Morrowind has absurdly long loading times on the original Xbox, sometimes lasting over a minute or more. Why? Bethesda ran out of memory and literally had to reboot the console as you played.
In a recent interview with Major Nelson, Todd Howard reveals why Morrowind's loading sequences are so ridiculously long on the 2001 Xbox. Howard was discussing the old days and how Bethesda worked with Microsoft to figure out lots of little tricks with the original Xbox. One of these tricks involved literally rebooting the console without the user even knowing.
"There's been great tricks that they taught us. My favorite one on Morrowind is...if you're running low on memory, you can reboot the original Xbox and the user can't tell. You can throw like a screen up. When Morrowind loads sometimes, you get a very long load. That's us rebooting the Xbox,"Howard said.
Morrowind is one of my favorite games of all time and I've probably wasted whole days in cumulative loading times. I'm probably not the only one either. Now we know the mystery behind our collective aging.
Now all we need is a next-gen Morrowind remaster with mod support for consoles...
Oh, and Bethesda also threw a party when Microsoft announced they were doubling the Xbox 360's RAM.
"When were knee-deep in the 360, there was an issue with how much memory it was going to have at the time. We kept pushing Xbox to double it. 'If you want Oblivion to look like this, we can do this." I still have a picture of our tech director after we got told our memory was doubling...we threw a double memory party and I've never seen a programmer happier in my life," Howard said.
"We had a cake with the amount of memory that you guys had switched to. I swear, it was a huge moment. It was a good party," Bethesda's Pete Hines said.
Read Also: 18 years of Morrowind, the best Elder Scrolls: A mini retrospective