E3 2016: Bethesda Showcase Recap
Bethesda is no stranger to making a solid E3 presentation. Last year they made their first ever E3 showcase and during that time we got some high profile announcements, including Fallout 4, Fallout Shelter, and they even teased a sequel to Dishonored. Bethesda was off to a great start with TechTV/G4 alumni Adam Sessler and Morgan Webb handling preshow duties. I have a lot of faith that Bethesda will be able to do something great this year; I just can't wait to see what they have planned.
Bethesda started their 2016 Showcase off with a bang, as they unveiled a brand new Quake. This new title, Quake Champions, is a multiplayer arena shooter, continuing the multiplayer tradition of the Quake franchise. Bethesda is touting that the game is being made for players of all skill levels and has been built with competitive e-sports in mind. Bethesda announced that they would support tournaments for the game, even outside of the yearly Quakecon, giving the game a tremendous amount of momentum. In addition to this, the game will also feature unlocked framerates and will run at 120hz, which will undoubtedly be a big draw for PC players. Bethesda didn't give any information outside of this, instead of saying that those interested in the game will learn more later this year at Quakecon 2016.
I'm always excited to see a dormant franchise return, and it has been nine years since Enemy Territories: Quake Wars and eleven years since our last single player Quake experience in Quake 4. While Quake Champions does look like it could be interesting, I wish they had announced a new single player Quake. I may be in the minority, but I've never been a huge fan of Quake's multiplayer, and I don't see Champions changing that. It's unlikely that Champions will make its way to home consoles, so I'm not sure it's a game that I'll ever take the opportunity to play. Either way, it was a surprise announcement and a great way to kick off their show.
Elder Scrolls Legends
Pete Hines comes to the stage after the Quake Champions trailer and welcomes everyone to the Bethesda E3 2016 Showcase. After speaking briefly about Quake Champions, he brings Elder Scrolls Legends, a digital strategy card game. Hines says that the game will allow players to see the world of Tamriel in a new way. The game will feature a single-player campaign in addition to online modes like the arena. Some video of Legends was shown, but no information on how the game plays or a release date were given. Hines tells the audience that they are opening up the beta and that anyone interested can sign up on their website.
Elder Scrolls Legends seems like a game I would enjoy, and since it's likely to be a Free to Play game, I'll probably give it a try. The allure of a single player campaign is something that interests me, but I'm not sure how much time I'd be willing to sink into playing an F2P card game. It's hard to say; perhaps I'll sign up for the beta and try the game out.
Fallout 4 is the next game on the schedule as we see the next three expansions. The game's fourth DLC pack, the Contraption Pack, will be available next week and will add another round of items for building your settlements. These include elevators, conveyor belts, and everything else you would ever need to build a Rube Goldberg machine in Fallout 4. The fifth add-on, the Vault-Tec Pack, gives players the ability to make their vaults. In addition to building vaults, and in real Vault-Tec fashion, it also allows you to recruit vault dwellers and use them as guinea pigs in various experiments. Finally, they showed a new single player add-on, Nuka World. This expansion adds a Nuka-Cola theme park to the Commonwealth. No further details are given, but after the Mechanist and Far Harbor, I have absolute faith that the team at Bethesda Game Studios will give us something fantastic to play.
Return to Skyrim
It's been heavily rumored for the last few days, but it looks like the internet got another one right with the reveal of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Special Edition. This remastered version of the game features enhanced visuals, lighting effects, shaders, and so much more. The console editions of the game will also feature mod support, bringing it in line with Fallout 4. Skyrim: Special Edition will be available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on October 28th.
Not really much else to say here, I'm excited to have the opportunity to return to Skyrim and experience this game once again. It's been nearly five years since the release of Skyrim, and it was one of the best games of its generation. I spent more time with Skyrim than any other game on the Xbox 360, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that I am incredibly excited for this release. However, I do wish I was this excited for a new game and not a reissue of something that is almost five years old.
If you had asked me if I thought we would see a new Prey at E3, I probably would have laughed at you. Originally released back in 2006, Prey hit with a bit of a thud, and while a sequel was planned, it was ultimately shelved and forgotten due to the poor reception of the original. Flash forward ten years and here we are, the series is being rebooted under Bethesda and, no offense to anyone involved with the first game, it will likely do better there than it ever could have done if it has remained with its original owner.
