Fallout 3: Japanese Release Date

It’s official, Fallout 3 will be released on Thursday, December 4th 2008 in Japan.

Spotted at the Bethblog, I still don’t know if that’s the release date for other Asian countries at this time.

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Australia and Fallout 3: The Saga Continues

This is what happens when you try to understant the OFLC

This is what happens when you try to understant the rating system in Australia

From IGN:

And so, the epic saga comes to a close – Fallout 3‘s OFLC report has been made available to IGN AU; the contents outline the reasons behind the reassessment of Bethesda’s post-nuclear RPG in Australia by the classification board.

The biggest points to take away with you are that the essential nature of drug use in the game has not been altered dramatically:

“The drugs depicted are fictional; drugs are depicted as stylised icons on a menu with the drug use itself not depicted. Whilst navigating a post-apocalyptic futuristic landscape, players can invoke the use of a variety of “chems” listed by fictitious names which include “Buff”, “Rad-X”, “Psycho” and “Ultrajet”. Within the context of the game’s narrative, the player may choose to make use of these “chems” to alter the physiological characteristics of their character in the game.”

The report is vaguely worded, but it suggests the drugs are still present – though, perhaps relabelled and not shown to be imbibed by the player’s character. Is that a big deal? If the end result is the same and you still get the nudge-nudge nature of drug-use and abuse in the game, then we’d argue it’s not. Does it still undermine the artistic process? Or does the decision impact social freedoms? Well, that’s up to your point of view.

Spotted at Videogaming247, you can find the entire OFLC report here.

Breaking News: Fallout 3 Rated In Australia

The Australian fans will indeed have Fallout 3 copies of the game with a MA15+ in the box, the ban was lifted:

Classification MA 15+ (Not suitable for people under 15. Under 15s must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian)
Consumer Advice Strong violence, drug references and coarse language
Category Computer Games
Version REVISED
Duration variable
Date of Classification 7 August 2008
Author BETHESDA GAME STUDIOS
Publisher ZENIMAX EUROPE LTD
Production Company NOT SHOWN
Country of Origin USA
Applicant ZENIMAX EUROPE LTD.
File Number T08/2707
Classification Number 4373754E

Spotted at Internode through BluesNews.

Australian Cuts

GamerChip is reporting that a censored version of Fallout 3 will indeed be available in Australia:

Fallout is an apt name for the upcoming game. The Australian media has been whipped into the closest thing to a frenzy we have here for the gaming industry over the ban on the upcoming Bethesda title Fallout 3. But according to EB and Game representatives, Australia will be receiving the game, albeit in a modified format. The new, friendlier version, will have the drug use removed that saw the game banned in the first place. Both EB and Game are currently taking pre-orders for the title. One representative from Game, contacted this Thursday night, (after hammering home the “do you want to pre-order?” spiel) said that he had read on their internal communications only an hour before that Fallout 3 would be released this year.

You can read it here, spotted at NMA.

A Post-Apocalyptic Film Festival Presented by Fallout 3

Spotted this at Destructoid, a great idea, I just wished I lived near by:

Bethesda Softworks®,

The American Cinematheque, and Geek Monthly Sponsor
‘A Post-Apocalyptic Film Festival Presented by Fallout® 3’

Fallout® 3 Film Festival to Take Place at the Aero Theatre
in Santa Monica, California on August 22 and 23, 2008

July 11, 2008 (Rockville, MD) – Bethesda Softworks®, a ZeniMax Media company, announced today that it has partnered with the American Cinematheque and Geek Monthly magazine to sponsor ‘A Post-Apocalyptic Film Festival Presented by Fallout® 3’ at Santa Monica’s Aero Theatre this August.

Fallout 3, the highly-anticipated video game from Bethesda Softworks, takes place in a post-apocalyptic Washington, D.C. where every minute is a fight for survival in the formidable wasteland and serves as the festival’s inspiration. The festival will feature six definitive post-apocalyptic movies that depict life or events that occur after a global catastrophe.

