and I look forward to doing so. Perhaps next though, I will take a look again at Arena, another game I felt didn’t age too well. I hope you will join me then.

 

 

Disclaimer: The above was the opinion and experience of the author and not necessarily that of Real Otaku Gamer or its staff.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 1 Jan, 2018 At 02:13 PM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Best Buy Canada recently did an interview with Andrew Scharf, a lead producer at Bethesda Game Studios . The two discussed The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for Switch in great detail and, Scharf mentioned many things such as including the experience of bringing Skyrim to Switch and the challenges involved. He also revealed that Todd Howard brought the idea up to Nintendo for the Zelda crossover content.

 

You can read excerpts below

Paul Hunter: Skyrim coming to Nintendo Switch is obviously a huge moment in gaming, and especially for Nintendo fans. Who originally approached who about bringing this massive game world to Nintendo Switch?

Andrew Scharf: The team here at BGS has been excited about the Switch and Nintendo’s plans since we first saw the demo of the technology. That got us fired up about the possibilities, and as a broader company, we’re always looking to expand our games to new platforms and new audiences. It was just a no-brainer to join a great partner like Nintendo and bring the massive world of Skyrim, where you can go anywhere and do anything, to a platform that can also go anywhere.

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PH: While Skyrim has appeared on many different platforms over the years, this is the first time it’s come to a Nintendo system—meaning a potential whole new audience. How would you summarize what Skyrim (and perhaps The Elder Scrolls franchise) is for the uninitiated?

AS: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the epic fantasy from Bethesda Game Studios and is the winner of more than 200 Game of the Year Awards. The legendary open-world adventure allows players to be anyone and do anything. Play any type of character you can imagine, and do whatever you want; the legendary freedom of choice, storytelling, and adventure of The Elder Scrolls is realized like never before.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for the Nintendo Switch includes all-new gameplay features like motion controls for combat and lockpicking, outfits and gear from The Legend of Zelda, plus additional loot unlocked from compatible The Legend of Zelda amiibo. Take down enemies with the Master Sword, protect yourself with the Hylian Shield or look heroic in the Champion’s Tunic. Skyrim also includes all official add-ons – Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn.

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PH: The addition of items from The Legend of Zelda, like the Master Sword, Hylian Shield, and Champion’s Tunic is pretty exciting. How did this idea come about and are there any other items in-game that may surprise us?

AS: It was early on in the project, shortly after we started developing on the Switch hardware and Todd brought the idea up to Nintendo and the Legend of Zelda development team. They loved the idea and offered to work with us to make sure that our depiction of Link’s Champion’s Tunic, Hylian Shield, and of course the Master Sword held true to their design, while being usable weapons/armor in Skyrim.

PH: I know Skyrim on Switch is compatible with The Legend of Zelda series amiibo, and they have a daily random chance to unlock the Zelda gear. Are any other amiibo compatible with Skyrim, and if yes, what perks do they provide?

AS: Basically, once a day (every 24 hours in real time, not game time) you can use a Zelda amiibo to make a Zelda themed chest appear with a 20% chance to discover a Zelda themed item, or you can use any other type of amiibo to make a Skyrim themed chest appear with various types of loot.

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PH: From my brief hands-on time with Skyrim it felt responsive, looked phenomenal, and loaded fast. Was this a massive technical undertaking to achieve this level of polish?

AS: There are always basic challenges associated with moving a game to a new platform, like dealing with moving the engine over to a new computing architecture and working with a new graphics pipeline. We were fortunate to work with the talented team at Iron Galaxy Studios to get Skyrim on Switch and they made that process relatively seamless. The end result—as you said—is a great looking and performing version of Skyrim that goes anywhere.

Bethesda & Nintendo: the future

PH: The future looks extremely bright for Bethesda and Nintendo. We have Skyrim, DOOM, and Wolfenstein II all coming to Nintendo Switch. As we look towards the future, what would you like to tell Nintendo fans about this rapidly growing partnership with Nintendo?

