Bethesda Back At It
By Xavier Hatfield
This week saw one of the gaming annual calendars biggest events take place. That’s right, E3 has come again with its usual plethora of upcoming games, DLCs and features. What a weekend it has been for gamers!
The Bethesda conference, or BE3, kicked off on the 13th with a pre-pre-show hosted by Gary Steinman and Matt Grondstaff with a tribute to the fans over the years who have been uploading videos and creating their own tributes to their favourite games. As well as some frankly boring trivia.
Following a pre-pre-show that did little more than thank the fan base for roughly 45 minutes the pre-show hosted by Morgan Webb and Adam Sessler brought a little more flavour to the event and really changed the hype-train up a gear. Providing insight into their own adventures within some of Bethesda’s games they linked in some of the upcoming content from games such as Fallout 4, Shelter, and Bethesda’s very own take on the strategy card game genre: Elder Scrolls Legends.
For those yet to see Bethesda’s conference then you can find the whole thing on their YouTube channel. However for those to impatient to watch the whole thing here is the lowdown of what is to come within the next year from the company.
Quake is back! It was Tim Willits who opened 2016’s showcase with this highly anticipated and exceedingly well received announcement. Fear not if you are new to the franchise as Quake Champions will scale the arena style first person shooters difficulty to a level accessible to players of all skills. Willits goes on to state the game will be offering up fast gameplay and incredible graphics, 120 hertz and unlocked fps. Following in its predecessor’s footsteps and ID tradition the game has been designed for world-class eSports play, with more information on this promised later in the year at QuakeCon.
Despite being one of Bethesda’s most popular and successful franchises the Elder Scrolls had little to bring to the showcase. First up of the three major announcements to the franchise was Legends, which is currently in closed beta. Presented by Pete Hines the game does look interesting with its promise of deep strategy within both single player and multiplayer modes, alongside a campaign mode featuring monsters, characters and lore from the Elder Scrolls universe opening up a completely new way to explore the franchise. However it does seem like an attempt to jump on the band wagon of mobile card strategy games without providing any original ideas or improvements to the genre. That said the unique telling of the Elder Scrolls story and its being Free-to-play makes it worth checking out for any avid fans of Tamriel.
From a rocky beginning to becoming 2015’s top MMOG, Elder Scrolls Online has continued to develop and grow at an impressive rate. Opening with the highlights and statistics from its first year that ranged from the 7 million players and a whopping 13 billion quests completed to the ground breaking news that 578 million poor Mud Crabs have been slaughtered, you monsters! However the only two new announcements to the game is the upcoming launch in Japan on the 23rd of this month and One Tamriel. Arguably the biggest change to the game since release, One Tamriel will make ESO more like the Elder Scrolls games as we have known them by removing level restrictions of zones and enabling players to travel the world regardless of alliance. From the end of the tutorial you are able to venture wherever you want without fear of wandering into mobs several times your level, exciting stuff! You will be able to explore the entirety of Tamriel come Autumn.
The final announcement from the Elder Scrolls franchise is the revealing of a remastered special edition of Skyrim that will be released later this year. The game was fantastic and the scenery truly breath taking in the original version as many will agree, however despite the remastered game looking even more spectacular it does seem like little more than a nostalgia trip that provides no new content to the much loved story, and hardly seems worth its own slot in the showcase.
Next up was Raphael Colantino with the big reveal of the brand new game: Prey. Set in 2032 upon the “very special” space station Talos 1 you play the key subject of an experiment that was set to alter humanity forever. As it always does, something has gone wrong and your space station has been invaded by an alien threat. Though you are shown little beyond the trailer the game appears to continue Arcane studios passion for first person immersion games, promising to reveal more later this year at QuakeCon.
Following the recent release of DOOM there were a number of announcements for the game. A big one is the free Demo available exclusively for the next week giving players the chance to try out the first level of the game. Many of the other announcements focused on in game improvements such as free updates for snapmaps and new construction modules that include; new props and weapons. They will also be providing creators with new logic options and functionality like the ability to create true single player experiences with various functions. Multiplayer will also be receiving two updates next month and will be releasing three free-for-all modes, including a classic deathmatch. Come the end of the summer they will be releasing DOOM’s very first premium dlc ‘Unto the Evil’ that offers numerous additions including three new maps and a new playable demon.
Last but most certainly not least came Dishonored 2 with a far more in-depth showing of the game than there has been to date. Revealing the game play trailer and giving you a look into one of the games missions as a means to show off some of the new abilities the game has to offer. This final instalment of the showcase was delivered by creative director Harvey Smith who not only talked you through the skills but told us of the story itself. Set in the steampunk stylised world of the Empire of the Isles ruled by, a now 25year old, Empress Emily Kaldwin with the help of her supernatural assassin father Corvo Attano. In this sequel the story begins and ends in Dunwal but the majority of it takes place Karnataka, Jewel of the South, a city that seems like a hybrid between a coastal Mediterranean city and pre-independence French Algeria with a steampunk finish. Having required the creation of their custom Void Engine to bring Karanataka they have made a game that, even from the small sample seen, looks spectacular. As the player you can choose to play either Emily Kaldwin or Corvo Attano as you try to uncover the threads of a conspiracy and take back what is yours.
The multi award winning Fallout 4 was released late last year to the great excitement of fans worldwide. Since release there have been 3 add-ons added to the game including the massive Far Harbour and the launch of the standalone mobile game Shelter. Continuing to tweak an already impressive game there is yet another three more add-ons lined up: Contraptions will open up various gadgets for you to use like an elevator, armour racks and your very own conveyor belt! Then following shortly after is Vault-tech in which you will be able to build your very own vault. Finally comes Nuka-World, although you are given little information on this last add-on, there will hopefully be more released in the coming months. Perhaps the largest announcement for the Fallout franchise is that it shall be released on the HTC Vive virtual reality platform in 2017.
In all, an exciting year ahead for Bethesda, especially with their continued work into virtual reality technology. To find out more about BethesdaVR, I seriously suggest checking out the BE3 after show as they had set up booths for DOOM and Fallout 4.
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