Morrowind on Xbox Would Completely Reboot the Console During Certain Loading Screens

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Morrowind was forced to do some rather nifty workarounds in order for Bethesda to get the game optimized on the original Xbox.

In the latest edition of the Xbox Podcast, Bethesda’s Pete Hines and Todd Howard came together with Xbox’s Phil Spencer and Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb to talk a bit more about the future now that Microsoft owns Bethesda. In the process, all parties involved talked about their history with one another, which resulted in some rather funny anecdotes.

The relationship between Xbox and Bethesda started all the way back when Bethesda Game Studios was working on The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. As explained by Howard and Hines, Morrowind was the first time that Bethesda had brought a game to consoles and they didn’t really know how to develop with the Xbox hardware in mind. Howard went on to say that the team at Microsoft was able to show Bethesda some tricks on the original Xbox that the developers never would have thought of.

“My favorite one on Morrowind is that you can actually–if you’re running low on memory–you can reboot the original Xbox and the user can’t tell,” Howard explained. “You can throw like a screen up. So when Morrowind loads sometimes, you’ll get a very long load. That’s us rebooting the Xbox.” The explanation of this crazy feat was met with laughs from Spencer, Hines, and Hryb.

In another example, Howard called back to Bethesda’s work on The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and how the studio implored Microsoft to increase the memory restraints that were placed on the Xbox 360 at first. When Microsoft informed Bethesda that it would be able to double the 360’s memory, Howard said that Bethesda then threw a “double memory party” to celebrate. Hines even chimed in to say that they had a cake made for the occasion that had the Xbox 360’s new memory limitation written on the cake itself. “That was a good party,” Howard said while smiling.

All in all, the working relationship between Microsoft and Bethesda has been well-established for decades at this point, which is one reason why this week’s acquisition makes so much sense. It remains to be seen how the two will work together in the future, but if the past is any indication, there should be a lot to be excited about.

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