February 8, 2007 - When we posted our preview of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, we talked about the various improvements that had been made to the PS3 version, such as the optimized load times and enhanced graphical presentation thanks to new pixel shaders that displayed sharper details. We also pointed out that while the Knights of the Nine side quest would be included, other downloadable content would not initially be included in the game. Needless to say, this information spawned a host of rumors on the boards and across the Internet. To separate the fact from the fiction about Oblivion on the PS3, we went directly to Pete Hines, the VP of Public Relations and Marketing at Bethesda Softworks for the true details behind the game.
Rumors were rampant about the reasons behind the lack of downloadable content. Other websites have reported that the justification behind the missing missions and features was due to technical limitations of the console. According to Hines, nothing could be farther from the truth. There were two specific reasons behind why items like the Orrery and Mehrunes's Razor will not be included within the PS3 version of the game. First of all, there was a concern about the balancing of the game and initially giving players access to a thieves den or a wizard's tower immediately at the start of the game. "There was no good way to incorporate these features into the game as soon as it started because it didn't make sense," Hines said. While he didn't rule out the possibility of some of these side quests or features making it into the game, it wouldn't necessarily be as soon as the game hit store shelves.
In fact, the other reason why the downloadable content for the PS3 version of the game isn't included isn't solely because of the technical limitations of the system. Instead, it's because the designers haven't actually tested the PlayStation Network Store and the mechanisms for delivering content to systems. Considering that the development team has been spending a large amount of time making sure that the game transitions over to the PS3 well without the numerous bugs or glitches that plagued the PC and 360 versions of the game, working on the store was definitely a low priority on their list when it came to dedicating additional resources to that feature. But it is being worked on, and it will be coming at a later date.
So what about the shaders or optimizations? Rumors were released stating that everything in the PS3 version of the game would migrate over to the 360 or the PC, which kicked off a screaming match on boards about which version was ultimately better. According to Hines, the shader functionality that would re-render the low-res textures would inevitably make its way to the 360 build and PC in future updates. However, certain optimizations that take advantage of the system's hardware will remain exclusive to the PS3 version of the game.