On Sunday June 14, 2015, Bethesda took the task of the first big conference at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo. Taking place in the Dolby Theatre, most notably known as the home of The Oscars, Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing at Bethesda, Pete Hines, stepped up to the stage and delivered a conference that set the tone for the upcoming week. Bethesda relied on their old guns, there weren’t any surprises, but showing quality works. Going first sometimes isn’t very easy, but following that up may be even more difficult.
Heading into the show the press and fans alike knew we were going to get our first real look at Doom. With a franchise that has such a storied past, there will be some lofty expectations. The seconds leading into the big reveal oozed with anticipation. And then it happened. Marty Stratton, executive at id Software, dropped us into a Union Aerospace Corporation station. Our space marine put on his helmet and proceeded to kick ass.
The game looked top-notch. It runs off the id Tech 6 Engine. Everything from the enemies to the environment look insanely detailed. Accompany that with some impressive audio, sweet sound effects, and a musical score that just captures the feeling of Doom and you have a really solid first game to show off their new engine. Specs aside though, Doom looks fun. The speed and over-the-top-action of the original series are back. But some of the survival horror elements from Doom 3 were kept in tact. This was especially apparent when in an empty room, the player opened a hologram showing a demon killing a person and dragging his corpse away. As we followed the enemy, we could see the blood streaked across the ground. No more than a few seconds later, we were back to blasting enemies into pieces, tearing demons apart with a chainsaw, or straight up punching the hell out of them. The playtime ended with a demon actually ripping off your arms and beating you with it. But then picked up again in Hell. It’s about balance, and the game seems to have it. It’s a love letter to those games of the past while staying modern.
That was especially apparent in the multiplayer presentation for the game. Imagine Halo but more violent. There will be a variety of different match types, and Doom SnapMap, which allows players to make their own games. Influenced by the modding community, Bethesda hopes that SnapMap will bring some extra hours to the game and let gamers do something they love-create content. Honestly, I was already excited for Doom, seeing it in action only made that excitement harder to contain. Spring 2016 can’t come fast enough.
After that, there was a bit of a lull period where BattleCry Studios showed off their first game that happens to be named after them. It’s an online arena based combat game. There are a few different classes that compliment different play styles, and they’re accepting sign ups for the beta. It looks fun if you’re into that type of game, but it seemed like it was placed there to pace themselves.
And it worked. Arkane Studios was called up to present the next game. To no one’s surprise it was Disonored 2. But just because it was expected, doesn’t mean it wasn’t exciting. This sequel to one of last generations biggest surprises takes gamers away from the dark dreary streets of steampunk London Dunwall and places them in the bright, colourful but equally as depressing Empire of the Isles. Replace rats with mosquitos and add in a few new powers and that’s pretty much the extent of what we know about the game. Players can choose between Corvo Attano-from the original game, which makes no sense- or an all-new character Emily Kaldwin. Both play differently, so there is even more of a reason for multiple play throughs. And just because Bethesda likes us, they remastered the original game with all the DLC and updated graphics.
Bethesda has admitted in the past that they didn’t expect Dishonored to be this popular. It came late in the generation, it wasn’t an established title and it blended styles from genres that weren’t really popular at the time. But the game was made so well. A story was told, a whole universe was built, and a franchise was born. This is exciting. I can’t wait to get my hands on both the Definitive Edition and the sequel.
From there, we were taken out of the dystopian world of Dishonored and shown what’s new in the world of Elder Scrolls. That includes new things for Elder Scrolls Online and Elder Scrolls Legends-a tablet card game. It looks fun if you’re into Hearthstone type games, but it seemed more of a casual mention just to let people know they haven’t forgotten about one of their biggest franchises.
That’s probably because their other big gun was going to overshadow anything else we saw anyway. That’s right, Fallout 4 was there and we saw a crap load of it. I guess Bethesda didn’t have much of a choice considering its launch is planed for Nov. 10 this year. They’ve been working on it since the launch of Fallout 3, so they were pretty excited to show just how much they managed to cram into the game with that much time. Like most of their RPGs there will be tons of customization. Right from the get go players design their character as he, or she, does his, or her, daily routine. But aside from the obvious, there are armour layers, and the opportunity to build settlements out of scraps with interconnecting caravans. It’s completely optional, but it’s such a cool feature that can take up so much time in the game. There are also 50 base weapons with around 70 modifications available. All players need to do is hunt for scrap and find a workbench. The rest is up to their imaginations. Along with that, they announced packed in the collector’s edition of Fallout 4 is an actual Pipboy that holds your phone. Yea, that’s a thing. And it’s awesome. There will be a second screen app available at launch as well. But if November is too far away, Bethesda also made a free app-only available for IOS- where you can manage your own Fallout bunker. It’s completely free to play, with a small optional micro transaction, and it’s available now.
For a conference with not a lot to show, there was quite a bit to take in. Bethesda has become one of the premier publishers in the industry, and this was their moment. For the first time, they took a stage at E3 and they started the week off right. There weren’t many surprises, but the quality of their announcements made the conference worth it. Everyone following that act will have a lot of work to do, because Bethesda stole E3 this year.