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Bethesda throws a 512MB “RAM” party on the Xbox 360: Todd Howard’s tales of working with Microsoft

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On the occasion of the Xbox / Bethesda merger, Xbox Programming Director Larry Hribe sat in one conference call Phil Spencer, Todd Howard and Pete Hines. The companies have been cooperating for a long time and have experienced many events. Todd Howard told about the most interesting.

“Party of double memory”

One of these happened before the release of the Xbox 360. Then Microsoft only talked with the developers about the hardware, and wondered if 256 megabytes of RAM would be enough for them. Bethesda planned to release The Elder Scrolls Oblivion to the then new generation console, so they asked the company not to skimp on “RAM”.

When Microsoft did decide to ship 512 MB, Bethesda’s management threw a “Double Memory Party”. There was even a cake with the amount of memory in the upcoming Xbox 360. As Howard himself notes, he has never seen programmers so happy in his life.

Invisible reboot

One of the biggest games for the first Xbox was The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. The console was similar in architecture to the PC, so porting did not cause any particular difficulties, and besides, there was one trick in the sleeves of the developers.

At Morrowind, the studio used Quick-Booting, which allowed the console to restart unnoticed by the player. The user saw the splash screen while the console was rebooting in the meantime. This was done to free up memory to load new data from disk.

Failed presentation

A curious incident happened already at E3 during the first live demo of Fallout 3. Todd Howard was assigned to go up on stage and play using an Xbox 360 controller. and in the event of a game crash, gamers would be shown a second playthrough.

When Howard took the stage, the Xbox 360 controller simply refused to connect, giving an error. As a result, the audience was shown the behind-the-scenes gameplay of Pete Hines, and Todd Howard stood on stage and simulated pressing buttons.

That same unsuccessful presentation:

 

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