E3 2015: Bethesda Press Conference Reaction
Are you not entertained?
Since last generation, Bethesda Softworks has been making a concerted effort to become a AAA publisher, starting with The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and through a combination of savvy acquisitions, including the Fallout license and id software, and the incubation of new IP like Dishonoured and The Evil Within. This now heady stable of IP makes a dedicated press conference not just plausible; but possibly one of the most anticipated at this year's E3.
They certainly came out of the gate swinging; delivering a lengthy gameplay demo of the new Doom, showcasing the trademark over the top shooting you would expect and some fantastically brutal melee finishers including snapped jaws, ripped limbs and a chainsaw! Those familiar with the rebooted Wolfenstein series will have a fair idea of what to expect here, but the gore has certainly been pushed to new levels which are only enhanced by the shiny new visuals.
Big f-ing guns.It comes with the expected multiplayer modes, but an unexpected inclusion was the introduction of Doom Snapmap; a cross platform modular map editor which allows user to easily create new environments and modes to share with the community. Doom is shaping up to look exactly like you imagined it in your mind whilst playing the original all those years ago, albeit with a rather more twisted sadistic filter on it.
Next up was a brief look at Battlecry; a third person "team based action combat" game being developed by Battlecry studios, coming from the mind responsible for Dishonoured. Its customisable steam punk styling evokes that art style with its variety of class-based characters. Currently in Alpha, Beta sign-ups are now live.
After a little taste of the art style it was time to officially unveil Dishonored 2 from Arkane Studios, featuring dual protagonists with the introduction of Emily along with our series staple Corvo; they both have different abilities, with the CG announcement trailer showcasing some smoke and tendril abilities helping Emily take down some new robotic enemies before reaching her target. The new city appears to take after the first game, with its decaying bowels propping up the opulent high rises, giving you new heights to scale, explore and create chaos in.
We will see Dishonored 2 on all formats but no date was given, so it's presumably a little while off yet; "while we wait" though Dishonored: Definitive Edition is being released this year, with the expected upgrades for those who missed it first time or if you simply just fancy increasing the knife crime statistics in Dunwall once more.Ladies night! Oh what night!
There was a quick check in with the recently released Elder Scrolls Online and a brief peek at some of the new content they are working on releasing in the near future. Completely new for the Elder Scrolls franchise is a Free To Play strategy card game Elder Scrolls: Legends, which looks to be trying to take a few bites out of Hearthstone's lunch, and will be coming to PC and iOS later this year.
With all the formalities out of the way it was time to tackle the big white power armour in the room, after a brief coming out party prior to the show we finally got a substantial dose of information and a lengthy first look at Fallout 4. There was a lot of information to unpack here so it is worth seeking out this part of the presentation for a detailed look on this title; but some of the lengthy gameplay included a rare glimpse at a pre-apocalypse world, where you create your character (and family) in the mirror of your alternate future home before the bombs fall and you emerge as the sole survivor of Vault 111.
Taking the baton from Fallout 3, they appear to be creating a wonderfully detailed version of Boston with even more attention to detail which promises to suck you in deeper than before. All the useless loot you would encumber yourself with can now be broken down into components and reused to create some 700 modifications for the 50 weapons in the game. There is a base building system which allows you to create and customise large areas of the map and cultivate and protect your own community of traders and NPCs who join you. It's optional but still appears incredibly in depth with the ability to create power grids and security systems to fend off the random attacks you will face.
V.A.T.S. (Vault-Tec Assisted Targetting System) returns to the combat, as does the choice of 1st or 3rd person perspective, whilst dynamic dialogue promises to allow more freedom and less clicking through long dialogue trees. The new Pip-Boy looks more like a green screen version of the future than ever and now comes complete with tape functionality which include games to help you while away the time in between rad scorpion hits. The game allows you to push the Pip-Boy experience off to a second screen, such as a phone or tablet, and the Collectors Edition comes full circle with a full size wearable replica which will house your phone so you can use it as you would in the world. Mind blown.
All of this arrives this year on November 10th 2015. What a time to be alive!
Thrown in the middle of all this was Fallout Shelter, an X-COM inspired 2D base building game for iOS, where you create you own vault and manage a community of survivors, levelling them up and sending them out into the wasteland for adventures and discovering loot and fending off attacks. It's free to play and features few pay systems apart from extra lunch boxes which deliver more loot. Having "worked closely with Apple" it's available now for iOS and should be coming to us second class Android citizens at some point in the future.
What a time to be alive!
And just like that it was over, you would think having woken up at 3AM just to watch some trailers and gameplay I would have felt tired and stupid for wasting my time; but I hadn't even dared to feel tired and the 5AM finish left me very excited for what I had seen. You could perhaps criticise a lot of what was on offer here as derivative, but it was certainly the best kind of derivative; every title I had wanted to see from Bethesda I saw, but with added bonuses throw in like Doom Snapmap and the Fallout base building. It was an excellent inaugural press conference and if this is how they plan to continue I'll be back at 3AM next year.
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