E3 2015: Bethesda Media Showcase

Posted by Calum 15 June 2015

E3 has changed. Delayed by a day for a single purpose. Bethesda. Having decided to hold their own press conference to show the world just what they have to offer, left me thinking just how many games they actually have to talk about. What I left the conference thinking was “man, Bethesda know how to make video games”

Straight out the gates of hell, Doom finally made its first appearance to the public. Running on the new id Tech 6, the emphasis appears to be on speed. You move so quickly. Guns fire rather rapidly. Enemies spawn with haste. Do you get it yet? It`s very fast. It is also incredibly brutal. Mortal Kombat like melee executions that involve making a demon kick itself in the head, and not to mention the chainsaw. Never quite fully cutting an imp in two, but really hacking one to bits. Not to forget Doom’s roots, multiplayer was briefly mentioned. Showing multiplayer arena combat, and a likely king of the hill style mode where you become a revenant. All looks very impressive. The interesting point was the announcement of Snapmap, a Doom multiplayer level editor that works of a simple snap to place style design, but also allows in depth manipulation of game logic. Euan tells me phrases like “node logic” and I assume that`s all very smart and interesting. A very strong first showing for the resurrected FPS. I`m excited to see more.

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Acting like the major leak of the announcement hadn`t happened, Arkhane Studios announced Dishonoured 2. As a follow up to the much loved stealth action game, it appears to be doing somethings slightly different, while remaining largely true to its origins. Set in a brand new corrupt city, with a new plague to fight against, players can chose to play the game as old protagonist Corvo, but also have the choice of brand new female character, Emily Caldwin.

As a fan of the first game, I’ll be watching to see what this game does differently from the first. Alongside this announcement, Dishonoured: Definitive Edition was revealed, allowing PS4 and Xbox One owners a chance to play the original with all of its DLC before the release of the new tale.

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Three games I will not spend a lot of time discussing are the now free to play The Elder Scrolls Online (there are going to be new areas for people that care), The Elder Scrolls Legends (a new free to play trading card game, probably looking to imitate the success of…other…free to play trading card games…), and Battlecry (free to play third person action game. It looks like Team Fortress 2 but with bad melee combat) They were barely talked about at the conference itself, so that`s all you`ll hear from me as well.

Now onto the important stuff. Fallout 4. After announcing the games existence a week before E3 was scheduled to happen, the expectation was a gameplay demo at the show itself. What we got was a hell of a lot more. We got top Bethesda man Todd Howard on stage for half an hour showing us just what he wanted to achieve with Fallout 4. Starting with the confirmation that the game starts pre- nuclear war, with 1950s utopian styling, complete with bright colours and helpful vault-tech employees coming to your door telling you that you and your family are safe from the coming apocalypse. How handy. All of this is told to a main character that, not only looks and animates way better than old Fallout games, but has a voice. This has to mean that there are hundreds of lines of dialogue for the main character to speak, given the amount of choice you are typically presented with in any social encounter. Through unknown means, you then wake up 200 years after the bombs drop, the only survivor of vault 111.

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You are left to explore the wasteland of the Boston area, trusty dog companion at your side. Not only to explore, but also to lay some sort of roots in the world. Todd spent a long time talking about the settlement that you can create and design. Building walls, placing furniture and deciding where passing travellers may set up their own homes within your walls. One of the most fascinating aspects of this town building the resource management. Yes you have to find water, food and power to keep your community going, but you also have to manage actual power grids. Hooking generators to lights and defence systems with power lines, and more. These systems can also be controlled by computer terminals, defining the logic of how and when these systems operate.

This truly open customisation is mirrored in the brand new crafting system for weapon and armour mods. Every item in the game links to a particular crafting item. These items can then be paired in various ways to make everything from scopes, stocks, barrels and more for your weapons, and slightly more crazy items like jetpacks for your buildable power armour. Jetpacks. In Fallout. To say this is exciting is a massive understatement.

All of this can be managed by your trusty pip-boy of course. The newly designed version includes more dynamic UI elements, with moving SPECIAL characters and armour menus. The pip-boy new has a real world replica, found in the special editions of the game. This is actually a wearable iphone case, and comes with an app that lets you control your in game inventory from your wrist in the real world. A nice little touch for a very fancy and likely expensive add on.

This is now not the only way to experience the Fallout world on mobile devices. Released minutes after the media showcase rapped, Fallout Shelter is a very cool vault management sim, complete with room building, character control and resource systems. This is paired with the random drop system of lunchboxes, containing cards to boost your production or give your vault dwellers better items to scavenge the wasteland. It is a great little game, that does not seem to fall in the pay to complete model of all these other types of mobile games. Todd Howard himself said that that isn`t what Bethesda wanted to do. Be sure to stay tuned as we play more of it in the future. I intend to lose quite some time to it.

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As an opener to E3, Bethesda ostensibly knocked it right out the park. The entire conference had an air of maturity about it that I really appreciated. No show pieces or fancy reveals. Just here is a game, it looks great, here is another one that looks just as good. Incredibly impressive stuff. If all the conference can be this good, we are in for a killer E3 this year.