After my mild disappointment of Electronic Arts’ press event, I waited in anticipation of Bethesda’s conference. In E3 2015, Bethesda surprised everyone by releasing Fallout Shelter on the spot and revealing a November release for Fallout 4. I remember how everyone went crazy when Todd Howard said “this game is coming to the App Store… tonight” and “We’re happy to say Fallout 4 is coming out November 10, this year”. A moment for the ages. So you can’t blame me for having high expectations from Bethesda this year as well. Of course, I didn’t expect a TES VI announcement for the end of the year but at least an enjoyable show. And Bethesda nailed it.
Starting with an out of nowhere game announcement? Why not. Bethesda started big by teasing a trailer for their new multiplayer arena shooter: Quake Champions. If like me, you didn’t experience Quake at the height of its popularity, this game helped popularize online multiplayer and was the primary responsible for the machinima phenomenon and speedruns. Its multiplayer component also revolutionized the genre with elements, such as fast respawn, still used today. Even rocket jumping comes from Quake. From what we know for now the game will focus on its multiplayer component, with a wide range of characters, weapons and powers. It remains to be seen how it will compare with its modern counterparts.
The focus then shifted to The Elder Scrolls: Legends, a card game set in the world of Tamriel. Bethesda showed the opening cinematic of the single player campaign, tone-wise reminding me more of Dragon Age than TES. The game is currently in closed beta. As all card games that are coming out in the last year or so, it reminds me a lot of Hearthstone. Will this game be able to challenge the unstoppable advance of Hearthstone? Probably not. It’s still good to see more developers trying though, competition is always healthy for the industry.
Talking about legends, Todd Howard made his appearance through a video, where he announced the upcoming Fallout 4 DLCs. Contraptions gives you access to machines and logic gates, so you can finally reproduce all the cool stuff you made on Minecraft. Wow. Yeah. Vault-Tec seems more interesting, giving you the ability to make your own Vault (meh, I hate the building part of Fallout 4) and experiment on its dwellers. The DLCs should also have a small amount of storyline included. The idea is pretty good, let’s see what it amounts to. The last DLC, Nuka World, features an extended questline in a pre-war Nuka-Cola amusement park. The latter two seem interesting so I look forward to trying them out. They will be released on June 21, July and August respectively.
Continuing on Fallout related news, Todd talked about an upcoming major update for Fallout Shelter, everyone’s favorite mobile game. The update will allow you to send dwellers on quests, includes an upgraded combat system and adds an array of new locations, characters and enemies to discover. The update on the combat system allows you to control your characters, a long-time requested feature from players. I thought my addiction to this game was gone but seems like it’s coming back, stronger than ever. The game will also be ported to PC and will be free to download on the Bethesda website in July.
Last, but not least, Todd confirmed the rumors and officially announced Skyrim: Special Edition. The game will be a remastered edition of TES V: Skyrim for PC and consoles. Beside a major overhaul of its graphics, the game will feature mod support on console, a welcome addition for console players. PC players who already own the Legendary Edition or Skyrim and all its DLCs will receive the upgrade for free through Steam. Bethesda mentioned how this is a way to thank the PC community for its long time support and work on mods.
Arkane Studios’ turn is up. Remember all the confirmations and cancellations about a possible sequel for Prey? Rumors no more, as Arkane shows a trailer of… Prey! After multiple problems during development, the IP passed to Arkane, who decided to do everything from scratch. As Colantonio, game director, described, this is a “re-imagining of the IP” and not a sequel. The trailer gave a pretty dark and unsettling feeling. I love it already. It seems some kind of psychological issue is affecting the main character. Someone also mentions tests, maybe he is a human test subject? Regardless, the reveal trailer looks and feels great, adding another game I’m excited about in the Bethesda portfolio.
DOOM was released one month ago and everyone was expecting some kind of response to the criticism that hit the multiplayer component game. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem that much change is coming to its core mechanics. New game modes are on the list, together with its first premium DLC pack, Unto the Evil, coming in a few months with new maps, enemies and weaponry. I feel like this won’t really be a major improvement to the game but at least it’s more content for the people who are enjoying it as it is.
Bethesda then talked about their future plans for The Elder Scrolls: Online. On June 23, the game will open a new server in Japan, rejoice Japanese players! For the rest of us, The Dark Brotherhood patch is now live, adding one of the most iconic questlines of the franchise to the game. But this wasn’t the biggest news about the game. Bethesda unveiled One Tamriel. The new system, scheduled for Fall 2016, will allow any player to do any type of quest together, regardless of level difference or faction. This removes many barriers the players had to go through in order to play with their friends. How exactly the system will work hasn’t been explained yet but the focus of the game should shift from leveling to gear and other gameplay elements.
Bethesda also talked about their efforts into Virtual Reality. Effort is probably not the right word since you will be able to play Fallout 4 on the HTC Vive in 2017! The game was available to try at E3, a pity I couldn’t be there. Beside Fallout, the lucky people at the event could also play Doom VR. It is no surprise that Bethesda decided on the Vive over other VR headsets as it is the most powerful, albeit most expensive as well, device on the market. The price barrier will probably push away the majority of us from buying these games though.
The most anticipated 2016 Bethesda release finally made its appearance towards the end of the event. A few trailers of Dishonored 2 gave some more insight on the plot of the game. 15 years after the first game, Emily is dethroned and, with the help of Corvo, fights against her enemies as she tries to reclaim her position. They also showed two levels of the game while controlling Emily. You can play as either of the two characters, each having unique powers and different approaches to the game. They showed two gameplay videos as Emily, showcasing her powers and some locations of Karnaca. The second part revealed some kind of time travel device, warping between past and present, in a strange stealth-action-puzzle combination. You can buy Dishonored 2 on November 11, 2016.
Bethesda, you did a good job. Just compare the number of games I covered in this article and the EA one. Quake Champions was definitely a nice surprise, though how the product will be remains to be seen. I didn’t expect a major Fallout Shelter update and that was a great move from Bethesda, making a great game even better. Prey seems promising and One Tamriel could become an industry standard if it works well. The VR news is also great, if you can afford the PC and the VR headset. Dishonored 2 gameplay reveal showed more of what we liked from the first game. Again, good job Bethesda. In the next couple of days I’ll write about Microsoft at E3, stay tuned!
You can watch Bethesda’s Press Conference on YouTube here: http://y2u.be/Z_1mzhRQSsM