E3 2016: Bethesda Press Conference Recap

It’s pretty hard to contain my excitement for this momentous week in gaming.  What better way to kick off this week then with an opening conference from Bethesda games?  I have lost many of hours traversing Tamriel, wandering the wasteland of post-war America, and decimating the denizens of hell; all thanks to the fantastic teams with regards to Bethesda’s visions for Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and DOOM respectively.  What would they give me this year?  Would I be swept off my feet?  Would I need to start saving my money for Q4 gaming, neglecting grading student papers and stocking up on coffee to pull myself together after another endless night of completing quests?  Simply put, not really, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing.

Here’s the thing, Bethesda put on another great conference this year, but what they gave us was all their staples. Fortunately, there’s nothing wrong with that.  Hundreds of awards over a plethora of games, they have every reason to stick with what they know best.  Yet, while they can pat themselves on the back, I can’t help but secretly desire for them to give me something new.  I love DOOM, Fallout and Elder as much as the next gamer, but I also languish for a new IP, one that will careen me across the vast world of fantasy and allow me to immerse myself in a new world, new style, new character and blow my mind one more time.  Luckily, we seem to be getting that, yet, I am getting ahead of myself.  Here’s how the conference broke down and what I thought of each aspect.


Quake Champions

As mentioned in the presentation, Quake is on its 20th anniversary this year and while I am familiar with the game, I never played it growing up.  At best, I’m a weak PvP player, so the idea of being killed repeatedly and being the bottom ranked player held no appeal.  Yet, as the presentation went on and I watched the teaser, I found myself wanting to take part in the combat.  While I may never win the top spot of any competition, I do know the satisfaction of a revenge kill, and if nothing else, Quake seems to be all about revenge kills in the arena.  While there was no in-game footage, I will be interested to see what it plays like at Quakecon later this year.  Until then, I’ll just need to keep practicing with other 30 year olds who are not as skilled as I.


Elder Scrolls: Legends

The Elder Scrolls was something I immediately fell in love with in terms of gaming.  The ideal and almost romanticized world of Tamriel resonated with me from the very beginning and since then I’ve been on board with just about everything.  Elder Scrolls: Legends is a turn-based card strategy game that will be played on mobile devices and seems to have the elements of Magic the Gathering behind it.  I enjoy strategy card games and trying to out think opponents and it seems this will be a fantastic opportunity to challenge players in the online community.  While we saw a tad of gameplay, I’d be interested in seeing an actual match, but from just seeing previews, it’s a game I’d download and easily get lost in.


Fallout 4

Season pass holders rejoice!  You now have the ability to…make conveyer belts?  Sounds strange, but apparently all the kids are clamoring for the ability to continue to make and sort things.  Starting next week, new add on DLC will have you creating Rube Goldberg types of contraptions and sorting all your weapons, armor, and other essentials however you wish.  As someone with my obsessive personality, I welcome the ability to organize my camp even more.  However, what really has me excited is coming in July players will now be able to build their own Vaults!  Seriously, I love Sanctuary and the space I’ve got, but the ability to tunnel underground and create my own massive vault is a dream come true.  This is basically Fallout Shelter…in 3D!  Finally, in August, we are getting another DLC entitled “Nuka World”.  Amusement park themed, but not much else was given in terms of details.  I’m hoping for more story content as I thoroughly enjoyed “Far Harbor” and hope to see some unique quests as the wasteland continues to expand.


Elder Scrolls: Skyrim remastered (PS4/Xbox One/PC)

Uh…yeah, I’m a very happy 32-year old nerd right here.  In game footage comparison looks amazing.  I’m ready to come back and sink another couple hundred hours into my journey as Dragonborn.  While this was not a big surprise, due to massive rumors spreading like wildfire before E3, having it confirmed with an October release date put my mind at ease.  This is fantastic news for anyone who has ever played or wants to play an amazing game.


