E3 2015: After Conference Report – Bethesda

As E3 continues throughout this week, Geek Syndicate will be covering as much as we can – as soon as we can. In addition to these “after conference reports”, check out our E3 twitter coverage, using the hashtag #GSE3.

I made the valiant sacrifice of getting up at ludicrous o’clock to watch the conference for you guys. Here are my thoughts on Bethesda‘s offering.

Bethesda held a conference for the first time at this year’s E3. Before the expo began, the publisher had already announced Fallout 4 with a teaser trailer and a re-boot of one of the founding members of the First Person Shooter genre. Doom. In addition, the console version of Elder Scrolls Online is forthcoming and … in a slight faux pas, Dishonored 2 was announced a day early by one of the Bethesda employees with a live microphone! I also had hopes – vain hopes, I accept – for a Brink 2 announcement.

The conference opened with a video compilation of some of the developers who work for and with Bethesda and some clips from the games being showcased. This was a nice touch – humanising the company somewhat. This was followed by a heartfelt introduction, thanking and welcoming developers, press and fans alike to the conference.

Bethesda Softworks

Doom

Marty Stratton from iD Software introduced the new Doom game. As in the original, the player controls a marine deployed to a UAC facility on Mars where the very gates of hell have been opened. Alone, you must stop the hordes of demons. I have to admit that there is a part of me that misses the simplicity of the old shooters. Here’s a level. Here’s some monsters. There’s a gun or twelve. Go make a mess. The preview video certainly looked to be on those lines and it’s great to see the old health and armour levels have not been replaced by the now traditional “hide to recover health” system found in shooters. Other newer gameplay features, such as weapon wheels have been incorporated, which is a good step forward.

Visceral is definitely the word I would use to describe the gameplay on show. Especially when the Chainsaw comes into play. Yep, the Chainsaw is back, people! The gameplay video did a great job of showcasing the single player campaign. Doom was the father of multiplayer in the shooter environment and various modes will be included in the game.

Additionally, DOOM Snapmap was announced. This is a map and mode builder that will be included on all platforms that the game is released on. In short – this is the multiplayer map editor that people have dreamed of. Not only does it seem like a simple system to use to create levels – even with a controller – but players can also add their own rule systems and create their own multiplayer modes. Demonstrated as examples were a “horde” mode and a mode in which players earn credit by killing demons which they can then spend on new weapons, health, armour and so on. There was no real detail revealed, but what was teased looked epic.

Yes, this is one shooter I think I’ll be picking up. If I had to pick a possible flaw it would be that the game does have a very brown and samey colour-palette. Don’t get me wrong – this isn’t a big deal, and only two levels and a little multiplayer was shown, so there could well be some variation in there that we haven’t seen yet.

 

Battlecry

An online action, team based multiplayer game, Battlecry was confirmed as being out this year. The game is about to enter a global beta period, and players can sign up at www.battlecrythegame.com. There wasn’t much detail for the game and I’m not normally a fan of purely online games, but I’ve signed up for the beta just to see what it’s like.

 

Dishonored 2

Arkane Studios confirmed that Dishonored 2 was in production. In this game, players can choose from a male or female protagonist, each with varied skills. This is a great move in my book. Not only does it mean there’s a chance for another gaming heroine to enter the history books and for female players to be able to identify slightly more with their steampunk assassin … but it also adds to the game’s replayability aspect.

The preview trailer for dishonoured was pretty darn sweet and made me bump its predecessor up my “to play” list. Of course, then the (perhaps inevitable) announcement came. Dishonored Definitive Edition will be coming to XBOX One and Playstation 4 later this year. I think I’ll wait and pick that up!

 

Elder Scrolls

New content was previewed for the … not as successful as it perhaps could have been … Elder Scrolls Online game. It’s a game that I’ve been meaning to check out again since it has changed to a free-to-play model but no information about how the game has changed since launch were given.

An Elder Scrolls trading card game for tablets was also announced. Personally, this holds no interest for me personally and I’m not sure if it can survive in what seems to me to be a flooded market. I hope it does – I do love the Elder Scrolls depth of lore.

 

Fallout 4

Todd Howard was brought on to introduce the game that was bound to be the company’s showcase title. Fallout 4. The team have been working on the game for the last four years. Each panel on each console has been designed at the concept level so that the detail is always unique in the game. At least – that was the claim. Not that I’m going to run through and screenshot each control panel to try and catch them out!

It was confirmed that the game starts before the nuclear war that serves as a backdrop to the franchise. It’s here that character creation starts and an awesome new character creation system was featured. Players change their features by simply “sculpting” the features of the characters. No sliders. Just a sculptable face. Be sure to customise both male and female character as the game will generate a baby with an appearance based on these. Whichever you leave the bathroom as is the character you will play.

After choosing stats and so on, the war begins and the protagonist enters Vault 111. Since the game jumps 200 years and the player is the sole survivor of that vault – and that the character was created before the war then it very much seems that the Vault included a suspended animation system. Godsworth (the family robot) has had a thousand of the most common names programmed into him so that in-game dialogue can refer to the player by name.

The gameplay confirmed previous suspicions that the game was set in Boston, that the VATS system will be returning and that the protagonist will be fully voiced in the game for the first time in a Bethesda open world game. In addition, the dog featured in the trailer can be given commands and is not just a simple AI follower. Hopefully this will expand to any other follower types that may or may not be available in the game.

The collector’s edition comes with a replica pip boy that can hold a smart phone. The game’s app (also available to non-pipboy owners) can be used INSTEAD of the in-game pip boy. No more having to access the menus constantly and interrupting your exploration!

I may have got a little too excited about the game’s settlement building element. Every aspect can be built by the player. Items placed anywhere. Food can be grown and traded. Power needs to be generated. If more than one settlement is created, you can set up caravans between them…

The game has a crafting system which isn’t quite as rigid as in most games. Different source materials will produce different looking versions of modifications. Different mods can be added to weapons. Oh and to the Power Armour.

Also announced was Fallout Shelter – a vault management game which sees players create their own vault. Inhabitants can be sent into the wasteland on quests and rooms can be added to improve their stats and gather resources. This game looks fun. It’s cute, has a very distinctive Fallout feel to it. The game is out now on the Apple App Store. It’s free to play although lunch boxes containing loot can be bought if desired. These aren’t necessary though. Seriously – check this one out. I’m not normally a fan of these sorts of micro-management games, but if it comes to Android or Windows tablet, then I’m all over it.

 

Round Up Thoughts

This was a great presentation by the Bethesda team. Before the conference, I had very little excitement for Fallout 4. Yes, I was going to get it but only because I love the series and the company’s games on the whole. Now – I will be pre-ordering the game. Probably the collector’s edition. Seriously. It’s like the team have designed the game specifically for me. The only element missing was a proper survival system, or even one like in New Vegas.

Along with Dishonored 2 and a very promising Doom the company certainly entered the showcase arena with a bang.

 

GS Blogger: WedgeDoc

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