E3 2015: Bethesda Conference

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The lights went down, the crowd feel silent as the anticipation filled the air, and then, ‘Please Stand By’ appeared on the projections on the stage, the crowd went mental.

It was pretty obvious what most people were excited about when it comes to Bethesda’s first E3 conference, but I’ll get to that later on.

The conference kicked off with the gameplay footage of DOOM 4, or just DOOM as it’s now called. It was brutal, bloody, and fun. The crowd oo’d and cheered as various body parts were torn away and then inserted into other body parts. There was no mistaking that this was DOOM, the fast paced shooter we all know and love, but with a next gen twist. As the gameplay trailer went on, you see our character nabbing a chainsaw from the torso of a chap who seemed like he didn’t need it anymore, and that’s where the real fun began.

The feel of simplicity of running and jumping around slicing monsters in half looked fun and it certainly got the crowd excited. DOOM looked smooth with both its melee finishers and gun combat. But the demo wasn’t over yet.

Bethesda then announced the multiplayer, arena based combat which looked as fun and as frantic as the single player campaign. Reminiscent of the Quake series.  Bethesda then discussed the new DOOM SnapMap for multiplayer, giving players the chance to create their own customer maps for the game and share them online with everyone on the planet to enjoy. Looks cool!

Towards the end of the presentation we all then went straight to Hell, literally as DOOM’s ‘Hell’ level was showcased in all its glory with bigger and meaner monsters and weapons. DOOM is going to be a game that – if done right, will please a lot of people. Expect DOOM to be released on PS4, Xbox One and PC spring 2016.

Next up in the conference was Battlecry, a sleek looking multiplayer game that I personally felt slowed the conference down after the fast paced gore of DOOM. Bethesda discussed the different character types in the game. If you’ve played Team Fortress 2 you’ll get the type of multiplayer that Battlecry is trying to make. Expect Battlecry out of PS4, Xbox One and PC in fall 2015.

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A highly polished CGI trailer was shown for Dishonored 2. It looked smooth and very pretty. However, with all highly polished, pre-rendered CGI trailers, you have to take them with a pinch of salt as they don’t reflect the final product and I will reserve my opinion of Dishonored 2 until I’ve seen some actual gameplay. However, if it’s anything like the original, it should please fans easily. The main difference to the original game is that now you can play as either Corvo or Emily Kaldwin. And you don’t even have to kill anyone in the game. For completionists, that’s four playthroughs!

On top of the announcement for Dishonored 2, Bethesda also announced Dishonored: Definitive Edition which will be a next gen upgrade for the original Dishonored with all the bells and whistles included. Expect both Dishonored: Definitive Edition on PS4, Xbox One and PC fall 2015 with Dishonored 2 coming later on.

Bethesda also showed new content which is coming to The Elder Scrolls online later this year. On top of this they also revealed The Elder Scrolls: Legends, a free to play card game coming for both PC and iPad. Very little information was given about the game, but only that it’s coming later this year.

And now we come to the meat in the sandwich. Naturally, Bethesda saved the best till last with everyone waiting with bated breath to see if anything new would be revealed, and boy, did we get a treat.

Producer and Director Todd Howard took to the stage and had the audience eating from his hands from the get go. We were given a glimpse of all the concept art for Fallout 4 and Howard mentioned the team obsession with the level of detail in Fallout 4. Everything is painstakingly detailed, even down to the switches. Really impressive stuff.

Moving in to the actual gameplay footage of Fallout 4, we were given a glimpse of the in depth character customisation for both male and female characters. The game engine is the same as they used in both Fallout 3 and New Vegas but it has been given a next gen overhaul and you can see this in the character you design. Howards then informed us that once you have perfected both character customisations for yourself and your wife/husband, the baby whom you both have will take features from both characters to form its own look. Really cool! There is also 1000 pre-recorded names in Fallout 4 so yes, people you meet can call you by your real name if you so wish.

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Not much was given away about the story as they wish to keep tight-lipped about that until the game is released. The only snippet that was shared was that the game starts off before the bombs fell in 2077. Then, mysteriously, after making a run to Vault 111 just as the bombs fall, you awake in 2277 with no idea what’s happened and everyone around you dead.

Unlike previous Fallout games, the wasteland of Boston (known as the Commonwealth in the Fallout universe) is rich with colours. The sky is blue, vending machines for Nuka Cola are a bright but faded red. Even though this is a post nuclear holocaust world, it feels more bright and alive than the last two games.

Not content with just showing us 10 minutes of gameplay, new crafting modes were shown off. You have the ability to go to town on building the ultimate weapon be it a rifle, shot gun or rocket launcher. You can tinker till your heart’s content and the demonstration of this was mightily impressive.

Speaking of crafting, do you want to build a new home? Or better yet, a full town with a community? Fallout 4 has got you covered. You can build settlements from the rubbles of Boston and install defence mechanisms to keep raiders and monsters who try to attack your town at bay. Even set up trade routes with other settlements you make through the game. This is a brand new feature to the Fallout universe and it was well received by the audience, though Howard did stress that this is a completely optional part of the game. Yeah right, who wouldn’t want to do this?

Howard then revealed that the collector’s edition of Fallout 4 will come with a real, working Pipboy that you can put on your arm. By placing your phone into the Pipboy and utilising the second screen app that will be available for the game at launch, you can use the Pipboy just like in the game. No price was given, but expect it to be a tasty amount. Though if you are a hardcore Fallout fan, it is a must. If you don’t want to shell out for the collector’s edition then don’t worry, the second screen app will be free for all players from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

On the back of this, Fallout Shelter was revealed. This free to play, no paywall, no internet connection needed app will be available for mobile and tablet devices. In Fallout Shelter, you will create, and run your own vault and manage all the people who dwell within it. Upgrading your vault and making it bigger and better and defending it from all the nasty people who wish to give you a bad day from the wasteland. What’s more, the game is available now from the App store. Go pick it up it’ll be worth it!

Finally, to wrap up what had been one of the best E3 conferences for a few years. Howard dropped the bomb (pun intended) that Fallout 4 will be released worldwide on November 10th 2015. The crowd went wild, I went wild, and even Howard went wild.

Bethesda has set the bar pretty high for other conferences at E3 this year. But I cannot wait to see what else is in store. As ever, follow me at https://twitter.com/TPMgoodwill as I’ll be live tweeting everything from E3 2015.

 

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