Official price and release date of Shivering Isles expansion for TES IV: Oblivion were announced in the recent fan interview on Elderscrolls.com forums. Answering questions of the fans, Todd Howard (Bethesda Softworks) said that the expansion will be released both for PC and Xbox Live! on March 27. Price for both PC and Xbox 360 versions will be $30. Some time earlier Bethesda confirmed that Oblivion for PlayStation 3 will be released on March 20, however, fate of PS3 version of Shivering Isles remains unknown.
In a recent interview for Official Xbox Magazine Pete Hines confirmed that Shivering Isles, the first full-scale expansion for TES IV: Oblivion, will also be the last one that Bethesda Softworks will be making. In the near future the studio is going to concentrate on Fallout III, the highly anticipated sequel to
one of the most well-known RP franchises of the 90th. The game was announced long ago, but no information was available except for the fact that Bethesda will be developing it; we might expect some secrets to be revealed this spring.
However, Bethesda will still be making official plugins for Oblivion – even after Shivering Isles release.
The expansion was announced on January 18 2007; it will feature a whole new Oblivion plane called Shivering Isles, home of Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness. In addition to new lands to explore, Shivering Isles will add more than a dozen new creatures, new items and spells. Release date of expansion pack is rumored to be March 23 2007 (both PC and Xbox 360 versions), though date was not yet officially confirmed.
Meanwhile, TES IV: Oblivion for Sony PlayStation 3 that was scheduled for release in the end of last year and delayed (much like original Oblivion last year) will be available in stores on March 20.
Launch of next-generation consoles is number one gaming news nowadays. While Microsoft began to sell their next-generation console (Xbox 360) a year ago, Sony and Nintendo are presenting their answer this November. Sony PlayStation 3 sales opened in Japan on November 11, U.S. launch took place on November 17. Those lucky enough to get non-bundle packages will have to pay $500 or $600 for different versions of the console.
Nintendo Wii costs $250 and will be available in North America since today, November 19. Japanese launch of Wii is scheduled on December 2, European launch on December 8.
Oblivion could be one of the launch titles for PS3, but Bethesda needed more time to complete the new version and delayed release until Q1 2006. TES IV for PlayStation 3 will probably be available about the same time when the console will hit European stores, which is expected next spring.
Unfortunately, I was unable to update the site for the last several months due to various real life issues. I should admit that one of those issues was lack of interest in Oblivion; I played Oblivion much less than Morrowind and never got enough interested to study the deeper parts of the game, like it was with TES III. However, almost contrary to my efforts, our forums are still quite busy with almost 6 thousand posts. Since this site is still visited and since forums are active, it seemed a fair decision to get back to updating the news, even though I will be hardly able to write more about various aspects of the game itself. If you could help with that – please mail me ([email protected]).
Those months were quite rich with various Oblivion news that we missed. You most surely know the most important of those, but a brief reminder is never out of place. First of all, an addon pack called Knights of the Nine will be available for PC on December 4. It will contain new faction (Knights of the Nine) and quests for this faction, new dungeons, monsters, NPCs, and items. Even though retail version of Knights will include all buyable mods previously released by Bethesda, this addon is hard to compare with TES III expansion packs that had large new locations to explore. Hopefully Bethesda will release a full-scale expansion sometime later in 2007-2008.
Knights of the Nine will be included in PlayStation 3 version of Oblivion that will be released in Q1 2007 (according to latest information available). Next generation console by Sony is enjoying its “worldwide launch” these weeks, with 100 thousand units available in Japan, 400 thousand more in U.S. and… well, all other parts of the world will have to wait until next spring.
Meanwhile, Oblivion has recieved its first Game of the Year awards. Like everyone predicted, few if any RPGs could compete TES IV this year, so awards don’t come unexpected. Among other news – European versions of 1.1.511 patch available, more buyable plugins released by Bethesda (now also available for Xbox Live! users from Europe), and Oblivion-themed game being developed for PlayStation Portable (PSP).
Our news posted before March 14 2006 can be found on News Archive page or in RSS feed. We are still alive, so remember to come back for more soon!
On June 6 final version of the first Oblivion patch was released; beta version of the same patch was available since May 2. Right now beta patch is no longer available for download, and its installation is not necessary for the full version.
The new patch updates Oblivion to version 1.1.511. Two versions of this patch are available: one for US version of the game, and one for UK/European/Australian version. Both of them are not compatible with versions purchased from Direct2Drive, localized versions of TES IV, and (fortunately) illegal copies of the game with copy protection removed. You can download both versions of the file fromElderscrolls.com download page (1,6 Mb).
The patch corrects a number of bugs and quest errors that were reported during the recent weeks. Among most important changes – improved performance for NVidia SLI and ATI Crossfire, Very Low Detail setting for low-end GeForce FX video cards, and important plugin-related fixes. Read complete patch changelog here, it’s rather impressive for 1,6 Mb package.
Same patch is available from Xbox Live! for Xbox 360 users since June 7.
Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has issued a parental advisory yesterday noting that The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (both PC and Xbox 360) versions were re-rated. New rating is Mature (M, 17+) instead of Teen (T, 13+).
