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View Full Version : Bethesda's lead designer retires


msxyz
05-24-06, 02:49 PM
Yup, Ken Rolston.

There's a nice interview on team Xbox http://news.teamxbox.com/xbox/11018/Oblivion-Lead-Designer-Retires/

From his words I've got the impression (maybe I'm just biased :P ) that he does not bear too much love for Oblivion:

I prefer Morrowind's partially recorded dialogue, for many reasons. But I'm told that fully-voiced dialogue is what the kids want. Fully-voiced dialogue is less flexible, less apt for user projection of his own tone, more constrained for branching, and more trouble for production and disk real estate.

As teams have grown larger, schedules longer, and production budgets titanic, computer games have become almost as slick and polished as television and cinema -- and often as dull and formulaic.

Oblivion isn't mentioned in the list of games he liked most when working on them (nor even indirectly):

My contributions to the development teams of West End Games, Chaosium, and Bethesda Softworks have been the most fruitful -- all three remarkable collections of creative talent. I'm very fond of PARANOIA, and I'm also inordinately fond of Morrowind, blemishes and all.

But my secret pride is a small boardgame published long ago by White Wolf Game Studio -- Seals of Satan -- where harbor seals possessed by demons float around on lambent columns of light and do the Prince of Lies' dark bidding. It has a 'Blood Feast Track' to count the number of innocents slaughtered by baby seals. Oh, well. Not much chance of that ever coming to consoles

The last sentence seems a jab at the current trend in making games suitable to a wider audience ;)

CaptNKILL
05-24-06, 03:09 PM
Ah, its too bad.

Hes a good guy though. He was always at the old TES forums before Morrowind was released. Everyone picked on him and called him the old man, hes like 60 something :p

Anyways, it sucks to see him go, but gaming has changed a lot. In a way I do agree with him. The written dialog gave much more freedom. The spoken dialog is more interesting though. Its a tough choice between the two, but ultimately they had to decide on something.

To add to what you said about him prefering Morrowind:
On Morrowind, I had a much larger role in every aspect of design -- mostly because there were so few of us designers, and I was the only one with decades of experience. On Oblivion, we had many more experienced, talented designers, and they had much more control and responsibility for their parts of the design. My personal contributions to Oblivion's design are relatively modest compared with my contributions to Morrowind, and because I am a huge egomaniac, I will therefore always love Morrowind more than I love Oblivion.

The team has grown exponentially since the days of Daggerfall and even Morrowind. I think I remember reading that before Morrowind was released, the team consisted of less than 30 people. For Oblivion, there were over 100. Rolston has been around since the early days of TES, so I can understand why itd be so difficult to go from designing along side a dozen or so people in a basement to trying to fit in ideas among 100 other people in a large company.

SH64
05-25-06, 01:25 AM
I prefer Morrowind's partially recorded dialogue, for many reasons. But I'm told that fully-voiced dialogue is what the kids want.
My personal contributions to Oblivion's design are relatively modest compared with my contributions to Morrowind, and because I am a huge egomaniac, I will therefore always love Morrowind more than I love Oblivion.

eh? thank god he retired.

hemmy
05-25-06, 10:57 AM
fully voiced is better, he can think what he wants

Banko
05-25-06, 11:00 AM
Everything being fully voiced is not better. It made it especially dull in Oblivion where all people sounded the same and said the same things. Full voiced stuff should be for important characters only. It's funny that even the lead designer thinks Oblivion blows.

CaptNKILL
05-25-06, 11:10 AM
It's funny that even the lead designer thinks Oblivion blows.
:wtf:

|MaguS|
05-25-06, 11:23 AM
Full voice is great aslong as they record diversity into the game... problem with Oblivion is that they had a target disk space... they could have easily gone dual DVD if they bothered to...

msxyz
05-25-06, 11:33 AM
Yup. Bloodlines has some of the best dialogues in the recent years and they were all voiced. (Try playing as a Malkavian for some of the best lines ever seen in a videogame :D )

While I don't think voice-overs are essential, if they're well done they can contribute to the atmosphere.

PS: Oblivion stays on a DVD-5 and the voice file is barely 750MB. No need for a second DVD at all.

|MaguS|
05-25-06, 11:45 AM
PS: Oblivion stays on a DVD-5 and the voice file is barely 750MB. No need for a second DVD at all.

Unless you want ALOT of voices... look at EQ2. It has an amazing diverse full voice system. It's 3DVDs though...

nekrosoft13
05-25-06, 01:40 PM
fully voiced is better, he can think what he wants

its better when it done correctly

and in oblivion its not, for everyone to keep saying the samething over and over, its quite pathetic.

Zelda_fan
05-25-06, 02:42 PM
eh? thank god he retired.

qft. Oblivion is superior to Morrowind in just about every way possible.

Toss3
05-25-06, 03:28 PM
Everything being fully voiced is not better. It made it especially dull in Oblivion where all people sounded the same and said the same things. Full voiced stuff should be for important characters only. It's funny that even the lead designer thinks Oblivion blows.

You're right about the game getting dull when everyone sounds the same, but I don't think he said that oblivion blows? He did say however that he liked morrowind more. What they should do is get one of those text to voice converters, that would be cool!(not one of those things that sound like a machine) ;)

CaptNKILL
05-25-06, 03:40 PM
You're right about the game getting dull when everyone sounds the same, but I don't think he said that oblivion blows? He did say however that he liked morrowind more. What they should do is get one of those text to voice converters, that would be cool!(not one of those things that sound like a machine) ;)
Yep, I made that suggestion years ago. I dont think the voice things are good enough yet though.

FearMeAll
05-29-06, 06:01 PM
bloodlines did it right. the voice acting was so good and the characters so unique that I was looking forward to talking to each and every one of them.
Still play that game too. Not so buggy to me with such hardware and user made patches. runs better than gothic 2 at least for me.

|MaguS|
05-29-06, 06:04 PM
bloodlines did it right. the voice acting was so good and the characters so unique that I was looking forward to talking to each and every one of them.
Still play that game too. Not so buggy to me with such hardware and user made patches. runs better than gothic 2 at least for me.

Most games run better then Gothic 2...