Elder Scrolls Oblivion
The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion is the much-anticipated sequel to Morrowind from Bethesda. Yet again, as has been the case with every Elder Scrolls game, the game engine will bring computers to its knees and place the player in a wide-open world that is full of detail. The story revolves around an open gate to Oblivion, the realm of the Daedra, and presumably the player's quest to close it.
Take, for example, the 50 hours
of recorded dialogue. Even common NPCs will talk rather than print up dialogue. There are 200 hand-built dungeons, complete with traps that can be sprung on the player or that players can turn around on the enemies within.
And yet, this isn't even the tip of the iceberg. Where Oblivion really takes the cake is in the technology department. It is easily the most impressive game we saw this E3, right along with the Unreal 3/Unreal Tournament 2007 demos. Much of Oblivion is spent in the woods and for once, forests actually look like forests. Bethesda apparently had a geologist or other kind of scientist explain the nature of a forest, and the game engine generates it by itself. From slopes and hills and kinds of rock and bushes, to how trees are arranged - it is mind-bogglingly beautiful. Take out the monsters and you could probably sell it as a hiking simulation, it looks that incredible. It is even populated dynamically.
On top of that, the Radiant AI also takes care of NPCs. The non-player characters in the game are given a rough schedule, at which point the AI takes over and fills in their daily tasks. Characters not only work, eat, relax and sleep, but also practice skills and react to the environment around them.
An AI character, if she likes the player, can invite him to a private room for more talking, and she will practice her archery skills. These, being bad to start with, will damage her home, so she will quaff a potion to improve her skills and start hitting bullseyes on her target - and celebrate. She'll eat and feed her dog, then berate him when he gets energetic from the food and won't stop barking. A paralysis spell is her next step, followed by - believe it or not - a fireball. Now this perhaps isn't the most realistic example of Radiant AI, but given that most attendees saw this, we suspect that the developers were just having a little fun with the audience. Though not shown, we're relatively certain that the presentation mentioned that NPCs also need to acquire food for themselves, and will do this in the best way they know how - by trading or through theft. The same AI of course controls the many monsters in the game.
The interface has been greatly improved, with fewer menus and less fooling around with dialogue options, as answers the player has already received are automatically marked as such. The game also permits automatic travel to locations that have already been visited, greatly reducing the hiking time in the game.
For those who didn't enjoy Morrowind or Daggerfall, this is obviously not an improvement, but fans of the series will absolutely love it. It is really just more Morrowind, but bigger, better and looking absolutely stunning.