E3 is always a colossal event full of reveals and surprises, so when Bethesda were added to this year’s expo lineup to make their very first presentation… we knew something big would be coming. What we didn’t realise was just how much we would know going into the show.
DOOM had been outed thanks to an included multiplayer Beta that came with Wolfenstein: The New Order (which we’ve heard nothing else about just yet) and then via a criminally short trailer shown off just one month ago to confirm the game’s appearance at E3 2015. Then there’s Fallout 4, which was surprisingly revealed two weeks ago following a countdown campaign. So when we know just what’s coming, is there anyway Bethesda can surprise us? Oh yes there certainly is.
So after some hype time that included a pre-show backed up my what seemed like the vast majority of Twitter users, Pete Hines took to the stage and we got to see the return of a giant in the FPS genre.
Simply put by the game’s Executive producer – Marty Stratton, There are three pillars to DOOM combat “Bad Ass demons, big F’n guns and moving really really fast” and with that we were treated to a gameplay runthrough. What was shown reportedly mirrors that seen at QuakeCon last July and ended with the creature seen in the seen in DOOM’s teaser trailer last month – who ended the demo by leaping at the protagonist, ripping their arms off and then beating them to death (little other the top but did the job). So we saw superfast movement, a handful of different weapons (including the beloved chainsaw) and oh so much gore.
Stratton also gave us a glimpse at DOOM’s multiplayer with a gameplay footage montage teaser, but didn’t give any details, promising an update soon.
Staying in the same category of multiplayer, we saw the reveal of SnapMap – which is apparently inspired by iD Software’s history with mod tools. This simple yet powerful editor, players are able to build maps through a drag and drop object system and even create brand new game modes. SnapMap will be bundled with DOOM upon release.
Finally we saw a brand new single player gameplay demo (basically, not show at QuakeCon), where the Space Marine got away from his earlier Mars setting and journeyed into the depths of Hell. Along with the new setting, we got to see a grenade launcher-type weapon and a huge laser-firing enemy that ended the demo (by being fed its own heart… gross).
And that’s DOOM – fast, frantic, gory and due out in spring 2016, for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Bethesda then provided a look at Battlecry, which is currently in closed alpha but there is a more public test heading our way in autumn. The new gameplay footage shown look nice enough but I’ll hold my excitement for further updates.
Pete Hines also used this section to discuss Bethesda.net, which powers The Elder Scrolls Online, and forms the basis of Battelcry’s online connectivity, too.
Arkane Studios’ Raphael Colantonio & Harvey Smith took to the stage next to introduce Dishonored 2. Sadly no gameplay footage this time but what we did get was a trailer (narrated by the Outsider), setting up the sequel. Depicting an Assassin running through a plague-ridden city and using a type of magical grappling device to travel, this sure set up the tone of atmosphere.
Probability the biggest part to take away from the demo was the reveal of Emily – a new female assassin who just so happens to be playable. Armed with a crossbow and the ability to slow time, she took on some clockwork soldiers (that looked like they belong to Dr Who) before disposing of her target. As well as Emily, players will be able to take control of Corvo also.
Dishonored 2 will be available for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and will release in spring 2016. If you cannot wait that long however, the rumored Dishonored: Definitive Edition is coming to current gen consoles this August.
While nothing quite as shocking as Bethesda a follow up to Skyrim, they did show off The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited – which has just launched on current gen consoles.
Another title from the same series however, was a brand new online battle card game – similar to Hearthstone (just be glad they didn’t announce another bloody MOBA), called The Elder Scrolls: Legends. it’ll be coming to PC and iPad later this year, with more details in the next few months.
Finally the main attraction of the night, Todd Howard came on stage to give us more insight into Fallout 4. After a huge amount of concept art shown off in a montage along with some passionate words about the work that has gone into the game, we got to revisit that post-apocalyptic world once again.
Well really I should say pre-apocalyptic as the demo shown actually took place before the nuclear bombs detonated in a world that fans have asked to see more of in the past. Though what we saw here was short and more of an introductory/tutorial stage, there were some sections taken out in the interest of avoiding spoilers. So in the less ravaged land, we got to see the character creator section which let you customise the aspects of your soon to be Vault Hunter (male or female of course). Howard stated that not only can players customise both characters, but also their baby will be generated based on the two.
