Elder Scrolls unrolls this month

Long-awaited role-playing game finally unearths a release date; PC and Xbox 360 versions of Oblivion to ship March 20.

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"Our most ambitious project ever is finally done," said Todd Howard, executive producer at Bethesda Softworks. No sweeter words have been uttered for fans of next-generation role-playing games, as Howard's project is The Elder Scroll IV: Oblivion.

The game has gone gold, finally finishing its epic journey in development. Even though it had been beset with almost a four-month delay, Oblivion will still be the first role-playing game to hit a next-gen console when it ships for the PC and Xbox 360 March 20. The fourth installment in the franchise was originally slated as a launch title for Microsoft's new console, before publisher 2K Games and Bethesda decided to delay it "to ensure the title meets gamers' high expectations."

The Elder Scrolls games are known for their large worlds, freedom of exploration, and first-person view, and Oblivion will be no different. Like in the rest of the games in the franchise (and just about any adventure game), the main character isn't some apple vendor or stablehand. Gamers will take control of a character who is burdened with saving the universe from an unspeakable evil (who actually will be spoken of many, many times).

Players can once again customize their character before letting him/her loose in the realm of Tamriel. From there they'll set forth on various main- or side-mission tasks, which range from the requisite clearing the dungeon/sewer of rats to the mandatory battles with the undead.

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is rated T for Teen and will retail for $59.99 on the Xbox 360 and $49.99 on the PC. For more information, check out GameSpot's recent hands-on with the game.

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