AS: We’re really excited to be launching our games on Nintendo Switch, and Nintendo has been a fantastic partner for us. The fans of Nintendo’s hardware have been super supportive and excited for these games and we hope they enjoy exploring Skyrim, as well as blasting demons in DOOM and fighting Nazis in Wolfenstein II. We haven’t announced anything for Switch following Wolfenstein II in 2018, but if and when we do, we will let you know.

PH: Thanks a lot for your time, Andrew! Looking forward to playing Skyrim on Nintendo Switch.

This sounds like Bethesda is extremely satisfied with the Switch thus far. Hopefully this year will bring more great announcements.

 

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By Jonathan Balofsky On 26 Sep, 2017 At 12:08 PM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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Bethesda sent out the following

 

 

We’re pleased to announce that Fallout 4 Game of the Year Edition is now available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

The ultimate way to experience the award-winning post-nuclear adventure from Bethesda Game Studios, Fallout 4 Game of the Year Edition includes the fully updated original game (including Survival mode), graphical enhancements, the ability to play Mods for free on PC and consoles, along with all six add-ons: Nuka-World, Vault-Tec Workshop, Contraptions Workshop, Far Harbor, Wasteland Workshop and Automatron.

As the sole survivor of Vault 111, you enter a world destroyed by nuclear war. Every second is a fight for survival, and every choice is yours. Only you can rebuild and determine the fate of the Wasteland. Welcome home.

A limited quantity of Fallout 4 G.O.T.Y. Pip-Boy collector editions will also be made exclusively available in North America at select retailers. The Pip-Boy Edition includes Fallout 4 Game of the Year Edition and will retail for $99.99 USD.

Fallout 4 is an amazing game, and this GOTY edition is a perfect way for new players to get into the game for the first time.

Will you be getting this?

Source: Bethesda PR

 

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I am a fan of The Elder Scrolls series as should be well evident from my articles by now. Instead of talking about a particular game today however, I wanted to do something else and discuss the various DLC expansions released for the main games. I will not be discussing Elder Scrolls Online at this time, but may do another list in the future. This list is purely my opinion, and I ranked the DLC based off of quality, what it did for the game, how well it was received, and how well it held up years later.

 

 

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

 

 

Without further delay, let us start with Number 7.

 

7: Hearthfire 

Hearthfire is a great little DLC, but there is emphasis needed for the word little. It doesn’t have a huge amount of content like the other expansions, but what it does offer is some new followers, new houses and children to adopt. It isn’t the most exciting DLC but it does help the role playing experience and does allow a greater degree of immersion. There isn’t much to talk about. Its a nice way to build on the game but there isn’t much to it.

6: Knights of the Nine 

Knights of the Nine was the first major expansion for Oblivion and it was well received at the time. However, I honestly feel it hasn’t actually held up as well as the main game or what came later. To me, Knights of the Nine feels like an attempt to bring Morrowind’s narrative style to Oblivion in a way that just didn’t fit. The story was good, don’t get me wrong and the expansion did offer a neat experience, but it just has not held up as well as others. It is also rather short and doesn’t feel as well developed as the other expansions, bar Hearthfire.

5: Tribunal

I can hear the anger already. Tribunal serves as a direct sequel to the story of Morrowind, one of the most acclaimed games in the series, so how could I only put it at number 5? Well, to be honest, it isn’t very good. I rated this above Knights of the Nine because of the fact that the story is a continuation of the events of the main game and is very important for that reason. That being said, the expansion has a lot of issues, a story that feels ill plotted at times, and game mechanics that take you out of the immersion. It is an important DLC but not one that I particularly like.

4: Dawnguard

The top 4 DLC expansions are all amazing and I had a hard time choosing which to put in number 4 through 2, but I came to the conclusion that Dawnguard fits best in this spot. The vampire threat is a big departure from the main quest of Skyrim, but the story does actually build on the lore of the game and the series in general. It introduced amazing characters like Serana, explored the history of Skyrim and the Falmer, and showed us the truth about the soul gems. It had an atmosphere of adventure, tough enemies and great new abilities. Plus it overhauled the perk system and due to the choice you make early one, there are two ways to actually explore the DLC.

