The world’s greatest entertainment expo, E3, started with an explosion of blood and gibs courtesy of publishing powerhouse Bethesda, who held their first ever E3 press conference on Sunday night at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
Their hour-long presentation was broadcast live over the internet, including to a special event in the Sydney CBD. I had a front row seat at the exclusive event in Sydney’s Star Bar which beamed the Bethesda show onto two huge screens.
Considering Bethesda’s E3 Showcase heralds this year’s four-day-long celebration of the video games industry, there were no real surprises- the publisher having pretty much leaked their entire slate in the weeks running up to the show. Even so, it was great to see the games officially announced.
First up, Bethesda marketing boss Pete Hines introduced the return of the game that started it all, Doom. What followed was a hugely entertaining “game demo” full of blood, guts and comedy dismemberments as our first-person hero takes down a demonic infestation on a Martian base.
The Doom footage had our hero jumping, shooting and tearing through a variety of monsters in what was probably more like scripted CGI than the actual gameplay.
What was a bit of a surprise was Doom SnapMap, the game’s multiplayer editor. These tools will allow players to build and modify multiplayer levels to create their own arenas and game modes.
If Bethesda’s Doom reboot turns out anything like their excellent Wolfenstein game, we are in for a treat.
Next up was BattleCry, Bethesda’s multiplayer swords and gunplay game. I played it at last year’s E3. I wasn’t overly impressed. A year later and it didn’t really look any different. Apparently in is going into beta with ANZ first on the list. Can’t wait.
The Dishonored 2 reveal may have come as a surprise to those that did catch wind of the slip of the mic during the rehearsals and Bethesda’s cryptic tweet. Unfortunately, the footage was more of a CGI trailer rather than in-game action. But, as the game isn’t due for a year, we’ll forgive them. This time players can play as either a male or female character, which should keep the diversity advocates happy.
Whilst Dishonored 2 is a while off, the only real surprise of the show- the new-gen remaster of Dishonored (including the DLC), should be with us later this year.
The Elder Scrolls Online, which has just enjoyed its launch on the PS4 and Xbox One, was up next with Bethesda showing off what the team had in store for players in the near future. It was great to see some new realms coming to the MMO, which has been out of PC for a year now. The developers are bringing both Imperial City (which we last explored in Oblivion) and the Orcish realm of Orsinium into the game.
The star performer of the show was, without a doubt, Bethesda’s creative director, Todd Howard. The man that gave us Oblivion, Fallout 3 and Skyrim was brought on stage to show off his team’s latest game, the long awaited Fallout 4.
We knew it was coming, we all saw the trailer the other week. For the E3 showcase, we got to see some pre-apocalypse life and the game’s unique character generation mechanic- including the now requisite female character option. Most exciting, though, was the way in which the game allows players to tear down and rebuild towns, attracting citizens which then need protecting. The game’s crafting system seems intricate, but looks very interesting.
Fallout 4 looks great and the fact that we are going to get to play in November this year, only makes things better.
Bethesda’s final reveal, the kind of thing I like to see at these shows, was the simultaneous release of mobile game, Fallout Shelter, on iPhone. Available as soon as the show ended, Fallout Shelter is a free-to-play community-building game that borrows from the classic Little Computer People, The Sims, X-Com and, of course, Fallout. Fallout Shelter is available now from the App Store.
All in all, Bethesda’s E3 Showcase was a great, if predictable, start to what promises to be a week of major reveals from all the video game industry’s major players. Fallout 4 is, without a doubt the company’s heavy-hitter, but with Doom and Dishonored 2 waiting in the wings it looks like it’s going to be a great year for Bethesda.
Check out the full Bethesda E3 2015 Showcase, below.