Many people thought last year’s Bethesda press conference was a one-off event to create hype for Fallout 4 but here they are back again in 2016. Earlier in the week I released an article talking about what I wanted to see from EA, Bethesda and Ubisoft. But as with EA earlier today, the wait is over; Bethesda took to the stage to show off their latest and greatest, and here is what they discussed.
Quake Champions: CALLED IT. No game play here but all we got was a cinematic trailer. Hopefully this game lives up to the fast-moving action of the original games. Apparently it features a vast cast of characters with unique attributes and abilities. Did the old Quake games have characters which had abilities and attributes or are we going Overwatch style? We will hear more about Quake Champions at QuakeCon this year.
At this point, Pete Hines spent 5-10 minutes recapping the last year. The reason I feel the need to mention this is that this is exactly what the last 35 minutes of the preshow did. It was so horribly repetitive. The only real difference here is that Pete took the time to list game of the year awards.
Elder Scrolls Legends: This is the strategy card game that they teased last year. We were assured that ESL has a single player experience with an engaging storyline. If you go to Bethesda.net and create an account you can enter the sweepstakes for beta access. Still no mention of a release date.
Fallout 4 DLC: Todd Howard appeared in a video segment in order to announce DLC for Fallout 4. First they showed the “Contraptions” DLC which is launching June 21st, 2016, which seems to be based around making Rube Goldberg machines in your settlements. The second peek was at a “build your own vault” DLC which had a view that looked a lot like Fallout Shelter, which is due July 2016. Then there was some DLC based in Nukaworld, a Nuka Cola theme park which is coming August 2016.
Fallout Shelter: Todd revealed that a big update coming out that includes quests for your vault dwellers, exploring new locales an all new combat system and a PC release. Updates are due July 2016.
Skyrim Special Edition: This is the remastered version we have been hearing about over the last few days. We were shown a graphics comparison between PS3/PS4 and then 360/XBox One and listings of the upgrades they had made. My favorite was “volumetric god rays” and then they confirmed what many of us had thought was coming (and the true reason for the SE) Mod Support on console. The Skyrim Special Edition will be released on October 28th 2016.
Prey: Another game within the “sequel with the name of the original” genre following in the footsteps of Tomb Raider, Ratchet and Clank and Doom. All jokes aside, Arkane Studios’ new game looks great. It was, however another cinematic trailer with no gameplay which seems to be a bit of a running theme on both of today’s press conferences.. More about this title is being shown at QuakeCon. Bethesda really seems to be getting behind that event this year.
Doom: The first thing that the Doom team were eager to talk about was the free updates to Snapmap. The cynical part of me was thinking 2 things. First “Yay, a free update so we can create content so you don’t have to” and secondly “They are starting with the free things, so when the inevitable paid DLC announcement happens it doesn’t hurt as much.” Bethesda followed this with new Multiplayer modes for all current and future maps, for free. But then just as I thought, they announces the first “premium” (that’s industry speak for “you pay for this”) DLC which will be 3 new maps that you can play across all Multiplayer game modes. Also in celebration of E3, they announced that Doom’s first level will be free this week on PC, Xbox One and PS4.
Elder Scrolls Online: Elder Scrolls Online’s presentation started with a look back at the history of Elder Scrolls Online and then they asked “what is coming next?” Bethesda announced the game will be launching in Japan and that the Dark Brotherhood DLC finally drops on consoles on June 14th, 2016. Then in a very infomercial kinda way we get our “But wait, there’s more” moment that announced “One Tamriel” which is a level adjusting system. This means the moment you are out of the tutorial you can go anywhere in the game, do any content or even group with any player. Your level adjusts on the fly so if you level up while in a zone so will the zone. This is a first in a multi platform RPG, although not an entirely unique idea as Guild Wars 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic have had systems that level you down if you enter low-level zones.
Bethesda VR: It started with the question ”Weren’t expecting that were you?” Frankly no, I was not. Bethesda says that they have been playing with VR for a while and want to show people what it looks like to play AAA games on VR and as such, they have Doom VR and Fallout 4 VR at the show! Then in a groundbreaking announcement it was revealed that in 2017 Fallout 4 will be released on HTC Vive. This means tha the Vive is getting a major weapon in the VR wars.
Dishonored 2: If I try to describe to you everything Bethesda said and did, this article will be 4 pages long. However I can tell you how it made me FEEL. It made me feel very excited. The city of Karnaka where the game is based looks awesome with a big focus on verticality. When it was confirmed that you can still play as Corvo Attano, and now you can also play as Emily Kaldwin as well. I actually cheered a bit. Much of the focus of the presentation is playing as Emily, it’s also all people can talk about. But I became quite attached to Corvo in the first game, and I am going to happily play as him in the second. Sadly, Bethesda didn’t really reveal anything about his power or abilities, other than to say that much like Emily’s abilities, each power will have somewhat of a skill tree to change the way it works depending on your play style. We got to see our first actual game play in the entire conference at this point, in a segment where Emily is going after a target and having to circumnavigate threats. Mostly, it should be pointed out, by stabbing. Not much non lethal play is shown. The gameplay however was NOT live, it was prerecorded and the presenter’s commentary was timed to show her abilities. At the end of the presentation, the release date was revealed to be November 11th 2016.
Wow. Dishonored 2 certainly seemed to be the heavy hitter this year, though I am also pleasantly surprised by Prey. It just looks like a worthy successor to the name and Arkane looks to be taking a lot of care and pouring a lot of love into the game. Again, the announcement of Fallout 4 VR very much tilts the scales in Vive’s favor right now.
Questions to be answered regarding the E3: Why are these companies obsessed with pre-shows? Whats wrong with just a prep screen and music until the main event starts instead of cringe worthy people telling awful jokes? Even Morgan Webb and Adam Sessler who have hosted the Bethesda pre-show both years it has happened, who I would point out have Live TV experience, have been awful. (though some of the internal videos made me giggle a bit.) They were even getting upstaged by a guy that changed his shirt. Morgan, we don’t care you will be playing as Emily. Stop saying it.
So there you have it! Bethesda 2016! Come back tomorrow for our coverage of Sony, Microsoft and Ubisoft’s conferences.
Until then let us know what you thought in the comments. What has stood out for you so far?
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