Oblivion FAQ by Cyrodiil Chronicles
Note that this is a pre-release FAQ. Some information listed here might be inaccurate. Most of it, however, appeared to be true, so you might as well use this document for reference about Oblivion basics. Visit forums if you have specific questions, we'll surely answer.
What does the name "Oblivion" mean?
Oblivion is the Tamriel name for the Beyond, or Hell, the supernatural world that Daedra lords made their home. Apart from Daedras, this world is inhabited by a wide variety of Daedric creatures, some of which we've already seen in previous Elder Scrolls games.
Why is it "Elder Scrolls IV"?
The Elder Scrolls is a series of games made by Bethesda Softworks and set in the world of Tamriel. The first of those games, Arena, was released for PC in 1994. The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall (also for PC) came two years later, and TES III: Morrowind was released in 2002 for PC and Xbox. Two expansions for Morrowind followed, Tribunal in 2002 and Bloodmoon in 2003. Bethesda also made adventure games set in Elder Scrolls world, Battlespire in 1997 and Redguard in 1998. The latest, but not very successful, additions to Elder Scrolls games collection were TES Travels games, released for mobile and Nokia NGage.
As the latest TES game was TES III: Morrowind (and expansions), the next game of the series will logically have the name of TES IV.
What platforms will Oblivion be released on?
PC and Xbox 360. Modding tools (and ability to play the game with mods installed) will be available only for PC users.
Who is developing Oblivion, and what company will publish it?
Bethesda Softworks LLC is both developer and publisher of Oblivion, PC and Xbox 360 versions. Bethesda is a ZeniMax Media company (actually a major company in ZeniMax). The game will be distributed by 2K Games.
What will be the price of Oblivion?
PC version will most probably cost $50 after release, Xbox 360 version will cost $60. Collector's edition will cost more, but exact prices were not announced yet.
When is Oblivion being released?
In November or December 2005, the exact date might be November 22 because it's a Microsoft Xbox 360 launch date in U.S. Oblivion is surely not coming before November 22.
Are there any plans for a demo of the game to be released?
A quote from Pete Hines' interview: "No, no demo. It's really impossible for us to take a big, huge, open-ended world and try to cut it up or somehow restrict it for folks to be able to play just a little bit of it. It either is too restrictive to give a good representation of what the game is about, or it is far, far, far too big to ever release as a demo."
What is known about system requirements of Oblivion?
Official system requirements were released recently by Bethesda.
· 3 Ghz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent processor
· 1 GB System RAM
· ATI X800 series, NVIDIA GeForce 6800 series, or higher video card
Minimum System Requirements:
· Windows XP
· 512MB System RAM
· 2 Ghz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent processor
· 128MB Direct3D compatible video card
· and DirectX 9.0 compatible driver;
· 8x DVD-ROM drive
· 4.6 GB free hard disk space
· DirectX 9.0c (included)
· DirectX 8.1 compatible sound card
· Keyboard, Mouse
Supported Video Card Chipsets:
· ATI X1900 series
· ATI X1800 series
· ATI X1600 series
· ATI X1300 series
· ATI X850 series
· ATI x800 series
· ATI x700 series
· ATI x600 series
· ATI Radeon 9800 series
· ATI Radeon 9700 series
· ATI Radeon 9600 series
· ATI Radeon 9500 series
· NVIDIA GeForce 7800 series
· NVIDIA GeForce 6800 series
· NVIDIA GeForce 6600 series
· NVIDIA GeForce 6200 series
· NVIDIA GeForce FX series
What 3D graphical engine is Oblivion based on?
Bethesda was planning to license Unreal 3 engine from Epic, but then refused for some reason. Oblivion is based on Gamebryo engine from HDL, but if you've seen the screenshots and gameplay movies of Oblivion you probably realise that this engine definitely should not be underestimated. Oblivion is one of the most graphically impressive (and intensive) games scheduled for release this year.
The only thing that may raise doubts is engine optimization. Back in 2002, when Morrowind was released, graphics looked beautiful but the engine was oblviously not enough optimized. Hopefully Bethesda learned from their old mistakes and will pay attention not only to new technologies, but also to optimizing the code.
As for technologies, Bethesda promises attractive things like Shader Model 3.0, Speedtree and modified Havoc Ragdoll physics engine. But I think that many fans will be glad if those high-end features could be disabled via game options to make Oblivion run faster.
What modding tools will come with Oblivion?
A new version of TES Construction Set will be included with the PC version of the game. It will feel very familiar to TES III modders, but will have many new features that will make creating plugins much easier - and extend possibilites of what can be done in a mod. Realistic environments will be much easier to create, dialogue, quest and scripting systems were redone from scratch and will become more user-friendly, flexible and powerful than ever.
Where Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion will be set?
Oblivion takes place in Cyrodiil, an Imperial province located in the heart of Tamriel continent. It is connected with the sea in the south, borders Skyrim in the North, Morrowind (where TES III: Morrowind was set) in the North-East, Black Marsh in the South-East, Elsweyr in the South, Valenwood in the South-West, Hammerfell and High Rock (where Daggerfall took place) in the North-West. You can view the whole map here.
Cyrodiil has Imperial-style architecture that resembles Western European architecture of XV-XVI centuries.
In addition, there will be numerous dungeons; player will also be able to visit parts of Oblivion itself.
What is Cyrodiil, a city or a province?
