Bethesda

Recap: Bethesda’s E3 Conference

Bethesda

As the Game of Thrones finale ended most people would’ve felt tired, emotionally drained, depressed; they would’ve crawled into bed and hoped to wake up next April. However, for me this finale wasn’t the most exciting event happening in the early hours of Monday morning. Just after said finale E3 2015 was officially sparked into life by Bethesda’s first ever solo conference, and it was something special.

The conference began with a gripping gameplay demo of Doom. This is the first time that the general public has seen how the iconic series will move forward, and from the perspective of someone who hasn’t dabbled in that series for more than an hour or so (on the Xbox 360 remaster of the first three games), I was impressed. Graphically it looked as though it would meet modern standards, and the hectic arena based combat left me exhausted just watching. It looked like a lot of fun, with a focus on its own craziness to give the player an entertaining experience.

On top of the single player gameplay footage we got our first real look at the online side of the game, as well as the reveal of Doom Snapmap, which supposedly allows players to customise their experience in an endless number of ways. You can create your own game modes and share them with the world and you can also play modes that others have built. This should add some much needed replay value to the game, something that isn’t always present in first person shooters, and this was probably the most intriguing thing about the Doom section of the conference. For now it has a Spring 2016 release window, so let’s hope there are no delays!

This reveal was a great way to start the show and it definitely got the audience’s blood pumping with its intense fast-paced combat. However, following it was going to be difficult, something which was clear when Battlecry was given a lukewarm reception. Battlecry focuses on online-based action combat with various characters and teams, which sounds pretty standard, but it failed to impress the audience given its mundane graphics and recycled premise. It didn’t look nearly as polished as the rest of the games at Bethesda’s conference, and I feel like it was purposely placed after Doom in an attempt to capitalise on the high that the crowd were feeling.

The conference then stuttered further, as new areas for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited were revealed, leaving everyone wondering where Fallout 4 was and if Bethesda would be accepting cash. Of course, people love The Elder Scrolls series, but given that the game has only just released on consoles I don’t think that the audience were clamouring for more areas to explore. I have no issue with the game, but the conference at that point was merely elongating itself rather than exciting the audience.

Following the flat ovations that these two games received, Arkane Studios’ Harvey Smith and Raphael Colantonio walked onto the stage to explain what they have been working on since the release of Dishonored… Dishonored 2. This sequel received its first trailer and it looks great; it was interesting that there will now be two playable characters, one male and one female, both of whom are taken from the original game, and also that once again players can theoretically play the whole game without killing a single person.

Additionally, there will be a definitive edition of Dishonored releasing before the end of the year, which gives players like me the chance to play the game on current generation consoles prior to the second game’s release.

Finally, would-be game of the year Fallout 4 was put on display for the whole world to see, as gameplay footage, story content, concept art, and an official release date were all proudly displayed. It looked stunning – everything about it felt like a Fallout game; the world, the enemies, the dialogue, it was all in keeping with the quality that we’ve come to expect from Bethesda Game Studios. The scope of the game seems to be enormous, with various areas shown off through gameplay and artwork, and on top of that new features such as crafting and weapon modification have been added to the game.

Throw a special edition Pip-Boy and an iOS game (Fallout Shelter) into the mix and you have one of the best presentations in E3 history. Oh and by the way, Fallout 4 will be available to buy before the end of the year! November 10th 2015 – put it in your calendars folks.

Bethesda’s first E3 conference was a resounding success, beginning with a fantastic gameplay demo for the next instalment in the Doom series, and ending with a confident presentation from Todd Howard as he explained why we were right to be so excited for Fallout 4. Bethesda have cemented their place at the top of the industry, displaying only the titles that we anticipated, but shattering our expectations with the quality of their work.

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Ben Whittaker

Third year philosophy student. Lover of all things film, television, gaming and sport. Find me on Twitter - @bennywitz - or check out my blog - https://benjaminwhittaker.wordpress.com/

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