E3 2015: Thoughts on Bethesda, ‘Doom’, ‘Dishonored 2’ and ‘Fallout 4’

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Home to the Oscars, Bethesda held its first ever E3 press conference at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles Sunday night. COO and vice-president of Bethesda Softworks, Pete Hines was the designated host of the evening. Unfortunately, there was little surprise on the games announced. Fallout 4 was revealed a week ago, Doom got a teaser trailer a few weeks prior, announcing its presence at E3 and Dishonored 2 was accidentally leaked during a live stream event a day before things kicked off. None the less, the event was still hotly anticipated. So let’s kick things off, and reveal the games announced.

Doom4

DOOM

Bethesda wasted no time to get the crowd roaring as they unveiled Doom to the worldwide audience. Id software’s executive director Marty Stratton took the stage to present the game people have been dying to see. And it was glorious. Using the brand new ID tech 6 engine, the game was incredibly detailed and absolutely stunning to watch. We are treated to the first footage of gameplay, which takes place at a mars space station. The first minutes are very placid, we get the time to take in the environment and settings. And in little time, the iconic imps make an appearance and start hurling fireballs. The action picks up quickly. Strafing and running are skills clearly encouraged in this new iteration. The shotgun laid waste to the hordes of demons, chunks flew and parts exploded. But to top it off, a brand new execution system has been introduced in the game. Now, as your enemy is near death, you can approach him and rip his jaws out. But it doesn’t end there; various animations shown were of arms being ripped off, guts pulled out and ripping off limbs. Make no mistake, the demons are equally capable to finish you off as well, as we see a Revenant jump on the space marine to rip his arms out as well. With each fatality and kill the audience cheered and chanted to the games astonishing visuals. The plasma rifle and the series defining chainsaw were showcased in the trailer as well. The chainsaw was nothing short of glorious violence. Time slows as you pull up the wheel HUD to select a new weapon and return back into the gunfight seamlessly.

Marty Stratton also revealed a small sneak peek of a multiplayer mode. Though not much has been announced, what was shown in the trailer looked to be very standard in the realm of deathmatches. But one interesting feature was the ability to transform into a demon in the match. More is set to be revealed in the coming months.

Id software also introduced a new feature to Doom called snapmap, a tool that enables users to create their own custom maps and matches. A few examples were shown; a co-op survival mode, another mode that rewarded you with money for killing demons to buy new weapons in-game and even a classic four player deathmatch mode. Stratton calls snapmap:”An endless stream of Doom experiences created by you. At its core, snapmap is about players never running out of fun and imaginative gameplay” Snapmap promises to be an easy to use feature, allowing anybody to create maps and games and to share with the community with ease.

Nearing the end of the presentation, we are treated to more single-player campaign. This time we are taken into hell. More enemies are introduced and the action still as chaotic as the first footage shown in the beginning. But it’s not before long until we see a surprise visit by a colossal Cyber-Demon and the space marine answers back and pulls out the almighty BFG.

Id software clearly wanted to return to the classic series that first appeared in 1993 and revolutionized gaming. Stratton clearly made an emphasis on “bad ass demons, big f’n guns and moving really fast”. No real release date has been announced. But it is projected for Spring 2016 for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC.

Bethesda.net and Battlecry

Peter Hines continued the evening by making an announcement for a new digital platform for Bethesda, called Bethesda.Net; a domain where it gives the community the ability to get mods and share content. Doom Snapmap and The Elder Scrolls online will also be implemented into the new system moving forward.

Through video presentation, Battlecry studios show their upcoming online multiplayer game called Battlecry. Something in the sorts of Team Fortress but with what looks to be a strong emphasis in melee combats. A set of classes and nations have been revealed in a brief trailer, but very little of anything to note. The game is currently in beta and is set to release in fall 2015 for PC.

Dishonored 2

Arkane studios Harvey Smith and Raf Colantonio took the stage to reveal Dishonored 2. Unfortunately, the announcement came to no surprise to many people as it was leaked a day before. No gameplay was shown at the event, but we were treated to a trailer showing some new features in the game. So far we know you play as Emily Kaldwin, the empress’s daughter from the first Dishonored. Some houses or locations shift to create an interesting dynamic in level design and Emily has some interesting tricks up her sleeve. Rather than the blink abilities like Corvo in the first game, Emily appears to have symbiotic like tendrils that grants her various abilities like repelling or swinging. You play in a new city called Karnaka and you have the choice to either play as Emily Kaldwin or Corvo Attano. And apparently we are able to combine their skill creatively to eliminate your targets. There has been no date of release or any timeline to speak of, only that it will release for Xbox One, PS4 and PC

Fallout 4

Game director of Bethesda Studios Todd Howard takes the stage to present probably the biggest game of the evening, Fallout 4. According to Howard the game has been in development since the release of Fallout 3 in 2008. The game starts you off right before the nuclear attacks, and for the first time we see what is Boston, Massachusetts before the mass destruction. This game is MASSIVE! Customization features have been deeply showcased at the event – from 50 base type weapons, you are able to create 700 mods to these weapons. In addition, you are now able create and build your own base. Howard went into great detail about setting up your generators to hook up turrets and configuring light systems. Unlike previous installments, all the junk you collect in the game is now useable. The power suit as well is fully customizable this time around, to the point that you can equip it with a jetpack. Combat was revealed as well during the conference. VATS are still part of the combat mechanics. Although the system was not really discussed in details, Howard did say it’s supposed to be more enhanced for additional control. Mole rats and Deathclaws also made noticeable appearances in the game. Howard went on to reveal a companion app feature for mobile phone devices; giving you all the features seen on the in-game pip boy. The experience extends even as far as being able to buy a collector’s edition and get an actual Pip-boy to house your smartphone. And speaking of smartphones; revealed on that same stage was a new game for mobile devices called Fallout Shelter. A micro-management based game where you play as the overseer of your own vault, what’s even more surprising is that it was set release right after the conference. Ending on a sweet note was the announced date. Fallout 4 will be available November 10, 2015 for Xbox One, PS4 and PC (Fallout 4 for Xbox one will be able to support PC mods).

In general the Bethesda Conference was concise and well formatted with very few hiccups or technical errors. The only disappointment to the event was the lack of surprise in the announcement of the titles. 2015 is set to be a pretty big year for Bethesda moving forward. Let us know what you think of the conference and which games your most excited for in the coming year.

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