‘A Post-Apocalyptic Film Festival Presented by Fallout 3’ kicks off at 7:00pm on Friday, August 22nd with ‘Wizards’ (Directed by Ralph Bakshi) followed by ‘Damnation Alley’ (Directed by Jack Smight) and ‘A Boy and His Dog’ (Directed by L.Q. Jones). The festival resumes at 7:00pm on August 23rd with ‘The Last Man on Earth’ (Directed by Ubaldo Ragona), ‘The Omega Man’ (Directed by Boris Sagal) and ‘Twelve Monkeys’ (Directed by Terry Gilliam). […]

Tickets will be available on July 25, 2008 and can be purchased from Fandango.com. The general admission price of $10.00 includes three movies on the bill for that day as well as a complimentary bag of popcorn, a large soda and a special Fallout 3 giveaway. Senior and student tickets are available for $8.00 per day and American Cinematheque members can purchase daily tickets for $7.00.

For more information on ‘A Post-Apocalyptic Film Festival Presented by Fallout® 3’, the movies being shown during the festival or the Aero Theatre, please visit http://www.americancinematheque.com/.

Breaking News:Fallout 3 Banned In Australia-It’s Official

From Kotaku.au:

Yes, the rumour was true. The Office of Film and Literature Classification has handed an RC to Bethesda’s Fallout 3, making it illegal to sell the game in Australia. It’s not known at this stage if the ban was for drug use, as the original rumour states, or gore as I was predicting.

Thanks Logan, we’ll keep you aussies posted on any developments.

Bethesda Expands to Asia

With a new office in Tokyo, from the Bethblog:

Thought I’d mention that we put out a release today announcing the formation of an office in Tokyo that will oversee our publishing/distribution in Japan and throughout Asia. It’s being headed up by Tetsu Takahashi (on the left in the photo above, along with Kei Iwamoto, one of our producers), who handed all the heavy lifting in publishing Oblivion PS3 and 360 in Japan last year. Really smart guy with a good team around him.

In addition to publishing Bethesda titles in Japan like Star: Trek Conquest (PS2), Star Trek: Legacy (Xbox 360), and Fallout 3 , they’re also handling games for other publishers like Bully (PS2), Bully SE (Xbox 360), and Major League Baseball 2K8 (PS3/PS2/PSP/X360).

Speaking to Next Gen Pete Hines talks a bit about this move:

Despite the Xbox 360’s poor presence in Japan, Oblivion debuted at number seven on Japanese software sales charts on Microsoft’s console.
The game was also voted as best game of the year by editorial staff at Japanese Famitsu publisher Enterbrain in 2007, beating out titles including God of War 2, Super Mario Galaxy and Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.
“…The fact that [Oblivion] was well received critically, and had the sales numbers to back it up, is a very positive sign for us as we look to expand our presence there,” Hines added.

He didn’t disclose exactly how much business ZeniMax expects to generate from its new Asian arm, as the firm is privately held.
Bethesda’s next high-profile title is Fallout 3, slated to arrive later this year in the US. ZeniMax Asia will be bringing the title to Asian territories.

Regarding the rampant piracy in Asia, Hines said it’s an issue in every region of the world, not just in the East.

GameDev Likes BethSoft

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Image Gameguru.in

From Game Developer Research:

Game Developer Research is pleased to announce the debut of its fifth report, ‘Top 50 Developers 2008,’ an exhaustive survey of the game industry’s major developers worldwide. This is a detailed supplement to this month’s Top 50 Developers countdown in Game Developer magazine, and includes a full ranking of the top 50 developers in the areas of sales figures, releases, and average review scores, along with the full set of results from our survey of over 700 anonymous Game Developer- and Gamasutra.com-reading industry professionals. Numerical score results for each developer’s reputation are included, alongside scores given by professionals on the basis of their direct experience with each developer, covering areas such as pay and perks, professionalism and competence. Also included are all of the written comments supplied by survey respondents in both categories.

Bethesda Softworks shows up on the 26th place. Congrats to them.

Spotted on the Bethblog.

European Fallout 3

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Zenimax, the company that owns Bethesda Softworks, makers of Fallout 3, is going to be a publisher in Europe now, based in London and keeping a few publishing and distribution agreements in some markets with third parties:

16th February 2008 (London, England) – ZeniMax Media Inc., the parent company of Bethesda Softworks®, today announced it has begun direct publishing operations in Europe with the establishment of its London-based subsidiary, ZeniMax Europe Ltd. ZeniMax Europe will be publishing titles throughout UK/EMEA territories under the Bethesda Softworks brand.

