General:Mark Nelson

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Mark Nelson
GEN-developer-Mark Nelson.jpg
Role(s) Designer, writer
Years active 2000—Present[1]
Alias(es) BlueDev[2]
Game credits The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind[3]
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion[4]

Mark E. Nelson is a video game designer and writer who worked on Morrowind[3] and Oblivion,[4] notably as the Lead Designer of the Shivering Isles expansion.[5]

The Elder Scrolls[edit]

Nelson's early sketch of Solstheim for Bloodmoon

After being contacted by Mike Lipari, a former colleague,[6][7] Nelson joined the Morrowind team in January 2000, his first job in the video game industry.[1] With Douglas Goodall,[8] Nelson spent his first few months working on building interiors in the Construction Set—which he reflected he was terrible at[7]—before being moved on to quest design, dealing with miscellaneous quests not related to the main story or factions, including the Daedric Quests.[6][7] He was also the creator of Morrowind's vampires, designing their mechanics and quests.[9][10] Nelson played a larger role for Tribunal, being responsible for designing the story and creating the main quest.[11] He also played a key role for Bloodmoon, including devising the original concept for the expansion,[12] designing the game area of Solstheim[13] and designing the implementation of werewolves,[14] recalling that he once had a long and agitated argument with producer Todd Howard over how high werewolves should be able to jump.[7][15] Nelson was a designer on Oblivion and his work included designing the dialog system,[16] and he was the Lead Designer of the Shivering Isles expansion.[5]

Nelson is noted for his sense of humor, and was behind the appearances of Fargoth, Tarhiel, and The Lusty Argonian Maid in Morrowind.[7][8] He wrote other books for Morrowind, as needed for the quests he designed.[7]

Outside of The Elder Scrolls[edit]

Nelson attended Duke University where he earned degrees in English and Spanish,[1][17] and his online handle "BlueDev" and the Morrowind easter egg Eltonbrand are references to the Duke Blue Devils.[18] Before joining Bethesda Softworks, Nelson was an editor for various publications, including humor magazine Washington Wit,[1] and designed multimedia training at Raytheon[1] where he met programmer Mike Lipari.[7]

In 2007, Nelson left Bethesda Softworks and joined Ken Rolston, whom he regards as his "best friend in the industry",[7] at Big Huge Games as Lead Narrative Designer,[17] working on Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning as Creative Director.[1][19] He subsequently joined former Big Huge Games CEO Brian Reynolds at Zynga East, directing design on CityVille 2[20] and working on a further title[1] before the studio was shut down in 2013.[21] Alongside roles at other game design companies, Nelson has been an independent game design consultant since 2013.[1]

Outside of gaming, Nelson has been a Design Director at robotics company Sphero.[1]

Texts authored[edit]

This list is non-exhaustive and includes only texts of which Nelson is known to be a primary author.



Indicates The Elder Scrolls titles

Video games[edit]

Year Title Credit(s) Studio
2002 The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind Writing & Quest Design[3] Bethesda Softworks
The Elder Scrolls III: Tribunal Writing & Quest Design[23]
2003 The Elder Scrolls III: Bloodmoon Writing & Quest Design[24]
Pirates of the Caribbean Additional Writing and Design[25]
2006 The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Quest Design[4]
2007 The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles Lead Designer[5]
2008 Fallout 3 Additional Quest Design & Editing[26]
2012 Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Additional Design[27] Big Huge Games
CityVille 2 Design Director[20] Zynga East
2019 Ultimate Rivals: The Rink Studio[28] Bit Fry Game Studios, Inc.
2021 Cris Tales Writer[29] Dreams Uncorporated


See Also[edit]

External Links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Mark Nelson. LinkedIn.
  2. ^ Mark Nelson's Posts, The Imperial Library
  3. ^ a b c Morrowind:Credits
  4. ^ a b c Oblivion:Credits
  5. ^ a b c Shivering:Credits
  6. ^ a b Nelson, M. (5 September 2001). Elder Scrolls 3 Morrowind Dev Diary VII. VoodooExtreme. Archived from the original on 6 October 2001.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Kane, A. (27 March 2019). Morrowind: An oral history. Polygon.
  8. ^ a b Douglas Goodall Interview
  9. ^ [ZZOTH]. Developer Vampire Q&A;. Morrowind After Dark. Archived from the original on 12 Feburary 2002.
  10. ^ [ZZOTH]. Developer Vampire Q&A; #2. Morrowind After Dark. Archived from the original on 24 Feburary 2002.
  11. ^ [SubSonic]. (6 November 2002). Morrowind: Tribunal. Gaming Invasion. Archived from the original on 12 January 2003.
  12. ^ Douglas Goodall's Posts
  13. ^ Nelson, M. [BlueDev]. (27 October 2022). My son found an old notebook from my @bethesda days. Included a map of Fallout 3's Vault 101 and my original map of Bloodmoon's Solstheim. (Also, these are indistinguishable from my 5th grade D&D maps. Sigh.) #Fallout3 #Morrowind #Bloodmoon. Twitter.
  14. ^ Nelson, M. (April 2003). Dunces with Wolves. The Elder Scrolls website. Archived from the original on 10 April 2003.
  15. ^ Bethesda Softworks. (26 April 2004). Most Memorable Elder Scrolls Moments. The Elder Scrolls website. Archived from the original on 29 April 2004.
  16. ^ The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Team Q&A; #1. RPG Vault. Archived from the [http:/ original] on 21 April 2006.
  17. ^ a b Mark Nelson - Lead Narrative Designer. Big Huge Games. Archived from the original on 6 October 2007.
  18. ^ Morrowind:Easter Eggs#Eltonbrand
  19. ^ Cunningham, M. (7 March 2011). Five Reasons You Should Care About Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning . RPGamer. Archived from the original on 10 March 2011.
  20. ^ a b Lien, T. (1 November 2012). Taking a chance on CityVille 2. Polgyon.
  21. ^ Conditt, J. (25 February 2013). Zynga East shuttered, studios in Texas and New York consolidated. Joystiq. Archived from the original on 2 May 2013.
  22. ^ Who Did What?, The Imperial Library
  23. ^ The Elder Scrolls III: Tribunal credits (Windows, 2002). MobyGames.
  24. ^ The Elder Scrolls III: Bloodmoon credits (Windows, 2003). MobyGames.
  25. ^ Pirates of the Caribbean (Windows, 2003) credits. MobyGames.
  26. ^ Fallout 3 (2008) Windows credits. MobyGames.
  27. ^ Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (Windows, 2012) credits. MobyGames.
  28. ^ Ultimate Rivals: The Rink (iPhone, 2019) credits. MobyGames.
  29. ^ Cris Tales (Windows, 2021) credits. MobyGames.