Prey

This was the surprise of the conference.  I could not tell what this game was until after the trailer and they showed the title.  The trailer did not throwback to the Xbox 360 sleeper in any way, but my guess is, there is some tie in.  Set in a futuristic world, the character seems to be going through a psychotic “breakdown” where his life keeps repeating.  There wasn’t much more than that, but it does look interesting.  It is first person, you as the character seem to have supernatural powers in some way, and it looks like it will be a fun ride.  I definitely wanted and still want to see more, it looks like good things are going to come from this reboot.


DOOM

Like Fallout, they only showed off DLC for the multiplayer aspect.  Unfortunately, while I enjoyed the single player campaign immensely, the multiplayer was the big issue in my opinion.  Honestly, I don’t think I was alone either, yet this DLC is going to be the “patch” that it needs by adding a few new modes, weapons, and creatures into the arena aspect.  If this fixes the issues that gamers have been dealing with, it might bring more players into the fold.  In part with DLC, Bethesda also announced that for one week only, the first level of DOOM will be free to download this week.  If you have not played it yet, at least try out the violent mayhem that is the glorious and blood-soaked world of DOOM.


Elder Scrolls Online

First, ESO is expanding on June 23rd allowing players from Japan to become a part of the magical world of Tamriel which has been something the players have been clamoring.  Second, the Dark Brotherhood quest line will become available this week, so let’s all pray to the night mother right now and thank her because the Dark Brotherhood was, and still is, one of my favorite groups to be involved.  Third, a new feature called One Tamriel will be available later on this year which essentially turns off level caps and allows players to explore and join with whomever they wish once they complete the tutorial.  This is great news as it should draw in more players.  I’ve enjoyed my time with ESO and I encourage other people to start playing this fantastic MMO…mostly because I’m tired of questing by myself.  Regardless, this is good news, especially if you were that lady at the press conference screaming at every announcement about Elder Scrolls…seriously, go find the video.  It sounded like my mother when I graduated from eight grade.


Bethesda VR

There isn’t a heck of a lot here as this seemed to be a quite mention, but Bethesda is getting involved in VR and honestly, why not?  Epic games where I can become a part of that reality?  Sign. Me. Up!  Two games they mentioned in terms of showcasing, but nothing was shown during the conference, were Fallout and DOOM. My first reaction?  Shut up and take my money!  I’m ready to quest with Nick Valentine and take down the raiders and mutated animals of the wasteland.  I’m also ready to step into the DOOM suit and shoot, chainsaw, and rocket launch my way through Mars and Hell and experience that like a true first person shooter should!  I am salivating over the thought of seeing in game footage of Bethesda VR; I want it, and I want it now!


Dishonored 2

Wrapping up the show, we got the longest demonstration of any of Bethesda’s upcoming games, Dishonored 2.  Taking place fifteen years after the events of Dishonored, Corvo is back and he’s got help this time and it looks amazing.  I am an avid fan of the original and loved the aspect that I could accomplish any of my objectives however I chose and that is brought back once again for the next installment.  The team behind Dishonored has definitely upped their game: enemies are more responsive, environments are more expansive, buildings are higher and more linear, and there are new powers and enemies to be silently subdued or viciously vaporized.  The game arrives on November 11th and I’ll be putting my money down immediately for it.  As a final note, those gamers that pre-order any version of the game, physical or digital, will receive Dishonored the definitive edition for free.  Personally, if you haven’t picked this up, this is the perfect reason to do so now.


My final thoughts are a little conflicted, but ultimately I enjoyed what I saw.  On one hand, while Prey was the surprise (and a good surprise) I wanted…more.  Last year’s conference wowed viewers on a variety of levels, announcement of mobile games, DOOM, and of course, Fallout 4.  This year’s showing made us feel good in the sense that while all these new games were out and doing well, the developers were holding us gently and telling us no new games, but here was why the games you’ve been playing still need another play through.  It felt bittersweet, like watching the series finale of your favorite show, knowing that even though no new episodes are coming I can always go back and watch them from the beginning and see why it’s a great show.  However, I am not disheartened!  I am excited to see what the future holds for this amazing company, so until I see more of Prey, Quake, and Dishonored, I will sit patiently in quiet confidence, play my DLC, and smile at the fact that Bethesda is still taking care of its massive gaming community.

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