E3: Bethesda Conference 2015
Here we go, Bethesda’s first ever E3 show. Yours truly started off with a countdown. As the fans counted down, it darkened to follow with testimonials from many people within Bethesda telling us why they do what they do. Showing off a quick compilation of the games they’d be showing, Fallout, DOOM, and Dishonored just to name a few. It was off with a BANG, opening with vice president Pete Hines and Skyrim’s dovahkiin theme. After a quick “thank you” to fans, he continues on by introducing the next DOOM, running on the new idTech 6 engine. Moving on to id’s executive producer, Marty Stratton, he tells us the brief history of DOOM, and why it’s important to gaming. DOOM was a frontrunner, one of the few games to bring FPS to the modern era.
Presented with gameplay, it opens to a marine on mars readying his helmet. Helmet on, the door in front of him opens to see himself in some sort of factory. Broken platforms, burst pipes, the room lays dim with orange overtones. Shotgun in hand, he double jumps to an adjacent platform proceeding along the steel walkways. Taking a right, he hears a noise from behind and turns to see demons warping in. Firing his shotgun, he dispatches the enemies in a show of particle effects, and at this point I started taking in the polish of the game.
It looks new and clean graphically speaking, and appropriately bloody. The ability to climb ledges is shown off quickly as he fires at demons, continuing through the halls. The room is cleared and a small variety of melee executions are shown off. He continues on blasting baddies, firing at a barrel nearly killing himself. Clearing the horde, he pries open a jammed door finding walls covered in blood and the sign of the devil on the wall. A decapitated soldier slouched against the wall bears a double barrel shotgun, as our protagonist picks it out of his hands the crowd cheers for the classic weapon. Proceeding up the stairs on his right he tears down a room full of enemies, firing both barrels at a time.
Going through a series of jumps we get a look at the weapon wheel as he switches back to his previous shotgun for an increased rate of fire. The wheel is pretty standard, 8 selections, nothing special. He then does something I didn’t expect. It appears as though he’d put an entirely new barrel on the shotgun which seemed to give him the ability to charge more than one round in quick succession. Firing into the crowd and pummelling the last target he opens his wheel again, and becomes apparent that time slows while it’s open. Picking up a Plasma Rifle from a conveniently placed container, he shows it off firing automatic balls of white energy. Getting to a waypoint he attempts to activate a console with his handprint. Activating a different console on a separate wall, opens up a holographic display on what’s called an echo device.
The echo shows what’d transpired, showing a previous worker bludgeoned against the console and being dragged away by one of the bigger demons. Following the hologram, he finds the previous worker, torn and shredded. Tearing off his arm with a single “Yeah!” from the audience, he backtracks to the console and places the workers hand down, activating the next door. Pulling out the next rifle, shows to be some form of box fed machine gun. After obliterating the crowd of demons he finds none other than the chainsaw much to the audience’s approval. Chumming away a crowd of demons, he’s finally knocked down by a bloodied skeleton riding a jetpack. It rips the players left arm, then right and beats the player’s head with it, cracking the helmet and flashing to a screen of flying embers containing only the word DOOM.
Bringing it back to the stage, we’re greeted again by Marty Stratton who’d go on to talk briefly about multiplayer. Offering a range of maps, powerups and game types. DOOM will be bringing back exactly what made old school multiplayer fps what it was. Even showing at one point that you can become a demon yourself when the opportunity presents itself. Much to my enjoyment Marty revealed one more thing, DOOM Snapmap. A tool to create virtually endless content, featuring content creation, map editing, and game type creation on any platform, not only for multiplayer, but single player and co-op experiences as well allowing you to modify the very game logic itself. Marty closes out with one last look at the single player campaign, this time in Hell itself.
Opening to a cragged walkway, skull strewn about and stuck atop spikes jutting out of the ground, our protagonist enters a flaming tower seeing nothing but death. Traversing through the corridor he jumps to an arena of enemies, demolishing each enemy with a different weapon, showing off each weapon’s strength, bouncing around the arena just we used to in the early days. During this arena battle, it really seems as though the weapon wheel’s slowdown impacts the game a lot, doing more harm than good, almost pausing enemy AI and having them just stand there while picking a weapon. The presentation for DOOM closed with a quick thanks from Marty.
Back to VP Pete Hines, he talks about what exactly is powering DOOM’s Snapmap, and it’s the same service that’s powering Elder Scrolls Online.
Something known as Bethesda.Net will be the central hub for everything Bethesda does from now on, acting as website, forum, news source and all around online service. Bethesda.Net will be everything you ever need from Bethesda as a service. “Bethesda.net builds on our commitment to developing and supporting great triple A quality games.” Says Bethesda VP.
Pete segways into a new game known as Battlecry, by their very own Battlecry studios with a video. Battlecry appears to be an online game with heavy influences by Valve’s Team Fortress 2 both in art style and play style while being more heavily based on melee rather than ranged weapons. Having a variety of classes like Brawler (Soldier), Ranger (Sniper), Infiltrator (Scout), and Gadgeteer (Engineer), it’s hard not to look at this like a third person clone of TF2. Even the music is notably similar. And while I hate to rag on anyone, this is definitely not the quality of game I’ve come to expect from Bethesda.
Next up we have Co-creatives Harvey Smith and Raphael Colantonio of Arkane Studios showing us what they have in store for Dishonored 2. The trailer was short but effective. Opening with Corvo’s mask sinking into briny depths, a city is shown, streets are bustling as people are executed. Our new protagonist prowls the streets, using a variety of abilities. A new Blink ability is presented with a more tangible rope like effect to it. A new plague presents itself in the form of bugs amongst the festering dead.