A ring of the doorbell caused our protagonist to answer and be met by a salesman in the business of selling Vault spaces (kind of like timeshares but not a con). The player was asked to verify information about themselves, which was how they set their character traits and statistics. Shortly, the household’s robot addressed the player by name – to which we then learned that Bethesda have recorded thousands of the most popular character names just for this purpose of creating further immersion.
Air raid sirens began and the player took his family and ran to the vault before witnessing a nuclear bomb’s detonation and then being hit by the resulting shock wave. For the purpose of avoiding spoilers, the demo then skipped forward but Howard then confirmed that the protagonist is the only survivor of vault 111 – emerging over 200 years later.
We then saw the player meet up once again with their old household robot, who explains that it’s been two centuries since the vault closed. it was then shown that players will get a vast array dialogue choices and could even shoot the robot if they fancied. Shortly thereafter, the player met the dog from Fallout 4’s reveal trailer – which had been met with huge cheers from the audience. A demonstration showed that this new K9 companion can be ordered around with contextual commands, rather like the companions experienced in Skyrim.
So like all major video game releases, Fallout 4 comes with a collector’s edition and “As stupid gimmicks go,” Howard said, “This is the best f**king one I’ve ever seen. It’s really cool.”
The Fallout 4 Pip-Boy Edition comes with a collectible metal case, Vault-Tec perk poster, capsule case and a wearable Pip-Boy – complete with Robco Industries stand and Pip-Boy pocket guide. So what’s cool about this Pip-Boy is that it’s actually a wearable cradle for your smart phone, which you can download the Fallout 4 companion app to and use it like the real thing.
Pip-Boy looks pretty cool. As well as allowing players to navigate the new inventory system, which includes layered armour, it can play tapes players find in the environment, including some game tapes. The app itself (which will be a free download), runs off of either wifi or your console’s signal to provide a second screen experience and allows you to use your phone for all the functions that you’d normally use the ingame Pip-Boy menu system.
The base app will be available on Android and iOS in November when the game launches. The Fallout 4 Pip-Boy Edition is available to pre-order through GAME or Amazon and will currently set you back £99.99.
Howard then showed off something unexpected, an iPad game called Fallout Shelter. This game tasks the player with the role of a Vault Manager- meaning that they must manage resources as they build their own vault and keep its inhabitants happy whilst coping with disasters. Players can control the lives each and every Vault dweller, choosing who goes out into the wasteland for supplies, who procreates and even the names of all babies born within the vault.
The game is free, has no paywall timers (though you can optionally purchase more currency) and does not require an Internet connection to play. Fallout Shelter is available on the iOS App Store right now.
During a second gameplay video demonstration, we saw a new feature to the modern Fallout series that allows players to capture and then rebuild a settlement in the wilderness – growing plants for food, sourcing water and placing generators for energy (combined with running wires into the town will provide electricity). As your town grows, it will attract settlers to come and take up residence (some of which can bring rare items for trade).
Using the crafting system within a town gives players the ability to build terminals, which are used to control electrical devices like defence systems used to protect against raiders and according to Howard… you will encounter raiders. It is also possible to capture multiple settlements to rebuild in your image and even link them together for easy access. However if playing architect, mayor and defender isn’t really your thing and you’d like to wander the lands alone, then this new mode is entirely optional.
Crafting in Fallout 4 has been given a massive overhaul, with all of the game’s collectable items given much more of a function beyond simply loot or trash. Now when you pick up an item, you’ll be given the option to dismantle it for parts to use in crafting mode.
As well as crafting to aid your aforementioned settlement, there are now over 700 different types of weapons you’ll be able to create and adding that to the ability modify your power armour? You’d best get on the scavenger hunt around that wasteland!
To help players out in their quest for better equipment, the game’s crafting menu will show you just which areas you should be exploring to find then items that you so desperately desire.
To close out then Fallout 4 gameplay and features presentation, Bethesda showed off a montage complete with different weapons, enemies, costumes and so much action. It all ended with the protagonist’s words of “It’s good to be back” and I think we can all agree that it really is.
Fallout 4 is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC from the 10th November 2015.
And that was Bethesda’s first ever E3 conference and what away to not only kick down the doors and make yourself heard but to set what is hopefully a continuing trend for the rest of the week.