The reveal trailer gave us a little look into the game, but much of it is going to remain a mystery until Quakecon. After three years of silence on the title, I have to say that it looks pretty interesting. After the success that Bethesda has had with the reboots of Wolfenstein and Doom, I'm going to have to give this game a shot when it comes out. It's coming from an excellent pedigree, and the trailer made the game look interesting. Bethesda you've done a great job of adding a new game to my radar, and it's always nice to have more to play.
Fight Like Hell
Doom is up next with a look ahead at what's to come for this recent release. PC users got the most out of this announcement, with the PC's SnapMap being updated to include the ability to make single player content and several new game types to multiplayer over the next few months. Each of these new modes will be compatible with all maps and will include new objective types and team deathmatch. They also detail the first piece of DLC for the game, which will be a multiplayer add-on. The biggest news came at the end, with the announcement that the first level of the campaign is now free to play for all platforms. This new approach to the old school concept of shareware is an excellent way to drum up additional interest in the game, and I encourage anyone who hasn't played it to give it a try.
Doom had a great showing tonight, but I think it would have been more beneficial if Bethesda had offered a look at additional single player content. Multiplayer is all well and good, but for a game like Doom, I feel that the single player is a little more appealing. Still, it's good to see the game getting this kind of support, and I look forward to seeing more of it in the future.
The Elder Schools Online Continues
Despite a rocky start, the Elder Scrolls Online has managed to reach its first anniversary on consoles. They tout the game's expansion releases and the growing player base, which they say has reached 7 million. They roll a trailer highlighting a bunch of random numbers, including the amount of gold earned from bounties, numbers of various creatures killed and more. The follow this up with the announcement of a new add-on for the console version of the game based on Oblivion's Dark Brotherhood quest line.
After a new trailer for the Dark Brotherhood DLC, they reveal a June 23rd launch for Elder Scrolls Online in Japan. They say this will continue growing the player base and further announce one final change, which will shake up the game. This new announcement, called One Tamriel, will remove leveling from the game and open up raid content and questing to all characters regardless of how long they've played the game.
The One Tamriel initiative seems like an odd decision to me. I understand that many players will play MMOs to get to the end game raid content, but the removal of the leveling system feels like it takes away much of the point. It's great to be able to raid or quest with anyone, but without the progression system, it just seems like the game will become boring. With leveling removed, there's no incentive to stick to a particular character class, and I feel that will ruin much of the charm of the MMO experience.
Pete Hines returns to the stage and with the mere mention of Bethesda VR, gets quite the reaction. He talks about Bethesda's experimenting with VR and reveals that those in attendance will be able to play both Doom and Fallout 4 in VR after the Showcase. He goes on to confirm the release of Fallout 4 for the HTC Vibe in 2017, giving players at home the opportunity to play the game on their VR headsets.
This segment didn't interest me due to a lack of interest in VR. While a game like Fallout would be interesting on a VR set, I just don't think that type of gaming is for me. Call me old-fashioned, but I like sitting on my couch with a controller in hand and playing on a TV. Maybe I'm just getting old, and I can't keep up with these innovations.
Finally, we come to the last segment of the E3 Showcase and our first look at Dishonored 2. The game looks great, and the supernatural elements seem like they make the stealth gameplay a lot of fun. Sadly, I never played the first game, so this segment didn't catch me, and after the VR section I was a little zoned out. Don't get me wrong, the game looks fantastic, and I'm sure I'll give it a try, I'm just not familiar with the series, so this segment just didn't pull me in.
Closing out the segment, Pete Hines released that anyone who pre-orders a digital copy of the game will receive Dishonored: Definitive Edition free for the same platform as your preorder. It's a great way for someone like me to try the game without a significant commitment, but at this point, I would likely rent or buy the game second hand to save money.
With E3 "Day 0" in the books, Bethesda had a far better showing that what was offered by Electronic Arts. With the announcement of Quake Champions, Fallout 4's add-ons, Skyrim: Special Edition, Prey, Dishonored 2, and Fallout 4 for the HTC Vibe. Bethesda shot out of the gate and maintained that momentum for the full hour. With two of our press events behind us, we'll return tomorrow morning with Microsoft and the Xbox. Microsoft's show will likely focus on the marriage of the Xbox and Windows 10, and have absolutely nothing to do with their glorified webcam, the Kinect.