3: Bloodmoon

The 2nd expansion for Morrowind is far and away the better one.  This is the first time we are introduced to Solstheim and the Skaal people among other things. Bloodmoon introduced the Lycanthropy ability to the game and offered a unique area that felt large and yet different from the main game. it felt new and different and had a great charm to it. The quests were great, there was a lot to do in the expansion and it brought a lot of innovation. It does not get the attention that Tribunal gets, which is a shame because it is a far better expansion, as it is better developers, has a better story, and a much better sense of immersion with more choices for the player.  It has aged better than tribunal and is simpley a better experience.

 

2: Dragonborn

The third and final dlc expansion for Skyrim, Dragonborn is set once again on Solstheim, only 200 years have passed since Bloodmoon. You can now see how things have changd, while exploring a familiar setting for players of Morrowind. As with Bloodmoon, there is a lot to do in this expansion, but it goes beyond as we get an epic plot that discusses the nature of the Dragonborn more, awesome new abilities and shouts, great new weapons and armor and more. This isn’t even mentioning the excellent quests and characters that are in the dlc. Reviving Raven Rock gives a real sense of accomplishment, and honestly, this feels like proper semi sequel to Skyrim more than Tribunal felt like a continuation of Morrowind. This is a story that emphasizes how things have changed and how you are the one to help make things right.

 

1: Shivering Isles

There was no other choice for the number one spot. Shivering Isles  is the greatest DLC expansion for an Elder Scrolls game so far. If Cyrodil felt like too much of a typical European fantasy setting, then this solved that problem by making the setting a bizarre would where madness ruled. It made Sheogorath into a fan favourite character and gave him some amazing lines. There was so much to do, and so many ways to do them. There was a sense of whimsicalness as well as a tragic undertone building up throughout the story. The ending was amazing, with Jyggalag being freed from his curse and the cycle of the Greymarch broken, and then your character ascending to godhood as the new Sheogorath. Nothing has topped this yet, and I doubt anything will. Shivering Isles could have been a standalone game and it would still have been amazing. There is a reason the fans love this one the most, and time has been very kind to it, unlike some other expansions. It is simply a masterpiece of game design.

 

 

Well I hope you enjoyed the list. Let me know what you think of it, and some suggestions you think would make good lists.

 

 

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The above was the opinion solely of the author and not necessarily the views of ROG or its staff.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 4 Jun, 2017 At 04:43 PM | Categorized As PC Games, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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It seems we know something Bethesda is working on, thanks to a job listing. Bethesda is making a game they described as “Bleeding-edge AAA Freemium” . Also of note is that this does not seem to be a mobile game and is being made by Bethesda Game Studios themselves and not just Bethesda the publisher.

Bethesda Game Studios is looking for a great Game Performance Manager based in Montreal, to join the team that is pushing the bleeding-edge AAA freemium game development.

In this role, you will work with game team to envision, evolve, and operate monetization strategies, targeting the intersection of revenue generation goals and quality player experience. Ideally, you will have experience defining and operating online game business models, and have a deep understanding of player interactions with those models, both at the individual and community levels.

Responsibilities

  • Work with the game design team on monetization design, strategy and execution;
  • Envision in-game content and business model recommendations;
  • Set requirements and create specifications for monetization features;
  • Drive and operate the resulting initiatives;
  • Analyze the competitive landscape and benchmark against competitors;
  • Drive data analysis and research to evaluate the health of the business and to explore new business opportunities;
  • Assimilate feedback from players, competitive research, market trends, and quantitative data to propose and make recommendations that impact game content and product vision;
  • Develop testing methodologies, analyze data to optimize price points and model the impact of new game features;
  • Work with team to define metrics and develop dashboards to measure engagement and monetization success;
  • Regularly review monetization strategy and performance, and present results to stakeholders;

Requirements

  • Undergraduate degree level education in Business or related field;
  • A minimum of 5 years’ experience supporting AAA products;
  • Strong competence in analyzing data and drawing actionable business insight;
  • Proven experience taking business initiatives from conception to launch;
  • Outstanding communications, project management, and relationship-building skills;
  • Proven ability to work well in a team environment and manage multiple complex projects with diverse groups;
  • Being comfortable with uncertainty;

Pluses

  • Combination of game development and game publishing experience

Whatever the game is, it does not seem to be finished yet if they are still recruiting for it, so we probably wont see this at E3. What could they be making? Could this be one of their two big games they said they had in development? We shall have to wait and see.

