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E3: Bethesda Shows off Oblivion
05.19.05 - 1:54 PM

Yesterday Bethesda showed off its newest Elder Scrolls title, Oblivion, for XBox 360 and PC. The title will take place in the capital city of the empire, Cyrodill, where Emperor Uriel Septim (voice by Patrick Stewart) is on the run after his son goes missing and the gates of Oblivion, basically Tamriel's hell, open and demons start rampaging across the land, leaving terror in their wake.

The player takes on the roll of one of the familiar races in the game in a quest to find the Emperor's missing son in order to close the gates of Oblivion. Much like other Elder Scrolls titles, Oblivion will feature free-form gameplay in which the player can choose to perform the main quest or take on other tasks to his or her liking.

Oblivion will use the Havok engine for its physics, allowing for very realistic manipulation of items in the environment, as well as a system called Radiant AI, in which all NPCs are non-scripted; rather, they are given a goal and may accomplish it by any means they choose. For example, if an NPC's goal is to go to work according to the character's schedule, they will take their own route, possibly talk to other villagers or the player on the way, or possibly just stay in bed.

Environments are all painstakingly rendered, and the overland area will be 16 square miles, with half of it covered by forests generated by a program that took geological data about forest formation and created realistic forests, including photorealistic trees, plants, and animals.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is slated for a Christmas '05 release. Look for a gallery and preview on RPGFan soon.


Damian Thomas

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