Cyrodiil is the Imperial Province of Tamriel - and the game world where Oblivion takes place. Capital of the Empire, located in the center of Cyrodiil, is referred to as Imperial City in TES IV.
How large the game world will be?
Area of Cyrodiil will be larger than area of Vvardenfell (island where TES III: Morrowind was set), despite Bethesda's previous indications to the contrary. However it may seem smaller to player familiar with Morrowind because of the new fast travel system.
There are many towns in Cyrodiil and a very large Imperial City; most of Cyrodiil terrain is covered with thick woods, hills and planes. High mountains separate Cyrodiil from other regions of Tamriel.
What about the quick travel?
Quick travel is one of the most anticipated features of Oblivion; it was one of the many suggestions of Morrowind fans for the new TES game. Everyone who ever played Morrowind knows how boring long wilderness travels might sometimes be. However Bethesda did not disclose any detailed information on how quick travel was implemented in Oblivion - so far.
(note that the game development is not over yet, so some of information from this section might appear inaccurate when Oblivion is released)
Will TES IV: Oblivion be a direct continuation of TES III?
No, each chapter of the Elder Scrolls series is a different story unto itself and isn't directly connected to any of the other storylines. Oblivion events start in 3E 433, 6 years after Morrowind began.
What is known about Oblivion plot?
Not too much, apart from the general outline.
Your character begins in a prison cell under the imperial palace. An assassination attempt is made on the life of the emperor and he attempts to escape through a tunnel leading through your cell. Unfortunately all the emperor's guards, and eventually the emperor are killed. Before he dies the emperor gives you the "amulet of kings" and instructs you to find "he who can close fast the gates of oblivion". Basically the emperor's death has opened up portals to Oblivion, hell, all over Cyrodill and demonic creatures are invading the land and it is up to you to stop them.
Player's mission during the main quest will be to find the long lost son of the emperor and get him to take his rightful place on the throne. As Pete Hines tells in his latest interview, "find him, protect him, and clear the path for him to do what needs to be done…things he can't do himself.
What races will be playable in Oblivion?
All races present in Daggerfall and Morrowind will also appear in Oblivion, both as NPCs and playable characters. They include Imperials, Bretonians, Redguards, Nords, Orcs, Khajiit, Argonians, Wood Elves (Bosmer), High Elves (Altmer), and Dark Elves (Dunmer).
Any information on creatures that will populate Cyrodiil - and beyond?
Many creatures from Daggerfall and Morrowind will be present in the game. There will be classical fantasy creatures like goblins and trolls, undead, the Daedra and many others. On screenshots available so far, we can see goblins, minotaur, skeleton, deer, clannfear, and daedroth.
And last, but not least - player characters (and maybe also NPCs) will be able to ride horses.
What combat system will be implemented in Oblivion?
Oblivion combat system is completely different in comparison to the combat system of Morrowind. Player controls the action and understands what's going on, but the skill of the person playing the game doesn't override the stats and abilities of the character they're playing. You swing or block when you want, if the sword hits the enemy, or the shield blocks an attack, it hits or blocks. There's no hidden "to hit" rolls that cause you to miss when your sword clearly hits your enemy. The stats control the damage you do when you hit, not whether or not you hit.
So combat in Oblivion feels both natural to the player (understanding everything they see happening on the screen) and at the same time, it is a true role-playing experience where the success or failure of your character will be based on character's actual stats and abilities.
What is known about magical system of Oblivion?
Magical schools available in Morrowind will still be present in Oblivion. However the way spells are cast has changed - now player won't need to unequip weapons to cast spells, so it will be quite easy to cast some quick supporting spell, like Heal, during a fight.
Will the gameplay be open-ended, like in Morrowind?
Yes, the game will allow even more freedom than Oblivion. Main quest is optional; you may complete it or never return to it. Developers promised that player will be able to return to the main quest at any moment. The huge world will be free to explore, and your character will be able to join any number of guilds and accomplish a wide variety of quests. Moreover, most quests now can be solved in a variety of ways.
How will the AI system in Oblivion work?
Oblivion uses a new Radiant AI system developed by Bethesda. All NPCs now have a 24/7 schedule with general goals that they should accomplish. Radiant makes NPSs figure out themselves how to accomplish their goals. NPCs behaviour towards other NPCs and player character is now much more versatile and complicated than in Morrowind. For example, if you enter a bookstore at night, the bookseller might be asleep, and will get angry and refuse to sell anything if you wake him up. NPCs now will be able to engage in conversations and even try to steal something from you.
Expect non-linear behaviour from monsters, too.
What is known about conversation system in Oblivion?
According to Hines, "NPCs will engage in dynamic conversations in streets, in buildings…wherever they run into each other. You can listen in on these conversations and pick up useful pieces of info, new quests, or simply listen to them talk about a quest you completed or are currently working on. When you talk to NPCs, you have a list of topics you can ask them about. Any topics where they'll only tell you something you've heard before will appear in grey so you don't have to bother asking them again. The journal tracks everything useful for you automatically."
What skills will be available in Oblivion?
The core of Elder Scrolls classical skilling and levelling up system will remain intact. However all skills and stats will become more balanced and realistic than ever before.
Where can I find additional information on Oblivion and meet other TES fans?
All information that Bethesda will reveal before Oblivion launch date will be published on our site. Visit Cyrodiil Chronicles Forums to discuss Oblivion (and general Elder Scrolls) issues with other Elder Scrolls fans.
Report mistakes and and add your thoughts about the new questions for this FAQ in a special forum thread.