The Age of the World-Builders

The Escapist's Jeremy Monken takes a moment to explore a few specific game worlds and the people who built them in a new article titled "The Age of the World-Builders." BioShock and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion to be found within:
Oblivion Lead Designer Emil Pagliarulo believes that we have delivered the promise of virtual reality that was often discussed and hyped in the '90s. Through first-person visuals, realistic physics and simulated time and weather, game developers have brought about the visions of immersive VR, but without the bulky headgear and excessive wires.

When you play an MMOG, a game like Oblivion or Bethesda's current big project, Fallout 3, "you're not controlling that character, you are that character," Pagliarulo says. "You get a sense of control over the world that you can't find anywhere else."

A fellow Bethesda world-builder, Executive Producer Todd Howard, describes these virtual worlds as existing in two layers, the believable world and the game world.

"The allure [of the believable world] is that players can imprint themselves," Howard says. "Players think 'I want to be this person, I want to do this thing!' and it's our job to fulfill as many of those
ideas as possible."

To do that job, Howard believes in one principle above all others: "Great games are played, not made." He explains that if you don't approach the development of games as a gamer, then you're all about the process and not the product. "It's pure entertainment you can tweak. You have to know constantly 'What's the vibe? What does it feel like?' in order to tweak the story and the world and get them to highlight each other. ... And the simpler everything is, the better it all works together."