E3 Bethesda Conference – round-up

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E3 2015 is finally here. We here at This is Xbox have been teeming with excitement since, well since last E3 ended really, and we are thrilled to bring you the first round-up of the first conference.

Bethesda are the ones lucky enough to kick off this year’s event, and the pressure is on, especially as this is their very first E3 conference.

Pete Hines takes the stage, appropriately accompanied by the Skyrim theme music. The crowd cheers, Pete primes us with a montage of game footage from Bethesda properties, and now for the reveals.

First off, Marty Stratton takes to the stage to talk about Doom and show us gameplay footage of the title in action.

Utilising id Softwares’ id Tech 6 engine, Doom is looking absolutely stunning. Environments are highly detailed, the lighting is spectacular, the sounds effects have incredible bass and clarity, and the particular effects are smouldering.

The Doom experience we remember from back in the day appears to be at play here, with supremely gory and gruesome kills, including special finishing moves you can activate on injured enemies – reminiscent of Mortal Kombat fatalities – health pickups, fast paced combat, and body parts flying as you dash, jump and shoot your way through facilities on Mars and Hell.

Switching weapons in the radial activates slow motion, giving you a chance to switch without being torn apart, and we got to see the weapons in action, including: shotgun, super shotgun, assault rifle and plasma rifle.

The intense action of combating the demons of hell are punctuated by minor exploration and simple key card, hand –print puzzle solving, allowing a mild breather between encounters to catch your breath and slow your heart rate. Then we were shown the chainsaw which gruesomely tears through beasties with different animations based on how enemies try and fail to block it. Finally the single player gameplay reveal ended with a truly stunningly death animation sequence, hinting at similar ones for each time you fall to the armies of Hell.

Next the Doom multiplayer was shown off with a gameplay reveal, sporting fast, team-based arena combat reminiscent of Quake 3 Arena. However, the standout feature was Snapmap, a feature similar to the Halo series Forge mode, where you can create your own multiplayer game variations and build and edit maps. It certainly looks like an expansive and powerful tool, providing a decent facsimile of PC mod building to the Xbox One.

Finally, Doom had one last set of gameplay footage, showing off Hell in singleplayer, some different and tougher enemies, and the weapons you’ll need to deal with them, like miniguns and rocket launchers. We also saw a massive boss and the infamous BFG.

All of the footage was 1080p 60fps. What a way to kick off the conference and E3.

Doom

Next up was the Design Director from Battlecry studios to show us some more footage of Battlecry, a multiplayer, team-based action battler with a focus on melee weapons, highly reminiscent of Team Fortress.

Up next was Arkane Studios’ Harvey Smith and Raphaël Colantonio, co-creators of Dishonoured, and they revealed a pre-rendered cut scene of Dishonored 2. The focus of the teaser was on returning character, Emily, now one of the protagonists of the new adventure, as she uses sword play, crossbows, gadgets and super natural abilities to move about the city and infiltrate areas. Stem punk robots crop up as adversaries and your super natural abilities certainly seem to strike a Darkness tone, but no gameplay footage was a disappointment. What was confirmed is that the title is being worked on and it will be completable without having to kill anyone.

However, another Dishonored announcement appeared out of the blue with the reveal of Dishonoured Definitive Edition hitting Xbox One in the fall of this year with improved visuals and all DLCs.

dishonored_2

Next a video montage of upcoming Elder Scrolls Online content hinted at what’s to come to the recently launched MMO on Xbox One. The Imperial City in ruins, the picturesque City of Orsinium, more enemies to fight, dungeons to explore, and bears mounts.

Another Elder Scrolls title was also revealed, The Elder Scrolls Legends, a strategy card game, free to play coming to PC and iPad soon.

And now came the reveal we’d all been waiting for: further details on Fallout 4, and boy was it worth the wait.

Todd Howard took to the stage and introduced gameplay footage of Fallout 4, showing the very beginning of the game which takes place before the bombs fall. Here you sculpt your face in the mirror of you house, choosing either a male or female character and pulling and pushing on the face to build the look of your character – no sliders.

Context sensitive dialogue was show off, with the protagonist initiating conversations with their partner based on the modifications you were making to their face. Bethesda Softworks recorded over a thousand popular names so you might be referred to by name throughout the adventure.

200 years after the bombs have fallen you leave the vault 111 as the sole survivor, mysteriously having not aged a day. Of course you find your old robotic butler as well as the dog featured in last week’s trailer, who can be commanded to go places and even grab items from the world.

Voice acting appears prominent from your character, suggesting a stronger emphasis on story. VATs returns and still looks awesome with its slow motion killing animations. And the visuals themselves look mind blowing, with oodles of detailed vegetation swaying in the wind, beautifully derelict buildings and superb lighting.

There’s a new Pip Boy in the game, which is rendered with your character’s wrist and hand when you look at it, showing it off as a part of you rather than a separate screen. Also you can play audio tapes with it and even play games you find on tapes.

Then came the announcement of the collector’s Edition, which will come with a Pip Boy, and in that Pip Boy you can place your phone, and of course Bethesda will be releasing an app to turn your phone into second screen experience as if you truly own a Pip Boy. Gimmicky? Yes, but as Todd himself put it “as far as stupid gimmicks go, it is the best f**king one I have ever seen. It is awesome.”

Pipboy edition

Another in-game feature shown off was the ability to rebuild structures. You can create a custom house for yourself as well as full settlements, where you plant food, build power generators, place power lines, and build defences to see off attacking raiders. This can be done on several large sites and you can even setup trade routes between them.

You can also craft, modify and upgrade weapons with the junk you find in the wasteland, with multiple options for which items you use to create parts. You can also modify your power armour.

Finally, some montage footage hints at other features, including calling in a drop ship for pickup and using its mounted machine gun on a fly by, jetpacks for your power armour, and some of the most menacing looking death claws we’ve ever seen. Indeed the adrenaline was pumping profusely at this point, and it damn near killed us to see a release date of the 10th of November this year.

And finally, to quench your Fallout thirst whilst you wait until November, a vault building game where you are the overseer controlling everything within the vault is hitting iPhone and iPad, tonight, right now. Sporting a wonderfully captivating combination of 3D and 2D visuals, with characters in 2D and environments in 3D, Fallout Shelter, is a free mobile and tablet game that looks like a terrific management title.

What a brilliant start to E3. Bethesda have certainly set the bar high and their line-up of titles looks incredible. We’ll have more conference round-ups for you as they happen, and plenty of news in between, so stick with us as E3 2015 continues.

Some say Greg isn’t one person but a group of many people posting under the pseudonym “Greg”. No one knows for sure but either way, as long as he continues to fight the good fight of reviewing games, then we will always consider him a hero.