As our hero(?) reaches their targets household, they step in all the walls change and shift. No longer is it a lobby, but what looks to be a trophy room. Blinking to the target's room, we see very capable new robots most likely built by the target himself. Our protagonist is none other than Emily Kaldwin, nothing but a young girl in the first game, protected by Corvo himself. Combat is shown for the first time and shows off Corvo’s old sword.
Before the trailer ends, the fearful villain says “Think before you strike. If you kill me, you become the assassin we claimed you were... You become one of us.” and another quick scene pops up. An adolescent male picking up Corvo’s mask that had seemingly washed ashore and simply says “The years are long, but it’s always good to see a familiar face”.
Dishonored 2 will be playable with both Corvo and Emily interchangeably as it seems they may reside in the same faction and you may take either of them for any mission, featuring their own skill sets and abilities. Dishonored 2 will be coming for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
The first Dishonored will be making a comeback as well with their “Definitive Edition” complete with all DLC and increased graphical fidelity for PC and the current generation of consoles coming this fall.
The Elder Scrolls
Afterwards, ESO Tamriel Unlimited was presented, offering a list of things to expect in the coming year; Imperial City, a city lost to the evils of the world. Orsinium, land of the Orcs. And a quick peek at the Dark Brotherhood, hinted only be a handprint and the words “We Know”. Also announced was Elder Scrolls Legends, a PC and iOS card game based on the lore of Tamriel. At this point, Pete tries to comically end the presentation prematurely. He stutters and pauses until the audience cries out for Fallout, and with that the Fallout presentation began.
Fallout 4 has apparently been in development since the release of Fallout 3 Showing off a beautiful slideshow of Fallout’s concept art with the iconic Fallout music. Starting off with the character creator, we already see changes. Showing off amazing actor detail, we not only see an improvement to the subtleties of animation but an all new way to create characters. No more sliders, all we have left is simply dragging features to create unique faces. Initially it presents you with the the male face, but your wife may take place in front of him if you choose to play as a female. Regardless of who you choose to play as, a child will be generated based on both of their faces, so make sure to customize them both.
A knock on the door and you’re two shakes away from being a registered vault resident. Once your name and S.P.E.C.I.A.L. are finalized, the real game begins. News is broadcasted and neighbourhoods are called into the vaults. A bomb goes off, and 200 years later you are the sole survivor of Vault 111. Once you rise again from the vault, you head back to your house where your very own Mr Handy “Cogsworth” has been waiting for you for the past 200 years. And afterwards of course comes the dog.
Companions, at least as far as the dog is concerned, is a big improvement over the last Fallout, more than Skyrim. You’ll be able to ask your companion a variety of things to do. Go to locations, retrieve objects near you. If you’re fast and smart about it, I’m sure you’d be able to ask him to grab a dropped rifle for you if you’ve run out of ammo in combat. VATS seems to be working much better, rather than pausing the game completely, VATS offers a chance to quickly target key points on an enemy in slow motion. The trailer goes on to show different areas of the map, all of which look amazing, from the dark underground, to swamp, to the dense center of Boston itself.
The Pipboy has also seen some improvements, including playing minigames on it. The Pipboy now has entirely animated functions. Anything you do on it will be reflected by the character’s hand. Featured with the Pipboy, it was revealed that armor is now modular, while being able to wear a vault suit, you’ll also be able to add armor pieces on top.
Funnily enough, Bethesda thought the Pipboy was so important that they’ve created the “Pipboy Edition” for Fallout 4. It will include an almost working Pipboy powered by an iPhone that will let you use the Pipboy on your arm rather than the Pipboy in the game. Now I do say almost because it upsets me slightly that the buttons on the Pipboy do not work, it’s exclusively a touchscreen app. If you choose not to get the Pipboy Edition, fret not as the app will be free for iOS and Android.
In the spirit of creating a world for you to thrive in, Bethesda give you the chance to build your own settlements and homes, in amazing detail, but be warned a new settlement is sure to be victimized by raiders. And while we’re on the subject of amazing customization, we bring you weapon modification. Everything in the game is made up of parts, just like in our own lives. So why not take them apart? Everything in the world can now be used for scraps to make something new. With 50 weapons, and over 700 customizations. Finding your perfect weapon will seem like an infinite search, which is a good thing. And while not much was said, you’ll be able to customize your power armor too.
Customization is huge in Fallout 4 and to show it off they gave a compilation of a bunch of ways to do pretty much anything. Ever wanted to ride shotgun in a Vertibird? How about jetpacks on your power armor?
As a tie in to Fallout series, they’ve created Fallout Shelter for iOS. It offers up the rare chance to manage your own vault as an Overseer, the mayor of a vault if you will. Manage resources and build your vault, send vaulters out to look for supplies and arm them however you like. The game is free and was out as soon as the conference ended, with details about an Android version being confirmed on Twitter. And with the closing of Fallout 4, it was over.
In the end, I was very pleased with Bethesda’s first ever conference. Almost everything I saw, I enjoyed. I came for Fallout 4, but most other stuff grasped me as well. I’ve never been a big fan of DOOM, I knew it was a classic, but I never really played it. What’d been shown here actually has me reeling to play. Dishonored was another that came out of left field. The first game was really enjoyable, but never really felt it needed a sequel, it didn’t need anything else. Dishonored 2 has shown that’s not the case. The only bump was Battlecry, and I really hope it isn’t what I think it is. Bethesda can do a much better job than that. But oh boy, Fallout 4, I knew I wanted it before, but as you can imagine I’m a quite a bit more excited. Everything about that game looks good, I didn’t see anything that looked too over the top or annoying.
Well, that’s all for today, we should have our stories for the rest of E3 posted soon, so we’ll catch you then.