Bethesda Softworks has a successful history as a developer and publisher of award-winning titles, most recently with The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion®, which won critical acclaim and countless Game of the Year awards. While continuing to work with strategic European distribution partners, ZeniMax Europe plans to deliver a range of compelling titles to the European market in the coming years, including the highly anticipated Fallout® 3 in Fall 2008.

“This is an important step for us as we look to expand our presence in markets outside of North America,” said Robert Altman, CEO of ZeniMax Media Inc. “We want to establish direct relationships with retailers and distributors throughout Europe and the UK as we bring exciting titles like Fallout® 3 and Rogue Warrior™ to gamers worldwide.”

The European operations of the Company will be headed by Sean Brennan, an industry veteran with over 20 years experience in the European markets. “We are happy to be part of the ZeniMax family,” said Sean “Building upon their great reputation and extending their direct reach throughout Europe and the UK is an exciting, new phase in the expansion of the company.”

Working alongside Brennan are Greg Baverstock, Director of Sales and Business Development, and Christina Camerota, Director of Marketing and Public Relations. With a wealth of industry experience, the team has recently settled into the Company’s new European offices which are located in the heart of London’s West end.

About ZeniMax Europe Ltd.
Headquartered in London, England, ZeniMax Europe Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of ZeniMax Media Inc. ZeniMax Europe publishes original interactive entertainment content for consoles, the PC, and handheld/wireless devices throughout UK/EMEA territories.

Spotted at EvilAvatar, thanks NMA and Gimli.

Want To Be a Tester On Fallout 3?

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Want to be a tester on Fallout 3? This might be your chance! From the Bethesda Blog:

We’re hiring for testers in our Quality Assurance department! We tend to favor candidates with programming experience but most importantly, we want people who are fans of our games.Why would you want to work in our QA dept? I’ll give you two reasons.1. We use our QA testers as interns throughout the year. These interns are typically among our top testers, and they sit with the development team, attend meetings, and work on our games directly. So if you kick major ass as a tester here, there is a good chance you’ll be a candidate for one of those intern slots.

2. When we have a job opening on the development team, we look internally first to fill them, so our QA dept gets an inside advantage.

Check out our jobs page for more information on how to apply. For more information about life as a tester at Bethesda Softworks, check out the Inside the Vault interviews with current/former QA testers including Will Noble, Chris Krietz, Alan Nanes, and Nathan McDyer.

Remember to check the jobs page first, thanks Gstaff for the heads up.

Jerry Goes to MTV

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From Kotaku:

Jerry Bruckheimer and MTV have signed a deal whereby Bruckheimer will set up a gaming studio with the goal of making “new, original” titles (ie not games based on Bruckheimer’s films). Speaking about the move, Bruckheimer says:

Video games represent a new and innovative medium for what we’ve always tried to do, which is to tell great stories. But this medium is unique in that it gives the player control over how those stories unfold. I look forward to working with MTV Games to create new original game stories, always looking for ways to innovate the medium.

It’s unclear just how much involvement Bruckheimer will have with the actual development of the games, but from the sounds of things he’ll be working on at least the initial stages of the creative process, as well as overseeing the formation of his studio.

Does this means he will step down from his position as a member of the Board of Directors at Zenimax Media Inc., the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, makers of Fallout 3, or will he keep the job?

November Misc

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A few thoughts and news for the day:

First Rock Paper Shotgun has some thoughts on Zenimax Online intentions:

CVG reports (good luck Firefox users!) that ZeniMax Online have licensed Simutronics‘ MMO HeroEngine (the same one BioWare have picked up for their forthcoming super-secret (ohmygodit’ssoobviouslystarwars) MMO). This is being linked to the story from earlier this month regarding Bethesda’s registering of the domain, elderscrollsonline.com, and thus speculation that an Elder Scrolls MMO is on its way.

However, it might not be that simple. In this month’s PC Gamer (print version), The Spy reports that there’s speculation it could be an attempt at preparing for the Fallout MMO rights landing in their laps. In a peculiar deal, Interplay only has a loose grip on the option to make an online version of the Fallout universe, and if investors aren’t convinced they can do it, the rights will leap over to Bethesda. Is Bethesda preparing a net for the post-apocalyptic world?

