The Elder Scrolls series seems to be have been around since the dawn of games-playing time. One of the most highly respected and innovative RPG series' to grace any gaming system, Elder Scrolls debuted on PC. Not only does it boast a long and illustrious heritage, but the third installment, Morrowind, proved a real breakthrough as it waved a magic wand to open up a full and highly authentic free-roaming RPG onto Xbox as well as its traditional home platform.
Then at last year's E3, we got our first sight of the series' newest incarnation - Oblivion Quite frankly, we were staggered by the scale and ambition of what developer Bethesda was trying to achieve. Not only did it look unbelievably sumptuous, but seemed to marry the series' epic RPG goodness with crunching real-time combat and high magic, a big name cast (Patrick Stewart et al) and NPC interactions which were as life-like and convincing as anything we've ever seen.
High time then to cross swords with game producer Gavin Carter and get the lowdown on Oblivion in both its Xbox 360 and PC incarnations. This splendidly insightful interview originally appeared on OXM.co.uk, our sister site and proud sporter of the Official Xbox 360 bandana, so props to them, but in the meantime, let's seek Oblvion.
Elder Scrolls has always been a hugely popular series on PC. Why is the time right to bring it to consoles and why is Xbox 360 the right console for the job?
Gavin Carter: The Elder Scrolls is already a well-known RPG property in the console world as Morrowind did extremely well on the original Xbox. When we sat down to design the sequel, Oblivion, we knew we wanted to target the next-generation of consoles and PC hardware from the start. The Xbox 360 has all the power we need to leap forward from Morrowind and become the RPG for the next generation.
Will the Xbox 360 version be a straight port of the PC game, or are you developing both versions separately?
Gavin Carter: We are developing both versions simultaneously.
Will there be different features or limitations in the Xbox 360 version?
Gavin Carter: We are working to make the two versions as close to identical as possible. The Xbox 360 version should be visually identical to a PC running with all the visual options turned to maximum. PC users will have more options to turn down certain visuals to better accommodate older hardware setups. The only thing the Xbox 360 version will lack is the Elder Scrolls Construction Set for modding. It simply isn't possible to offer on a console.
The Elder Scrolls series has pioneered free-roaming RPG action. How open will the world of Oblivion be?
Gavin Carter: As open as we can possibly make it. Just like Morrowind, at any point you can choose to wander off the main path and go wherever you want - discover new towns and settlements, stumble across and explore random dungeons, or join a guild and start a completely different line of quests.
How big will the world of Oblivion be, and what kind of things will you be free to do?
Gavin Carter: The explorable world is roughly 16 square miles, though the number itself becomes relatively meaningless when you're walking around in the game. Suffice it to say that the world is monstrously big. The landscape varies from grassy plains to craggy mountains to thick temperate forests. It's great fun to take a break from questing and run off to pillage a dungeon or simply wander and enjoy the incredible scenery.