Bethesda held its first pre-E3 press briefing, and from the start, it was meant to showcase the Fallout franchise, more specifically, Fallout 4. Of course, one series isn’t enough to warrant a conference, but it was the lynchpin to even holding one. As Bethesda’s Todd Howard put it, it was better to have one gigantic demo rather than do it over and over on the E3 floor.
The first game that was announced was a reboot to the seminal first person shooter, DOOM. Using the idTech 6 engine (which was jokingly called the “666 engine” internally by the developers, two gameplay demos were shown off, one on Mars, one day in Hell itself.
DOOM revels in cartoonish, over-the-top gore; if one did know it was DOOM, they might think it was a next-gen Duke Nukem game, with slicing enemies in two with a chainsaw or gibing them with the super shotgun. Even some half-corpses continue to walk after they’ve lost their upper body.
The epitome of the game”s excesses are finishing moves which the player can inflict when an enemy is sufficiently weakened. The most ludicrous has the player shoving a grenade down a cacodemon’s gullet.
Far more impressive is the editor that will come with the game, SnapMap, making it easy to quickly build a level (almost as if using LEGOs), and even change the scripting to allow gameplay modes such as horde or a Counterstrike-style of purchasing weapons. The game (among other Bethesda games) will use Bethesda.net, which will be a community hub across all platforms.
After a brief demo of the class-based online multiplayer game Battlecry was shown, a new faction was announced along an upcoming beta.
Also getting a short demo was Arkane’s sequel Dishonored 2. The demo seemed to be a prerendered video, but it did give some important information. For one, players can choose to be the protagonist of the previous game, Corvo, or Emily, who seems to have borrowed some of her powers from Prototype’s Alex Mercer.
New content was announced for the just launched The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, but the big surprise was the announcement of a new video collectible card game, The Elder Scolls: Legends, free to play on PC, iOS and Android.
The last major game to be announced was Fallout 4. From the very start, graphically the game is far better looking than the previous game. For starters, faces are detailed and textured lovingly, which the character creation tool incorporates.
Speaking of character creation, while Fallout 3 saw the player starting at infancy in the vault, the sequel begins with the player’s parents before the bombs started dropping, outside the vault. The player customizes the parents’ looks (and their child will be a mix of the two), and for the first time, the player can be female.
Most of the gameplay is pure Fallout 3, fighting mutated animals and humans, using VATS, and exploring post-apocalyptic Boston, but the game also allows far more player control. Firstly, the branched conversations allow the story to go in different directions. Then there’s crafting.
Not only does the game allow the player to break down EVERY object into its components (for example, a school globe may produce screws), but players may now build their own homesteads Minecraft-style, with defenses to ward off raiders and the like. Players can even start a trading post to barter with merchant caravans – and even start their own caravans if they own more than one homestead. According to Howard, players may even end up running their own towns.
Finally, as the cherry on top, Bethesda announced a new free-to-play iOS game Fallout Shelter, a deep management sim that sees the player as the Overseer of his Vault, raising them in a cross between Little Computer People, Progress Quest, Dungeon Keeper and XCOM. The game has no pay barriers and can be played offline, an apparent labor of love for Howard and company; the micro-transactions that will fund the game come in optional lunch boxes that have random goods and weaponry. The best part? It’s available on the Apple iTunes Store right now.
This is a promising start to E3 – hopefully everything else will be as exciting.
Jonah Falcon is a blogger for TMRzoo.com and GameStooge.com and covers all gaming consoles and platforms including Sony Playstation 3 and PS4, Microsoft XBOX One and XBOX 360, Nintendo Wii, Sony PSP and computer games designed for Mac OS, Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems. Jonah provides his readers with reviews, previews, release dates and up to date gaming industry news, trailers and rumors.