Who knows? Regardless of all the speculation, NMA reports Interplay is hiring again:

Interplay is actively recruiting again, as can be seen on gaming developers site Gamasutra. Right now the jobs list includes Environmental Concept Artist, System Designer and Content Designer.

More interesting is that Jason D. Anderson is listed as the contact guy, which would make him the Human Resource manager and in charge of who he works with.

When he heard of this former BIS developer Damien “Puuk” Foletto, also working in some pretty interesting MMOs these days, had this to say:

I’d rather stab myself in the nuts with a salt covered ice pick.

Ok…

Also Fallout is number 33 in IGN’s Top 100 games of all times. Hurray.

Finally this blog was removed from the Bethesda Games Fallout 3 forum fansite list, because of the Tiscali scans. Their rules are clear about scans, so I won’t complain much, it’s fair game from their part.

I have just something I don’t get, I did the same thing as Kotaku, yet nothing happened to them. Tsk, tsk.

TES Online?

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From VoodooExtreme:

While doing a little domain crawling, we noticed that ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, recenly purchased ELDERSCROLLSONLINE.COM. Combine this little acquisition with the fact that it recently opened up a online game division headed up by Mythic co-founder Matt Firor, and I think we might have made a love connection. We contacted Bethesda about this, but have yet to get an official response. How does a massively multiplayer version of The Elder Scrolls strike you?

Gamers seem to be divided on the subject, will Fallout Online be next, outside of Herve’s hands?

Zenimax at DevelopMag

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Summer at NMA points out some speculation about Zenimax 300 million dollars deal on Developmag:

Bethesda Softworks, the developer and publisher of 360 hit Oblivion, is setting up a European division reports MCV – and the publisher is reportedly looking to buy European talent.
Although the move is not yet confirmed, the publisher has already hired Blast boss Sean Brennan as a consultant – he’s reputedly seeking a London HQ and recruiting staff.
Specifically, word is that Bethesday is looking for creative staff, with studio acquisitions and a new European development office ‘both looking likely’.

Until now, Bethesda has strictly operated in the US, and gone with other publishers such as Ubisoft and 2K to get its games out in other territories. It has an internal studio and also publishes games by other independent teams.

Going into the acquisition of development studios in Europe is tricky to say the least, but going into publishing in the Old Continent makes sense. Let’s suppose for a moment that Game A in the US market is sold at 59 dollars, and just for sake of the argument the publisher gets 10 dollars out of it. Selling 500000 copies makes a return of 5 million bucks.

Now that same Game A is sold at 59 euros in Continental Europe, and 59 Pounds in Britain, and Beth makes 10 Euros or 10 Pounds in each unity.

That makes a return of US$7.203.000 and US$10.237.500 respectively. Seems a good deal to me.

Of course I still feel this deal has more to do with the MMORPG market, for the PC and Consoles.

Zenimax in the News

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From NMA:

ZeniMax Media Receives $300 Million Investment from Providence Equity Partners

Rockville, MD, October 25, 2007 – ZeniMax Media Inc. today announced the closing of a $300 million investment by Providence Equity Partners Inc. for convertible preferred stock of the Company. The proceeds of the investment will be used to fund future growth, increase game development and publishing, facilitate acquisitions, and finance massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs).

ZeniMax Media was founded in 1999 by Robert A. Altman, its Chairman and CEO, and through wholly owned subsidiaries creates and publishes original interactive entertainment content for gaming consoles (including the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, and the Nintendo DS and Wii), the PC, handheld/wireless devices, and online gaming. Last year its wholly owned subsidiary, Bethesda Softworks, released The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion® which was voted Best Game of 2006. Bethesda’s upcoming title, Fallout® 3, has already been featured on the cover of more than 20 magazines worldwide and has won accolades as one of most anticipated games for 2008.

It makes sense to expand internationally the publishing side of the company with a high Euro allowing for better margins, and in a moment of consolidation on the gaming scene it gives them some extra breathing air.

But this is mostly about MMORPG’s. That’s my bet.