 

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The Elder Scrolls is a beloved series that has been ongoing sine the 90’s. Each game since the first one has been set in one province of Tamriel, with the second game taking place in the kingdom of Daggerfall in High Rock, the third game in Morrowind, the fourth in Cyrodil and Oblivion and the fifth in Skyrim. There has been heavy speculation that the upcoming sixth game will be set in Valenwood and this wood be excellent, but I have a different idea. To me, it makes much more sense for the sixth game to be set in Hammerfell, the home of the Redguard people.

There are many reasons that this is the case. For one, Hammerfell is a unique setting and while parts of it are desert, it also has cities, plenty of ruins both Dwemer and Ayleid and areas like mountains, and areas similar to Skyrim, and a coastal region as well. In fact, the island of Stros M’kai would be the perfect setting for DLC with a pirate theme, as it is a base of pirates according to the series lore, much like Solstheim was for Skyrim and Morrowind. As well, the Alik’r Desert itself is described in ways that make it almost a living character in its own right, much like the terrains of Skyrim. It could have some survival elements that would make things tougher than in Skyrim which should satisfy those who felt the games have become too easy.

There are enemies that would be truly unique that are established in the lore for Hammerfell like Assassin Beetles and others. These would help establish the setting and its unique nature much like Skyrim and Morrowind did. But what would the plot be? Well, following on from Skyrim, we know that the Hammerfell is in conflict with the Aldmeri Dominion and is not on good terms with the empire. Hammerfell also borders Skyrim and there has been speculation that should the next game establish that the Stormcloaks won the civil war, the Alik’r warriors might see a connection in their struggles and seek to ally with the stormcloaks. Even if the next game establishes that the imperials won, the story could also have the Empire trying to get Hammerfell to rejoin again.

The conflict with the Thalmor would be a major plot point like before, but it doesn’t need to be the only one. Hammerfell is one of the three provinces of Tamriel where the Dwemer once lived, along with Morrowind and Skyrim. Fans have been wanting a resolution to the mystery of the Dwemer for a long time, and Skyrim confirmed the Dwemer are still out there somewhere. Interestingly, the character who reveals he has seen the Dwemer, is a Redgaurd himself. This could be the game that establishes the return of the Dwemer, and positions them as a major threat much like Skyrim was about the return of the dragons.

Morrowind had the protagonist be the Nerevarine (possibly), the reincarnation of Indoril Nerevar, and the following games also had the player character have a connection to older forces ( becoming a Sheogorath, and being the dragonborn respectively). So what would this game have for its protagonist? This is actually the easiest to answer as its established that the Redgaurd have among their gods, HoonDing, the make way god, who appears when the people need him. Instead of the Thu’um as in the previous game, this game could use Sword Singing techniques that the player can learn as you progress.

As mentioned, there is a lot of potential for DLC such as island of Stros M’kai, but DLC could also be set directly in Skyrim  or at least the parts of Hammerfell controlled by Skyrim and maybe even let you fight a dragon or two.  There is a lot of potential for the game if it is set in Hammerfell. We could get a full backstory for the Redgaurd’s beliefs ( unlike in Skyrim where they used the worship of the divines) and we could see the next step of the war with the Thalmor. It would let us directly see the fallout from Skyrim, and we could see the next step of the Elder Scrolls evolution.

I hope I have made my case for it to some of you at least.

 

Let me know what you think of this idea. I would love to find out what other fans think.