According to ESRB announcement, “the content causing the ESRB to change the rating involves more detailed depictions of blood and gore than were considered in the original rating, as well as the presence of a locked-out art file or “skin” that, if accessed through a thirdparty modification to the PC version of the game, allows the user to play with topless versions of female characters… In line with its mission to inform consumers about the age-suitability and content of computer and video games, this ESRB Parent Advisory has been issued to ensure that parents who have purchased this game are immediately notified of the rating change. Parents should also know that a patch for the PC version of the game that disables access to the file with the topless skin will be made available shortly.”
Re-ratings are rare for ESRB – the last notable case was Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, re-rated last year due to discovery in the PC and and PS2 versions a hidden minigame with sexual content that could be unlocked (on the PC version) with a modification called Hot Coffee. Nudity cannot be unlocked in Xbox 360 version of Oblivion, but gore and violence issues regard both PC and console versions. PC version will carry an additional content descriptor for Nudity, until a new version of the game is issued where access to questionable content will be blocked. Bethesda is also obliged to release a patch that blocks access to topless female meshes, and today’s press release from the developer confirmed that this patch will soon be available.
Current content descriptors – Violence, Blood and Gore, Sexual Themes, Language, and Use of Alcohol – will remain. However, ESRB stated that video tape provided by Bethesda several months before the game release understated the detail and intensity of the blood and gore available in final version of Oblivion. Press release issued by Bethesda has a different explanation: “With regard to violence, Bethesda advised the ESRB during the ratings process that violence and blood effects were “frequent” in the game – checking the box on the form that is the maximum warning. We further advised that the game contained occasional torture, vulgar acts, and gore. We gave accurate answers and descriptions about the type and frequency of violence that appears in the game.”
Regarding nudity, same press release says that “Bethesda didn’t create a game with nudity and does not intend that nudity appear in Oblivion… Bethesda can not control tampering with Oblivion by third parties.” Like in GTA: Hot Coffee case, mods became target for ESRB investigation, though unlike GTA, questionable content seems to have been added to the game by modification, not exactly unlocked. Fact that Xbox 360 version got a new rating too proves that topless females were not exactly the main reason for Board’s actions. This is, however, a precedent that might force some publishers (and developers) to make games less moddable. As everyone knows, even now not many developers care about modding tools for their games. After this case, situation surely won’t improve, cause lack of mods will guarantee safer rating and safer profits.
As for profits, Take-Two (to be precise, its subsidiary 2K Games that co-publishes Oblivion with Bethesda) is not going to lose as much as last year: Mature rating, unlike Adults Only that GTA:SA received, will not force retailers to remove Oblivion from shelves. Moreover, publicity over topless mods that were previously unknown for general public will certainly draw more attention to the game, including attention from teenagers and children that ESRB is theoretically trying to protect.
Third official plugin of three currently announced, The Wizard’s Tower, was released by Bethesda yesterday. Price is $1,89 for PC and 150 Live! marketplace points for Xbox 360, which is $1,88 in US (I’ve heard that this price can be much higher in other regions). You can get the new plugin via Oblivion download site,OblivionDownloads.com, or from Xbox Live! service.
Wizard’s Tower that the plugin adds is actually called Frostcrag Spire, located high in Jeral Mountains. In addition to being the highest place in Cyrodiil providing a “breathtaking” view of the province, the tower also features a garden where more than 100 ingredients can be found, and altars for summoning creatures, creating spells and enchanted items. Tower also contains teleports to every Mages Guild of Cyrodiil, and adds new Spell and Recharge vendor to Imperial City.
On April 17, The Orrery was released for download, available for Xbox 360 and PC users. Pricing appeared to be exactly as announced before – $1,89 for both versions. More Oblivion reviews were posted on different websites during this week, and the game earned even more avards. Check full list here.
I apologize for lack of website updates, as real life unfortunately got me very busy since the Game was released. Sometime later this is going to improve, and right now you should visit our forums for more.
According to Bethesda, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion sold more than 1,7 million copies worldwide, both PC and Xbox 360 versions, in 20 days since it was released. If you are familiar with game selling statistics, you should realize that it is an enormous success that few games ever achieved. If you are not, believe me, it is. Complete press release available from here.
Pricing for The Orrery, a new quest addon scheduled for release next week, was announced not long ago. The modification will cost $1,89 for PC and about $1,88 (150 marketplace points) for Xbox 360, which is really good news, as many were afraid that the new content-rich official addons will cost more than horse armor.
Bethesda Softworks has released first official plugin for Oblivion – Horse Armor Pack. The plugin is not free – PC users may buy it for $1,99; those who own Xbox 360 version of the game will have to pay $2,5. Paid additional content is no surprise for those who followed Oblivion news before game release, as developers promised this feature a while ago.
However doubtful the pricing might seem for a few pieces of horse armor, Bethesda is already preparing two more official modifications with more content. First will be The Orrery, adding a quest about rebuilding an ancient, presumably Dwemer, mechanism; as a reward for unlocking an ancient mystery, players will gain temporary magical powers. Second is Wizard’s Tower, a place to call home with many special capabilities that magic-oriented characters will find useful.
Owners of PC version can buy plugins from a new website – http://www.obliviondownloads.com. Xbox 360 users can get new Oblivion content via Xbox Live! service.